Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Cold.

This morning as I write this post, the temperature outside is in the low 20's. So I can think of nothing more appropriate to write about than outerwear. It's obvious, I know, but I promise to include lots of pretty looks.

I've said before here on the blog that I love winter because with the outerwear look, you're essentially getting to put together two outfits every day. It's double the fashion! How can that be bad, right? So, today I just want to show some fabulous outwear pieces to jazz up your closet this winter.

For starters, get yourself something with fur. Faux or real, whatever you prefer, although real is always SO incredibly warm. I know a lot of people take issue with real fur for the cruelty aspect, but fortunately there is a LOT of really great faux fur out there right now. Shop around- you'll see what I mean.

If you're new to fur, go for accents of it as an introduction. It will seem far less overwhelming:


A fur collar, or trim on your cuffs, or even a fur hat will all add a touch of elegance and opulence to your winter outerwear. Even a scarf or head wrap added to a basic wool coat can completely transform your look.

My second favorite choice for this season is the quilted look. It's been around for a few seasons now, but it's more streamlined and sporty than ever. There are also some more sophisticated quilted options out there so you don't have to feel too dressed-down in them. There are poly-fil options as well as down and other feather options, so pick your fave.


Quilted by rtboo featuring a j.crew vest

I love how geometric the quilting can be- which, by the way, is another trend for this season- linear, geometric patterns will be everywhere.

What's your go-to outerwear look? Do you have a collection of coats and accessories, or do you have one classic staple that you wear just about every day? Leave a comment and tell me!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shoesday Tuesday: Bows!

A couple of weeks ago, one of my coworkers showed up wearing these:


Of course I told her this, but it was pretty obvious how much I loved them when I squealed as she walked in the door. She knew immediately why I was squealing and said, "I thought of you when I bought these!" While I'm happy to inspire someone's sartorial choices, I have to admit I was a little jealous that these bad boys aren't in MY closet. Then she told me that they were also available in a cobalt blue: 

It's like a knife in my heart that the only size left on DSW's website is 6.5! If that's not tragic, I don't know what is. Well, actually, I do understand that a shoe not being available in your size is actually the furthest thing from being truly tragic, so forgive my melodrama, friends. But can't you just see those amazing heels in my closet? I think I would actually prefer the black ones- I'd get a lot more use out of them. But I suppose it's not meant to me. Seeing these shoes did make me go on a hunt for anything with an amazing bow on it.

I thought these were pretty fabulous:

Mojo Moxy Bettie Pump, DSW, $49.95

And then I found all of these: 


BOWS! by rtboo featuring red boots

And then I remembered that these are already in my closet:

You may or may not remember them from Beth's wedding. They were excruciating, but worth the pain for sure. Also, as far as bows go, these are far and away the best bow I've ever encountered on a shoe and after realizing that, I felt surprisingly content despite not being able to buy the ones from DSW above. Shocking, I know. Although, I can't promise that I won't be stalking those shoes online for the next few months, hoping and praying that they become available in an 8.5. Don't judge me. 

Happy Shoesday Tuesday everyone!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stylish Coworker: Jess

Remember my post about persimmon pants? Well, my oh-so-stylish coworker Jess showed up wearing the most fabulous burgundy pair of pants and as soon as I saw her, I snapped her photo to share with you all.

Seriously, she's the cutest thing ever, am I right? 

So there you have it- someone totally rocking the colored pants trend right there in real life. Have you found your perfect pair of red pants yet? If not, get out there and do it! You will not regret it. I promise. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wear This: Leopard and Cream

Leopard print, oh leopard print. You are sometimes so tricky to wear, aren't you? I have some leopard print heels that I wear every now and then and a fabulous leopard print dress that will be great for a date night one of these days. But aside from that, I don't often head in the leopard print direction when I'm out shopping. Here's why: it's a tricky print to wear. Seriously tricky. Why so tricky? Because if the garment is just a smidge too tight, or the top is on the borderline of being too low-cut, or the hemline on the dress is just a half inch too short, then your leopard print look is suddenly SLUTTY. We try not to do slutty here on S...tNB, so I'm going to tell you how to wear leopard so that you ALWAYS look classy. We're classy here on S...tNB, okay?

