Shopping & Thrifting
John described me that way in this post, and it made me laugh because let’s face it, it’s true. I’m also one-quarter dog fur (it’s always all over me) and one-quarter ceramic animal (no further explanation required).
How quickly this post got off track.
Anyway, now that we have a sofa and a coffee table on our back porch, the next thing on our list was a little more seating to round out that side of the room in the form of a comfy chair. Our first option was just to buy the $749 chair that matches our sofa. We liked that it would definitely tie into the color/look of the woven sofa without us having to worry that it would clash or look off. But we wondered if we would wish we went for something a little more fun and a little less matchy down the line, and it did take up a pretty big rectangular footprint, which might crowd the corner where we wanted to put it.
Another contender was a hanging egg chair like this $498 one from Anthropologie, just because we thought it could be fun in a lounge-y outdoor space. But we questioned the comfort factor (without plush seat and back cushions, would it get much use?) and we worried a little about the kid-stunt factor (some of Clara’s friends are a bit more… acrobatic). Didn’t want any broken wrists on our watch – especially with the hard tile below. We also worried about the logistics of it holding enough weight to be safe since John the Builder actually had to reinforce the overhead beams on the showhouse’s front porch to accommodate the porch swing.
Then we talked about an egg chair that hung from a stand instead of the ceiling, like this $590 option from Joss & Main, but still didn’t fully trust that we’d want to constantly enforce the whole “do not swing on this” rule (would kids try to twist it around and ride it like a tire swing?). We also thought the futuristic silhouette might not go as well with our outdoor sofa. Although we did remark that Nuni & Nooni would love it.
We also saw this one on Pinterest from World Market, which might have gone better with our sofa, but when we clicked over to see the price it was sold out. Oh well, it still had that hanging-on-a-chain-probably-isn’t-ideal thing going on.
Then there was this one from Joss & Main, which was more like a boat than a chair, but it did look pretty cozy. It was too big for our space, and the $1500+ price tag was more than we wanted to spend, but if we ever have a spare house in Bali to our name we wouldn’t be mad at a few of these out by the pool.
We kept saying things like “I wish we could find something that sits on the ground like the egg chair at the showhouse.” We loved everything about that chair (the color was great, it swiveled, it was super comfortable, etc). And although we checked every shop we could think of, as well as just doing some random googling, we didn’t come up with anything that really compared.
It kind of reminded us of this one that Pottery Barn used to sell for $1300 a few years back, except that one was a little too warm to go with our cool brown/gray sofa, and it didn’t swivel.
Then we realized we could try buying an identical egg chair to the one from the showhouse directly from GreenFront. We just had to see if they had another one in their store. And as we were telling one of the folks from the showhouse this story they said “why don’t you check with John (the Builder) to see if the showhouse egg chair is one of the borrowed pieces that he’s planning to return, because if so I bet you can buy it over the phone from GreenFront (around 50% of the GreenFront furniture we got was on loan and they were picking it back up after the show).
So we called John the Builder to ask about it, held our breath, and… he said we couldn’t buy the chair. Sad clown. But the reason he wouldn’t let us buy it was because the whole team wanted to go in on it as a thank you to us for working on the showhouse with them over the past year! We couldn’t believe it. We’re still doing that “no way just take our money” thing, so we’ll have to report back if we can sneak them the cash somehow (my mom is a fan of the “hide-it-in-their-purse” method, but most of the team is purse-less…).
Doesn’t the wicker look like it was meant to be paired with the sofa? We’re so glad they work so well together. We also appreciate that the seat is Sunbrella fabric, so it should hold up to Clara’s bubble-solution-covered hands and Burger’s muddy paws. As for the side table, we decided it was a little too much wicker for us (you know my love of ceramic garden stools – especially to add color outside) so we sent it back to GreenFront with the rest of the borrowed pieces that they came back to collect instead of purchasing it – but it was nice to take a look at it first to be sure.
