My New Office Space + Why Patience (& Choosing What You Really Value) Is So Important

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home office

Be prepared for a long-crazy-drawn-out-chatty-post ~ I’ve got so much to say on this one and want to save it all for myself to look back on one day! 🙂

 

Back in late 2013 when we found out we were moving to Ohio, I was pretty shocked. After working on PPP day in and day out for 4 years at that time, we had just built the office of my dreams, and I was so in love with my little space.

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For a jillion reasons I had some serious emotions tied to our home ~ it was where we brought our youngest child home from the hospital, where all my kids headed off from on their first day of kindergarten, and where we fell in love with a community who so supported us during some very difficult days when my father-in-law was so sick.

 

And beyond that, it was where I started this little penny pinching business, and kind of found myself as a small business owner.

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my makeshift desk at one point during the move – working from the top of a Rubbermaid cooler is not the way to go! 🙂 

So when we found out we’d be heading to Ohio, I was almost grief stricken (which I totally didn’t expect to be.) 

 

It was so hard. 

 

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Honestly? Watching our kids struggle through the move has been the toughest thing our marriage has faced.

 

So last summer, when we made the move I cried so. many. days. (which is so-not-normal for me), but the best gift my husband gave me was to encourage me to really dream big. 

 

When he found our home here (during the 6 months I stayed in Alabama with our kids to finish out the school year), I was determined to come up with a way to get my office done while they were finishing the new construction on our home. But James kept reminding me that it would be better to wait and live in the space before making any major decisions.

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I wasn’t happy (at all.)

 

But I’m so glad now he encouraged me to just wait. 

So last summer we spent $49 on an Ikea desk, and worked there for the last year which was just tough some days. The space was tiny, the room was kind of a dark pit that just depressed me, and I spent any free time I had perusing Pinterest for design ideas. (You can follow my Pinterest office design board over HERE.)

We had a few cabinet makers come out and talk about building cabinets on one wall, but the room was just dark and dreary, and I knew cabinets wouldn’t really fix the problem.

 

So I scrolled (and scrolled and scrolled) whenever I could on Pinterest, and as my husband and I were driving one day it occurred to me that what I really needed was a window.

 

I looked at my husband and said “could we just put a window in that wall?”  He thought for a second, realized we only had siding on that side of the house, and we knew we’d figured out how to make this room into just the perfect space for me. 

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So we started taping out design ideas on the walls, and James drew up a basic plan of what we wanted. We then contacted a few local design firms as well as My Handy Mate from Columbus, and after talking to Jassen at My Handy Mate we knew he’d work with our space.

 

In May we finally really had the plan in place, and the window went in (although it ended up in the wrong spot initially – but Jassen was amazing and replaced it for us correctly without any questions asked – I appreciated his willingness to make things right so much!) His team began work on our project (despite an incredibly devastating loss of one of his employees during the build ~ my heart just broke for his family.) But they totally gave me the office I’d only dreamed about.

 

When we bought our house we planned a budget for this room and our outdoor space because we knew we’d want them done fairly quickly after moving. And honestly? I almost feel guilty working in such a beautiful space. I know there are so many folks who work day in and day out and I feel overwhelmed and humbled to have this just-so-perfect space.

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But for six years I’ve typed on PPP every single day (I do mostly take Sundays off, but still work about an hour or two on Sundays just to manage emails and Facebook.) The only real days I’ve taken fully off are Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, and when we travel on vacation my laptop always come along with us.

 

And, because we’ve always chosen to live on one income, the money from PPP doesn’t get spent except to donate and save for our kids’ college funds. We have used some of the income for a few specific projects (like this one!), but any income earned goes into a separate account that we try not to touch.

