Skip to content
home | decorate | the progression of my favorite room

the progression of my favorite room

    I was asked by my friend Melissa of The Inspired Room to help celebrate the launch of her newest book with a quick peek at my favorite room.  I knew right away that I would share my office.  If you’re a reader of Melissa’s you know she is all about loving the home you have rather than wishing and waiting for something better and using what you have to make it feel more like you.

    This is totally the story of my office.


    When we moved in a little over nine years ago, this is what the office looked like:


    It sits off to the right when you walk in the front door at the front of the house. The big window gets the best light of the house and it’s the perfect mix of open to the rest of the house and its own space (the french doors help with that). When we first moved it, this was Ryan’s office, but once I started the blog and began working more consistently, I took over the front room. The initial transformation was so much fun and exactly what I needed at that time in my life.

    As a mom of many small children, having a space in the house that was just for me felt like the greatest gift. I could go in the office and be surrounded by things that made me happy and inspired apart from who I was as a mom. I will forever look back on this time and feel grateful that I found EMILY. I don’t know that I lost myself, but there is such potential when you spend your days loving and caring and protecting and nursing and cooking and picking up and forgetting to do things that make you feel alive and beautiful and creative.  That is what this office has represented in my life.

    From the first version in 2010 until now, this room continues to be a place of inspiration and function. Let’s take a look at the many changes and updates that I’ve made over the years to my favorite space.


    This was right after I completed the room makeover. I still love the painted wallpaper (see the tutorial here) and chalkboard wall. The drum shade was a simple diy (glue some fabric to a drum pendant and you’re done!) and I did like that dresser in there.


    After a while, Ryan decided to move in with me. We put two matching desks back to back and I went a little crazy with the wall of pictures/art/etc. Ryan and I liked working together, but he values function over form and his metal file and shredder just didn’t cut it in my pretty space so he moved back upstairs to work.

    A new, longer desk was needed as was more storage for all of my envelopes, files, etc, so those changes were made sometime in 2012. In December 2012, Better Homes + Gardens came to photograph my office (see it in publication here) which was beyond thrilling. To see our very average builder-grade home in a magazine was pretty affirming that we were indeed loving the home we had (even if it was/is not our dream house!).




    For about a year, not much changed in the office except my style which gradually became much cleaner and neutral.


    When I could take the carpet no longer, my boys and I pulled it up one day and I painted the chippy plywood subfloor white.



    I actually really, really loved the white floors. They were not practical (especially because of the chippy subfloor that couldn’t be mopped), but the white was so bright and a great backdrop in there.


    In November 2014, we had new hardwood floors installed throughout our house. It was a major undertaking and we love the results.  I miss the white floors, but having one consistent surface throughout the downstairs keeps things really open and visually clean.

    Better Homes + Gardens photographed our house again in January 2015 for the Christmas Ideas issue (out on newstands now!). I’ll share photos soon!

    So all of this leads us to today. This is the current state of the office:


    It’s a total mess.

    This summer, Ryan moved back in. The boys needed some space and so we moved them into their own rooms which meant Ryan’s office up there became a bedroom. Plus, we work together and it makes sense to be in the same room.

    The not so wonderful part is that form vs function issue.

    You may notice there are now three computers. My humungous one is fantastic and what I work on, the smaller mac (my old one) is for the kids, Ryan’s is on the other side on this gorgeous table that I love and gave up so he could use it for his desk (the true sign of love, perhaps).

    I’m not a fan of the mat under my chair, but the floors were getting scratched so function wins.

    We pulled in a console table we weren’t using in the living room to hold all the printers, paper, wires, modem, ugly things that are just necessary. Again with the function.

    The files and garbages and piles of stuff is just life.

    And I am switching out the brackets on the shelves for gold ones but only made it through the first shelf.

    Even with all of this ugly/practical/messy mess, it’s still my beloved favorite room. I like it better when it is clean and pretty, but the feeling is still the same: it’s my place to be creative.


    Do you have a favorite room in your house? What do you love about it? Is it how it looks? Or what it means to you? Or how it makes you and your family and guests feel?


    Maybe you need some encouragement and visual inspiration to help you on your way to loving the home you have. If so, you will love, love, love Melissa’s newest book, The Inspired Room. You guys, it is so beautiful.


