I’d be kidding myself if I said that the space I’m talking about today is my “home office.”
But it’s a lot more fun to reference it that way than, “the old side table, in the corner, with a random dining chair and a lamp nearby” – though essentially, that is an accurate description of the space I’m working with today.
The office creation began (as always) with a look around to see what we already had available.
Years earlier, my mom and I purchased this beat up side table from our favorite Astoria thrift shop (Second Best Thrift) for only 15 dollars. We tightened the legs, “spiffed” it up with a little black sharpie to fill in the nicks and scrapes, and it served nicely as our entry table for a few years.
Don’t mind the alarming mess underneath the table. I’m fairly certain, that’s the entirety of someone’s belongings who was sleeping on our air mattress until they could find a place of their own. (Don’t pass judgement until you’ve attempted to find a home in NYC – it’s an experience unlike any other).
When it came time to leave Astoria and move in with my husband, I couldn’t bear to wait the extra week for the movers to come and get my side table. I knew where I wanted it to go, and I needed it for an Ice Cream Social we were hosting shortly before I moved in…yes, my husband is an angel.
So, the little black table took its next great adventure:
In case you are curious, I am not protecting my husband’s identity so much as protecting his pride from the lovely face he chose to make in this photo. The angelic smiley is how I prefer to remember our first subway move.
But a table alone does not make a desk or an office.
I needed storage!
When we combined our households we had a surprising amount of documents that needed filing. My husband had an old file box that lived – well, wherever he left it last – and it was bursting at the seams.
I purchased a book called Living in a Nutshell where Janet Lee created this incredible shrink wrapped filing cabinet. I was throughly inspired.
All I had to do was find an inexpensive, old filing cabinet that fit underneath my black table, and my next DIY was on its way. But apparently, that wasn’t in the stars for my “home office.” Even if I removed the wheels, the standard filing cabinet height was just barely too high to slide in under my 15 dollar table.
Time to surrender…and go shopping instead.
Currently, the old lidded file box was sitting underneath the printer, but you can imagine how convenient that made filing documents (nothing got filed in those first 6 months). So I was happy to find a variety of single drawer units available at office supply stores around the city.
I needed the drawer height to allow enough room for my (monster) 2008 printer/scanner/fax to sit on top while still being able to load paper, etc.
The Container Store had the most options in stock (and since I like to see things before I buy them) I headed out with hopes of bringing a new storage solution home.
A lot of the drawers were pretty heavy-duty, and I didn’t think we needed anything crazy, just something more convenient. I thought I would end up with this filing drawer, since he was the shortest, but when I got there I saw this guy who was half the price and only a little bit taller. (Who needs a push-button to open a drawer anyway?!) Besides, the black would disappear under our table and it was lightweight enough for me to carry home on the subway (ALWAYS a good thing!).
Here’s how it looked when I got home:
Disclaimer: I did NOT put up Christmas lights yet (as promised in my post yesterday). This photo was taken last December…Really!
Mom and I purchased the bulletin boards at Marshalls in Brooklyn (and struggled to ride the subway home with them in one piece) just so that the “home office” could be better defined.
Today, the office area has evolved ever so slightly.
With the addition of the sewing machine, this became my sewing table (as well as desk, blogging, and craft area) and I needed to add storage for sewing items, and space for maneuvering large pieces of fabric.
The lamp was moved to the windowsill to create a larger workspace, and the wooden drawers (from TJ Maxx) on the left holds all of my sewing needs (bobbins, needles, pins, thread).
The pink kitchen utensil holder was repurposed as a pencil cup and got attacked in the great Washi Tape Revolution along with the tops and bottoms of the bulletin board frames. I got pretty excited when I realized that the gold and black tape looked like a wooden molding detail from a distance…my apartment gained quite a few washi tape “upgrades” that day. (We will see how long it lasts).
Here’s how I’d further “define” the space:
In the future, I’d love to paint the desk a bright color and possibly gold dip the legs. I’ll probably update the printer to something much newer and smaller too. It would be really fun to have a dedicated desk chair instead of a borrowing one from the kitchen table. (I’m dreaming of something faux bamboo!) I might add some shelves above and even recover the bulletin boards, although their classy neutral linen is ideal for now. Oh, and if I could design my whole office space around these CB2 filing cabinets in pink or aqua, my head might explode from happiness!
For now, this office space was created using items I already owned, and adding under $100 in additions (Bulletin Boards: $20 each, Filing box: $35, Sewing drawers: $15, Washi tape: $2). I think that’s not bad!
Meanwhile, I’ll be living, working, and playing from my little corner of the living room and dreaming of these inspiring office spaces!
Wouldn’t it be nice?!