...because home doesn't happen overnight.

messy desk 1

This is how the kitchen desk looks right now. I didn’t even bother to close the upper cabinet door before I snapped this pic. I’m really happy with the tongue and groove backsplash so it’s time to turn my attention to other aspects. Namely, organization and function.

Not only do I conduct most of my blog work here but this is also where bills are paid, where the kids’ school communication lands and where outgoing mail is processed. As is, there’s no rhyme or reason to the paper trail. I’ve been tossing receipts, school papers, catalogs to be browsed, forms to be completed / filed, invitations and other random stuff into the woven basket but I never meant for it to be a permanent solution. The box on the left is a damaged item waiting to be returned. I picked up the black and white tray in hopes of corralling my planner and numerous notebooks but it isn’t ideal. The contents are spilling over onto the countertop. I’m so ready to whip this space into shape!

messy desk 2

My stopgap stool is gone and I’m borrowing a stool from the island for now. Since I only had $16 invested in the craigslist stool, I donated it. It served the purpose for a year and a half. I actually adored the stool but I’m spending more and more time at the desk and it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable place to sit. Frequently, my legs would fall asleep. I’d like to incorporate a comfy, upholstered stool that’s a little more forgiving to my back, bum and legs. I tried out a stool from JCPenney that you may have seen here but in person it was cheap – the upholstery and the construction. I returned it. I’d rather upgrade to a higher quality stool that will last me a good long while.

After the desk is in working order, it’d be nice if it felt inspiring, too. I just need a few motivational quotes or inspirational images that can be easily displayed and taken down since I like to switch things up often. And even though this space is essentially a home office, it is open to our main living area so I’d like to incorporate items that give it a cozy vibe.

Here are the plans for my workspace…

home workspace


1 – KVISSLE letter tray Paper mess no more! With four pull-out trays, I should finally be able to get a handle on my family’s paper trail. The lips of the trays would be easy to label so I can file / find papers quickly.

2 – KVISSLE desk organizer My pens and phone are easily lost in the paper shuffle. I like the idea of having a designated spot just for them.

3 – Kalon Studios storage unit This furniture-like unit can be used horizontally or vertically, freestanding or wall-mounted. I think it would be the perfect solution to my overflowing planner / notebook pile.

4 – Linen lamp We have under- and over-cabinet lighting installed in the desk area so this petite lamp isn’t totally necessary but I think it will be just the thing to tie the desk space into the adjacent living room. I’ve always loved the look of shaded lamps in kitchens and workspaces. It makes them look so cozy!

5 – KVISSLE magazine file I’ll admit it. I have a bit of an addiction to glossies and catalogs. I want to read them all! I get so many ideas from print publications but more often than not I have several on deck waiting to be devoured. A pair of magazine files would be perfect for stashing the most recent issues until I get around to reading them. Also, can you tell I’ve been stalking the KVISSLE series at IKEA?

6 – Married to the Sea It’s no secret that I adore Clare Elsaesser. I have two of her prints hanging in the dining room / mudroom. I recently ordered a print for my MIL as a birthday gift after she got all dreamy-eyed over the ones in my dining room. There was a slight delay with the order and Clare was kind enough to send a surprise, complementary print of Married to the Sea for compensation. (This was totally unprovoked, btw. I had no problem with the order arriving a little later than expected.) I hadn’t planned on including any art in the desk makeover but as soon as the print arrived I knew it would be lovely hung to the right of the upper cabinets. I’ve already purchased a simple frame for it.

7 – Blu Dot knicker stool (counter height, chalk fabric) This modern, upholstered stool should support hours of sitting at a time sans numb toes. And it’s going to look mighty fine doing it. The wood legs will provide some warmth while the gray fabric will pick up on the gray chair and curtains in the living room.

I am partnering with Wayfair for this project. I plan to have my workspace completed late January / early February and will share the reveal with you then. Although, it looks like that linen table lamp is on backorder until mid-February so it might not make the big reveal but I’ll be sure to share it as soon as it arrives!

Are you working on getting a messy spot in your house in order? The start of a new year always has me itching to tackle problem areas in my house. Watch out unfinished bathroom, you’re next.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Dana, I love the colors and the mix of warm and neutral tones and textiles… can’t wait to see the reveal!!! I have been wanting to add a little work station somewhere in my home and I’m thinking my bedroom might be the best place for it. It’ll probably have to face the wall (which is not my preference) but it might help keep me from distractions.

Your kitchen is one of my favs out there in blog land! So many beautiful details :) Can’t wait to see how your jazzed up office area makes it even better! Love the inspiration board.


Dana, I am a fan of your style and how “lived in” your home is, rather than staged. I have 3 kids as well (girls ages 6 mos to 6 years) and our house is typically disheveled. Right now I am currently coveting your living room rug and trying to convince my husband that yes, we can manage an off-white shag in said living room, even with 3 kids, wish me luck! Actually, do you know if Moroccan shag’s come in darker colors? I’ve checked RugsUSA as well as Wayfair. As for an organization project, it’s a toss up between our pantry, which is a disaster, and the desk in our bedroom. Every time I think I have it under control my 6 year old’s school folder explodes on the desktop. Ugh. Looking forward to our workspace reveal!

