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02.16.14 / My Home Workspace

Welcome to my workspace!

workspace 1

I don’t have a separate room designated as an office. Instead, I carved out a home office in a corner of my kitchen. This is where bills are paid, mail is sorted, the kids’ school communication lands, grocery lists are written, design work is completed, blog content is created, and – let’s be honest – falling down the virtual rabbit hole happens. It’s a small space with many functions and, up until a few weeks ago, it wasn’t living up to its full potential. I was finally able to give it some much needed attention and turned it into an organized and inspiring place to werrrrk.

First, let’s take a look at the evolution of this lil’ corner.

before_after_workspace

During renovation, we removed walls to open up the kitchen to the living room. This space was originally a teeny dining room off the kitchen. We relocated the dining room to the mudroom (sounds strange, works beautifully for us) to make better use of the space. We vaulted the ceiling, added skylights and replaced the original dining room window with french doors.

We installed Ikea cabinetry, including a 9′ island. For the office portion of the kitchen, we created a built-in desk with plenty of closed storage. The base cabinets house the printer, paper, kids’ art supplies, gift wrap and even a charging station for battery-powered tools. The glass front cabinets hold glassware, decorative accessories, my camera bag and plenty of baskets and bins which corral everything from vitamins to paint decks to the kids’ flash cards.

We added a tongue and groove backsplash (it matches our TV wall) to the desk area and painted it white. The backsplash links the upper cabinets to the base cabinets. Before, the upper cabinets “floated” on the wall and felt disconnected from the lower desk area.

Recently, I organized the contents of the glass front cabinets and moved the shelves in line with the grids on the doors for a more unified look. I added accessories to make the workspace more appealing from both practical and visual standpoints.

before_after_workspace 2

The photo on the left was taken the day we closed on the house. It’s a view of the original dining area from the front door. The image on the right is the view from the front door now. It’s safe to say I don’t miss the orange shag carpet or 8′ ceiling one iota.

workspace 5

Let’s take a closer look.

workspace cabinet

For the upper cabinet contents I stuck to mostly glass, white, wood and silver for an organic feel. I threw in a pair of textured gray letter boxes to tie in to my desk stool and other gray elements in the adjacent living room.

(My fiddle leaf fig is still alive! I just wanted to point that out. I think he likes it here.)

workspace cubby

The glass front cabinets work great for me. They force organization and discourage clutter while providing a display area protected from dust. The right side of my desk has always been a natural dumping zone so I brought in a wood cubby with hidden storage to give inevitable clutter a sightly place to chill. A decorative tray on top holds fresh flowers and my glasses.

There are two items in my office that always spark compliments from visitors: the wood cubby and the fiddle leaf fig. I guess you could say they are the popular kids.

workspace file

At the opposite end of the desk, I brought in a letter tray to address my family’s never-ending paper trail. Each family member has their own (labeled!) pull-out tray. I temporarily store current catalogs and glossies in the magazine files until I get a chance to read them. #printlimbo For fun, I personalized the metal files with photo magnets.

workspace 6

A desktop organizer holds smaller items like pens, pencils, planners, a tape dispenser, scissors, a tape measure and my phone. I splurged on a fire engine red stapler after a decade of living with a mini stapler that constantly jammed. And, yes, it reminds me of Office Space which makes me laugh out loud.

“…but then they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler but I kept my Swingline stapler because it doesn’t bind up as much and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it’s not okay because if they take my stapler then I’ll set the building on fire.” – Milton Waddams

workspace 4

I’ve long admired loosely arranged inspiration boards. It makes for a casual display that can be easily changed when boredom strikes. I decided to try one myself. I used washi tape and double-sided tape to tack business cards and inspirational images to the backsplash. I hung a framed print with 3M adhesive strips. I tapped a finish nail only partially into the tongue and groove and hung a few rolls of washi tape and a leather bracelet. I shopped my house for the items displayed on my inspiration board so this project was free yet completely fulfilling. It’s so nice to work surrounded by items and images that inspire me in some way.

workspace chair

I spent months searching for a comfortable stool that would go along with the modern organic vibe I had envisioned for my workspace. When I stumbled upon this clean-lined upholstered counter stool, I knew it was the one.

workspace 2

The cushy seat, supportive back and appropriately placed footrest are conducive to long blogging sessions. The simple silhouette and rich wood base are in line with the aesthetic of our open kitchen-living space. I’ve been using the stool for a few months now and it looks and feels just as good as the day it arrived. I am much more productive when my legs aren’t falling asleep.

workspace afar

I always appreciate a pulled back shot to help me visualize how a niche, nook or corner fits into the bigger picture. I thought you might, too. Our kitchen is on the left; our living room is on the right. Can you see how the DIY shelves balance out the desk area on this wall?

