Home office holiday decor

The Nester’s Christmas Tour got me thinking about decorating home offices and whether or not you do. This year, my home office has its own small tree, kept simple and low key with big, clear glass ornaments, and I brought in some extra candles (which will stay all winter) to make the room feel extra cozy. I’ll admit, though, I always struggle a bit with decorating–as much as I love seeing other people’s homes decorated, in my own, I can never get past thinking about all that cleanup! (And the storage space required!… Where do people keep all their decorations?!)

If you’re a big fan of decorating, I’d love to hear how you approach it; and if you’re lower-key like me, let’s commiserate! (If you don’t decorate at all, whether because you don’t celebrate, or you just don’t like to/want to, perhaps you could share if you make any changes to cozy up your home office for winter or de-cozy it if you’re in the southern hemisphere.)

And, if you need a bit of inspiration, how about an Office Supply Tree (by Martha Stewart, of course)? ;-)

{Decorating for the holidays, Holiday decor, Home Office Decor} {Comments Off} {December 14th, 2010}

Home Office Makeover: Frosted Glass Spray for Privacy on Patio Doors Tutorial

Hi lovelies! I’m so excited to get to share with you photos and tutorials from my branding expert (and the brilliant designer behind both OriginalFlavor GirlyPC.com and our new look) Jessica Albon’s home office project. She wanted a new look for her room that was cozy and colorful, but not overwhelming and that made great use of her large office space. So, together, she and I mapped out a plan, and she agreed to walk you through exactly what she did to make the office look great and function even better. Today, she’s going to introduce you to her office and tell you a bit about the before. In future posts, she’ll tell you about the projects she tackled.

My office has lovely patio doors. They’re all glass, and let in tons of light. The view wasn’t perfect (partly driveway, partly pretty backyard).

Interior frosted glass spray paint
Taken at night to show spray really does provide privacy. Notice Izzy (lower left corner)–he’s why the spray paint wasn’t extended all the way down. (Also inside the door, two plants for the winter.)

Unfortunately, they’re also really visible to the street which means door-to-door sales people and evangelists always come to that door. And I couldn’t hide out (say, if I was on the phone with a client and really didn’t want to tell an evangelist that yes, my call was more important than his desire to save my soul) because they could see right in.

So, in order to feel really productive and comfortable in my office, I had to address those doors. And I had to do it in a way that blocked as little light as possible.

But I had one more challenge to consider: a dog who LOVES looking out the doors at the squirrels and neighborhood cats and who pulled down any curtains I tried to hang, and managed to drool all over the window in between the slats of the (original to the house) wood blinds that had been installed. So, it was a problem. I needed tons of privacy without blocking light, and it all had to be super dog-friendly. Plus, I wanted it to be removable should I ever change my mind.

I thought about using a contact paper on the windows, but what I read of the installation and the removal didn’t thrill me. Plus, the designs I found were mostly pretty tacky or very solid and neither felt quite right. So, I kept searching, and luckily came across Valspar’s “Frosting Interior” for glass at Lowes. That seemed perfect since it meant I could easily apply it precisely where I wanted it.

When it came to a design, I decided to keep things really simple. I’d never used spray paint on glass before and didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew. Plus, I have a lot of projects to tackle. So, I masked off four simple long skinny rectangles per door, leaving both the bottom and the top of the glass clear. I applied two coats of the frosted glass spray paint and pulled off my tape immediately following the second coat.

Frosting French doors with spray paint
Getting the masking tape straight took longer than I anticipated. Finally, I’m ready to spray.

Here’s how I applied Valspar “Frosting Interior” frosted glass spray paint to my patio doors. (Note: I purchased vinyl lettering with my company name in a frosted glass finish to apply atop the rectangles.)

If you decide to use frosted glass spray paint to add privacy to your windows or doors, here are my tips:

  • Ventilate the area as much as possible. I wore a mask, but sprayed the doors closed and wish I had been able to spray them open. Next time, I’d remove the door that opens so that I’d have plenty of ventilation. (The spray is designed for inside spaces only, so I couldn’t spray the outside of the doors.)
  • Don’t be afraid of a simple design. I spent about a week trying to figure out what design to put on the doors. I thought about everything. And, in the end, I really like the simplicity of the rectangles. The reason I didn’t just spray one rectangle per door was that I wanted some visibility so that I’d be able to see who was at the door (the spray really does obscure your view).
  • The paint does filter light, but not nearly as much as I’d worried it would. If you have that same concern, go for it! Give it a try and see if you like it. The glass frosted spray paint isn’t particularly expensive, and it scrapes off really easily, so if it’s just a matter of not knowing whether or not you’ll like it, I’d definitely recommend you dive in and try it out for yourself.
  • Buy more than you think you’ll need. I wound up only using one bottle, and still have quite a bit left in that bottle. But, it would have been really frustrating to run out halfway through, so I’m glad I bought two just in case. Plus, it was so easy to use, I think I’ll be using my spare bottle on other projects around the house.
  • Stay out of the area for several hours. In my case, I had to stay out of the office for the entire day–the fumes gave me an intense headache. So, don’t apply the paint at the beginning of a day when everyone will be hanging out in that room later in the day. Give it a full 24 hours at least so that you have time to air out the room.

I couldn’t be happier with the change–it’s given me the privacy I wanted, and Izzy  (my dog) can still see everything. Plus, it looks lovely from both the inside and out and isn’t too modern for my home’s brick exterior.

A Web Designers Home Office Makeover

Hi lovelies! I’m so excited to get to share with you photos and tutorials from my branding expert (and the brilliant designer behind both OriginalFlavor GirlyPC.com and our new look) Jessica Albon’s home office project. She wanted a new look for her room that was cozy and colorful, but not overwhelming and that made great use of her large office space. So, together, she and I mapped out a plan, and she agreed to walk you through exactly what she did to make the office look great and function even better. Today, she’s going to introduce you to her office and tell you a bit about the before. In future posts, she’ll tell you about the projects she tackled.

My home office was originally the home’s garage–they converted it to a den in the mid-70s so I started with the requisite brown paneling and very creepy, dark closet space. On the one hand, one full wall of the office (a full 20′ span) was closets which seemed great for storage. But, on the other, the closets were 4′ deep (so deep as to be unproductive), and made the office’s one window look dramatically off center, plus they meant I couldn’t put any furniture along one full wall. Added to all that, they were really dark and creepy and would have been a nightmare to paint. (The ceilings in my office are 13′ high, and the closets went all the way up, paneled both inside and out.)

So, my first step was to pull out the closets and pull down the paneling. Even with lots of help, these two tasks took about two weeks. Then, the whole office was painted a cream color–ceiling and walls. I really like that the color is light and airy, but warmer than white. On the downside, I chose a matte because the walls are in rough condition (which was probably why the original owners had added the paneling!) and so the effect is a bit darker than I’d hoped.

Here’s what the office looked like once the painting was done. (Yowzas–that is one gigantic mess!)

The day after painting was complete

You can see the new carpet in the photo, too, but what you can’t see is that I left the original (filthy) Berber carpet on the stairs… When the room was a garage, it had concrete stairs going out of the garage and into the house. When they installed the Berber carpet, they glued it down to the stairs. After having tackled lots of other projects in the house, I was convinced the carpet was going to be a nightmare to get off the stairs (whenever possible, the original homeowners used the strongest glue they could find–which was great for longevity, but made removal… not so great). So, I left it. For about six months.

Then, Jessica Zee came for a client meeting about her website. Other than the eyesore stairs, my office was in “pretty good” shape. But, she knew it could be better. So, she challenged me to shape things up and make the office reflect my style as a designer.

She suggested I start with those horrible stairs, and as soon as she left, I decided to see how hard it would be to take off. And I started pulling. And yanking. And a day later, the carpet was completely off the stairs. (My hands were also covered in blisters. It’s such a good thing I’m not a regular mani-pedi girl.)

Alas, under the carpet, the concrete stairs were in worse shape than I’d anticipated. They’re *really* uneven (to the point where part of a step is missing–I always wondered why I slipped if I stepped on that stair wrong, and now I know–there was no concrete under the carpet in that spot, just air!). Also, prior to the Berber carpet, the stairs had been covered first in glued-down carpet and then in glued-down carpet padding. I got up as much of it as I could, but eventually was doing more harm than good and so I figured I’d let the paint hide the rest of the flaws.

Of course, little did I know that painting concrete stairs was going to require TEN coats of various products. (Which meant nearly 20 days that the stairs couldn’t be walked on.) But that’s a story for part two of this home office makeover.

Hi! I’m Jessica Zee, editor of GirlyPC.

I’ve been working from a home office for nearly five years and in that time, home organization products have gotten a lot more attractive. But, unfortunately, the technology we're using... Hasn't.

I’ve set out to change that in my own home office and wanted a place to talk all things pretty-home-office.

Welcome to GirlyPC! Enjoy your visit.