Monday, March 24, 2014

The Study

I had a conversation with my MIL (I have one of the best ones btw!) a few days ago, and she told me how she enjoys coming over just to see the little changes I've made to the house (minor things as moving pillows around even!).  It got me thinking of how much I like seeing the design process when I visit blogs, but yet in my own home, I was uncomfortable showing people the unfinished rooms and especially more so taking photos of them for the blog.   Stupid I know, blame the perfectionist in me, that only thinks a room is photo-ready when it’s 100 percent done (at least for the time being anyway).
Well, what does this mean? It means I have a lot of rooms to show you, now that I am not waiting for it to be 100 % done!

Today, we will start with the office, since it’s our most recent project and it’s 90 percent done (meaning it’s basically done but the perfectionist did not want to show the room until more books and accessories are in place and also until the crab apple tree outside the windows blossoms (silly I know)).

So, being a two-family house, each unit had two bedrooms at the back, one larger than the other. When we converted the house into a one-family, we took the whole living area on the second floor and turned that into a master suite and kept the back bedrooms. For now, the larger bedroom on the second floor is designated as the guestroom and the smaller room as the office/library. Until now, the smaller room was used as a storage area. It was my shame area, which the hubby was always so willing to point out to guests to show my hoarding habit!

I had the room painted a beautiful light shade of green (which I still like) two years ago; however, after some thoughts, I decided on a neutral palette for the room, so that the colors of the books would shine instead. So we repainted it in white.

Now onto the bookcases, I am one of those people that dream of having a wall of bookcases (heck, a whole room if it’s possible!) and also a library ladder.   But this is a small room (approximately 12' by 9'), so the husband "convinced" me that the library ladder would not work (I knew it would not work but I kept talking about it so much that it got him nervous, haha!).   The bookcases would have to be pretty shallow (11 inches ) since I didn’t want to block the window and the closet.

After much consideration and a design change midway, we ended up with Billy bookcases, which we customized.  I didn’t  want it to be all open shelves because I know we don’t have that many books and also I wanted the office part too, as in storage for paperwork and documents. For the bottom shelves, I put KASSETT boxes and magazine files from IKEA.   I wanted to add some interest, so I put doors to create a cabinet in the middle.   I wanted glass doors but also wanted the storage to be hidden, so I used spray paints to give them an antiqued mirror finish. I think they add sparkles to the room. I should note that I wanted this room to have a Parisian feel (ahh Paris, see you again in May!).

The most tedious part of the room probably was the reupholstering of the loveseat, which I got for $30 a couple of years ago and it had been sitting in that room, buried under all the other stuff, waiting for its day to shine ever since.

Given that it is very ornate, I decided to bring it to the 21st century a bit by painting it in glossy grey and then reupholstered in a soft, almost velvet-like grey fabric with cream cording. I wanted floor to ceiling curtains, with ceiling height of about 9.5 feet, I knew I would most likely have to make my own, I decided to add a hint of color to the white/grey/black theme with a bit of blushing pink in the curtains. In certain lights, they almost look cream. I LOVE this fabric, it kinda like silk but heavier and it has simple damask embroidery pattern. I bought the fabric a while ago just because I couldn’t resist and for $5/yard, yes please! I do stuff like that a lot, buying things without a known reason for them, but this time the hubby didn’t refuse because well, it was cheap.

I wanted to imitate a pier mirror between the windows, so we created one with some moulding.  It would be expensive to have glass cut to the frame so I decided to paint it with chalkboard paint.  I now use it as a place to write my monthly calendar.  I haven't used chalk in years! so it was fun, i drew the calendar one late night so please excuse if it's not the best!

The glass table is an inexpensive eBay purchase a while back, and yes, I didn’t really know where I would put it neither but I have always wanted a pretty table like it! The rug is Safavieh, bought from Overstock. The pattern reminds me of that on the curtains. It’s an outdoor/indoor rug.

Well I think this post is long enough, next post I’ll talk more about the other side of the room, which is still a work in progress, but I'll try to shh the perfectionist side and share.

Then onto the tutorials!

Btw, I am so glad it’s tulip season again! They are one of my favorites for cut flowers! We will be heading to Holland beginning of May for tulips (including Paris and Belgium)! I have been reading the bloom reports. While we had a frigid winter, it was very mild in the Netherlands this year, so early blooming, ahhhh, I hope they will still be there when I am there!


  1. It is shockingly beautiful study u have! And did u say its in NY? Lucky you. Tutorial on the black board please. Love to know what kind of moulding u used.

    1. Thank you! yes, we are lucky to have bought our house when the market just started to go up!
      I'll have a tutorial on the blackboard tomorrow!

      thanks for visiting


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