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That means that even though we both (at least for right now!) have fairly successful careers, we still clip coupons, still shop with a menu plan, still try to budget less than $85 a week for groceries for our family of 5, and still rarely eat out at more expensive restaurants. Our kids still wear some Goodwill and Schoola clothes, I still shop Goodwill as often as I can for bits and pieces of furniture, and my lovely Honda has almost 200,000 miles on it. (I LOVE THAT AND AM KINDA PROUD OF MY BEAT UP MINIVAN!) 🙂

 

I guess I’m sharing all this to let you know that this hasn’t come without a price. We’ve chosen that the things we love for our family are vacations, pretty spaces in our home, and giving to other folks as we’re able. We’ve decided that we don’t love expensive groceries, high end clothes or purses, and fancy cars. And for us, with a lot of work (seriously y’all – a lot) it’s been a crazy fun blessing to watch.

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Okay, enough of my rambling ~ ready to take a peek? Here we go 😉

 

Here were the before pictures . . . 

This is what it looked like last May when we moved in ~ there is a window to the right that you can’t see but that was it.

We cleaned it out and put in my Ikea desk,

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And this was where we taped out the window on the wall . . .

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I can’t believe I don’t have better before pictures – but you can see where James basically taped the vision for the room out around the initial window space in this picture. We did that last December, and basically had a room with a bunch of tape on the wall for about six months (we moved around the tape to devise our plan several time during those months!)

 

And then.

 

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This happened. 😉 

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Here’s Orville from My Handy Mate, who is the nicest guy and did amazing, awesome work every single day. He went way above and beyond (seriously, the guy worked his 12 hour days many days!) to give me the space I dreamed of.

 

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I chose butcher block for the countertop because in our last office I’d spent a ton on granite, and it was always so cold that I could never even use it to type from. In the winter here I knew I’d freeze with granite, so this butcher block was a great (and more affordable) alternative.

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I used a leftover piece from the desktop to make this wooden sign (I saved $65 by making it myself), and am so pleased with the results (just hoping I can convince my hubby to hang it up on the wall for me ~ it weighs a ton so it’s still on our to-do list.)

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I found the chaise at Home Goods for $399 (which was so exciting ~ I’d seen them for $900 elsewhere so I was thrilled at that price!) The small table and lamp are from Home Goods as well, and I think cost around $200.

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And this folks? It’s my new view. 🙂 It’s making the thought of winter just around the corner and snowy days where I’m snuggled inside looking out just a little more exciting around here. 🙂

 

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If you’re in a place where your finances are overwhelming, or you’re just sad about a difficult situation, I so encourage you to truly dream. big.

(Read more HERE on how to make life more liveable during a difficult season ~ these tips truly saved me last summer!)

 

 

Back when we were first married and really pinching pennies I would never in a million years have dreamed I’d get to work every day from home in a space like this, but almost twenty years of penny pinching and lots of work choosing to wisely use our finances have so changed our family’s financial future. Be encouraged that you are learning something, today, in whatever situation you’re in which will help you reach your next financial goal, and it is so worth it. 

 

Promise.

 

Okie dokie, way more than enough of me chatting 🙂 I’d love to your thoughts ~ leave a comment to share!

 

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And by the way, I can’t say enough good things about Jassen and his crew from My Handy Mate ~ you can see more of his work HERE and HERE, and if you’re in the Columbus area and looking for a job big or small I definitely recommend giving him a call. 
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Comments

  1. Laurie- your space is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for being so open and sharing your story- it really inspired me to keep plugging away towards Our dreams and what we have planned 🙂 Can I quickly ask where you found the lantern hanging from the ceiling?

    • Hi Jenn! I actually found it at a local lighting store – Capital Lighting – http://capitallightinginc.com/

      It was not penny pinched at all (I had no idea higher end lights cost so much!), but it worked so well with the room. As I’ve been looking at it though, I’m thinking you could maybe make one for a fraction of the cost! 🙂 It was around $300 (YIKES – honest – YIKES.), but I’m in love with it. I was telling myself today that’s why I save at least $100 a week on groceries!) So glad our story inspired you – it is SO WORTH IT and I couldn’t be more thankful for what we’ve learned along the way!

