It seems that accidental renovations are a reoccurring phenomenon in our house. First, it was the girls’ bathroom remodel, which came about after we discovered a wobbly mirror and decided the whole space needed to be gutted. This time, it’s our shared office, which was originally supposed to be a guest room and office for Jeff. As you can imagine and have probably seen, the loft has been neglected due to this wonderful accidental renovation, and I’m thrilled to tell you the story of this space and show you our shared office reveal.
*This post contains affiliate links, and portions of this project were a collaboration with companies, but all opinions and reviews are 100% mine.
When this makeover began, the plan was to have a daybed with a trundle on this wall for guests. However, as Jeff and I thought through how often we needed a dedicated guest room versus how often we desperately needed a dedicated office space, we decided to just go for the shared office and make one of our girls give up their room for guests since they sleepover in each other’s rooms every night anyway.
Best. Decision. Ever.
A little back story: when we were newlyweds (7 months to be exact), Jeff and I were asked to lead a traveling children’s choir made up of orphans from India, the Philippines, Burma, and Nepal. We signed on and spent the next year traveling the USA from East Coast to West and back again with 19 children and a 40-foot RV. To this day, we still say that was the best year of our lives. We LOVE working together! But we haven’t had enough space in any of our homes to create a dedicated shared office, so having a room where we can dream, plan, and work together (again) toward our future goals is such sweet and unexpected gift for us.
I knew from the outset (even when it was going to be a guest room/office space) that I wanted this room to tell the story of the man I love. Jeff grew up with drug-addicted parents, was homeless for a time as a child, and has continually fought an uphill battle just to overcome the hurdles he faced so he could lead a normal (and in fact, exceptional) life and have a healthy marriage and family. But the point is not that he struggled. The point is, he weathered the storm, worked hard, and created a life he loves despite the odds.
This storm cloud wallpaper was a natural design choice because I wanted Jeff to have a visual reminder of the storms he has walked through in order to get to where he is, and that together with the Lord, we can withstand even more storms along the way.
Keeping with the idea of visual reminders, I incorporated this little clay bowl into Jeff’s side of the office. Hannah made it in elementary school and it’s perfect for holding paper clips or coins. It’s a sweet way to keep Jeff’s favorite thing (his family) on the forefront of his mind as he’s working.
A few months ago, I partnered with a window treatment company named Alva for the Roman shade in our loft. When it came time to choose a window treatment for our shared office, I thought I would try out that shade just to see if I liked the look. I LOVED IT! The charming, slightly-wrinkled linen conjures the feeling of a ship’s sail…perfect for the sea of storm clouds it’s centered on.
In the original design plan, I chose these Transitional Swing Arm Sconces from Shades of Light because they were going to flank the daybed and act as bedside lamps. These are the perfect wall lamp for that purpose because they have a pull chain (no getting up to flip a switch), they swivel for more focused light when you need it, they have soft, diffused light from the fabric shade, and they are plug-in and come with cord covers (we had them hardwired). What more could you ask for? A beautiful brushed-brass finish? They have that too! And despite the fact that we changed the function of the room to a shared office, these sconces look amazing in this space and provide the BEST soft lighting. Have I mentioned how much I love lamp light?
For as long as I’ve known Jeff, his favorite quote has been “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor,” so I wanted to have a custom canvas banner made that sort of resembled sailcloth. As I researched the quote, I found that Franklin D. Roosevelt is credited with saying “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” and in the name of being accurate, I ordered the custom banner with those words. Turns out, the original quote my husband loves so much is an old English proverb and Roosevelt merely repeated it in his own way…it didn’t originate with him. I was so bummed when I learned that, and I will be having a new banner made (maybe I’ll give this one away), but the spirit of the quote remains the same. Hey, you win some, you lose some. The banner is still beautiful, especially sitting under that beautiful, original, antique oil painting I found on a recent trip to Julian, CA. I couldn’t have found a more fitting piece of artwork for this space!
From the wallpaper to the banner to his desk being placed in front of the window, Jeff is beyond happy with his new office space. There’s wall space off to the left of his desk that I’m planning to put a cabinet on for the printer, shredder, and all of his work-related things, but that will be a makeover of a vintage piece and I’ll share that in a separate post.
