There is a room off of the family room in our home that for reasons I cannot quite explain has always been referred to as the back porch. I don't know why. It's not a porch. At any rate, what it was supposed to be when we rebuilt after the fire was an office. It was not that either. It was sort of a junk/utility/storage room that just happened to also harbor the printer and some electronic equipment. It was a mess. At one point we hung a curtain across the room to serve as a photo backdrop for a party and then we just left it up to hide the ugly mess.
Our original plan was for the office to have cabinets and counters that matched the kitchen, but (and here's where the long story has to be shortened) the contractor acted all sorts of ugly and we refused to make the final payment before installation was finished and our cabinets were never delivered. On to plan B. (Plan B took 2 1/2 years.)
We knew what we wanted the space to be. We had dreams. What we lacked was money and time. We agreed to carve both out of this spring. We planned to build a family-centered workspace that would function as an office, serve as a homework space, be a central charging station, and work as a utility room. It also had to coordinate with our very rustic style because this space is clearly visible from the family room.
The Big Guy drew up some plans, I gave him a tour of Pinterest, and we set out for the hardware stores for supplies to build our new office shelves. We visited a lot of hardware stores. We bought a lot of pipe.
The pipe was de-stickered, cleaned, and then coated with spray paint to give it a nice clean finish. We chose Krylon Brushed Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze to paint with.
Apologies for the wonky photos. We took them over the course of several days and didn't think about coordinating landscape or portrait. (Though it is painfully obvious now that we should have. Hindsight is everything, yo?)
The round wooden discs will keep the metal from damaging our floor tiles in case we ever want to remove our new office shelving. (I cannot imagine why we would do that.)
The Big Guy was in charge of all spray painting because I cannot be trusted with a can of spray paint. I was in charge of working oil into all of the wood.
This was not a good plan. For the wood, we chose to use a Danish oil which is a tung oil that is made from a tree seed. I am apparently allergic to this particular tree seed. I oiled all of the shelf pieces one Saturday afternoon and by Saturday night I was sure an elephant had stepped on my lungs. One of my kiddos had the flu so I brushed it off as viral. By Sunday I was feeling fine. Tuesday I decided to oil the two butcher block counter tops and by Wednesday I was sure I was dying. My lungs felt crushed again and oxygen mocked me. I had an itchy rash up my neck, along my jaw line, and inside both elbows. I sounded like Stevie Nicks for a solid week. Thankfully, now that the oil has dried I am doing fine, but there will be no more inhaling fresh tung oil for me.
The tung oil did do a beautiful job of bringing out the grain and character of the wood which is exactly what we wanted.
Day by day, the pieces were assembled and the office began to take shape.
As is the case with any great home remodeling project, our house became a disaster zone. Everything from the office/utility/junk room ended up in the living room and family room and there were tools, pieces of wood, and pipe fittings everywhere.
As the first pieces began to go together, I fell in love. This is exactly the workspace we needed.
There is a place for everything. There is a place for the kids to charge laptops and do homework. There is a place for the Big Guy to pay bills and work on the never-ending insurance paperwork. Our cookbooks and recipe boxes have a dedicated space. We have shelves for books.
We have shelves to house the printer, the wireless routers, and all of the miscellaneous electronic paraphernalia that powers our world. Since we knew this was our ultimate dream for this space, the Big Guy wired in electrical outlets above the desk top during the rebuild so electronics could be plugged in right at desk level. Well played, Big Guy. Well played.
And, we have dedicated space for the dog food and recycling! I love these bins from IKEA for the dog and puppy food. The black milk crates on the shelf above hold our glass milk bottles until they find their way back to the store. We typically collect them a month at a time hoping they'll grow legs and walk themselves back to the store but it hasn't happened yet. We are now limited to how many will fit on the shelf so we're forced to form better habits.
The new office is rustic. It's functional. I'd say it's pretty much perfection. It's most definitely us.