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office switch-a-roo

So you know that pretty space above the garage that we finished out to use as my studio?

Well, we decided to switch things around.

This is the current state of my new office:

A couple of weeks ago, Ryan threw out the idea of switching offices and I was quick to agree with the change.

While I’ve made my work/creative area up in the studio, he worked from the small office in the house right off the entry. Here’s what it has looked like for the past year or so:

When you have two people working from home, it is just part of the deal to regularly check in on how things are working.

For Ryan, working in the house was not working. He often takes meetings from his computer and needs a quiet space in order to be most productive. When the kids are in school, it isn’t a big deal, but once they are home and the afternoon commotion begins, getting anything done is a bit of a challenge with an office right in the middle of it all.

As for me, I actually prefer working in the house. It keeps all my stuff nearby, gives me a place to collect school papers and a calendar for appointments, schedules, running-the-household-type things and means when the kids get home in the afternoon, I can be done with work to hang out with them (aka drive them to their various activities) and Ryan can keep going up in the studio until dinner time.

Ryan having an office not in the house and me having an office in the house just made a lot of sense.

And so, last week we sent the kids off to school (see their adorable first day of school faces here) and we got to work moving everything around.

Once Ryan’s office was totally cleared out, we noticed a terrible smell.

It was a mix of dog + urine + musty and very unpleasant. When we first moved into the house, we smelled this smell but it mostly went away after all of our things were moved in. The previous owners had dogs and the carpet on the main floor is not in great condition, but we’re just living with it until we tear it all up to replace the floors.

This carpet in the office, however, was nasty. It was so stinky! (I don’t know why it didn’t smell when Ryan’s stuff was in the office – maybe just moving things around brought it back up? I don’t know.) Instead of an easy office switch, I decided to give this room a little makeover. I can’t say I’m sad about that :)

First up, the smelly carpet had to go.

I pulled up the carpet and pad, removed all the little staples and took off the baseboard as well. Someday we’ll replace the floors and trim throughout the main floor (we’ve already done the second and third floors) so for the time being, I’m using the subfloor and going baseboard-less.

When I removed the carpet, we did find an area on the floor where there was a patch job and some evidence of water damage. We’re thinking the previous owners fixed a problem, but didn’t let it dry out completely before replacing the carpet and it’s just been holding moisture (and smell!) for too long.

When we moved in, I felt like this house wanted to be moody and so we chose a rich color for the walls in the office and living room and painted all the downstairs trim and kitchen cabinets in a charcoal color … but now I’m totally going back on that decision. I need light.

The office is small and has two big windows that look out on the front porch, but it does not get a ton of natural light. White paint seems to be the best way to brighten up a room, so I took white paint to everything (except the french doors – I’m leaving them dark because I do like that contrast).

The walls, trim and floor got a coat of Kilz white primer to seal and cover the dark paint.

Then I did a coat of flat white on the ceiling, three coats of eggshell on the walls and two coats of semi-gloss on the trim. I painted everything the same color – Shoji White by Sherwin Williams – but in varied sheens.

The floors had a bunch of nail holes and seam lines that I patched with wood putty and then sanded to give a smooth(er) finish before painting.

I was thinking about painting a fun pattern on the floors – maybe stripes or something mimicking cement tile (like I did on our fire place), but here’s the truth:

  1. All of my office stuff is piled in the living room and entry and I’m getting a bit tired of the mess. I’m ready to move it all in and be done with it.
  2. I love graphic patterns, but nothing was jumping out at me.
  3. There are already four different types of flooring on the main floor (two different carpets, wood floors in the entry, tile in the kitchen) and I question if drawing attention to another floor type is the right choice.
  4. I found a rug that I’m excited to use and I’ll just let it be the pattern.

Instead of a painted pattern, the floors just got two coats of leftover semi-gloss from when I repainted the kitchen cabinets. The color is Anew Gray from Sherwin Williams. It is an alkyd paint formula for cabinets and trim that dries harder, goes on smoother and takes longer to cure, but I’m hoping it will hold up a little better than regular latex paint.

So that’s where we are today. Waiting for the floors to dry completely, waiting for a new light fixture and rug to arrive and then I’ll move in!

