I wanted to share a project with you that I finished-up a couple of months ago. After the initial consultation, it took us several months to get all the pieces in place to complete the projec , as my client is a doctor who travels for both work and in his personal life…a lot. We finally got it all done and I was organized enough to have it professionally photographed! For some reason that seems to be the missing link for me, but I’ve been working hard to make sure that it’s gotten done on my last few projects! Fingers-crossed I can keep that up, as I love to look back on the projects I’ve completed, and I know you like to see the transformations as well.
Before Images by H. Prall & Co.—
The office is located on the lower-level of a hospital, in Des Moines, Iowa, with no natural light—only the glow of fluorescent, over-head lighting. It’s tiny and was very depressing before the makeover, or it would be to me at least if I had to work there. While he’s not at the hospital full-time (he travels to several hospitals for his job) my client did want a space where he could feel at home and get his work done. He also wanted to be able to display his vast collection of art and accessories that he’s acquired from local artists and his extensive travels.
“I struggled with my office for months. It was uninviting and had zero atmosphere…like working in the interior of a vending machine. Now, post-Hilary, everyone stops by to hang out!” – Josh C.
One of the main struggles of his office was the lack of actual space. It is tiny. For some reason, a lot of times people ignore the one BIG solution to lack of square footage—go up! I know that it can be more costly and takes having someone who knows how to mount things to walls properly, but using vertical space is such a logical and helpful answer to making the most out of a small space. So, we added floating shelves that completely transformed the function and look of the room!
Not only is the office small, but my client had a lot he wanted to fit into it. Using the vertical space allowed us to make full use of the floor space, to accommodate all the furniture that he wanted to include. My client’s job requires a few specific tools and plenty of paperwork, so we needed to create a space where he could spread out and do his job properly. We were able to lay out the space in such a way to accommodate a large desk, desk chair, console table, side chair, accent table, and even a small kitchenette space! The room completely transformed in feeling and function even after having simply added these pieces to the space—not to mention after bringing in art and accessories!
After taking measurements of the room, I sent my client a shopping list of pieces he could choose from or use for inspiration. He ended up purchasing most of the larger items from Restoration Hardware. I shopped West Elm for accessories and had a contractor make floating shelves and the kitchenette piece to house the fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and extra food supplies. That way, my client can be sure to have a place for the meals he brings from home—and always a fresh brewed cup of coffee.
One thing I want to make sure to point out is how important it is to measure…especially in such a small space. We were adding so many large and custom pieces, that I made a point to measure and then remeasure. The floating shelves were installed wall-to-wall, so it was very important to have those measurements spot-on. As well as the one for the piece that holds the refrigerator. We wanted to make sure the fridge would fit, and that it would fit so well, as to look almost built-in!
Once we had the major pieces in place, I was able to arrange and hang his art collection and style the floating shelves! When you’re working in a commercial space, it’s always a good idea to check whether the walls are concrete. If they are, you will need a special drill to hang anything on them…unless it’s light and you’re using Command Strips.
I didn’t buy too many accessories for this office makeover, only a few to finish-out the project. Most of the items all belonged to my client—and that’s actually the way I prefer it! Our spaces tell a story of who we are, and we should want the items in them to be personal and have meaning. When I was finished styling what my client had brought to use, I then went out and bought the finishing touches to make sure the space looked its best—including a few trinkets for the shelves and table-tops and greenery! I’m a real-plant gal, but when you’re in a basement office with no real light, sometimes you have to settle for faux greenery. Luckily, West Elm has some good ones! My client also gets a weekly floral delivery to keep the space feeling fresh.
I’m so happy with how this space turned out! Even though it took a few months to finish the project, it was well worth the wait and I’m pleased with how much my client is now enjoying it. He says that people actually come and hang-out now—yay!! That is always a goal of mine, whether it be an office space or a home that I’m styling.
I hope you enjoy these before and after pics as much as I do. It’s crazy the transformation that can happen with paint, furniture, and artwork + greenery! Also, floating shelves can make such a huge impact in a space. They’ve been popular for a while now, but I don’t see them going anywhere any time soon. I’m looking forward to adding more to our house in several places—sorry, Jason. 😉
*After photos by Cherrie’ Photography