I need more Buddha heads. Obviously. Also, I think I may be the only person I know with a high chair in their office. It’s for my assistant.

workspace 7

And that’s my home workspace in a nutshell – almost literally. It’s modest in size yet totally functional and so me. I love working here! I want to work here. Ever since I made organization and inspiration priorities in this lil’ space, I have been waaaaayyyy more productive.

After working for over a decade in a career field that sucked all inspiration out of me, I feel EXTREMELY lucky and am so grateful to be able to do the work I do now and to do it here. I have you guys to thank for that. Thank you! From the bottom of my stripe-lovin’ heart.

Sources:

wall color – Benjamin Moore tapestry beige
backsplash color – Benjamin Moore white dove
cabinets – Ikea
letter boxes – Ikea
framed wall art – Clare Elsaesser
high chair – Ikea
wood cubby – Wayfair*
letter tray – Ikea
magazine files – Ikea
desk organizer – Ikea
photo magnets – StickyGram
counter stool – Wayfair*
photography prints – Walter Helena
blue & white desktop planter – JoAnn’s
black & white floor planter – vintage
rug – vintage

*This post was sponsored in part by Wayfair. Items marked with an asterisk were chosen by me and donated by Wayfair. All opinions and images are my own. Hop on over to Wayfair to see my top five tips for creating a functional and stylish workspace.

Happy start to the work week, my friends!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

80 Comments

17.February.2014

looks amazing, but where did you get that color block tote bag?!?!!!!!

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replied on February 17th, 2014

I found it on clearance at JCPenney about a month ago for less than $15! It’s a Relic.

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17.February.2014

What a great room. The glass cabinets really help to make the room feel more open. I love the mix of wood, white, and metals — so organic and natural.

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17.February.2014

So gorgeous! I love how stylish everything looks but laid back and relaxed too. Kudos for keeping glass front cabinets tidy too! Jenna, islandbluebird.com

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That chair (and the whole space) is just lovely. But that chair—ooooo I’m loving!

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17.February.2014

This space is amazing! I love the colors, the design, everything. I just found your blog and I am so glad I did!

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17.February.2014

Such a stylish and bright space, not likely to wear out its welcome any time soon. The French doors were such a good idea! And how great that you not only like what you do now, but where you’re doing it.

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17.February.2014

Look fantastic!! and I’m happy you aligned the glass shelves. ahh MY OCD self can relax hahah!

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17.February.2014

Insanely beautiful! I love all the details!!

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17.February.2014

I love everything! :) where is that black and white decorative tray from?!

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replied on February 17th, 2014

Target!

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replied on February 18th, 2014

I have looked everywhere on Target for that tray…it’s no where to be found! Do you remember who made it? Maybe I can find it on Ebay ;) I NEED that tray!

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replied on February 18th, 2014

I believe it was from Nate Berkus’s fall line. Hope that helps!

17.February.2014

Where do you hide your wi-fi router/ugly necessary internet things?! That thing will be the death of me.

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replied on February 17th, 2014

We have wi-fi and the router is in attic space above the mudroom. That was Steve’s idea. It can be accessed from the garage but it’s also on a breaker so we can reset it without having to climb up into the attic each time.

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17.February.2014

I think we need a video tour now!!!! that would be fun! i love the layout of your living room and kitchen, the open space is awesome.

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17.February.2014

your space looks amazing….

Only sad part is, for an ordinary girl like me the price for the stool and wood cubby is unimaginable….

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17.February.2014

I love it! I really like your idea of using cabinets and countertop space rather than a desk!
Does your wall color ever look/ read yellow in your space? I recently tried it in my home and I had to check the sample can!