As for the studio, Ryan is happily enjoying having a big, quiet space all to himself.

I think the office switch-a-roo will be a happy arrangement.

19 Responses to office switch-a-roo

  1. Kate Hordichok September 26, 2018 at 4:01 pm #

    Hi there,
    Silly and random question, but if you don’t mind me asking….where did you buy/find the trucker hat you’re wearing in one of these photos above? It appears to be a darker grey with a black tree graphic on it? Would love to know the source. Thanks!

  2. Jayci September 17, 2018 at 10:35 am #

    Hi Emily!

    Every project you do seems to come together so lovely! I am about to paint some stairs we just ripped the old carpet from, and was wondering if you had a wood-filler preference to go under painting. I noticed some are good for stains (in case we ever sand and stain once again..), or is there a particularly good one for going under paint? The paint will be dark, so I’m not so worried about it showing, as I am for it to stick and not flake off in a few weeks..

    Thanks for all you do and share,
    Jayci

  3. Lynn September 10, 2018 at 7:09 am #

    Looks wonderful! Love how you guys are DIY’ers, you just jump in and go for it! Anxious to see the finished look! Also curious as to what vacuum you use, with rugs, carpet, hardwood, so many different floors.

    • Nancy September 10, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

      A Shark vac from Lowes works on every type floor. I’ve had mine for over 3 years and suction is as good today as when brand new!! I use it on hardwood then flip a switch and right to carpet. Varied price range. Mine was $125. ish, and worth every penny.

  4. Kimberly September 8, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

    Emily,
    Everything is looking great! Excited to see the big reveal of your new office.

    Okay, question: I noticed that you mentioned using the alkyd “version” of paint for your cabinets. I too, have discovered this fabulous paint and have repainted my son’s bed with it. As for the curing time, what amount of time have you found works out for the best results? I am planning on using alkyd for another project and want to do it right, but I think I can get too impatient! 😂 Thank you!!

  5. Teri September 7, 2018 at 10:05 pm #

    We need to see Ryan’s office!

  6. Aimee September 7, 2018 at 5:54 pm #

    I just love seeing all your projects! You make it all seem so simple and it encourages me to try new things without overthinking everything. I often forget that paint can just be repainted. Thank you for all your inspiration!

  7. Nancy September 7, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

    I can’t wait to see the new office.
    After I read your post I tore out the old carpet in our 2 guestrooms. Thanks for motivating me.lol
    My floors are cement but paint will do till we can put down flooring that matches the rest.
    Bye bye stinky, stained carpet that has been on my to do list since we moved in 3 years ago. :D

    • emily September 9, 2018 at 7:44 pm #

      Yay! So glad it motivated you to make that easy change!

  8. Ginny Mapes September 7, 2018 at 1:35 pm #

    Nice, love the lighter room.

  9. Barbra September 7, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

    Are you going to sneak into Ryan’s office and snap a few pics so we can see what he did with the place?

  10. Amy September 7, 2018 at 10:07 am #

    Smart! Totally makes sense to switch, and I love that you were able to do it all without breaking the bank! You do amazing painting work yourself (so that helps ;), but it’s turning out so good! Can’t wait to see the AFTER pic when the rug and furniture are in..

  11. Jen September 7, 2018 at 9:31 am #

    It sounds like a logical switch and your new office is looking bright and fresh. Will Ryan keep the studio white or give it a makeover for a moody feel?

    • emily September 9, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

      We’ll keep it white up there. But with the addition of his furniture, it has a totally different feel!

  12. Jen Gilday September 7, 2018 at 9:08 am #

    Ooooh it’s looking good! I have that rug and we love it. It’s sheds quite a bit in the beginning (it seemed like we had a dog/cat with the amount of white fuzz rolling around) but after just a few weeks and a bit of vacuuming, it went away. So it was worth dealing with the fuzz. You’ll love it!

  13. Melissa September 7, 2018 at 5:56 am #

    I love the idea of painting the subfloor like this in our guest room upstairs. The carpet is 30 years old and needs to be replaced but we’re not ready to do this. We are hesitating because I’m not sure how to handle the transition from the hallway wood flooring dropping down to the subfloor. How did you deal with this?

    • emily September 9, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

      There is a slight drop but it is not a problem at all.

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