Our Brand New Office

posted by Andrea | 09/29/2011

As I mentioned the other day, I work A LOT of hours from home. So when we were looking for a new house, one of our top requirements was that it had a nice area that we could use for a home office.

We wanted that area to be big enough to accommodate my work, my business, my hobbies, Dave’s school stuff, Dave’s books, and a few fun things too.

And even though it took quite a bit of renovation {and knocking out an entire wall} we got exactly what we wanted!

A Few Before Pictures:

Very “grey” and industrial looking… don’t you think? Plus, the nasty outdoor carpeting and that hideous office chairs just wouldn’t do 🙂

The thing we loved about this office though, is the set of French doors that lead out to a deck on the back of the house!

We also loved that there was potential to close off the door to the hallway and knock out the back wall {see below} to completely open the office up to our main living room.

OK, that’s enough grey and blah. On to the NEW, after photos!

Our Farmhouse Desk:

I already showed you our farmhouse desk the other day, but here’s a second look at it. It is probably my favorite part about our office!


We purchased this 120-year-old farm table off Criagslist and NO, we did not cut it to fit!! The table is 5′ 11 3/4″ which is EXACTLY what we needed to wedge into our space {it was meant to be!}

We did sand it down a bit, dry brush white on the legs and base, and then stained/polyurethaned the top to match our floors. I’m so completely in love with this desk — which is nice since I sit here for several hours each day 🙂


I wanted to keep the desk very “clutter-free” since there are several times when both Dave and I work here together. So I decided to only have a few basic office supplies in the corner: pens, pencils, calculator, paper, paper clips, stapler, and some highlighters. I keep these supplies in an old bread pan and an old white measuring cup so they still look nice. I also put a basket on the right side for any mics. papers I have to deal with.

The TV was Dave’s request because he likes to watch TV while he grades papers and works on his computer. And as you’ll see later on, we also have a nice, comfy chair on the opposite wall, so it creates somewhat of a “den” atmosphere when the computers are put away.

One of the things I’m most excited about is that we managed to hide ALL our cord clutter {I know, I’m a dork!}


I mounted a large power stripe on the back side of the desk and then plugged in both our laptop chargers, the TV, the light, the cable modem, and the wireless router. Then I installed small hooks all along the back side of the table, wound up each cord, and hung them on the hooks.

As you can see by the image above, it still doesn’t look that organized underneath the table — but at least you can’t see any cords hanging down or laying on the floor!

Built-In Cabinets:

We actually kept the built-in cabinets above the desk and just updated them with a fresh coat of white paint. They serve as excellent storage for all our craft supplies, mailing supplies, batteries, extra printer paper, folders for the different committees we’re both on, etc. etc.

The large basket on the top shelf nicely conceals many of my craft supplies, the rest are in the wooden crate on the bottom middle shelf. I store cards and photos in the two blue boxes, and the rest of our supplies are “out in the open” but still somewhat decorative {like the colored pencils, Sharpies, and crayons on the middle shelf}

I installed some cork on the inside of one cabinet door — which is a great place to store business cards, phone numbers, schedules, and other mics. information we reference on a regular basis.

Office Closet:

We have a very large closet in our office {right next to the desk} and it goes under our staircase to maximize every inch of available storage space.

Not only is there enough room for our filing cabinet, wireless printer, shredder, and fire-proof safe. We also have plenty of room for a bookcase that stores our computers, my sewing supplies, and Dave’s school text books.

I hung a clear plastic shoe organizer on the left wall of the closet and we keep all our “cord clutter”, chargers, and other small electronics organized and easily accessible {I did label each pocket so everyone knows where everything goes!}

Then I hung peg board on the right wall and organized all the tools we use on a regular basis.


If you turn the corner to go under the stairs, I have all my gift wrap and packaging supplies shoved back there {but still organized!}

I am thrilled with how we were able to maximize the storage in this closet — especially since old farmhouses aren’t exactly known for their vast amounts of storage!