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17.February.2014

I love how this is right in the middle of everything but it really doesn’t feel like you work there. It just fits right into the decor of your house :)

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17.February.2014

Love it!
Love your style!

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17.February.2014

It looks gorgeous! I love your rug and your fiddle leaf fig in the space – they’re vivid and striking without overwhelming the rest of the elements, and they add a lot of warmth. And I love your chair! Too bad that a) I have no space/use for one, and b) it’s much too expensive. But a girl can dream! Thanks for sharing, I’m so inspired!

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17.February.2014

You’ve done such a fabulous job with your office nook! I bet it’s a very inspiring space to work in. I like the quote on your counter that says, Scary is the new fun!:-)

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It looks incredible! I just love every single detail and I am so inspired. When are you going to do a full before and after tour of the house? Would love to see more of those dramatic changes in one place!

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replied on February 17th, 2014

A house tour will definitely happen this year. I know that’s kinda vague (and lame! We have lived here for a year and half!) but for a house tour I really do need two full days without kids to shoot. Then, I will most likely feature each room’s before & after in singular blog posts that will become part of a permanent ‘house tour’ page. I’d also like to do a fun video tour.

House tour is on the to-do list!

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17.February.2014

Everything looks lovey, organized but very modern! AMAZING- Congrats. Quick question. Re: Hallway rug. I have been looking for a hallway rug for a while and noticed yours. Where did you get it? I ended up returning brand new West Elm hallway rug as it was moving even with a rug keeper from West Elm and it became a hazard for guests.

Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

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replied on February 17th, 2014

The rug in the hall is from Overstock. It’s seagrass with an olive cotton border. I tried a cheap-o non-slip rug pad from the dollar store but that failed to keep the rug in place. I was always re-adjusting it. I just removed the pad this past weekend. I’m on the hunt for a better one. I like having a rug in the hall to brighten things up a little (our hall is so dark) and add some texture and padding. Our kids run up and down the hall like it’s their job so the rug offers protection as well.

Anyone know of a good source for runner type non-slip rug pads?!

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replied on February 19th, 2014

My father in law gave us some special “carpet tape” (I don’t remember the official name for it) to hold a small area rug in place at our old house. He picked it up from Lowes or Home Depot, nothing fancy. It was great! Nothing had worked for us before that. So we ditched the pad and just used the tape. It was safe & didn’t do any damage to our hardwood floors (something I thought might be an issue).

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replied on February 21st, 2014

I agree, carpet pads ,cheap or expensive version, are not sticky enough on a wood floor. I will give a shoot with a tape from Home Depot. Hey, I can always return it if it does not work out, right ;) Also, have you ladies checked out http://www.flor.com/? I recently went to their show room and modular tile carpet really sticks to the wood floors. Another option to consider, perhaps!

17.February.2014

Gorgeous as always! I am so inspired by your style and your home!

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17.February.2014

Yay – looks so good! I’m working on a new system to corral a bunch of kid stuff (how do they come home with so many things each day?!) and your space has such good inspiration in it for keeping yourself and your family organized.

And on another note, I’ve got to say that I have really been loving your posts lately! You have great ideas and I’m glad you are sharing them with more frequent blog posts – you go girl!

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17.February.2014

I love it!!! It looks fabulous, just like we knew it would because you have such a lovely sense of style and are willing to be patient. I should take a photo for you of my ‘office’ which houses not one but two toddler/kiddo chairs :-).

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17.February.2014

$271 for that wood cubby!?!?!

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replied on February 17th, 2014

It is expensive. I agree. However, this thing is SOLID. and heavy. It can be used in various positions (vertical or horizontal) with a third hidden cubby not shown here. It comes with mounting hardware to attach it to a wall if desired. A pair would make killer nightstands. The craftsmanship is superb!

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17.February.2014

I love it! Our house layout is very similar to yours (minus the mud room. And a smidgen smaller…) I have always wanted to add a work space in our “dining room.” Unfortunately, we don’t have any place to relocate the dining table. I can wholeheartedly say I’m envious! Enjoy! :)

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17.February.2014

I love this space! But I also want a source list of your outfit–so stylish!