Now it looks more like this in that corner (we took this photo after the others in this post, so ignore the wicker side table’s presence and pretend you see this shiny red beacon of garden stool love):
But back to the chair. It has already been getting a LOT of use from this guy…
… and even some lounge-time from this guy…
I’m getting in on the action too. Sometimes I find myself out there, just gently rocking with the baby in my arms while Clara plays with her water table (swivel action FTW). Definitely one of my favorite new spots.
So that’s the Great Egg Chair Hunt of 2014. Although when you pan out it’s clear that we still have the other side of the sunroom to furnish. I’m thinking a little bistro table under that second fan would be nice since there’s still room to walk around something like that. And of course we still need to build a box to cover those ugly wires that snake down the brick wall.
Here’s a wider shot from further back. You might notice that we parked our dining chairs around the table just because we thought they’d get more use out here in the nicer weather (they’re outdoor chairs so they ain’t afraid of no
ghost rain). The jury’s still out whether it’s a temporary move for them, but Burger has already been found lounging on their plush seat cushions, so that’s one vote for them staying outside over the folding chairs that were there before.
Are you guys shopping for any outdoor stuff lately? Are you one-quarter garden stool? I might be too. Hey, maybe we’re related.
Psst- For more what-we-considered rundowns like this one, here’s one about doorknobs, one about kitchen lights, one about rugs, one about dining tables, one about sectionals, one about washers & dryers, and one about our outdoor sofa.
Our office has made perhaps its most significant functional improvement since we started talking about it back in March. It’s not finished (still want window treatments, a rug, art, a ceiling fixture, etc), but it’s inching a lot closer than it was a week ago. As weird as it sounds, I think it was having Teddy that snapped us out of our furniture placement rut and gave us a clear idea of how to move forward. Isn’t it weird how some rooms are pretty simple when it comes to the plan (even our sunroom plan with the raised and planked ceiling came to us pretty quickly) and others make you change your mind and second guess yourself a hundred times (that would be this room).
Last time we shared this with you guys, our plan was to adapt our free curbside secretary’s desk into a double-sided floating desk for both of us. At the time it felt like the best solution to cram as much function into that space and create the hyper-efficient home office that we thought we wanted.
But then a couple of things changed. Namely our minds. Over and over again. Much like our kitchen banquette concept in our last house, our hesitation to move forward with the above layout was a big hint that we hadn’t landed on the right idea yet. So we decided not to do anything until we were more sure about where we wanted to go in here. And there’s where Teddy comes in. As we mentioned in this post, our business goals have become a lot more clear to us, so the idea of a multi-tasking craft/photography studio + two full-time desks suddenly seemed a bit overblown. What we truly wanted from this room was a dedicated desk space for each of us to spread out and call our own, and a bunch of storage to finally make us feel organized again (since moving in, our work gear and files have been spread out across various places including the kitchen cabinets, the dining room buffet, and even the upstairs storage room).
With those revised goals, we decided to loosen up and go with the flow of the room a bit more. No more trying to cram four or five zones in here. We started by rotating the big desk 90 degrees to sit centered in the bay window.
We weren’t surprised when that small change “clicked.” It was our instinct for it all along, but we had resisted it because we thought placing it long-wise was the best way to make it work for two people, and we worried it might infringe on things along that long wall since there was pressure to make that area triple-task before.
Now when we stared at that side wall, instead of wondering how we could get a handful of uses from it (craft station plus photography zone plus storage plus extra workspace), with our new simplified goals for the room, all we wanted to gain was a desk area and some good storage. At this point I’ve been working at that West Elm desk for over a year in that spot, and I’ve grown to like it. As much as I’ve heard some of you saying “I wouldn’t want to face that wall when there are windows and things to look out of” I actually prefer that spot. So much that I called dibs on that desk and insisted that we try keeping it right where it was, and just flanking it with two storage systems, which was one of our first instincts for the space. Sherry was psyched that she didn’t have to fight me for the big desk in the window, and we both immediately felt at peace with the new direction. Finally. We were ready to move forward in here.
