Friday, June 10, 2011

My office: Before and After

When I started working as a freelance writer two years ago, I didn't have a proper home office. My office was also the family room, was also the kids' play room. In other words, I had a desk and a computer at one end of our all-purpose room.

It worked sometimes.

But other times, it was challenging. If I needed to get some work done in the afternoon, it was hard to just put a movie on for the kids to distract them -- because the TV was in the same room. And on a weekend -- especially in the winter -- if I needed a few hours to work, Ryan couldn't exactly just take the kids downstairs to play. Because their toys were in the same room.

So late last year, we decided that our so-called spare room would become my office. I call it a so-called spare room because it was really a pretty sad room. Which is part of the reason I resisted the idea at first. The thought of working in such a sad room was depressing. It's a tiny room in the basement. And it's windowless.

So already it had two knocks against it. But then there was the way we had treated it for the last five years or so which made it even more depressing.

First of all, it had a bed in it. A double bed which took up most of the space. It was such an old bed that one side of the mattress now had a hole in it (and some people when staying over requested to sleep on an air mattress in the family room rather than on the spare bed in the spare room.). Yes, it was that bad.

But secondly, even more important than the sad bed was the mess in the room. The spare room was where we sent everything we didn't know what to do with to die. Extra pieces of it in the spare room. Old baby stuff...spare room. Presents we're not quite sure what to do with....spare room. Random items that should really be thrown out...spare room. And every time someone would come to stay, we would do a quick clean out of the room -- which usually invovled hauling as much crap out of it as we could and putting it somewhere else in the basement. When they left, the crap would go back.

And because of all the crap, the room was rarely dusted or vaccumed. So it was crowded, dirty and full of crap. Oh yeah, and it was wall-to-wall dark wood panelling (and don't forget, I said it's a tiny room).

Not exactly an appealing place to park myself day in and day out to work.

So, in early February I got to work. First a friend helped me clear out some of the crap -- it always helps to have someone else who has no history with any of the stuff to be ruthless for you. Then, we put the bed on the curb for the garbage truck. Then I packed up everything else that wasn't being thrown out and started painting.

By the end of February, the room was primed and painted By the end of March we had a new futon (because this tiny little room had to serve two purposes -- an office for me and a guest room for anyone who may need to stay over.) By early April, I had a brand new IKEA desk.

And I did it almost all by myself. I say almost all because I did the planning and the painting. Ryan did the electrical (because he knows how), the baseboards (because it was faster for him to just do it than to show me how) and put together the newly-bought furniture (because I think he actually likes doing that kind of thing).

I moved in what was absolutely necessary and now I have my VERY OWN HOME OFFICE!

I've been waiting a couple of months to write this post because the one thing I haven't finished yet is to put art on one wall. There's art over the futon, but not over my desk. I've planned out what to put there, but I just haven't had time to do it yet.

But without further ado, here is my before and after look:

Right before I took these before pictures, I thought about cleaning up the room first and then thought "why, it looks like this most of the time anyway".
The built-in shelves were always, always, always a disaster of stuff -- 90% of which we didn't even need!

....and after. Over my desk is where I'm going to hang the last of the art. Mainly so I'm not staring at a blank wall all the time.
The guest bed. To be able to pull it out, I have to move my desk chair out of the way.

And finally...the built-in bookcases. Painted with a bit of contrast and only holding the stuff we need -- well mostly. What the heck am I supposed to do with all those CDs that no one listens to anymore?


Nancy Downard said...

Where'o'where is the the art over the desk?????

Deb said...

Did you just look at the pictures and forget to read the post? It says I just haven't gotten around to hanging it yet :-)

Nancy Downard said...

Tongue was firmly in cheek