This was originally where Jeff was supposed to have a desk, but I’m SO happy to call this MY space now! I can’t believe how beautiful it is and that I get to work here every day (ironically, I’m writing this post at the kitchen table and not at my beautiful new desk).
I knew I wanted vertical shiplap installed in this niche, and this product from Lowe’s made it so easy. Once I knew this space was mine, I used Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams instead of the black I was going to use if this was Jeff’s desk niche. I couldn’t love the color more…it’s calm and sophisticated.
I installed these shelves up as high as I did because I’m placing my beautiful glass board from United Glassboards underneath them and wanted enough clearance for that marble-base lamp.
I chose to style the shelves with treasures I’ve had stored away just waiting for a place to display them.
This little piece of pottery might be my favorite thing in my whole house. Jeff went to Thailand last year to participate in a human trafficking rescue mission and he found this antique piece of pottery in an open-air market. He knows I have serious wanderlust and was wishing I could be there with him, so he searched for something to connect me with his journey. It’s filled with coins from his travels, and it sits next to a beautiful globe as well as another little piece I picked up from an antique store in Tennessee last year. We dream of moving there, so this is a constant reminder of that goal.
I love collecting pottery. These are pieces I’ve found along the way, and they sit in a grouping with my cherished Chelsea Fly art. I just received this art a few weeks ago from Chelsea after we had many conversations about why her art spoke to me. This piece is in remembrance of my dad who passed away five years ago. I cannot tell you how special this is to me.
I’ve had this sweet antique clock since my farmhouse decor days, and though I’ve gotten rid of everything else, this little guy has stuck around for some reason. I’m glad though, because it’s a reminder of where I started as well as a visual to keep things timeless, not trendy.
On my side of the office, I needed storage, so we chose the Bryggja storage unit from Ikea and I simply changed out the hardware to these striking gold pulls. I love that this furniture piece has space for beautiful decor as well as drawers for closed storage…perfect for those of us who want practical AND pretty. I styled it with things I already had (I have SO many treasures in storage!) but also picked up some beautiful, linen-wrapped magazine holders and paper mache bowls to add creative and nice-looking storage. I LOVE the way it turned out!
P.S. I swear I dusted these shelves just minutes before I photographed them. I guess that’s the price you pay when keeping your windows open year round.
I love finally having a place where I can work, stay organized with the girls’ school stuff, and dream alongside my best friend.
The long-term plan is to rip out the carpet and add hardwood floors, lay down a gorgeous rug, and install faux beams to the vaulted ceiling. Will this space be even better with those additions? Sure! But they’re not in the budget right now, and I don’t believe in waiting until you can do every single thing perfectly when you can greatly improve on a space and make it better than before. To make my point, here are some before photos of this space:
As you can see, there is SO much you can do to add personality, meaning, and beauty to any space without having to have every detail perfect and exactly how you envision it. I didn’t need this space to be perfect; I just needed it to be peaceful, and I wanted it to tell a story. I believe those goals have been achieved.
This shared office project is a design love letter to my husband…a very skillful sailor who navigates through adversity in the most inspiring way. I’m so thankful the Lord saw fit to give me a life partner who challenges me (and our family) to be better, loves me so well it’s humbling, and looks at the hand life has dealt us and says, “Bring it on.” He is the hardest worker, most loving father, and the BEST man I’ve ever known, and he is SO deserving of this space.
Now let’s get to work!
Wallpaper – Cole and Son Nuvolette in Black and White
Ceiling Fan – Hunter Hepburn Fan in Black
Chair – Wayfair
Linen Roman Shade – Oatmeal Linen Flat Roman Shade from Alva
Canvas Banner – Custom from Linen and Poppi
Oil Painting – antique
Wood and Rattan Bench – Target
Shelving/Storage Piece – Bryggja from Ikea
Linen Magazine Holders – Mine are from Office Depot but these are similar.
Shelf Decor – All found/collected/vintage objects
Gold Hardware – Target
White Desk Chair – Ballard Designs Dayna Chair
Marble Base Lamp – Home Goods find