For starters, all of those things I just mentioned- low cut top, too tight anything, too short skirt or dress- avoid them all when wearing leopard print. And that goes for anything you pair WITH something leopard print. (By the way, this goes for cheetah and zebra and basically any animal print, but since leopard is far and away the most popular, I'll be using it in this post.) By this I mean that if you are wearing a leopard-print skirt that is an appropriate fit and length, you should still be careful not to wear a top with it that is too low cut, etc.

Second, try to pair leopard with something other than black. Black is so harsh and also such an obvious choice for a neutral. Think outside the box and wear something else- camel, chocolate brown, or my personal favorite neutral for leopard: CREAM. It's the perfect combination of soft and edgy.

Leopard and Cream

As you can see from the polyvore set above, it works for casual outfits as well as dressy looks. You can wear this to the office or out on a date. It's just as good a look for lunch with your girlfriends as it is for parent/teacher night.

A final tip when wearing leopard print is to keep your accessories minimal. It's fine to add a pop of color with your shoes, a bag or even a statement necklace, but if you do so, stop there. Don't over-accessorize and definitely don't wear multiple bold pieces. After all, the leopard print is pretty bold on its own, so too many other bold, eye-catching pieces along with it and you'll just end up looking like a mess. Trust me on this.

I think I may have just inspired myself to go shopping for more leopard print pieces for my wardrobe. Having a style blog is really not good for my checking account.

Anyway, enjoy your day, everyone and as always- thank you for stopping by and reading!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mixing Prints Like a Boss

My friends Kate and Mike got married earlier this month and while it typically goes without saying that the bride looked gorgeous (she totally did), it's not often that the groom's outfit is anything special. A black tux, a grey tux, a brown suit, a grey suit... meh. Right? Well, Kate and Mike were not having that. They put together what I think it quite possibly the best groom's look I've ever seen, so even though Kate was positively radiant in her ivory lace Vera Wang gown, I'm going to focus on Mike for this post. And you will now see why:

Friends, this is how you mix prints. Just look at that shirt and tie combo! It's flawless. The scale of prints, the color combination, the way it works so well with the suit. Seriously, I've been raving about it since I saw it!

I stole all these photos from Facebook, but saved the best for last- and these are from the pros over at Rodeo and Co. Photography:

I'm proud to say I made Kate's veil and I think it came out pretty fabulous. Almost as fabulous as Mike's outfit. 

Seriously, how cute is this couple?!?!

So, gentlemen AND ladies, take note of how to mix prints like a boss. This is how it's done. End of story.

Enjoy the rest of your day, friends! And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Persimmon Pants

I'm the absolute worst when it comes to dry cleaning. I hate dealing with it, so I usually wait until the end of a season to bring everything in. Then I promptly forget that I've got clothes waiting to be picked up until months later and suddenly I'm getting phone calls from the cleaners saying, "Come get your stuff!" I did that recently, I'm ashamed to admit. But the great part about doing that is seeing what fabulous stuff I forgot that I own! I picked up a few things this week and among them was my oh-so-stellar pair of red velvet pants! I love these pants!

Anyway, rediscovering these pants reminded me of a conversation I had with Beth a little over a week ago. We were walking down to the SoWa vintage market in South Boston (more on that soon) and a woman walked by in a pair of bright green pants. We started talking about this fabulous new trend of brightly colored jeans and pants and Beth mentioned that she's been wanting a pair of fabulous red pants for a while now. But not true red, more like persimmon or rust. Something that works for fall, but that could also be somewhat season-less. And let's face it, doesn't everyone need a pair of completely fabulous persimmon pants? No doubt.

So, to inspire all you lovelies out there, here are my picks in a range from dark orange to deep burgundy, from skinny to wide-leg, high-waist to hipster, there's a pant here for anyone and everyone, I promise:

Persimmon Pants

"But just how do you wear such a bold pant, Renee?" you ask. I know, it can be tricky.

For starters, the fit has to be impeccable. Take them to a tailor and get the length just right. Nip the waist, the thigh, the ankle- whatever it is that needs tweaking, have them do it and make sure these pants perfectly tailored. There is no other way, truly.

