Zero Budget Project: The Office

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This week’s project was a bit of a challenge. I’m always using this space, so cleaning it up has been an ongoing process. Especially since Felix loves opening up the cabinet drawers and pulling out all of our office supplies.

Getting this room in working order was fairly simple. It came down to painting the room white, adding a few pieces of artwork, and keeping stuff off of surfaces. I’m constantly bringing in papers, projects and miscellany so I need the room to be as bare bones as possible.

With the white walls, I thought this would be the perfect chance to include my bright artwork that doesn’t usually match any anything else in the house. I even busted out some old artwork I forgot I had!

Here’s a quick reminder of what it looked like just days after we moved in. It’s nearly impossible to get inspired in such a haphazard and messy place.

The bright artwork is a homage to the yellow on the walls previously. It brings in a nice pop of color.

I bought the print on the left ages ago for Father’s day for Chris. It was from the Beehive Bazaar, but I can’t remember the seller. I love the neon square background pattern. If you know who sells these, leave a comment. I’d love to give credit!

The middle piece I did my sophomore year, using latex house paints. It will probably deteriorate in about 15 years, unfortunately.

The two smaller pieces on the right were made at Design Camp of Alt Summit last year with Eva from Sycamore Street Press. I’m planning on putting a family photo in that bottom one. I just need to get all of us together (and dressed) at the same time.

For the desk, I wanted to add a bunch of storage, but I still needed to take the photo corner into consideration. I tilted the Expedit on its side and slid it underneath the desk. It makes the desk a bit on the tall side, but I like the functionality of it. We have all of our hard drives and cables neatly tucked into cubbies underneath the desk. This is definitely the cleanest set up we’ve had thus far. We have two tethered screens (which I love), two keyboards (his and hers – Chris’s is the blank black one) and two mouse pads. Chris has switched completely to mousing with his left hand, but I’m too impatient give it a try, hence the two mouse pads. And the blank keyboard? Well, it’s set to PC functions, so I can’t use my keyboard commands, so I use the regular mac keyboard.

I mounted the shelf above the computers to house my Silhouette cutter, camera remotes, headphones and other compy gear. I should put some artwork above there. It looks really lonely up there.

The quote is by AnnilyGreen – I scored it at a gift exchange last Christmas, and the painting below is one of mine that I completed when chris and I were just starting to date. Artwork is very much like having my personal history up on my walls. You know how songs can take you back to a specific memory? Art is totally the same way for me.

Of all the guys I dated in college, Chris was the only one that was actually game to come to my painting studio and study while I painted. Heck, he even busted out a painting while he visited. It was then that I knew he was a keeper.

Behind the door I house the tripod. Right here, it’s set up for studio shots. I like having it set up in the corner of the room, so I can just butt the leg up to the corner and have the camera in the same position every time I bust it out. I’m trying to work on consistency this year.

The above artwork is self made. The big painting was recent this year, and the print was a litho piece I did back in college.

The closet is still a work in progress. I put my paper storage in there along with photography, watercolor and bookbinding supplies. I’d like to have it more organized with shelving, but it works well enough for now.

And here’s the corner where I shoot all of my pictures now. It’s so lovely to have this space all ready to rock and roll at a moment’s notice. Back when we lived in California in an insanely overpriced 1 bedroom apartment, I just dreamed and dreamed of space and light like this. It’s heaven.

Along with making matching his and hers mouse pads, I decided it was high time to recover this desk chair. I have recovered it three times now. This time I covered it in a plush leather that will resist stain and wear well. I was hesitant to work on this thing again. It’s a $15 office chair from ikea from 4+ years ago. There are so many prettier desk chairs out there, but updating this was free. I figure, if we ever end up trashing this and sending it off to the thrift store, I’ll strip the leather off the bottom and use it for something. Heaven forbid this amazing soft leather goes to waste.

Overall the only expenses on this room (counting from the time we moved in until now) were: the paint $45, photo floor $10 and rolling drawers $40. Everything else I had on hand. If I could do more to this space, I would tile this (and the whole top floor) in slate, add a rug, swap out the desktop for reclaimed wood and hairpin legs and get a taller drafting desk chair.

For these ideas and more, check out my office pinboard here. 

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    1. Melissa says:

      I’m loving all the artwork – you’re inspiring me to add some to my blank walls. And the photo corner – jealous! I have the room in my house for one, but not the light. I need to think about building an outdoor one somehow.

    2. Katie says:

      Ooh, I really love this. Like, way more than I should for it just being an office. :) I am totally loving the white walls and bright artwork. It makes me want to paint our walls bright white too.

    3. Johanna says:

      I love your office re-do! I’m actually slowly beginning an office re-do in our place too. I especially love your “big piece”, teal and aqua are my favorite colors, so that is right up my alley. Is it wrong to love a piece of art just for the colors used? Also, I’m curious how you took apart your office chair? Mine is in desperate need of a recovering (or at least a thorough cleaning!), and after inspecting the underside of the chair, there is not an obvious location to take it apart.

    4. Johanna says:

      I love your office re-do! I’m actually slowly beginning an office re-do in our place too. I especially love your “big painting”, teal and aqua are my favorite colors, so that is right up my alley. Is it wrong to love a piece of art just for the colors used? Also, I’m curious how you took apart your office chair? Mine is in desperate need of a recovering (or at least a thorough cleaning!), and after inspecting the underside of the chair, there is not an obvious location to take it apart.

    5. Miriam says:

      I’m loving this series. What are the little clips you use to hang up your art, and where can you find them? Also, are they just nailed up? I like your system, I love that it addsvariety to your art display.

    6. Chelsea C. says:

      Love this, girl! What’s the photo floor made of?

    7. Melissa says:

      Chelsea: I used a corner desk top from Ikea and covered it in bright white vinyl. Total cost: $10!

    8. Melissa says:

      Johanna – The chair is from ikea, so assembly and disassembly is pretty self-explanitory. I didn’t take apart the back, which would require some prying, just the seat from the base. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!!

      And NO, it’s never wrong to love a piece just because of the colors!

    9. Interaction says:

      Absolutely brilliant redesign – I love the clean, white look – and you’re right, it goes perfectly with your brighter artwork! It’s brilliant that you’re displaying exactly how to redesign on a tiny/no budget (you’ve left no excuses for anyone!).

      Stacey @Interaction

    10. Willa says:

      Great delivery. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the
      great effort.

    11. dana says:

      i was wondering about your little white studio backdrop. I do a similar thing with my sewing table and white walls. But your faux floor piece is perfect! Great idea! What’s it made of?

    12. olivia says:

      I realize this is old news now, but I’ve been researching your archives recently for leather ideas and stumbled upon this post.

      The “circle” print caught my eye first because I believe it was done by my fellow BYU Graphic Design grad, Miriam Altamira and her husband. I know they had a booth at Beehive Bazaar (2010, I think?) and they used to have an etsy shop calle “The Bad Circle” but I can’t find it now… just this:
      cargocollective.com/miriamaltamira

      love your work!

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