If you go through the blog archive you'll see that this blog really took off in 2015. As I started to invest more time on the blog, at some point I decided that I didn't want to spend more time with a laptop on the sofa. There were plenty of rooms to use in our house and we definitely had enough furniture lying around to make a new home office from scratch without investing in anything new.
Around January 2015, murals company Surface View was running a competition to win one of their beautiful murals. To enter you had to design a space using their murals and explain how the space would be used. You can read more about that contest here. Of course, I decided to enter and the concept for my ideal home office came from this hugely successful design on Pinterest:
As you can see in the photo above, most of the furniture are your typical IKEA products like the Galant, desk top, 160cm, £49, IKEA (you can use 2x), the Alex,drawer unit, £90, and the Krille, leg with castor, £10. You can also see a three tier String shelf and an Eames chair. All that against a black wall. Simple enough but impactful, right?
On the opposite side of the desk area you would have the Surface View mural, and for this purpose I chose a black and white mural depicting a large tree. It is the 'Elder' by Alexander Cozens (c. 1786).
I made a little picture of what it would look like (using my PC's 'Paint' function too) and send it off to them. Surface View seemed to like my concept and chose the design as their winning one. I was delighted (it would have cost me around £450 otherwise) and set about preparing the room to get it ready for the mural installation.
The room I wanted to transform was an average sized room of 3m x 3m and 2.5m ceiling height that was previously used as the husband's office. This is what I started with. Off grey-blue walls (Dulux Steel Symphony 4), a black and white check roman blind, and that was about it. I originally thought of having a desk wall to wall, but at 3 meters long it would need to be custom built. Custom = expensive.
The first step was to paint an accent wall. I already have Mole's Breath in two accent walls (living room and entrance hall) and felt they were not going to be dark enough. So I decided I was going to have to be brave enough to apply something really dark. Something like Farrow & Ball's Railings...
After a second coat, a rich matt almost black is exactly what I got. Now anything I put against that wall will just come alive! By the way, calculate 30-40' painting time per coat for a wall this size.
Once the wall was done, I started putting the room together. I happened to have two IKEA MICKE desks (one small for Junior and one large for me) which I lined next to each other to create a 2 meter (almost) desk space, enough for me and my son to work side by side. I also had the classic BILLY bookcase in Oak Veneer and that fit perfectly next to the desks.
The next thing I wanted to tackle was sitting and so I decided for two Black Eames chairs. These are the DAW model and you can find them here. They cost £429 for the original or you can buy a replica for a fraction of this price, literally everywhere.
Buying original vs a replica is a completely personal choice and while there are still replicas out there being sold, I'd rather see them in homes rather than in landfills if I am completely honest.
Now the room was finally ready for the mural to be installed, and this happened around May 2015. Shortly after the installation, we also added a suspension light in red, by Sotto Luce via MadeinDesign.co.uk (£77.30)
The mural Installation was completed within a few hours as the wall needed to be prepped first with a special coating to ensure that when (if) we removed the mural, the wall behind would not be damaged by the paste. Here's a little video of the installation by the Surface View team.
In September 2015 I also added two beautiful Anglepoise lamps, the Mini Type 75 Alpine lamps, and you can read about them in a separate post, here. Along the way I also added some limited edition prints on the wall that I already had or bought soon thereafter.
A year later, I also added a beautiful black and white speckled cowhide from The Rug Seller to complete the scheme. I generally don't like walking on bare floors and this one cleans so well making it ideal in this high traffic area! The Rug Seller is a company I use often and would not hesitate to recommend to my readers.
As with any room, set a budget (realistic, always) and make a list of the items you definitely need (e.g. furniture) and the "nice to have". You may have to wait for the latter a little longer but in my experience, it's worth it long term as you will not spend money on things you do not really love.
For me, the big saving here was that I reused the desk and bookcase, whereas the accent wall was just a tin of 2.5l of Farrow & Ball paint. Then instead of a mural you can create a gallery wall with black and white pictures and mix them up with typography.
I have been using this room for almost two years now and I really love it. It's like, the moment I step in, I know I am not going to 'work' but spending time on something I really enjoy. Have you worked on a similar project recently? Have you set a realistic budget and timeframe and how did you get on?
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