Next, find some rich, neutral pieces to layer onto the look- colors like chocolate brown, charcoal grey and creamy white will all work beautifully. Go with whatever compliments your skin tone, or what you like best. You can't go wrong. As long as your shade of pants isn't too close to pumpkin orange, you could even pair them with black. But be careful- too pumpkin-y and then combination with black just screams, "I love HALLOWEEN!" And I, personally HATE Halloween. But regardless of your feelings towards the holiday, you probably don't want your sartorial choices to be telling the world that you love Halloween. Just sayin'. Also, avoid a bold print. You want the pants to be the focal point, so any eye-catching print will likely just compete with them. So not cool.

Finally, add some complimentary accessories and head out the door confident in the knowledge that you are seriously ROCKING red pants. Then leave a comment here and tell me how awesome it felt. No, seriously. Leave me a comment- you know how I love them!

If you're having trouble picturing the look, here's some inspiration for you:

More Persimmon Pants

I think I've inspired myself to wear my red pants this week! Off to the closet I go- gotta plan the outfit!

Have an awesome day, everyone! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Healthy Choice, Perhaps? (Warning: It's a long post)

On this day in 2011, I was flying down to North Carolina to meet the Professor for the first time face-to-face. We'd been "dating" for just over two months via phone, email and Skype by then, so it seemed like the next logical step. That was the day he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. Of course I said, "Yes!"

Fast forward to today- November 5, 2013 and I've been single for just over two months. Over Labor Day weekend the Professor and I called it quits. It wasn't an easy decision to make and there were lots of tears from both of us. I don't really want to go into all the details, as it still stings, but the bottom line is that just because you love someone doesn't mean you're meant to be with them. We probably would have figured that out a lot sooner had we lived closer to each other in the beginning of our relationship. I don't have any regrets with regard to my relationship- the time I spent on/in it and the eventual ending of it. After all, it helped shape who I am today and that's not so bad, right?

My coworker McKenzie went on maternity leave early in August and at the time, the Professor and I were having serious conversations about my moving down to North Carolina to be there full time. We talked about where I would live, what kind of job I could get, how I would fit into his life and also make my own, etc. When she came back from her maternity leave a little over two months later, she said she hardly recognized me. I was now a single girl, who'd moved into a new apartment on the seacoast of New Hampshire instead of the mountains of North Carolina and who had also suddenly started running. Yup, I've started running. Who knows how long it will last, but right now I'm training for a Turkey Trot 5K and I'm only up to about 1.6 miles. Yikes! I've got a ways to go and only a few weeks to get there!

Since the break-up, I've tried to remain focused on things that make me happy, things that are healthy and things that keep me busy and distracted. First up, a new apartment. I decided to move closer to work and in doing so, reduced my daily commute by a little over 60 minutes. No joke. Such a great decision!

Seriously cute, right? When I first looked at the apartment, the only thing I didn't love was the wallpaper in the kitchen. The owners had done such a great job on everything else and I still don't understand why they left it. Anyway, I figured if I made everything in the kitchen as bright and cheerful as possible, you'd really just notice all the bright, cheerful things and the wallpaper would fade into the background. So, what's the verdict? Did I succeed? I made the curtains myself and painted the table, too. Here's the "before":

Obviously, it's in two pieces in the photos, but isn't it just the prettiest darn pedestal table you've ever seen? My friend Amy scored it on craigslist- she saw the ad and inquired about it for herself, and only afterwards found out they were actually selling TWO of them! At the time, I hadn't signed a lease, but how on earth could I have passed on this gorgeous table? Honestly, try to find a prettier pedestal table than this and you'll absolutely struggle. The best part? I paid $65 for it! I spent an afternoon painting it the following week and I'm quite proud of the end result: 

The color on top is called "Spiced Butternut" and the bottom is "Powdered Snow." It's actually the leftover white paint from when I renovated Juhree's office a few months ago. I used the same primer for this project as well. I think the color is perfect and works so well with the salmon curtains! 

There's more art on the walls now and I've moved a few things around, but I'm really happy with the end result of the kitchen. The thing about moving was that most of what I own has been in storage for the last three years. I sold the majority of my furniture when I moved from PA back to NH, but I kept all the little bits- books, music, kitchen stuff, artwork, etc. When I was unpacking in the new place, it felt a little like Christmas Day- I kept saying things like, "Ooh! A toaster!" and "Wow! I forgot I have this!" But as for the furniture, I was basically starting all over. I basically owned my bedroom set and not much more in the way of furniture. I scouted craigslist, Goodwill, Salvation Army and lots of second-hand furniture stores. I also hit Target, Marshalls and Home Goods pretty hard for some basic decor pieces to add a little character. Here's the end result...

