Our office has made perhaps its most significant functional improvement since we started talking about it back in March. We have six spacious shelves and six extra long drawers thanks to two tall systems that flank the desk. They’re balanced looking and full of function (our previously bare wall was sorely lacking). In short: we love them. And the soft close drawers are the icing on the office cake.
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 Fjälkinge shelves 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.
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holy cow – those built ins are looking fantastice!! We spent the weekend using reclaimed wood to build a small island for a kitchen and then glazed it.
You guys are very brave to tackle that with a child and a newborn. IKEA can certainly bring out the crazy. Back when we were dating, my now husband and I had our first fight in the Atlanta location. Ah, memories…
Really love those shelves though! Need to make a mental note of their weird ass name. Should most definitely write it down somewhere.
Oh yeah, we had some pretty great bickering-fests in that Ikea. Long drive. Two wiggly kiddos. It was on. Ha!
I always have to giggle at how many fights/bicker-fests the people of Ikea, Home Depot, Lowes, etc. must hear on a daily basis. I can imagine that Saturday afternoons can be pretty entertaining!
I’ve always wanted to be a fly on the wall in IKEA. I’ve had several trips to IKEA that have ended in some sort of breakdown – either the kids, myself or my husband. I don’t know what it is about that store but it brings out my inner mean girl. I’ve heard others say the same thing :)
1) I love any post where that octopus quote print sneaks in, and I get to giggle at it for the rest of the day.
2) On a relative scale of Ikea difficulty, how brutal where those shelves and drawers? All those pieces look terrifying, but was it fairly simple once you got started?
On a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, it was only like a 2. But on the tedious scale it was closer to a 6 or 7. The only somewhat hard part of the shelves was the anchoring to the wall, since the leveling took a bit of concentration – but the assembly was a cinch. The drawers were more complex construction-wise, but they were pretty similar to the dressers in Teddy’s built-ins (with also had 8 drawers) so I fell back into that groove pretty quickly.
What does the octopus quote say? When I make it bigger on my screen it gets too pixilated to read.
Here’s a closer shot and some background for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/what-santa-brought-us/
Love how bright and white it is! What an amazing choice you’ve made. I never even noticed those at IKEA before.
You came to “my” Ikea! So sorry you had to brave the beltway – hopefully the trip back wasn’t too onerous.
I like the settibg-looks very pretty and symmetrical. One question: wouldn’t light from the bay window bother Sherry when she is working on her laptop? I usually face my desk to the window for this reason so just curious.
So far it hasn’t but I’m thinking we’ll get window treatments just for more light control in case it does.
Looks FANTASTIC Petersik’s!! Can’t wait to see it all come together!
Jess @ Little House. Big Heart. says
Way to be flexible and wait for the right solution instead of the right now solution!
I’ve struggled with that in the past (hello, master bedroom), so I really appreciate taking a step back to reevaluate!
Angela kr says
Snicker- snort- snicker…. I had to read the post title at least 3 times to get a much more PG appropriate sound formed… Made my Monday morning giggle quota with that one!!!
Laura @ Rather Square says
Love it! Isn’t it funny how things work out sometimes? You want to come to a decision about a room immediately, but often it takes some stewing in the back of your mind and letting things “marinate” around in there before the answer comes to you. I really like the direction you’re heading here.
I’m hoping the “marinating” method works for us as well for our home office. We’ve stalled our progress in that room just like you had: I made a mood board and everything, but we’re kind of feeling like we should use the room as-is for a while to get a feel for how we want everything to function well for our needs.
This looks so fab!!! I wonder how much the sales of the Fjalkinges will soar since you guys bought them (you trend setters, you). :)
Amy J says
Bravo! I think this was a great solution. You guys have really helped me slow down and not rush to complete everything, which has helped avoid buyers’/designers’ remorse until I had a better picture.
Ain’t it the truth when your feeling wishy-washy about something (whatever it is, diy or life in general) you usually haven’t found the right fit for yourself. Nice job YHLovers!
looks great! Where is the printer/file cabinet from?
