Home Office

in Design and Decorating, House

So, last night I commented that my attempt at Do-It-Yourself wall art was no better than an elephant painting.  And several people pointed out that some elephants are, actually, really good artists. 






My DIY art is a fail (here’s proof), but the rest of the house is coming along quite nicely!  We really buckled down and decided to finish off some key areas of the house before the Husband’s grandparents come to visit.  We’ve both always loved design, but – truthfully – we have always decorated the ‘wrong’ way.  Meaning we made spur-of-the-moment purchases that we ended up regretting, didn’t think about whether certain pieces or fabrics were truly livable, and/or decorated entire rooms with one trip to one store (although that is fun…). 


But when we moved into this house, we promised each other not to rush into fixing up the house just to get it done.   To us, the right way to decorate involves living in the space before buying for it, seriously contemplating large purchases (not just whipping out the credit card), and finding really special items instead of ‘ehhh, this will do.’ 


The result?  An office that I actually want to work in!


This is the view from the front door of the house.  You can see down the hallway to the living room and kitchen.  To the left is the office and dining room.  To the right is a staircase that leads to Henry’s bedroom and the TV room.


Before this weekend, our office looked like this… AKA a mess. 


Now, it looks like this!


We really wanted a big, chunky desk that two people could simultaneously work at, so we ended up buying a dining room table.  The only problem, of course, is that there are no drawers, but I can’t remember the last time I actually opened our desk drawers anyway.  And the cords show in the back – any creative solutions for this problem?


We opted for the Terra table from West Elm.  A big purchase for sure, but one that we’ve been thinking about since March. 


The ghost chairs are from IKEA.  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE CLEAR CHAIRS.  I was so thrilled to find these at IKEA two years ago (they are still available!) because acrylic chairs are usually so pricey. 


The rug, lamp, and painting are from Home Goods (also known as The. Most. Incredible. Store. EVER!).  I snagged the red recliner at a thrift store back in April… I like how the chrome legs echo the legs on the ghost chairs.  A happy design accident.

 IMG_1657 IMG_1659

My favorite part of the room?  The chalkboard wall.   It’s ridiculously fun to draw on.


We used this type of chalkboard paint and put trim around the edges to make the wall look neat. 


The other recent design accomplishment was FINALLY arranging family pictures up the staircase.  This was so intimidating.  I suck at putting things level on the wall (but there’s an app for that!).  It turned out pretty nice… I may add a few more frames down the road.


So… my hope is to retry DIY wall art for both the bathroom and the living room.  I’ve seen so many great tutorials online but have trouble executing the designs in real life.  Luckily, you can simply paint over canvas.  Winking smile 


What was your biggest design success and fail?  I am SO proud of Henry’s nursery…


But my biggest fail was definitely purchasing a white couch… what was I thinking?!  Two dogs on a white couch?  No way. 



  • Regina September 18, 2012, 4:11 pm

    I like the DIY art, but I’d try turning it 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

    • Audrey September 19, 2012, 1:43 pm

      what ^^^ she said.

  • Evan Thomas September 18, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Um can I just move in and put a cot in the corner of that room?

  • Lori September 18, 2012, 4:13 pm

    You have a beautiful house! I love the decorations!

    • Caitlin September 18, 2012, 4:18 pm

      Thank you!

  • Natalie @ Free Range Human September 18, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Definitely my biggest design fail was the type of couch I bought. The fabric is horrible and shows everything! Not good for people who tend to eat all their meals in the living room. I love that rug! It would go perfectly in my house….must find a Home Goods!

  • Annette@FitnessPerks September 18, 2012, 4:16 pm

    I like that office table–that is fun!!

    And that chalkboard wall is rockin’. Totally gonna use that idea 😉

  • Celia September 18, 2012, 4:17 pm

    Wow those elephants crack me up!

  • Amanda September 18, 2012, 4:20 pm

    Your house is so lovely!! My only suggestion would be to eventually add some larger framed pictures to the staircase grouping. That’s probably a work in progress though, as you’ll want some more as you all grow!

    • Caitlin September 18, 2012, 4:22 pm

      Good idea!

    • Samantha @ Mama Notes September 18, 2012, 6:19 pm

      I’m no decorator, but I would suggest adding more frames and bigger ones up the wall.:)

  • Brie September 18, 2012, 4:31 pm

    My biggest success is our nursery, too! http://www.brie-fit.com/2012/09/the-nursery/

    It is basically the only complete room in our house and we’ve lived here almost a year. Oops. I hate furniture shopping.

  • Kristen September 18, 2012, 4:45 pm

    I enjoy DIY art as well. I’ve commissioned my two favorite artists (my children, aged 9 and 7) to do a few pieces of special art in our home. The best are the two very large portraits that I have hung in the kitchen. I asked them to each spend an afternoon studying one another and then they painted each other. They are amazing. (I wish I was savvy enough to attach a pic to this post so I could show you. Maybe I’ll email….) Anyway, another set of canvasses that they did for me would be really neat for you. All you do is take masking tape and put it in some arrangement on your canvas. Then you paint all over the canvas, let it try, peel the tape, and you have a masterpiece that required very little skill. Try it!

  • Aja September 18, 2012, 4:47 pm

    That was a messy office? It’s cleaner than any room in my house!
    You are a wonderful decorator, btw.

  • Mary September 18, 2012, 4:48 pm

    I’m so glad you posted about this! My husband and I are closing on our first house on Friday–woo hoo! Yay for surviving the home buying process! I’m so tempted to buy everything all at once but this is a good reminder to be patient 🙂 Your house is really coming together!