Office Shelves:

I posted a picture of our new offices shelves on Facebook the other day — and I’m just SOOO happy with how they turned out. They are actually 120 year old barn beams that we cut down to fit perfectly along the west wall.

Of course, I immediately filled them with all my fun decorations… now we just need to find a piano or a sewing table for under the shelves.

We even made enough room for a smaller chair and side table for when we just want to relax and watch a little TV {or rock a sleeping baby!}

The natural light in this room is simply fabulous and even on gloomy days {like when I took these pictures} There is still plenty plenty of light.

So that’s it — our new home office!

It’s so nice to have one place to keep all our office things and not have to work on the couch or the kitchen table all the time. It’s also wonderful that my desk is only about 12 steps away from our bedroom and the kitchen… and right off the living room. I still feel totally “connected” even if I’m working!


Filed under: HomeWork SpaceOur FarmhouseBefore & After

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  12. Jo


    That looks great! Very inviting to sit down & work. How did you mount the power strip to the desk? Thanks for the good idea 🙂


  13. Tammy @ SkipperClan


    I am going to install shelving similar to this over my desk and was just wondering how far apart your shelves are spaced. Is there anything you would do different after having lived with them for a while? thanks!


    Andrea Reply:

    Tammy, these shelves were already in our office when we purchased the house — I just painted them. I probably would have done all enclosed storage if we put them in ourselves, but this is fine for now 🙂
    Our shelves are 8″ 12″ and 8″ from top to bottom. Good luck!


    Tammy @ SkipperClan Reply:

    ooops! I meant the ones made from the reclaimed barnwood where you had all the photos displayed 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    Oh, ok that makes sense 🙂
    Those shelves are 15″ apart and we started them 55″ off the ground (with enough room for a piano under!)


  14. Emily


    Hi Andrea, I love your blog! What kind of shelves and hardware are those? And where can I get them, I love the exposed hardware look! Thank you


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Emily, I actually got the shelves from an old barn and we cut them to fit our wall exactly. The hardware is just from Menards.


  15. jeannine nye


    I am blown away by the clearance of wires, doesnt matter what it looks like underneath the desk… so simple and wonderful and then the shoe rack with all the electrical bibs and bobs. cannot wait to do this for myself in my own office, thank you so much for sharing!! J


  16. KatieS


    We tried your delicious baked sandwiches yesterday, oh my were those delicious!! My hubs loved the brown sugar..anything with brown sugar he loves. Thanks for the recipe. Hope you don’t mind me mentioning this, but I noticed you keep your fireproof safe on the top shelf. We have one of those safes and they are actually made to be stored on the floor. If there were to be a fire and the safe would fall to the ground there is a chance the latch could break upon falling and the safe would no longer serve its’ purpose in a disaster.


    Andrea Reply:

    Oh good — so glad you liked the sandwiches. Aren’t they just super easy too!?

    And good tip about the fireproof safe. I suppose the reason we put it on the top shelf is because we actually need to get in there quite often to use our portable hard drive… and it’s so much easier to have it on top. However, I may have to come up with a new system since what you said is very true!


  17. Dianne@Baking4Six


    Very “inspiring”. Fun to watch your renovations & nesting – it is very exciting waiting/planning for a baby (my husband and I have 4). It is also sweet that you talk about the house becoming yours & your husbands & soon your growing family. I’ve learned that if I am thoughtful to include my husband’s needs in whatever I do, he is much more willing to go along with it 🙂 – as anyone would be. — we’ve been married for 17+years and it’s worked so far. Our dream home would be a beach cottage (SMALL) meanwhile there are 6 of us sharing a home which can make our current home feel small (or cluttered) so handy tips on hiding cords etc… are much appreciated and it’s helpful to see the pictures, too (of how the cords were hidden etc.)

    p.s. …when you mentioned rocking a sleeping baby in the chair & then I saw the old typewriter propped on it’s side above the chair – a little red flag went up. I was born & raised in California, (ie, Earthquake territory) but even my children pick up on things like this. Probably you don’t have to worry about it falling, but I just couldn’t “not” mention it. 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I had to laugh at your typewriter comment Dianne! We have it up there pretty securely… but I’m positive I’ll be changing the shelves around throughout the year, so maybe I’ll move it to the other side!