That’s from Ikea about five years ago. Called Effectiv. Wished they still made them (they discontinued them, and people around the world screamed “whyyyyyyy?!”).
Love it! Nice job, y’all!
I love what you have done with the office! Despite the fact that there is a lot of furniture, it feels so breezy. I especially love the desk in front of the window.
Mary Beth says
It looks really good! I’m a sucker for storage in any form and that actually looks great too.
I love the office, it’s my favourite room in your house and I envy you for having such a great spot to work!
Joanna @ TheNestbook says
I am loving this… Great job with this layout! It feels natural and seems really functional. As a longtime reader I think this may be my favorite of your home offices. Can’t wait to see it with art on the walls! :)
It’s like a breath of fresh air! So awesome. (And one of your best title posts yet!)
ashley @ sunnysideshlee.com says
i love the built ins and what you guys did with them … and I do think Sherry’s floating desk is the best. #girlpower
are you adding fun window treatments? any plans for the middle of the room or will it be an open/play area for the kids?
ps. clara is sooooo big! what a cutie!
Thanks Ashley! I definitely want a nice rug along with window treatments to bring in some fun and fill out the middle of the room in front of the desk. I think having that open will be nice since we can photograph stuff on the rug as a bonus (like Teddy’s weekly picture, which we took in the middle of the room this week on a blanket) and also so the kids can play!
I am looking forward to seeing how you would position the rug so that it’s not in the way of pulling John’s chair away from his desk.
That’s going to be a challenge! Maybe if it’s a flat weave and we eventually get him a chair on wheels it’ll roll right over?
How has no one mentioned the green chair. I need that chair for my new office space – where is it from?
Thanks Natasha! Those are chairs we made for our last office. Here’s that info for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/color-me-happy/
Sometimes you just gotta wait for the kinks to work themselves out! I’ve got a room I’m stumped on right now so I’m focusing on some other areas of the house.
Questions on the shelves – (1) I can’t find the depth on the Ikea website, do you know what they are? I need some shelves for a very narrow space and was considering going with the wall track kind (like your kid hall closet has) but I like these and the drawer option.
(2) Do you think a shelf could hold a small-ish flat panel tv?
I noticed that about the depth too! So weird they don’t have that online. They’re about 13″ deep, which is good for inboxes and magazine containers, etc. I definitely think they could hold a flat panel TV. The metal construction is super strong (each shelf can hold 110 lbs!).
check the Canadian website — they have the depth there. 35cm. they have it in inches too!
I was wondering about the depth too! Thanks for the answer!
Jedi Mama says
Boom! Nailed it! Why can’t I lay in bed at night and think of cool things to do with MY home office? All I think about while I’m trying to sleep is, “Crud. I forgot to take the wet clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer… again.” Seriously, though… best home office of… you know… EVER. I’m fairly convinced now that I’m going to move clear across the Lower 48 and buy a house right smack next door to you, so that I can pop in every morning at your house before coffee and holler out, “What should I do with THIS wall at my house, y’all?” I figure the squeaky wheel will get oiled, and if I come over EVERY SINGLE DAY before coffee, y’all will just say, “Okay. Let’s spend a month at YOUR HOUSE, making it look like OUR HOUSE, so that you quit interrupting our early mornings with decorating questions!” I’ve got a plan! Have a fantastic Monday.
I love it! It’s such a great feeling when a room plan finally clicks. Have you thought about adding a little design to the front of the big desk?
I did think about doing something there, but I’m not sure what. Letting it simmer…
I thought the same thing. That side of the desk looks like a giant picture frame waiting to be filled. Could be fun!
What if you put giant YHL letters (or collected them over time– like old vintage ones)there? Could be a fun place to celebrate your business!
That’s a fun idea too!
Angela L says
Maybe some kind of white lattice strip design or white lettering design, idk. I thought the same thing – the front of the desk needs something. :)
I thought the same thing and came on here to give my idea…
I think that it would look nice and be fairly simple to make a sort of lattice design to mimic the one on the green chairs. It would only be a few dollars in preprimed white lath at home depot and a simple, yet impactful update.
