Like many of you, I work from home. But with kids, pets, and a spouse it can be difficult to separate work duties from home responsibilities. Earlier this year, I planned on building a $75,000 office on the back acreage of our property. In my opinion, moving work out of the home would allow me to form a more clear distinction from my professional and personal life.
But then, conviction set in. We still owe a similar amount on our mortgage. Would it be better to drastically pay down our home loan rather than building something new? For us, the answer was yes.
So instead, we decided to transform our upstairs loft into my new home office. A more affordable option for a fraction of the cost. Here's how it went down.
After debating how much we should invest into my workspace, a good friend made a stark statement, "Dale this year, you're going to make a million dollars in this room . You're going to be spending a significant amount of time in this space. Be wise, but create an environment that will support your vision." With that, we began.
My Personal Interior Design Process (Full Gallery Below)
For me, interior design is about creating an emotional response to an environment. For this particular space, I was looking for focus, comfort, and inspiration. Here are three elements I brought into the process.
1. Life Gaining, Not Life Draining
An overarching theme of this project was "life". I wanted a space that made me feel positive, clean, and at ease while I worked. Since my business is built on pouring out information to those who follow me, I needed an office that felt as if something was being poured back into me.
I joked with my wife and said, "Let's create a vacation destination in our home. A place where we can enjoy each other outside of the norm." I think she liked that idea.
2. White space
Too often people try to showcase a wall rather than what's on the wall. For me, I wanted my eye drawn solely to the items I place in the room, not on the room itself. I wanted the room to feel like a canvas. A place ready for careful artistic additions that furthered my desired emotional response. And because of my love for photography, I wanted the room to be flooded with natural light.
We must remember, good design is obvious but great design is transparent."
3. Brains & Beauty
Most people create a workspace with the philosophy of "function over form". Chairs that work well at desks with plenty of storage in rooms that are quiet with walls that are pragmatic. Then, you have people who live in the other camp of "form over function". Those who create the most beautifully uncomfortable room you've ever seen.
For my home office, I aimed for both. We added efficient drawer and cabinet sizes for storage, smart boxes for hiding wires from electrical devices, a wireless sound system for clean floors, creative yet functional wall utilities for hanging materials, a day bed for additional seating, and beautiful vintage-style insulated glass doors and windows for sound control.
As for the physical construction process, the project took a total of 4 weeks. I have provided an overview below:
Step #1: Closing Up Our Loft
I failed to take a true starting photo prior to construction. But the 260 square foot room was covered in basic gray carpet hosting a couch, bookshelves, and a small media center. Our first step was to remove it all and frame out the door jam for a wide 36-inch door and 3 areas for interior see-through windows. (Total Cost for Framing: $28.00)
Step #2: Brick & Drywall
There are a variety of fake brick solutions on the market, but we didn't do that. Even though I intended to paint the brick white from the beginning, we still laid and grouted authentic tumbled brick ourselves. (Total Cost: $854.00)
Step #3: Flooring & Trim
I had never installed laminate flooring before. The process was quite simple and remarkably quick. Three guys (including myself) finished the floor and drywall within 3.5 hours. (Total Cost: $921.00)
Step #4: Paint, Windows, & Door
Good painting is an art. Even though this room was all white, I didn't want to risk a poor paint job. We hired a local painter who, with his assistant, spent almost 5 hours masking and caulking, then spent 3 hours spraying two coats of Sherman Williams paint (3 gallons) across the entire room, and lastly they spent 1.5 hours cleaning up. An incredible job worth its cost. As for the door and windows, they were made by a local company at a shockingly affordable cost. (Total Cost Paint, Labor, Windows & Door: $1075.00)
The Finish Product: A Detailed Overview
The room turned out better than I expected. Each element from the desk and the cabinets to the bed and the wall coverings were designed and hand-built by friend and craftsman, Tony Roberts. If you'd like to use Tony for one of your projects, you can email me at Dale.Partridge@StartupCamp.com.
Headboard: This nearly 8ft by 4ft live-edge butterflied slab of black walnut became the centerpiece of the room. We didn't have enough room for wall art, so we decided the headboard itself should be the art. Interestingly, the headboard is not connected to the bed at all. Instead, we hung this 225lb piece of tree on a wooden diagnal frame from two studs in the wall.
Bed: The bed frame itself is a simple design made of Ash. A queen bed turned sideways to act as a day bed, yet still serves as an adequate place to sleep for guests. To keep the light white theme of the room, we lightened the wood by pickling it with 5 coats of whitewashed paint.
Sound: Next to the daybed, are two wifi-driven Sonos Play:1's that provide first-class sound controlled from your phone. We installed them on two 3 ft. speaker mounts to ensure the surround sound quality is top-notch.
Built-in Cabinets: Most white cabinets are made of cheap laminated particle board. Tony wouldn't have it. These cabinets are built from hardwood ply and Maple. Designed with a low-profile look accompanying wide-set drawers and shaker-style cabinets, the entire unit feels perfect in the space. As for paint, we brought the entire unit to a local paint shop where they were sprayed with three coats of a matching sheen.
Hardware: The room felt absent of metals. I decided to bring a brass theme into the room with these School House Electric drawer and cabinet pulls.
Drawers: Each drawer is built with dovetailed maple joints supported with high-end soft close hinges. The interiors are filled with simple drawer organizers found on Amazon.
Cabinets: I wanted space for functional items like paper, a printer, and extra office supplies. Tony developed easily adjustable shelves for maximum space and soft-close doors to eliminate slamming.
Shelf Decor: I filled the shelves with books I felt would remind me of my hobbies. Books that would bring inspiration and relief when I need it most.
Desk: Made from a similar slab of 2 in. Black Walnut, I decide to go with a live edge desktop that brought a natural curve to a very symmetrical room. The desk is supported by a perfect cube cabinet box and a Maple wall ledger.
The Cube: The cube is made of hardwood ply with pickled Ash drawer fronts and custom-cut Walnut pulls. The drawers are supported by soft closing hinges and again filled with simple organizers found on Amazon.
Cork & Chalk Wall: I collect lots of paper trinkets and having a large place to share them has been a desire of mine for some time. The wall is a solid piece of 8 ft. by 5 ft. cork that came in a roll from Bangor Cork. Then, we glued the 1/4 in. cork sheet to a congruent piece of 1/2 in. MDF and then glued the entire thing to the wall with basic construction adhesive. The adjoining chalk wall is 3/4 in. MDF painted with two coats of basic chalk paint wrapped with a 2 in. white trim all found at Home Depot.
Decor Pieces: I gathered a variety of small pieces from local shops and brands that reinforced the elements of brass, glass, and life.
My Book: Since my Wall Street Journal Bestselling book matched the theme of the room, I had to snap a quick shot ;)
The View: For some reason, I didn't snag a shot of the view from the office deck upstairs. But I took this photo from the lower deck just two days ago. An incredible look a the Three Sisters mountains – a portion of the Oregon Cascades. A tiny slice of Heaven right in our backyard.
In the end, I'm glad I took my friend's advice. My new home office has already brought a greater level of productivity and focus to my work hours. But more than that, it's become a place for Veronica and I to end the day enjoying a movie in a room that feels like we're on vacation.
Let Me Help You Work From Home
If you don't know, I'm in the business of helping people start their own business. I'm not a scammer – actually more of a family man (you can read my story here). I've had over 2,000 students go through my program in the past 18 months. If you're looking to chase a dream, launch a profitable blog, or build a business consider my program below.
What do you think of my home office? Do you work from home? Did you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below.