The bedroom:

I still have to make valances for the windows, but I haven't found fabric that's quite what I'm looking for. I'm thinking grey and white stripes, but that's proving difficult to find, so I may have to come up with an alternate plan. We'll see...

Oh, I almost forgot the best part of the bedroom- the CLOSET!

I literally need a step stool to get to the top shelves! 

My friends have been calling me "Imelda." I'm not ashamed. I love shoes. Also, I don't even own a tenth of what she did, so there. :) 

Now for my favorite room, the living room, or as I've taken to calling it, "The Parlor":

When I first started planning for the apartment, I pictured a pristine white sofa. Then I saw that glorious lime green one and my world was shaken. As I lay on it, trying to picture my new living room design and attempting to wrap my brain around the idea of a lime green sofa, I suddenly felt happy and inspired by the challenge. And I have to say that these photos are really not doing the color justice. It's really lime-y! And in the end, I found a fabulous cream-colored chair-and-a-half with a matching ottoman that I'm using as a coffee table. In the end, I didn't have to choose! Oh, and yes, that's a turquoise blue piano. Because a lime green sofa isn't quite enough color, I had to turn my piano from this: 

Side note: Strongman Piano Movers are worth EVERY PENNY. 

To this:

More of that fabulous Zinsser primer! 

And finally to this: 

I'm quite proud of the paint job I did. I took the day off work when I had the piano moved and decided to spend the afternoon painting it BLUE! I couldn't be happier with the result and it is truly a great conversation piece. I bought the piano second hand from a very nice gentleman on craigslist. Much like the kitchen table, I hadn't yet signed a lease when I bought it. Fortunately, the original owner of the piano was an absolute sweetheart and offered to hold onto it until I was ready to move. He kept it for nearly a month and then was wonderfully flexible and accommodating when it came time to move it. I know that craigslist has a bad reputation (for legitimate reasons), but the last two months, craigslist has been a source of friendliness, kindness and fabulously cheap furniture! No joke, I've met some really nice people there lately, so while I still encourage people to be cautious and careful when meeting up with strangers, I absolutely recommend New Hampshire craigslist without reservation. 

Finally, the last room to come together was the sewing room: 

Believe it or not, this tiny room took the longest to unpack and set up. I still have yet to use it, but that will be changing very soon as I have some sewing projects to complete ASAP. 

So, there you have it- a little tour of my new home. I'm very comfortable and happy here, although if you'd told me a year ago that I would be living in a place like this, in this town, I would have said you were crazy. In addition to moving, I've been re-defining my daily life. It used to revolve around nightly Skype dates and countdowns to the next flight south. Now, I'm.... running. But seriously, all you can do after a tough break-up is wake up every morning knowing that it's all for a reason and there's something better out there (for both of you). I'm past the point of feeling sad all the time and I'm ready for what the future has in store. I wish nothing but good things for the Professor and I know he feels the same way towards me. Is there a better way to break up? I don't think so. 

So, in addition to running, I'm resolving to blog more! I still love fashion and style and this blog has always been something so fun for me to do. It's an ideal hobby, really. So, check back again soon! I've got lots to show and tell! :) 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Denim Nightmare

I love denim just as much as the next person. Maybe not quite as much as cowboys and rednecks, but I do love denim. Just like most people, I've got a dozen pair of jeans for every possible occasion and/or shoe. I've got a couple of denim skirts and a couple of denim jackets. What I don't have is anything like this:

Recognize Melanie

Melanie and I, along with her husband Kevin, were bopping around some northern New Hampshire towns a few weekends ago and we happened upon this tragedy. The worst thing about these bags is that they used to be on someone's a$$. 

But don't you love Mel's skirt? At least she looks adorable, right? It kind of makes up for this tragic abuse of denim! Although one could argue that a wash like that is no worse off as a hideous handbag, since they likely started out as 90's-era mom jeans. Either way, like I said, it's a tragic abuse! 