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replied on February 17th, 2014

Since you asked…

button down top – Old Navy a few years back
jeans – Levi’s
belt – Levi’s
ankle boots – Softwalk dakota ankle boot (try Amazon or Zappos)
watch – Fossil
tortoise shell bracelet – ??? (probably Kohl’s)

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17.February.2014

Beautiful! I love the instagram pics. My husband is a cell biologist and I’m thinking of adding some similarly to yours but with cell images. Also, I noticed you didn’t use the lamp from your mood board, did you dislike it? I am curious because I have been wanting to buy it.

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replied on February 17th, 2014

I forgot to mention the lamp. It’s been on backorder! I got notification last Friday that it finally shipped. I was going to wait until the lamp arrived for the big reveal but decided to go for it today. When the lamp arrives, I’ll be sure to post an update. I really love the look of lamps in kitchens. They look so cozy!

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17.February.2014

I love it all! I’d copy it all if I could – lol! One question: Do you have a pantry? Where do you store your food?

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replied on February 17th, 2014

No pantry! Honestly, we don’t keep a ton of dry or boxed goods on hand. What we do have is kept in a corner lazy susan near the fridge. I’m going to give a kitchen tour this year so keep an eye out for it!

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17.February.2014

Love everything about it!!!
Come to my house. Help me out. I will buy you lunch AND I am only about 20 minutes away! :) hehe

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Gosh I just love it all. That chair. All your decorative accessories. The texture and color. I can’t wait to settle down, this will be my inspiration of my dream home!

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17.February.2014

perfection. as always. i am stealing the tray-for-every-family-member idea as my paperwork is a total disgrace. except mine will be a tower – ha! i adore the stool and how much space you have dedicated to work! Also I can one-up the highchair in the office – I USE Immy’s stokke high chair at our island bench because it’s the only chair/stool we have at the moment that is high enough for the bench! It’s also nice to see you in your space :) x

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17.February.2014

First, I love ALL the pictures… the new camera was a must have… I love following the house projects BUT I can see a big difference in the pictures and getting a new camera is now on my list of things to do. This is a personal question and you don’t have to answer it either BUT I was wondering if you are religious at all? I don’t see any religious pictures in your home and I was wondering if you don’t use them to decorate with OR if you just aren’t religious. I find it sometimes hard to decorate with them. Not that I am embarrassed of my faith BUT I don’t want to be ‘in your face’ when you come to my home OR because my faith is personal and sacred to me and I am not sure I want it in common areas of the home. Do you know of a blogger that uses religion in a tasteful way? Anyway, I love the red high chair!!!

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Love the space Dana! It’s the perfect multifunctional space. Another amazing, modern, beautiful space.

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17.February.2014

Love your workspace! It’s really remarkable how different your home looks now compared to when you closed on it. It’s all just fantastic!

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17.February.2014

Love your work space! Where is the cute little print “scary is the new fun” from? It cracked me up and would be great for a project I have in mind!

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17.February.2014

Love the space!! And I especially love the photo that shows that entire wall – the shelves look so fabulous balanced against the work area!

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18.February.2014

Ohhh divine!! x

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18.February.2014

It’s beautyful, Dana!

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18.February.2014

*beautiful (duh!)

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replied on February 18th, 2014

I say “beauty-ful” all the time!

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18.February.2014

What a gorgeous, but lived in space. It looks like it would inspire great creativity!!

(PS. That chair is fab. Love love love.)

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18.February.2014

Amazing what a HUGE (but subtle) difference aligning the shelves made.

Question; How do you keep your assistants high chair clean?? We have the same one in black for my son and everything sticks to it, and even gentle cleaners like Meyers leave a gray haze.

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replied on February 18th, 2014

I just use warm water on a dishrag after most meals. Every once in a while I add some soap for stubborn spots and then rinse. We had black dining chairs in our previous house and I swore I would never have black chairs to eat on again. They show everything, don’t they?!

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Great job. I love how seamlessly it blends in with the rest of the house – nothing worse than a tacky computer table shoved in the corner of an otherwise lovely room!

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18.February.2014

Is that an IKEA countertop? If so, which one?