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb September 18, 2012, 4:57 pm

    i would have to say the off white carpet under our dining room table. hello, dirty paw prints. i love our nursery as well, though 🙂

  • Sunny September 18, 2012, 4:58 pm

    I just googled “Ikea ghost chairs” and your picture already shows up on the first page of the google images. That’s awesome.

    You did a fantastic job.

  • Kris September 18, 2012, 5:01 pm

    Gorgeous! I love, love the office. The trim is a great idea for the chalkboard wall. You can come to my house and decorate anytime 🙂

  • Courtney September 18, 2012, 5:02 pm

    Love the office! I want to work in there too!

  • KristinP September 18, 2012, 5:06 pm

    I actually think your DIY art is fine, but it might be a bit odd on it’s own. I’d do another two in two different colors (maybe dark blue and a green/red/rust orange/whatever) and make it a triptych. You could hang them next to each other or up and down – staggered or straight – lines vertical or horizontal. As long as you commit to the artwork, no one will question it and I think it could look really fantastic!

  • Leslie September 18, 2012, 5:10 pm

    Great work! Love the rug! Love the table. Not sure if you have enough room in the office but if possible pull the red chair out from the wall a little more. Would it fit in front of the window angled toward the entry hall? I think the chair is a good design and color and should be more visible when you enter the room. You guys have a good eye for design. I love that the rooms feel airy, open and uncluttered. Your home is lovely.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats September 18, 2012, 6:21 pm

    I absolutely love that desk! I would love to have a HUGE desk one day, plenty of space to spread out on! Haha right now I have a small breakfast table that I both eat and work at… Not ideal.

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 18, 2012, 6:32 pm

    Henry’s nursery is adorable! And when you mentioned the chairs I had to go back and look at the picture again because I didn’t see them the first time. They really are ghost chairs! :-p

  • Jess September 18, 2012, 6:47 pm

    Have you tried turning the DIY art? My painting teacher in college used to say,” if you don’t like it, rotate it.” when it came to abstract art! 🙂

    • Caitlin September 18, 2012, 9:07 pm

      Haha I like this philosophy… I did rotate it but it still looked like shit.

      • Jess September 18, 2012, 9:18 pm

        Oh well. It was worth a try! Second times a charm?

  • j3nn September 18, 2012, 7:12 pm

    Your office looks great now! We just bought our house a few months ago but haven’t done anything to redecorate yet. I have a million plans but time hasn’t been on our side since the move. We’re also looking for office electrical wire solutions, they’re driving me crazy!!!

    I love your hallway and the chalkboard wall!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 18, 2012, 7:14 pm

    It all looks great Caitlin! I love what you did with the nursery. Oh, and West Elm… I have never been but I hear fabulous things. That table confirms that they’re true! 🙂

  • Marlène September 18, 2012, 8:03 pm

    The DIY art looks alright, it just needs some oomph. I immediately thought that putting it in a chunky fire-engine red lacquer frame would be awesome.

    I think that homes only get that lived-in look after living in them for a while. Bummer, I know.

  • Ashley September 18, 2012, 8:55 pm

    I LOVE the bubble light in Henry’s room. That’s so flippin creative!

    I find that cords are ok if they’re showing as long as they’re pinned to the wall or floor in a linear fashion. You can even get all creative with that too and make shapes on the wall out of them.

  • Sara@RunningInPinkProject September 18, 2012, 9:05 pm

    Ohhhhhh the chalkboard wall is FUN!!! I swear my pulse sped up when I saw that. Im so so so lame when it comes to house stuff. I get so pumped about it. Also, the “crying is for babies” sign is super cute? Did you make or buy that? Pretty house! 🙂

    On a totally unrelated note- Can you recommend a couple of date night restaurants in Charlotte? My husband and I will happen to be in town for our 5 year anniversary since I *may* have gotten Cowboys/Panthers tickets for that weekend. (Im super excited about it!!).

    • Caitlin September 18, 2012, 9:06 pm

      Oh so fun!!

      Fern is a good upscale veggie restaurant but not in a nice neighborhood.. I like Basil Thai in uptown – that would be near the game!

      • Sara@RunningInPinkProject September 18, 2012, 11:26 pm

        Thanks!! We are going to be in town for a couple days so I may get a chance to check out both. I find that I really enjoy Charlotte. (Especially compared to where Im from in VA).

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 18, 2012, 9:25 pm

    I still stand by that I think your homemade art is cool. If you think about throwing it away, don’t and send it to me! 😉

    And I love the look of your office – so cool.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) September 18, 2012, 11:46 pm

    Your house is SO nice … and HUGE!!!

    • Caitlin September 19, 2012, 7:23 am

      Yay suburbia!!

  • Ali @ Around the VeggieTable September 19, 2012, 8:57 am

    I love the arches in your house! We are in a contract for a house right now and set to close/move in right before Thanksgiving. We are having a lot of fun imagining how we will decorate it, but it’s also a little scary because what if I spend a bunch of money on something that I end up hating?!

    • Caitlin September 19, 2012, 9:36 am

      Just don’t rush into anything! Congrats!

  • Julie September 19, 2012, 4:47 pm

    I think you’ve done a fabulous job decorating your house! You have great taste! My absolute fave (probably of any home I’ve seen) is your eggplant walls in your dining room- LOVE!!

  • Nancy December 17, 2012, 1:28 pm

    Love this room! I love the way your home looks upon entry but this office space you’ve created is just right on! Great balance of earthy/grounded and a bit of drama too!
    My fav is the way you placed the desk to face the entry of the space which feels so great when at work. I also really like the piece of art that hangs above. :))

    I think adding large pictures/ frames going up the stairs along with the smaller frames would look great too. Maybe 2 large ones…

    Ever so often I see an image that makes me want to have another million rooms to decorate! This was one 😉

    Enjoy your new office space!

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