After some hunting around we settled on two Ikea Fjälkinges with drawers for the storage units on either side of my desk. They’re nice and solid (made of metal, and each shelf can hold 110 lbs) as well as being extremely functional because you can add as many soft-close drawers as you’d like (yes, the soft close feature makes me feel fancy). They were also wider than most bookcase/storage units, which worked well for our space, so it was a pretty easy decision.
Off to Ikea we went. It was a momentous first trip for Teddy – and as a special treat, it wasn’t even the usual Ikea we normally go to. Nope, they were out of stock so we drove an extra 90 minutes to one in Maryland. My forced smiled below is poorly concealing my concerns about braving the beltway traffic, but we tried to time our trip to minimize it, and it wasn’t too bad in the end.
Here’s our haul back at home (minus some other miscellaneous items). The boxes in the back plus the long packs are the shelves, while the four up front are the pairs of drawers.
The shelves themselves were pretty easy to put together, although it did require an extra set of hands to hold the posts in place while the base and top were screwed on. What my extra set of hands lacks in endurance, she makes up for in cuteness.
Here’s what the two frames looked like when we first got them up, along with a couple of the bottom shelves. We considered putting a bit more “air” between the desk and the shelves, but I liked how cozy it felt with them all abutted. Plus, it makes the shelves more accessible from my desk. Told you my spot is better than Sherry’s floating desk. #officerivalry
Before adding more shelves or assembling the drawers, we took a moment to get these puppies leveled (there are adjustable feet on the bottom) and anchored them both to the wall. They’re made entirely of metal (which makes them both extremely solid, and extremely heavy) so we definitely didn’t want to risk them toppling over.
They come with six shelves each (including the top and bottom) and you can buy extras, but we liked the evenly spaced arrangement shown in the Ikea catalog/website pics.
So here they are pre-drawers, which can be built into any of the middle or bottom shelves for concealed storage – which we knew we’d definitely need in this room. My accounting files and piles of receipts aren’t what you’d call “pretty.”
By this point in the construction Clara had long lost interest, but at least she stayed nearby to keep me company. The drawers were actually the most complicated (read: screw-heavy) part of the process.
After getting through the first two, I decided it’d be faster to do the remaining six all at once for efficiency. I’m certain it was the faster way to do it, but I won’t say I wasn’t intimidated by all of the materials once everything was unboxed.
So here’s everything put back together and cleaned up. We were both immediately psyched about the result. It felt right. We were finally on our way to an office that will work for the way we now see ourselves working.
Once we let go of the idea that we had to share a desk or leave a spot for photos/crafts (both of which we can easily do at the kitchen table, the dining room table, or our desks if we move our laptops) it gave us permission to create some symmetry on both the window wall and the big blank wall to the left. The two tall bookcases even casually mimic the two tall windows on the other side of the room. And they’re packed with both open and concealed storage.
In some ways this is a lighter version of the wall-to-wall built-ins that we chatted about earlier on. We like that this version feels breezier and, if our business needs or goals change in the future, it’s more flexible. And heck, our wall of magnet boards even still makes sense.
We did need to move our file / printer cabinet over to the other side of the main doorway so it didn’t crowd the bookcases, which is actually where it lived when we first moved in. It could use some art above it, but for now I’m just happy that I didn’t lose my file storage and we still have a spot for our wireless printer.
The only thing that felt “off” to me was how white everything was. We’re definitely going for one of those light/bright offices, but without anything on those big white shelves it was feeling a little stark… until Sherry got her hands on them. Accessorizing wife to the rescue. Now we just have to add a rug, some window treatments, a few pieces of wall art, a ceiling fixture, and a floor outlet for the desk and I think we’ll be there. Which is pretty amazing, considering a week ago I would have guessed that it might take us another year to figure out this whole office situation.
We’ve got more to share about how we organized the room, so we’re planning to spill those details later in the week. We both kinda went organizing-crazy since we finally have 6 shelves and 12 glorious drawers (eight in the bookcases and four in the desk) along with a filing/printer cabinet to work with. There’s even talk of a few animated gifs of the process, so if that doesn’t get you excited on this sunny Monday morning, I’m not sure what will. Donuts? Yeah, donuts usually do the trick.