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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
And this was where we taped out the window on the wall . . .
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!)
This happened. 😉
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Okie dokie, way more than enough of me chatting I’d love to your thoughts ~ leave a comment to share!
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!