      • I hear ya- the one I’ve been eyeing is FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS and I refuse (refuse!) to pay that. I’ve been craigslist stalking for months and am holding out for a cheaper version. Just wanted to make sure this wasn’t an inexpensive Overstock find 😉 It’s beautiful, and you’re right, THAT is why you save money elsewhere 🙂

        • That makes me feel better to hear you’ve seen some for $400 – I had NO IDEA they would cost that much! In fact, my husband didn’t like this one but loved one that was $600 – when he saw the price tag on that one he quickly decided this one would work just fine! I have seen some great ones at Lowe’s for WAY less, and will probably look for those in other rooms in our house, but do love that little splurge 🙂

  2. I love it. It looks like such a wonderful space to create, respond, think and so much more.
    I can just picture having my quiet time there.
    I’m just a couple hours north of you in Copley. My oldest and his family live in Westerville, so we do get down there . My dad grew up in Galena. It’s such a wonderful area.
    Ohio is a wonderful place to live

    • Thank you so much for sharing Karen – I know right where Westerville is (my daughter’s were doing gymnastics at Buckeye in Westerville!) I definitely am starting to like Ohio SO much more than last year – it’s amazing what just a year will do. 🙂

      And yes, I love this space for my quiet time – for just sitting, and having a wonderfully organized space to work in. I spent the first few years I worked at this blogging from my living room couch (that was awful!), and am really amazed at how much more I love sitting down to work each day now. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment – so good to hear sweet folks from Ohio are nearby! 🙂

  3. beautiful………….. I can so relate to dreary winters, my mother was raised there so visited often & I lived there for 2 winters in my early 20s. keep bright colors around you it helps a lot!

    • The bright colors do help – and I’m so thankful my husband found a house with LOTS of windows (except in this room initially!) – it helps os much!

  4. It’s beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing about waiting and priorities…both big issues in my life right now! Sometimes the waiting is so hard, but this is encouraging reminder!!

    • It is SO STINKIN’ HARD to wait some days Stacie – it’s crazy! But so very worth it – I’m so thankful now but did not feel that even six months ago. Hang in there and know that there’s something amazing out there waiting for you!

  5. Audrey H. says:

    Your new office is beautiful, may you have many hours of creative work and fun there. I just recently discovered your blog and really enjoy your posts, this one about your move to Ohio hits home. My family is making a similar major relocation to an all new city & state in the next few months, it’s going to be a huge change. Nice to read your words of wisdom on the topic. Congrats on creating such a warm and inspiring work space, I look forward to reading more.

    • Thank you so much for sharing Audrey – I’m so glad you found PPP! It is so hard to move – much harder honestly than I expected. Give yourself lots of grace (and know it’s okay to be sad!), and really do just remember that in time it WILL GET EASIER. I just had to keep telling myself that last year and while we still have tough days, it’s already feels way less painful than it did a year ago. Be blessed!!!!

  6. Christine Webb says:

    What a beautiful office!! I completely understand how moving can be hard. We moved from Wisconsin to North Carolina just over two years ago! It was the best thing for our family; but also a hard one. I’ve lived in Wi/MN all of my life; and never thought we would move to the south. At times my youngest will say she wants to move back, not not as often as she did when we first moved here. My husband found a house for rent that is twice the size of our old house! (Very similar to my dream house I’ve wanted to build for our family). Two years later, we all still love this house; but it seams smaller now! 🙂

    • I can imagine a change from Wisconsin to North Carolina would be hard, especially if you’ve always lived up North! It does get easier – and my daughter is very much like yours (just last night told me she wanted to move back, but those days are happening less often each month.) Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. love love love it!!!

  8. Your new office is so lovely! What is the paint color you used?

  9. Beautiful!! Please share how you created the gallery wall…the beautiful black and white enlarged photos on a over sized bulletin board. Did you create this?

  10. I just ran across this and love your office but even more I love how down to earth you are and how you place the importance on family and not things. Love reading your blogs!

  11. I read and follow you everyday! Dreaming some day I might be able to work from home.
    Just love your office space. Totally awsome

  12. Thank you for sharing your beautiful room with everyone and more importantly your inspiring story. Thank you for keeping us focused on how to save and live more frugally. You deserve that pretty space! Keep up the good work!

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