Ok full disclosure… pulling my focus together to tackle this space has been challenging. The reality is you can’t force creativity. It requires a good, clear headspace and time to create something out of nothing. Sometimes you just need to be patient, ruminate on some ideas for awhile and wait for a spark. But once that spark hits, it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there! At least, that’s usually what it feels like for me. I’m guessing its the same for others in a creative field?
I knew what I needed from this space - a quiet room to think + focus, a good combination of storage options, and an aesthetic that would feel inspiring. I also knew I wanted to go dark + moody and for the room to have a nod to neo-classical french design. But for whatever reason, I just couldn’t seem to rein in my focus enough to settle on the details. But given the swift speed of a 6-week interior design challenge, I knew I needed to have this office design concept dialed by the end of Week Two…and here we are!
TBT I'm a little surprised I’m here walking through the design process + final concept for HRDC’s Office Makeover because just a few days ago, I had a nagging thought… I don’t have the time or mental energy to commit to this space. I don’t FEEL like commiting to another space at home right now. It was a nice try but ain’t happening… and I had pretty much decided I was going to come to you here in Week Two with a signing-off from the One Room Challenge post. And then, wouldn’t you know it? That SPARK.
I made one choice. And then another. And then another. And by day’s end, I had everything but the soft finishes and a large storage case picked out and on order and I was like hot dang, this is actually happening!!
The final design concept kept the overall ‘New French with a Moody Twist’ aesthetic goal, but took a bit of a diversion from the original mood board. With each decision, it sort of just spiraled + evolved into the end result, which feels so utterly perfect.
Here they are back-to-back... You can see from their little info blurbs that the changes were slight but from the board, you can see the overall feel is much different.
THE MOOD BOARD
A balance of dark + light elements, lots of delicate + ornate classical details, and a good dose of chic modern vibes
THE DESIGN CONCEPT
Predominantly bold, moody + dark, lots of neo-classical french influence, some new industrial modern elements, and a smaller hint of chic modern
Then, I convinced myself that this is probably the one and only home scenario where I can get away with this Caitlin Wilson settee which I’ve been dreaming about for a couple of years. I originally had the black buffalo check (like in the picture) picked out, but as I started sorting through coordinating soft finish options (rug, pillow and drapery…), I just wasn’t feeling where the overall design was headed. Amazing on its own, but not quite right - a bit too chic modern.
Here, I’m searching for something feminine, but a little more formal and grown-up - if that makes sense? The best way I can think to describe my goals for this space are like that old adage… dress for the job you want, not the one you have…. Not that I don’t love where I’m at in my career right now, but obviously there’s always room to grow and I want this room to express that grown-up career lady version of myself that I’m continuously striving for.
So, ultimately I decided to do the settee in this Black French Stripe fabric. Aptly named, too, given the neoclassical french aesthetic that is inspiring me for this space. I always feel like when the finish name directly relates to the room’s design, it’s totally meant to be. ;)
From that fabric choice with a much simpler and lighter feel, I decided I could get away with a darker rug. Lots of great options explored, but I really loved this Loloi one that has flecks of red, a perfect complimentary color to the green walls. Plus, I’m using this Clare Elsaesser print I’ve had for years as my jumping off point for the color palette and the rug plays so nicely off of it.
Next major decision was the desk. So many options but really only 2-3 that had the exact right amount of classical french flair. Most were too traditional and overbearing and some were too modern, but this little beauty checked all the boxes just right. The light wood tone softens the dark area rug and raw grain adds warmth to the cool color of the green-enveloped walls.
After the desk was ordered, I knew I needed the perfect chair. I wanted something soft, possibly in a texture I can’t normally have with kids around… like velvet??
I also liked the idea of curling up into for long hours, so probably something with arms.
And also something standout on its own, not typical or expected for an office space.
Lots and lots of scouring the net and I don’t know how or where, but I stumbled on this Lulu & Georgia one below and boy oh boy did it speak to me in all of the ways…
That rich plum velvet that plays so perfectly with the color on the dress of the girl in the art and the flecks of red in the rug?
And how the arms curve so sculpturally... This chair (which is actually a dining chair) feels really special. And definitely like a piece I would not even consider anywhere else in a house with two toddlers.
And then there were a series of accessorizing elements that were ordered because I had been admiring them on Pinterest for awhile and waiting for the perfect opportunity to work into a design - at home or with a client.
First was this totally fitting piece of art with an F. Scott Fitzgerald life quote, then this totally rad piece by Jennifer Ament that I have been oggling for some time now, and then this incredibly special wall sconce that makes it easy for me to update the lighting in the space without paying an electrician (hello plug-in task light by the settee!!), and this adorably feminine flushmount light. The white + black contrast detail reminds me of a tuxedo and adds that dressed up feminine vibe I want to see + feel.
And then I reached one of two final decision points - a large sideboard to go behind my desk and drapery - and I’m thinking to myself…niiiice! I’m totally on track and this thing is going to pull together right in the nick of time!
Given the tight size of the space, I had some constraints and also wanted something with a good combo of drawers and closed shelves. I had the New French Design Concept pulled together with a single spot reserved for a sideboard in the upper right corner. After some exhaustive sourcing, I had a few good options to consider, but I kept coming back to this one.
By the time I added it to the concept board and had fallen madly in love with how it seemed to perfectly complete the space, I went online to order and found it out of stock. And although I managed to find it listed at 4 other stores, all were backordered 6-8 weeks…gah, total bummer!! So I buried my pain and searched for an alternative, but nothing compared or checked all the boxes. It was either order it and not complete the Challenge in time or settle for a comp and finish as planned.
In the end? Well, in the end I ordered that sucker! Worth the wait. Worth not meeting a lofty-defined timeline goal.
So now I’m here to tell you I probably won’t be finishing the One Room Challenge as promised, but I’m totally ok with that.
Because in the end I want to walk into this space and not feel like I sold myself short to meet an unnecessary goal.
And because - as always - the very best things are worth the wait. So cliche, I know….but seriously! ;)
I will, however, keep right on participating in the Challenge because it’s so much fun and there’s always a chance the piece will be back in stock early. Next week, my goal is to settle on a green color for the walls, trim, ceiling + doors, paint the space and plan out the wainscoting details. I’m confident that these elements alone are going to make a dramatic impact on the room, so it’ll be an exciting step in the process.
And not gonna lie, I’m a little bit nervous what the room will feel like enveloped fully in a deep, dark green but I’m ready to roll with it. My gut tells me it’s going to be something really special.