Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you are enjoying your day today! The weather is sunny and beautiful here in Colorado, and we are excited to be sharing our most recent makeover with you!  We just finished our Mom’s surprise office makeover yesterday (and completed the entire project in less than 24 hours!).  Below you will find some of the Before & After pictures as well as detailed descriptions of where we found the items we used.

Office Makeover

A couple of weeks ago, our mom called asking us to help her re-design and decorate her home office. She just finished transitioning between two different real estate companies and had moved all of her things out of her old real estate office into her home office/craft room. She said we could design her office however we wanted, she just would like an L-desk in order to have adequate working space. It also just so happened that she had recently helped some friends of ours buy their first home and, as a thank you, they wanted to pitch money towards the remodel as a surprise to her. Thank you for the gift money Andy and Amy, she was so surprised and she loves her new office! :)

Becky and I set out to start brainstorming ideas over the last week…The one thing we knew for certain was that red had to be the main accent color in the room.  It is our mom’s favorite color and she already had a bright red 1.5-seat pull-out chair in the office that she wanted to keep.  Sometimes red can be too overwhelming if used too frequently or in too much quantity  (i.e. painted on all four walls, all red furniture, etc.), so we also wanted to downplay the red with black and white to give the room a modern and clean feel.

***NOTE: DO NOT JUDGE the before pictures too quickly because she had just moved her entire real estate office from a commercial building into her home office, set all of the items on the floor and had not had any time to organize it!

Before - office pic 1

The furniture in the room was way too large for the small room and it overwhelmed the area. (It’s best not to have wall-to-wall furniture or else it just makes the room feel cramped and too busy.) We knew we didn’t want to re-use the furniture so we started looking on Craigslist and in thrift stores for a desk and bookshelf. Becky actually ended up finding an L-shaped cherry wood desk on Craigslist and an oak bookshelf at the thrift store.

Before - office pic 2

First, we cleaned everything out of the room and then moved the furniture out too.

Once the room was empty, we needed to get the desk in the room…which turned out to be a major feat!  (Even our littlest Marlowe Lane helper, Jackson, was trying to help pull the furniture through the door!) :)

Smallest Marlowe Lane advisor

Becky’s handy husband, Erik, came on his lunch break to help us move the desk and he ended up having to remove the door to the office to make it fit. (Unfortunately, being prego does not lend itself to being very useful in a remodel when it comes to moving furniture and painting, so we had to recruit the husbands!) With some crazy maneuvering, we finally got the desk in the office.

Desk is bigger than doorway

Then we set out to paint the red accent wall.  We used ‘Red Delicious’ Glidden paint from the Home Depot in eggshell.  We also bought shelves at Home Depot to hang in the closet for added organization – more on that to come.

Painting wall accent Red

Becky did the main painting on the wall and then Shawn finished the trim. (The downside of Shawn being so good at trim is that he gets recruited to help! :)  We bribe him with good wine and food!)


Once the room was done, we used Annie Sloan chalk paint in ‘Pure White’ to paint the oak bookshelf we found at the thrift store.

bookshelf before

We did two coats of paint and one thin layer of wax. Chalk paint is amazing because you don’t have to prime it and it dries very quickly.  Becky and Shawn switched off painting the room and bookshelf, and ended up working until 11:30 pm painting so they deserve a special medal of honor.  I wish I could have helped!

Chalk Painting Bookshelf

The next morning, we started back on the room at 6 am (with Starbucks in hand and Christmas music playing of course).  We moved the bookshelf into the room once it was dry and then hung the new curtain rod.

Hanging Curtains

The black and white curtains that Becky already owned turned out to be the best part of the room!  Becky had bought these curtains for her dining room earlier this year and ended up not using them (or returning them yet) so we were able to use them in the office!  They were the perfect finishing touch – they really made the room come together.

Hanging Curtains 2

We also hung the new shelving unit in the closet for added organization (purchased at Home Depot).

Adding shelves in closet

Becky had a white rectangular mirror laying around her house not being used so we hung that as the anchor above the desk.  Mirrors can be great in small spaces to make the room appear larger.

After pic 1

Next on the list was decorating and organizing the bookshelf we had painted. We used baskets (purchased at TJ Maxx) to organize loose papers and small items, and then filled the rest of the area with books and meaningful personal items.

Bookshelf Office


After pic 6

We tried to use small red accents to keep the color scheme feeling unified with the rest of the room.

After pic 4

Below is a view of the corner of the desk from the desk chair.  The red couch fits now and can double as a guest bed because it pulls out to be a twin bed.

After pic 2

We hung pictures in black frames above the couch using family pictures.  We wanted to keep the room very personal and keep with the black and white theme.

After pic 5

Big thanks to our professional photographer sister, Jenny, for taking all of our great family photos these last few years!

After pic 8

And one final shot of the desk from the doorway…

office makeover 2b

We are very happy with how the room turned out, and were successful staying within budget and limited time to complete!  Our mom was SO excited and we think she will get a lot of use out of this room now.  It is always fun to help other people turn their spaces into meaningful and useful living areas. Now off to run some errands and get ready for the week to start.  Hope you all have a great Sunday! :)

Marlowe Lane Office Makeover Before and After


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