    Oh, and thanks for your kind words — sounds like you have a lovely family!


  18. Olivia @ Crossing Bridges


    I am absolutely in love with this! It’s so pretty, and yet so functional too. I find myself looking at home decor pictures/ideas online, and all too often thinking “pretty, but impractical.” But this! This is clearly functional, and indisputably gorgeous!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for mentioning that Olivia. Sometimes I feel like many other blogs and magazines have better pictures and more extravagant rooms than I do — but then I have to remind myself that we actually LIVE in our house — all day long! What you see in my pictures is what it looks like all the time and it IS functional because it has to be!

    My goal is always to have a practical, efficient, and organized home, but still attractively decorated with MY style and a place I love to be. I think I’ve achieved that in our office space, but thanks for reminding me!


  19. JoDi


    Great makeover! LOVE how you really gave it that “farmhouse style” while making it totally functional!


  20. Veronica


    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, but it’s only just hit my why I love reading it so much. When you’re talking about your routines, your renovations, your recipes…they’re not just yours. They’re yours and your husband’s. The way you seem to include one another’s needs and desires in seemingly simple things like your shared desk is inspiring to me. I admire your life not just because it’s so organized and optimistic-looking, but also because it clearly includes a lot of love!


    Andrea Reply:

    Veronica — thank you so much! That is probably one of the most thoughtful comments anyone has ever left!

    Since I am definitely more of the project “initiator” and Dave is usually fine leaving things “just how they are” I always try to think of something special I can do to include him in the process, make it fun for him, or give him something to look forward to {like the TV on the desk!!} Over the past 5 years I have watched him become more willing to take on projects, come up with ideas, and even tackle some of them on his own {he stained and polyurethaned all our floors this summer} so my persistence has paid off!

    Thanks again for brightening my day with your kind words 🙂


  21. Rita @ the busy minimalist


    What a great job you did! It’s so important to have a nice place to work and focus!


  22. Cortney


    Looks likes it opened the room up much more! Great job! I love all the fall decorations! So cozy.


  23. Sue


    Love it.. But I never really thought the before room was that bad.. would love the closet though.. I would love to get rid of having to do all my work at the kitchen table !


  24. Stacey


    Ok, first…CUTE!!

    Second, I am completely JEALOUS of that storage closet! We are one of the unlucky farmhouse owners who have no storage on the main floor. Im so over it!

    Third.. Where oh where did you get the clear shoe organizer??? ive been looking but cant find anything clear.

    And lastly… My butt would be so sore sitting on the chair you use at your desk, lol. I need cushy at all times, lol. It does look better than the original office chair though:)


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Stacey — and even though I don’t know what your farmhouse looks like, I’m sure it’s worth the lack of storage 🙂

    I found those shoe organizers at Menards for only about $6.00! I think I have 4 or 5 in different rooms and closets of our house. You can see the one in our Master Closet here.

    Oh, and about the chair — it is actually very comfortable and helps me have good posture too! It’s also just an extra chair we had at our house so it’s not something I’m planning to use forever!


  25. Toni


    So very cute!!! I love your desk. I just have to ask, though, how do you keep all the things on your shelves clean and dusted?


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — we actually just put those shelves up last week and I honestly don’t plan on dusting them very often! The shelves are very rough barn wood so they wouldn’t dust well anyway… and the stuff on them will probably be rotated out every so often so I’ll dust it at that time.

    The only things I’ll dust on a regular basis are the picture frame on the bottom shelf… and since our house really doesn’t get that dusty it will probably be a once-a-month kind of thing!