Love all the suggestions guys!
Ugh, the beltway. When my husband and I dated, I used to drive to NJ every weekend to see him and would get up at 4am Monday mornings for the drive back to DC with the hopes of avoiding the beltway traffic… never made it! I totally dig the desk placed longways and I’m having a serious case of shelf-envy!
The office looks great. Love the pops of color Sherry added.
Came across this and thought of Clara and her halloween costume last year. http://www.davison.com/creators/tag/home-products/
AMAZING! Thanks for sharing the link!
Looks great! I was totally on team double desk, but I really love this layout so I think I’m a convert. And one of the (few) things I actually like about my office is facing the doorway. I think it has a better flow for me, plus I don’t like to be surprised by who comes into my office (and spies me say, reading a DIY blog instead of working).
Ah! LOVE IT – I’m not sure if I agree with this suggestion, but the first thought that popped in my head was “ooo – Sherry’s desk would look gorgeous now painted bright blue”.
That would be fun! I keep thinking once I add window treatments and a rug there will be a lot of color/interest so we might like the furniture items to be white, but we’ll have to see where we end up!
I just bought two sets of the same bookcase this weekend! Great minds think alike!
Mary | Lemon Grove Blog says
So. Much. Storage! It’s definitely coming together!
Wow!! LOVE this look! Funny how it all just finally clicks. I have been trying to find motivation to rework my home office which doubles as my art studio so I have a clean computer space and a messy art space all in one area (which totally represents my brain lol) And I’m loving the shelves you added! I have plenty of storage for art supplies but need office storage and a place for printers/scanner etc. My wheels are turning!!
Ikea is Swedish for “marital spat”.
I have to return some items to that one in MD . . .
^^ (solo, while husband and two boys go about their business in VA)
Ooooh, you guys were in my neck of the woods! I dread more driving south on 95 (VA side) than driving on the Beltway. DC to Quatico is always heavy. Glad to hear you survived the long trip and the IKEA fun.
The new shelves are a great addition to the office. Love how bright and airy it’s turning out.
i like this idea better than the old one – it’s looking like a good start. I think that green chair desperately needs a new look though or maybe even the west elm chair you used for the office in the showhouse – i loved that one, but the green is just not doing it for me haha.
i imagine you have some other empty shelves in the rest of the house now though – i do that when i move stuff from one part of the house to another!
I love it! I am currently in a battle with my hubby and our office/den. So dark and dreary. I cant stand our desk situation and cant convince him we need a change, although, what change I am not sure…stumped! HELP!! Do you guys still do that thing were readers send in a picture and then you post and give suggestions. Haven’t seen it in a while. It’s not like you’ve been busy or anything!!
Aw thanks Rosanne! I’d love to get back to those someday!
Mary Kay Prucha says
This is so beautiful, light and airy! Loved the space for Clara to work alongside you! One thought, have you considered turning the desk to face the bay window? I remember a previous post with all the deer in your yard? I realize it sort of excludes you from surrounding area. Quick question: is the ceautiful tree in the red pot real, and if so, what kind is it? I love it and your wonderful blog!!
Thanks Mary Kay! That plant is indeed real, and I can’t believe I haven’t killed it yet. It’s a fiddle leaf fig. I also love peeking out that window to deer-watch, but I thought having my back to the doorway of the room might feel weird (like people sneaking up on my from behind, haha!).
Yeah, definitely needs something in between the two bookcases to tie those two tall pieces together so it doesn’t feel too bumpy (UP to the top of the bookcase, and DOWN to the desk, and UP again to the other bookcase…)
Oh yes, I’d love some big colorful art there!
Manda Wolf says
Did I miss it or did you mention what you are planning to put above your desk in between the shelves? I can’t wait to see how it looks once you add some more color in there!
I’d love some bright art. I’m obsessed with Teil Duncan lately. She’s amazing.
Sherry, I’m swooning over Teil’s artwork too. You should pair up for a giveaway :)
Oh man, I’d love that!