That little linen lamp just stole my heart. Necessary or unnecessary–completely charming. Can’t wait to see this come together!


I fell in love with the Kalon Studios storage unit until I saw the price. They would have been the perfect night stands I have been looking for.
Can’t wait for the reveals by the way (work station AND unfinished bathroom)


That little Kvissle organizer with a parking spot for a phone is an excellent idea. The price is right, too–might need to pick one up! (I’m also tackling an area, my bedroom, by getting rid of old pieces that are broken or just too big for my needs, then thinking about replacements. It’s fun!


You might try browsing etsy for vintage Moroccans. I’ve seen them in darker hues there plus the “used” ones usually have a less stark white color that might hold up better against a busy family.


Unless Wayfair is giving you the stool, you might want to check out the “HENRIKSDAL Bar stool with backrest” from Ikea. I can’t imagine spending $300 on a single chair (well, like, a large piece, but not a barstool). Though quality workmanship, etc, is of course worth a splurge. I kept thinking I was reading the price wrong on the Wayfair one. You could probably even have a custom cover made for the Ikea one and still come in well under the price of the other.


Thanks Dana! I will check etsy, hadn’t thought of that. We’ve been in our home for 10 years and we’re slowly updating/rearranging furniture, etc. I have a laundry list of wishes but am currently focusing efforts on the living room which is literally the “center” of our home and has a wonky layout but it’s where we spend ALL of our time. Thanks again for the suggestion!


I knew you were my kinda person when I spied that Umanoff style bar-stool in your kitchen a while back – we have 2 of them in our kitchen! I’m sure you will make someone’s day when they discover it wherever you donated it :)
Good luck tackling this project, can’t wait to see how it turns out!


That is most definitely a less expensive, stylish option!


I am totally digging this white + wood + texture. Excited to see it take shape!


oooo I love that married to the sea print. it’s already in my esty favs. some day, when we’ve done enough on the remodel of our new fixer-upper I’ll be getting one for me to hang.


I love it! Do you have any tricks or tips on how to hide your router or modem? Ours is such an eyesore and we are trying to find a way to disguise it, but need to have the antennas out so we can get a signal.


the stool is $300!!! love everything but there has to be a better most cost effective stool… great job as always Dana. Love your blog.


I’m surprised a calendar or cork board isn’t included in your plans. A recent study by CABA found that the most desired high-tech kitchen gadget was a calendar on a large screen that allows family members to add appointments and notes from in the kitchen or via the Internet. You could also do it the old-school way with a simple cork board for notes and appointments.

Can’t wait to see the final product!


I use a planner. I need something portable that I can slip in my purse and I’m more apt to remember things if I actually write them down. Just my preference!


Get this…my husband had the cable company hook up our router in the attic space above the dining room / mudroom. We have access from the garage if we need to get to it and it’s also on a switch in our breaker box so we can reboot it that way if we need to without actually having to go up in the attic. We have wifi service in the house. The router is out of sight and this setup works great for us!!


I think another reader suggested a less expensive IKEA stool above. Since I’m partnering with Wayfair, I am required to use a few of their items for the feature. I chose the stool and storage unit on my own though. I love them. Hope that helps!


I just had an idea for your inspiration display/part of your living space juxtaposition. You could make little bulletin boards that fold down from the upper cabinets (like those spice cabinets everyone’s grandparents have). That way if you didn’t want to see them for whatever reason it would take two seconds to hide them, with out disturbing them.

Also, my legs always fall asleep on stools. Then it makes my feet hurt with pins and needles when I finally get up. Good luck finding the perfect stool!


Great plans! It’s going to be super functional and still very pretty when you get it going.


Everything looks great Dana. Very much you. Im so looking forward to the bathroom remodel. I’ve been anticipating that clawfoot tub since the day you found it.


I too suffer from a messy desk. Your plans look fantastic. I can’t wait to see the end result.


oops – sorry Dana – I missed the comment above where you addressed the stool situation. i love the stool too but not at that cost…. thanks for your reply!


I love the look of Blu Dot products, but everytime I go to their showroom I’m disappointed in the quality. In person, the materials and construction look much cheaper than they should, especially at the prices they charge. That stool is a prime example – I was going to buy a set of the dining chairs when I saw them online. I loved the mix of fabric and wood. But, when I went to check them out in person, I changed my mind. I’m always so disappointed in Blu Dot – good design, bad execution.


So jealous that you have a Blu Dot showroom nearby!


I’ve had “Married to the Sea’ in my Etsy favorites for a while and I’m just waiting to pull the trigger- it is so beautiful. I just have like, 3 other prints in want of frames now…

Your collection of items looks great- I’m obsessed with organization, so I know I’ll love what you eventually pull together.


Thanks! That’s a great idea.


[…] on my workspace is coming along. (You can see the plans here.) I hit up IKEA this past weekend to pick up the KVISSLE items and all of a sudden I know where […]


Love that backsplash. Can’t wait to see what it looks like when you’re done!


[…] my guy would probably do best in front of the french doors in the kitchen. (Ahem, sneak peek of my workspace. Full reveal coming soon!) He should receive plenty of indirect light from the north-facing doors […]