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment- you know how I love them! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

On a Sewing Kick...

Lately, I've had some fun sewing super simple, but super cute pieces for my summer wardrobe. It all started when one of my friends at church asked me to help her make a maxi-skirt. I immediately agreed, but then thought, "Well, I've never made one, so maybe I should do a dry-run first..." Here is the result:

Excuse the fuzzy photo- the lighting was terrible. 

I had originally hoped to have the stripes at a bit more of an angle, but I didn't have enough fabric to make it work. However, I think I prefer the end result even better. I've worn it to work and got lots of compliments on it. I posted a picture on Facebook which resulted in some chatting back and forth with other crafty friends. After all the chatting, I felt inspired, so I raided my fabric stash and found some white eyelet that I'd purchased at Mood so long ago I'm embarrassed to admit how long it's been sitting around. 

After about 45 minutes at the sewing machine, I had this little gem: 

My favorite detail is in the back, though: 
How fun is that pink zipper? 

I wore it to work with my polka-dot chambray shirt and some pink ballet flats. I'm pretty sure I looked adorable: 

I should have taken a better picture. Sorry. 

Finally, after feeling so productive and creative, I decided to attempt a maxi-dress. I purchased a black and white printed jersey at Joann Fabric and I'm pretty thrilled with the result: 
Again, forgive the fuzzy photo. 

I tried it on afterwards with a mint skinny belt and it was adorable. I'll try to remember to snap a photo when I wear it to work tomorrow! 

It's funny how being creative actually breeds more creativity. And talking to other creative people helps inspire. It's a good reminder to me that I need to not only think about doing these kinds of projects, but I need to talk about them and then actually do them. 

Anyone else out there feeling creative lately? Leave a comment and tell me all about it! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Stylish Co-Worker: Ashley

You're all well aware of my love for stupid, little hats, but there are some others out there who love them as well. Namely, my fabulous coworker Ashley. She's pretty much the most adorable person I've ever met and I just love her. She's always smiling and laughing, even if it's to tell me how crazy her bride is at that moment.

Not too long ago, she said to me, "I want to wear a tiny hat, too!" So, I brought in my small collection of stupid, little hats and let her take her pick. I think she looked absolutely adorable:

Funny story: I came very close to purchasing that exact same dress myself. It was part of one of the many diffusion lines that Target has done recently, although I don't recall which one exactly. 

We struggled a bit to keep the hat nestled in her mane of curly hair, but she loved wearing the hat and I loved seeing another person walking around in one! 

Didn't I say she was adorable? I don't lie. 

Thanks for reading, y'all! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Non-Shower Baby Shower

Did I mention on here that there are TWO pregnant stylists at work? Well, there are and they're both due next month. It's been crazy with hormones at MD lately and not just for the knocked up chicks.

Anyway, the owner hosted a lovely non-shower for the two of them last weekend and it was a great time. I call it a "non-shower" because we all just put together a pool of money for them rather than buy presents. Since they'd both had traditional showers with their friends and family, it made the most sense. In my opinion, that's the best kind of shower- the one where you aren't forced to sit for hours watching someone open presents. If I ever get married or have a baby, I'm going to want a non-shower for sure.

Anyway, the event was great and everyone looked stylish and cute, of course. Here's a fabulous photo of most of us:

It was crazy hot and humid the afternoon of the shower, but we stayed cool by staying in the shade as much as possible. I wish I had a better shot from the day, but I wasn't super focused on snapping photos. I did manage to get one of the two preggers chicks before the end:

I have to hand it to anyone who can be 8 months pregnant in the middle of the summer and still look half-way decent. And these two ladies look more than decent if you ask me. Brandie (on the left) isn't even wearing a maternity dress, which kind of cracks me up.
A few months prior to the non-shower, the planner Leslie and I were at Madeleine's and I'd just played her a song on my uke. She lit up and exclaimed, "You have to write a song for the babies and sing it at the shower!" At the time, the shower was months away, so I just replied, "Sure!" Then I promptly forgot all about it. Suddenly it was the night before the shower and I realized I had never written the song for the babies! I pulled out the uke and about an hour later, I'd written what seemed like an appropriate song. At the shower, when the time seemed appropriate, Leslie told me to get the uke- it was time for the song.
None of the iPhone recordings from the "live debut" were all that great, so you can't see the actual performance. However, Jeff (McKenzie's husband) requested that I post the song on YouTube so they could hear it whenever they want. I happily obliged, and you can enjoy it, too:
The Professor gave me the best compliment which was that it was exactly what you think when you're expecting a baby. Also, make note of my blue striped dress- I originally bought it in grey at Old Navy. You may remember it from this post. Well, I ended up getting it in three other colors because it's just that awesome. Too bad for you, it's pretty much sold out now. Sorry.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Not Exactly a Style Post....

