My parents moved into their home in Vancouver a little over a year ago. Not having a home office in their previous house their new “office” turned into a collection of filing cabinets, boxes of books, a random desk and a reading corner that was never used. After my dad retired last summer more paperwork, binders and books were added to the mix. The room was stressed and lacked a style or personality of its own.
My mom knew she wanted to do something with the space but was stuck with where to start. Or where to find the time. Since my parents retired they’re busier than ever. Retreats, conferences, teaching classes, trips to see the grand kids, appointments…always something on the calendar. So I offered to lend a hand. They help out a lot with Carson and Hadley and I wanted to return the favor. Plus I like to make believe I’m a designer for HGTV in an alternate life.
Armed with a budget of $1,000, 48 hours and virtually free reign over the design (how Trading Spaces of us), Jason and I rolled up our sleeves and gave the room a makeover last weekend while my parents were in Virginia. My mom’s requirements were that the space include ample storage for all their binders, lots of bookshelves, to keep some of the existing wall pieces, and for the space to flow with the rest of the house.
First I created a moodboard. It was a good springboard, but I found just as in my design process with websites, I like to create as I go and ideas flow. Planning helped, but the room came together as we went along. A huge shout out to Jason because I couldn’t have pulled this off without him. And all the neighbors for lending us their tools.
With only one window the space doesn’t receive a lot of light. To open it up I hung a mirror on the wall opposite the window. The piece below it houses all of their binders as well as the router, modem, and electrical plugs (Jason drilled a hold in the bottom).
Anyone who has been to my parents’ house or stayed at their bed & breakfast knows my mom has no shortage of knick-knacks. I didn’t need to purchase any accessories – I just shopped around their house pulling items from shelves and cabinets.
I like this desk because it can be used on either side. So when they’re viewing something online or working on a project together someone isn’t stuck standing up hunched over. A drawer unit fits neatly beneath for office products and file folders. The rest of their filing cabinets are in the closet. Accessible but not cluttering up the room. I found this chair in their bedroom and swapped it. A much better fit for both spaces. You can’t tell from this photo, but the fabric complements the pattern of the window treatment and I love how the chair tucks perfectly underneath the desk.
My parents returned from their trip on Saturday and are really happy with their new room. I’m still on the lookout for a runner rug and overhead light fixture. Although my mom promises to keep the room intact I imagine I’ll find a few more knick-knacks on the shelves the next time I visit.