Teil Duncan is coool! And her style/vibe/colors work with your decor. She’s mentioned in this article along with some other up-an-coming southern artists:
Wow! Looks great. And tho Ikea shelving looks very high end. Well done!
Love how bright and open this room feels. I’m inspired just looking at it!
I cringe just thinking about the drive from Richmond to College Park. My husband would have made me wait for the items to come back in stock. You two are brave! Marylanders are so lucky to have two IKEAs, plus relatively quick access to the one in Northern Virginia.
The office is looking great!
I saw your concerns about the shelves toppling over from not being square, but did u secure to the wall in case someone decides to climb them? I kept waiting for that in the post and now I can help but ask. Now im going to lay awake at night wondering. I know you probably did, but I need to know.
Oh yes, that’s right in the post. We anchored both of them to the wall per the instructions :)
I just made my YHL magnet to-do board. It had been on my mental to-do list for a while. Love having a visual of my projects and that it can be reprioritized and added to/deleted so easily. The new office looks great!
I love this so much more than your other layout, which felt too crowded to me.
Suggestion: scout CL/garage sales for a folding table (like the kind you’d find in a church basement). My parents have a few, and my dad breaks that out when we have messy crafts. Temporary extra storage space, easy to clean table, and something you won’t cry about if the glue or paint won’t come off. Might come in handy as your kids age and you occasionally need more space in the office. A long one is nice, but I just use a card table for that in our little apartment, and that is handy too.
Love that tip!
I read this with my three year old daughter on my lap. She asked who the little girl was and then declared that she wants to go to Clara’s house. I have to agree.
This is lovely – so bright & functional!
The College Park Ikea is where I spent many, many hours when I lived in MD. :) Aaah, memories.
Your kiddos are so cute!
Looks amazing!!! Just a quick question about the floating desk/cord issue… do you have a snazzy floor outlet or have you found a good way to deal with the laptop power cord? I love having my desk like that, but I’m just ever-so-slightly type A with cords!! :)
We still need to call the electrician to add a floor outlet under the desk to solve that cord issue! We hear it’s not too tough (or expensive) if there’s crawl space under your floors though, so here’s hoping!
It looks amazing, even without the window treatments and art! So clean and fresh (I love all the white, with the pops of color :).. and I think you’re both very brave to face a 90 minute drive and a trip to IKEA with a newborn and a preschooler in tow… I hope you picked yourselves up a Starbucks or something as a reward for your bravery.
Lisa E says
It’s coming together nicely; looks great. Wondered if you will be adding some fun jewelry (knobs or pulls) to the drawers for added personality although it looks perfectly fine as is.
That’s definitely a possibility down the line! I think I’m waiting to see what we go with for the rug/window treatments and then we might like simple white furnishings or want to spice things up a little more.
Annie Dee says
I see that the green chair got swapped at your desk as well! Really looks nice!
I love how you said you now have 8 shelves for storage and organization but then you filled them with what looks like decorative “stuff” from other parts of the house! While I agree that offices should have some deocrative aspect in order to make the room feel welcoming, I’d love to know where all the stuff you needed to store and organize went? Can we see some close ups of the shelves or inside of the drawers?
Also, and I’m asking this seriously, I don’t mean to come across obnoxiously, but do you ever feel overwhlemed by the amount of decorative stuff you have? I don’t mean the meaningful objects that are displayed but the things that are bought to fill a space? Watching you furnish the show house really got me thinking about stuff for the sake of stuff, what is “decor”, and what is just spray painted junk? I am asking to start a serious dialogue, not to be sensationalist- would love to see a post on your perspective about this…
Thankfully I was able to squeeze in a good amount of office stuff on those shelves (magazine files, storage boxes, stacks of notebooks and post-its, etc), and we’re planning another post all about how we organized everything later this week for you. As for decor, we just like to display what makes us happy or has meaning to us (there are two paintings of former houses up on those shelves along with some decorative yet functional things, like yellow horse-head bookends or a ceramic container where we hide office cords and flash drives). More on that soon!