    Her style is so good (and the photos!), but so are her words. She’s such an encouragement and wise and practical in her approach to creating a home. You will read this book and feel encouraged to love your home and make it feel like you.


    If you want to join in and share your favorite room, you can do so here and be entered to win $300 from Anthro! More details here.

    26 thoughts on “the progression of my favorite room”

    1. melissa @ the inspired room


      Your office is stunning, I’ve always loved it. And I think I love it even more knowing how you’ve had to adapt to real life and all those changes that happen in a home, you are my kind of girl :). It still looks beautiful, function and all!

      Thank you so much for your support and for being a part of this tour. You are a gem. xo

    2. LOVE LOVE LOVE your chalkboard wall and the decals at the top! Such an amazing passage to post directly on the walls! Did you paint those on yourself or buy them?

    3. I have no favorite room in my house-that’s bad, right?! I fell into the “we’re only renting, why bother spending money to decorate?” trap and here we are 5 years and 2 kids later! I really enjoyed seeing your room in it’s current state and also reading your statements about how the room originally helped you find “Emily” in the midst of being a mom. Your style is really refreshing and calming. One day I hope to have a bit of that mixed in with my current piles of toys and paper clutter:) This leads me to a question…if you were having to start over from scratch, what is one thing you would focus on to jump start a transformation?

        1. Your house;) As in, your house is a blank slate, or disaster needing a total overhaul. Which room would you focus on and would it be trying to just brighten it up with art, accessories, pillows, etc for the time being or would you create your vision for what you want the room to look like and if so, what does that process look like? Does that even make sense?! I guess I’m asking you the magic question of how would someone with no design sense get a room to look like yours;)

          1. Oh goodness! Please ignore my previous ramble! I think my initial thought was how do you pick where you’re going to start. My second comment was written as someone who is completely overwhelmed and needs someone to hold her hand as she makes her house a home! LOL. Guess I should go and buy the book, maybe that might be a good start! :)

    4. We just moved into a home that feels like it’s just been chillin’ out, waiting for us. I’m slowly working through it… we’ve only been here a month…and when we started there was carpet in the kitchen. Not even kidding. I have an excellent little nook off the kitchen that is my “office” space and I have been trying to come up with a shelving solution. I had white floating shelves with heavy black wood brackets but I just can’t get on board with those…and then I saw your gold brackets. Genius! Thank you so much for sharing your office – perfect timing for the inspiration I need!

    5. Hi Emily! What a gorgeous, inspiring space! I’m working on carving it a nook of my own in our new apartment and am so excited to have a place that is mine to be creative in!!! I LOVE your white desk/table with the silver nail heads, it’s exactly what I’m looking for. Do you have a source you can share for it?

      1. Thank you Valerie and I hope you adore your new space!

        The desk was a diy that I shared on the blog, but all of the images are gone! So, I’ll walk you through it. The top is a door from the salvage yard that I painted a blue/gray. The legs are metal table legs from IKEA. I hotglued grosgrain ribbon around the edge and finished with silver upholstery tacks. I love the long surface and it was very inexpensive. Hope this helps!

        1. You’re wonderful for responding so quickly and I love that it’s a DIY! My hot glue gun is seriously my favorite tool. I can totally do this!

    6. Dear Emily love this roon !
      I did a room like this in my home here in Brazil.
      I painted the walls following their model and also made silhouettes from my son

      Just love your blog !!!

    7. I don’t know whether you can still purchase them, but at one time I had a fiberboard floor saver under my office chair and I painted it faux tortoise shell. It still looked great after many years of use when I finally retired and gave it to a thrift shop in Phoenix.

    8. Love this room! Question, where is the chair from? Do you find it the right height for working on the computer for long bits of time? And do you paint your own furniture?
      Just love your blog!!

    9. Emily, you are too cute! Congrats on the BH&G feature!! I LOVE that you share the space even in it’s messy (real life sometimes) stage. Lovely posts as always, thank you for sharing.

    10. OMG your home is going to be featured in the December issue of BH&G??!! How exciting!!! So happy for you. I love the new office, I think it has a nicer flow and appears more open. It’s like a breath of fresh air getting rid of the chalkboard wall, which wasn’t bad but it made the room look smaller and more cluttered. Great job Emily!

    11. You should see about some low console with doors for all the printer junk. Open it when you work, close it when you arent and voila! everything looks neater. We have doors on the DVD, router, etc junk and I LOVE it.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *