A Place to Create: the home office

The H&D headquarters is pretty much the spare bedroom of my home, and as much as I’d loooove a dedicated lofty NY style warehouse conversion to get creative in, the spare bedroom will have to do… and no complaints here. It’s my own happy little corner of the world.

The room is not the biggest of spaces and it’s also moonlighting as our study, a place for my husband’s drum kit and a minefield of odds and ends. However, I desperately needed a creative zone for me to bring and store all my H&D things together – a desk to sit and make things at, a spot to recline with a good book… and space for inspiration in general.

The brief (from me to me) was to keep it to one wall, to be convenient and functional, inexpensive… and to do it within my mantra of trying to live a little greener.

I have to say, I thought I wouldn’t have the room for everything I managed to pack into this space, so I’m incredibly happy with my new little zone. It suits me perrrrrfectly and it’s just what I need.

A Place to Create: the home office - vintage charm through repurposed items, retro and vintage finds A Place to Create: the home office - vintage charm through repurposed items, retro and vintage finds

More so, the total project cost under $110, it took just one afternoon to put together and nothing about it is ultra permanent so I can switch things around as and when it takes my fancy.

So here’s how it all came together.

My spare room/study already has a desk in it for my iMac, printer etc. So I didn’t want to introduce another one and make the room all… “desky”. I saw this storage unit on ebay for $70 and knew it would work perfectly for storage and as a concealed work and craft desk.

This pine finish probably looks familiar to you, right? This type of orange-glazed pine furniture was mass produced in the nineties. I even had a five piece bedroom set in this style during my teens! There are many, many furniture items like this in every corner of the world and they are just looking a tad tired and dated. They definitely don’t fit into the antique category (because that would make me an antique) and they’re not quite vintage either. They are functional and sturdy but there is just no swagger to them. So they languish away in people’s garages, storerooms etc until they are discarded and become landfill.

Before: 

A Place to Create: the home office - vintage charm through repurposed items, retro and vintage finds

I call on you to save them because they really are so easy to update!

Usually in a DIY project, you’ve lost me at “sand and tape the surface in preparation for painting”. No. I won’t. It’s just not practical to find the time, space and hassle of fine particles of dust everywhere. However, I thought I’d just try an oil based paint enamel and see how it goes. I found this heavenly colour called “Welsh Green” by British Paints (inspired by Selina’s recent post on green) and invested in a good paintbrush with fine, soft bristles. The paint went went on soooo well. And it has stayed on perfectly – no blistering, bubbling, discolouring, flaking. Such a time saver!

I left the top with the existing pine finish, even though I originally had plans to white-wash it. It was a little weathered and banged up, but that added to the charm of the piece. Plus, it’s going to get a workout as a craft space anyhow. I found that the contrast worked well so the top stays al-natural!.

A Place to Create: the home office - vintage charm through repurposed items, retro and vintage finds

The really great thing is that when this is not in use as a desk, it looks great as console table or storage unit – perfect for our study right now, but will also be very versatile to switch it into any room in the future for use as a TV bench, a kitchen buffet, a bedroom dresser etc.

When I need to use it as a desk, I just pull the middle draw out and open the middle door for my legs to comfortably rest within and I use a bar stool to sit on for a perfect seating height. Everything in that middle section is stored in a suitcase that can easily be popped in and out.

Now, I’m going to use this as a craft desk for creating stationary, DIY projects, to put my sewing machine on to make some soft toys, cushion covers, tote bags and more (so many ideas are brewing!). However if that’s not your thing then it’s also perfect for a typical office setup with a laptop, computer, printer etc.

A Place to Create: the home office - vintage charm through repurposed items, retro and vintage finds

I created a reading zone with a retro armchair and floor lamp (the one I used when I styled a vintage 21st, just with a different shade to modernise it a touch) on the left which is the perfect place to recline with a H&D Page Turner

A Place to Create: the home office - vintage charm through repurposed items, retro and vintage finds

A little side table with a vintage suitcase (another versatile purchase from the weekend markets) filled with ribbon and fabric samples sits on the right of the main console table. I had such an elaborate and complicated ribbon and fabric storage idea in my head, but the trusty vintage suitcase jumped out at me once more to save the day. And below the side table are those adorable thread spindles I featured in an earlier post.

A Place to Create: the home office - vintage charm through repurposed items, retro and vintage finds - fabric and ribbon storage

This industrial looking lamp (complete with rusty bits –  woohoo!) was bought for $5 at my local markets. It is in perfect working order and it’s just what I need to illuminate the desk space when I’m busy at work late into the night.

I found multiple disused frames like this from my parent’s garage that I converted into an little inspirational collage overhead. One became a vintage mirror and serving tray in a previous post, the other three became features of my home office that I just ADORE!

The frames looked like this before: Up-cycled Glamour; The Vintage Mirror Effect - Turning an old framed picture into a mercury glass candle holder

One is a hessian backed a mood/message board (featuring a happy postcard from Kikki.K and a little birdie soft toy that I hand made), the other a chalkboard that keeps my H&D to-do list in check and the third is an artwork in a bright pop of yellow with one of my favourite inspirational quotes. I’ll show you how simple it is to make these in a post coming up shortly.

A pair of vintage wooden shoe-maker’s moulds (a treasured travel find from the antique markets in Paris), complete the energy of the quote as they point upwards and onwards. A cluster of bits and pieces like jars and another of my soft toy creations sits on the counter.

I’m so chuffed at my highly functional, very personal and extremely inexpensive little H&D zone. Hopefully it’s given you some ideas on how simple it is to create your own creative space.  I just know that there will be many creative bits and pieces coming out of this little space and I look forward to sharing some of my creations when the H&D online store opens in 2014.

Is your study or home office personalised with your favourite things? Leave a comment below with what they are. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Hillary and Dijon - Surangi

11 thoughts on “A Place to Create: the home office

  1. Hey: You really did an awesome job! I love the color you used, and (unlike mine will probably turn out) it came out really smooth!

    We’re moving the CharlieDog and Friends headquarters to Tarrytown, New York, in a couple of months, into a stone cottage that needs a LOT of work. I’m subscribing and bookmarking this blog because I wanna MAKE THIS CABINET!

    Thanks!! :0)

    • Oh thank you! So glad you like the site. I’m so in love with the colour I used for this project… and I was so surprised at how easy it was to paint such a big piece of furniture with just a hand brush! Your relocation to a little stone cottage sounds like lots of fun (I recently did a sandstone cottage restoration which I’ll be featuring in May so keep an eye out for some ideas). Keep us posted on how it goes and please send in a picture when you paint your own cabinet! Would love to see it. Maybe we can start a pine-cabinet-restoration-revolution? 🙂

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  7. This was SUCH a clever use of an otherwise disregarded piece of furniture and it turned out beautifully! I know I’ll be on the lookout for discarded buffets, etc. that can be upgraded as you have done so brilliantly. I followed your link from your post on BuzzFeed and was more than pleasantly surprise… Wonderful job at a sweet work space! It definitely falls under the right category as I am jealous of that craft space tho you earned it… Also love the “Go confidently” framed print with the shoe firms.. Mary Englebreit uses that quote and it is one of my favorites. And the suitcase! You captured my heart… Well done!

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