... At least not in the clothing sense. This post is actually about a little renovation project that I recently completed and I'm way too proud not to share it! And to be honest, it's still about personal style and putting your best foot forward, so in that sense, it's perfect for my blog! Who knows? Maybe I'll do more projects like this in the future and blog about them, too! It's my blog, so I guess it's my rules, right?

Anyway, enough intro. Let's get to it. Almost a year ago, I submitted a proposal to my boss and owner of Madeleine's Daughter, Elizabeth. I suggested that we re-decorate the Store Manager's office. I had observed how much that office is used and I felt it wasn't a great representation of the store. We interview potential new employees in that office. We meet with vendors in that office. We have weekly manager meetings in that office. We do a LOT in that office. Anyway, it was half-joke, half serious that I submitted the proposal. She read it through and said that while it wasn't a bad idea, perhaps the Store Manager- Juhree- and I could focus a little on keeping it neater first. Hmmpf.

Well, about two weeks ago, a mutual friend posted on Facebook that she was getting rid of some office furniture. She was practically giving it away and in the list of items was a sleek, slim desk with a hutch that fit perfectly into my original proposal. I mentioned it to Elizabeth. I said that maybe this was a sign that it was time for the renovation proposal to come out from under the other files on her desk. She pulled it out, looked it over again and said, "Okay, what if I were to give you a shoestring budget? Something like, $500. Could you do it?" I jumped for joy- literally. I may have even said, "I can do it for $250!"

In the end we agreed that I could spend up to $500 and not a penny more. Of course for the first week of the project, I was determined to keep it around $250, but after a few trips to Home Depot to do some price shopping, I quickly realized that was an unrealistic amount to aim for. So, with $500 and a little creativity, I completely re-decorated her office in just a couple of weeks. Here are a couple of "before" photos:

What a cluttered mess, right? And can we talk about the chairs around the table? Not exactly "eclectic." More like, "schizophrenic." Also, I hated Juhree's big, faux-leather, black office chair. It looks like something that belongs in a cubicle. 

The floral chair on the right was my "jumping off" point in terms of inspiration. It was one of only two pieces of furniture that not only remained in the office, but also remained unaltered. It's pretty, it's girlie and it's light, so it stayed. 

Tacky bridal advertisements were the ONLY decor. 

The challenges I faced in perking up the office included:
- Absolutely ZERO natural light exists in this office. There are no windows at all and just two overhead fluorescent lights.
- In addition to the lack of natural light, the walls were painted a deep coral, although they read more as a dark red in the photos. At the time that Juhree chose this paint color, it didn't bother me, but over time I've come to detest it. 
- Oppressive, mis-matched furniture that barely functions and only seems to clutter the room and make it feel small and confined. 
- Obviously a shoestring budget is never ideal, but I'm a firm believer in the idea that a little creativity and a lot of elbow grease can make up for many dollars if you're willing to put in the effort. I was. 

My goals included: 
- Make the office warm and inviting- a place where people are happy to be. 
- Achieve a level of decor that is representative of the company as a whole. (If you've been to MD, you know that the decor in the store is stellar and is a visual representation of our high standards throughout the company.)
- Ensure the functionality of the office as both a meeting space and the area where Juhree does the majority of her work. Form without function would just be a waste of Elizabeth's money. 

Here's what I did: 

First, I picked up the desk. I wish I had a better photo, but this is the only "before" one that exists. It's from the original Facebook post advertising its sale:

The desk I bought is the one in the upper left. It came with the hutch for a $50 donation to a charity of my friend's choosing. If you're interested in donating, here's the link

Next, I hit the thrift stores. I lucked out and happened to walk into Salvation Army on Half-Price Furniture Day. I walked out with these chairs for a grand total of $5.99:

I also got a simple wooden chair at Saver's for $6.99. I didn't take a "before" photo of it by itself, but you can see it in the first "before" photo of the office up above. It's the one with white back and legs and a stained wood seat. 

