It’s becoming a running joke in our house – well, he would say it’s more of an aggravation or a disturbance in the force – that whenever I have too much time on my hands or he’s out of town, I tinker, move things around, redecorate, spend money on home stuff…you get it. Within five minutes of Daniel driving off this morning for a weekend away, I was at it.

Remember the office, the one that we turned into an Amazonian rain forest? Nothing has changed in that regard, but the room just isn’t finished, which means it takes up mental space and I have to think of ways to finish it.

The room needed a rug. I had been researching jute rugs since the natural fibers would look really good with the “natural” rain forest look. Rugs are not cheap and since this isn’t a main room, I didn’t care to spend too much money on this. Thankfully, after months of research and constantly looking at rugs in every store I went into that sold them, I found a 5×7 simple jute rug on sale at Target.

office - corner closed

Before I get to today’s tinkering, let me tell you what I still want to do to this room. Currently, there’s a tall metal shelving unit from Ikea behind the door, a bookshelf under the window and, along one wall, a desk, filing cabinet and bookshelf. You can see what I mean here:

office - bookshelves
Obviously, this space is a mess. As it’s not the focus of this post and is something I want to change, I didn’t bother cleaning it up for this photo. Also, I left that Makita box out there so you would think I was a bad ass…Kidding! The whole point of a power tool is that you don’t need any bad assness about you.

The other books in our house are in the sitting area of our dining room (see below). I want to put all of our books together in the office to create a more cohesive reading space (and this will open us up to moving stuff around downstairs, at some point). I found a way to do this that would keep to the general vintage and Mid-Century Modern design of our house while sticking to the natural, woodsy look of the office: finding and spending thousands of dollars on a Mid-Century Modern  wall unit that can house all of our books, office stuff and desktop computer. Or, more realistically, make our own. I found a how-to by one of my favorite style bloggers, Dabito. Maybe we’ll do this in the next 12 months?

dining room - bookshelves
The bookshelves in the sitting area of our dining room.

And now, onto what I did while the husband was away. We got this white end table on sale at World Market back in December and it sat empty until very recently. I just wasn’t sure how to fill it. But I recently got hooked on stylist and designer Emily Henderson. And by hooked, I mean I have read the past four years of her blog, marathoned her old HGTV show “Secrets from a Stylist” and bought her book “Styled” all within the past few weeks. Obsessed much?

Styled book
Emily Henderson’s book “Styled,” my current obsession.

Inspired by Emily Henderson, I decided to style this corner. The white end table is an oddity in this dark room (more on that later), so I wanted to bring in the colors and materials of the rest of the room. The peacock print of the book binding brings green into the tiny space of the end table. On top of that is a wooden, monogrammed cigar case, given to Daniel as a groomsman gift (there were also cigars and accoutrements in there; the gift wasn’t just the case!). On top of that is a colorful guide book to Japan – “LOOK!” this screams. “We’re interesting! We’re going to Japan! Please think we’re awesome!” – that I added there because I wanted this corner to have a purpose, i.e. I plan to read that book. The cherries on this layered cake of books are two elephants, a wooden one that was a gift from the Philippines, and a brass one that I bought in Kenya. The brass goes with the metallic of our curtain hardware and what I hope to be a metallic side lamp (also, more on this later).

While nothing else in this office is white (I HATE how dark brown all the furniture is, which I hope to slowly change), the white of the pillow from Target (picked out by the husband) helps make the end table fit the room more. The other pillow is the print of tree bark, a nice nod to the theme of the room, I thought, purchased for more than one should pay for a throw pillow from Dot & Bo, and the light tan matches the storage ottoman and new rug.

About that lamp. I already wrote about how it wasn’t working for us in the living room and I thought the design of the lamp would look really great against the green of the wall in this office corner. The problem is the lamp base doesn’t fit under the end table so the two together make that corner look thrown together (which it is). The photos here are before I removed the lamp so you can see just how much of a work in progress this area is. The lamp has now been moved to our spare bedroom, aka my studio, a room that I haven’t blogged about yet but I will eventually. Perhaps I’m being dramatic but the lamp that goes there needs to be kind of…well, dramatic. Reason being the office is at the top of the stairs and that corner and back wall (not shown in these pictures) are the corner you see when you walk up the stairs. I want a lamp that catches your eye, either in shape, size or design. And, hopefully, something metallic to help reflect light, counter the flatness of the paint, and not add to the darkness of this room. So, yeah, I’m asking a lot out of this lamp.

And, wow, what was supposed to be a simple update post has turned into a novel so I’m outta here!



2 thoughts on “When the Cat’s Away…

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