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replied on February 18th, 2014

Our kitchen countertops are one of the few non-Ikea elements in our kitchen. We sourced them from a local fabricator. We used the same company to upgrade the kitchen countertops in our previous house and were really happy with the price & results so we turned to them again. The perimeter of our kitchen (including the desk area) features kashmir white granite.

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19.February.2014

Gorgeous! I’m jealous ;) I want a work space like that

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19.February.2014

Speaking of needing more Buddha heads, I saw these a while ago and instantly thought of you. Small Buddha head planters! https://www.etsy.com/listing/157369254/buddha-head-planter-small

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replied on February 19th, 2014

Gasp. LOVE THOSE.

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19.February.2014

[…] a follow up to Monday’s workspace reveal, I thought I would share the sources for my favorite office supplies since many of you asked. […]

19.February.2014

I adore this space. The area looks so functional. I wish I had room in my house for an area like this.

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19.February.2014

My question is not about your work space (though it looks great!): how are you liking your counter stools around your island these days? I’m thinking of getting some like that for our island, but I know no one with first hand experience with them. Thoughts?

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replied on February 19th, 2014

The metal stools at the island look brand new. And we use them all. the. time. At first, I worried a little about the stools not having backs for the kids but (knock on wood) no one has fallen off backwards due to the backless design. Kids adapt, I guess. I like that I can slide them under the island overhang when we aren’t using them to give us more space. They have oblong holes in the seat so you can slip your hand in to move them around easily. They’re sturdy and super easy to wipe down. Guests always find their way onto the stools at the island.

They are cold on the buns when the weather is brutal like it has been this winter! That’s their only downfall.

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replied on February 19th, 2014

Hadn’t even thought about them being cold . . . good to know! They seem like they would work well in our new setup (husband is building us a new island so that all stools can slide completely under when not in use) and I’ve seen this design at many different places so it’s not elusive at least! I’ve got wacky ideas of spraying them with a different color. Do you think that would work, or would it be best to probably stick with the finish I buy (in terms of durability)?

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replied on February 19th, 2014

I think spraying them would be fine if that’s what you want to do. (I’ve never denied a good spray paint job!) You might want to use a spray primer first since these are slick to start.

19.February.2014

Barcelona or bust!

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20.February.2014

[…] of you asked about the quote I have displayed in my workspace. The short answer: I just typed it up in polyvore and printed it out. The long answer: keep […]

21.February.2014

I am seriously in love. You did a flawless job decorating your space. Were are currently designing our own Ikea kitchen (lidingo white cabinets, butcher block counters that we plan to stain darker, and white/gray marble hexagon backsplash, new wood laminate floors). We have room in our budget to turn a spare corner in our breakfast nook area into an office space, too. I’m wondering though, how much space did you leave between your base cabinets for your stool?

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replied on February 21st, 2014

The opening for the desk stool is ~36″ wide. Essentially, we’re missing a base cabinet.

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25.February.2014

Lovely space! You never disappoint. BUT – what’s with the Fiddle Leaf? Isn’t it blocking the door??

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replied on February 25th, 2014

You can read more about the FLF here…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/04/the-cheapest-most-loved-fiddle-leaf-fig/

It gets great light by the doors and since it’s the dead of winter, we aren’t using those french doors at all. Once summer rolls around I might try moving the FLF near the fireplace but I think it would be too dry and hot for it there now with a fire going.

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25.February.2014

[…] When the stool isn’t in use, I’ve been stashing it next to the fridge. (Mabrey is all about climbing up and messing with the papers and magnets. One problem solved, another created.) Eventually, it will go live where the high chair is now in my workspace. […]

26.February.2014

[…] I posted my workspace reveal, one item was missing from the original mood board. (Some of you noticed. Good eye!) It was the […]

17.March.2014

[…] accessories to liven things up even more. I’ll be working with Wayfair (like I did for my workspace reveal) to bring this project to fruition. It should go live late April / early May and I’ll be […]

19.March.2014

Love it all! I like what you did with the ikea magazine files. Where did you print your photos and how did you adhere them?

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replied on March 19th, 2014

The photos are actually magnets! They are from Sticky9 (formerly known as Stickygram).

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21.March.2014

I love your space! It feels cozy and calm.

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[…] Imagen […]




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