I made arrangements to pick up the desk later that week and then I hit craigslist like it was my JOB. I found the following gems almost immediately: 

$25 bookcase

$12 swivel office chair. 

My project started on Friday. By Sunday, I had acquired all the furniture I would need to implement my design. Of course, none of it was the right color, but I had a plan for that, too. 

Next, I went to Home Depot and Joann Fabrics for some supplies. I purchased paint samples for the wall and furniture colors. You can see in this photo where I painted the "swatches." 

The middle "swatch" was the hands-down favorite of the entire staff. It's called "Wildflowers" by Benjamin Moore. 

At Joann Fabrics, I purchased fabric to re-upholster the metal chairs I found at Salvation Army. I bought a yard just to be safe, but I probably could have done the project with just 3/4. I went to the store with a 40% off coupon, but as luck would have it, the fabric I wanted was on sale at 50% off. I paid $17.49 for it. That coupled with two cans of Rustoleum spray paint in a warm cream color was all I had to buy to transform the two chairs into this: 

Adorable, right? I'm in love! The mint in the center is just like the color of the "jumping off" chair and the shades of yellow include the "Wildflowers" color, too! It could not have been more perfect fabric! 

With the completion of the chairs, and the choosing of the paint, I realized that my project was well on its way to success, but there was one major road block. The desk. Go back and look at the first photo and you'll see what a monster it is. Really, go ahead. I'll wait.


See what I mean? My original proposal suggested we donate the desk just because that seemed like the easiest way to get someone to haul it away. But then I had an optimistic moment and I posted it on craigslist for $75 or best offer. I admit, my ad was a little ridiculous: 

Apparently, on Craigslist, ridiculous works because THREE HOURS LATER it sold! The next day, the desk's new owners came and hauled it away and they even paid the full $75 asking price. With the desk gone, there was nothing left to stand in my way, so I recruited some painters and made plans for a painting party. The scheduled day was Wednesday July 3rd, since the store was closed both that day AND the next day for the 4th of July holiday. I figured that gave us a day to paint and a day for it to dry completely. If all went according to plan, Friday July 5th (today) was to be my "final touches" day. 

There was a week between the desk selling and the painting party. While at work, I stayed focused on the brides I was dealing with, but every minute outside the store was spent obsessing over the details and finishing touches. Juhree had a bit of a meltdown when her old desk sold. She freaked out a little about having to come up with all new systems for her workflow. I assured her that it was a top priority of mine that the office be a place that functioned well for her. We came up with solutions that made both of us happy and only cost a few more dollars to implement. Teamwork, baby! 

Anyway, on Wednesday, everything went according to plan. My volunteers were pretty content to be compensated with pizza and a 12-pack of Sam Summer. We all got a little messy and we were all pretty sore by the end of the day, but I sure did enjoy the fruits of our labor: 

Wallcolor: Benjamin Moore "Wildflowers"
Desk, bookcase and small chair color: Behr "Powdered Snow"
Swivel chair color: Behr "April Mist"

The swivel chair color was a last minute decision. I'm not sure what made me think of it, but one moment I just knew that chair had to be different. I'm in love with the end result. Wednesday night I slept like a baby. I woke up early on Thursday morning and before heading out to the beach for the holiday, I swung by the store and added some touch-ups to the furniture. If you're planning to paint furniture, particularly cheap, second hand and non-wood furniture, I HIGHLY recommend you use the Zinsser primer- that stuff rocks. Paint LOVES it. You slap it on real quick, let it dry and then your paint just glides right on and sticks like mad. I've heard horror stories of people painting furniture and the paint just resisting every step of the way. This primer is the bees knees and will save you many sleepless nights and headaches stressing over your botched furniture make-over. Best 18 bucks I spent on this project. No joke. 

With the hardest parts out of the way- selling the desk and painting- the office was finally ready to be put together. As they say, the devil's in the details and this was no exception. I chose accessories that not only functioned for the space, but that also worked with the new color scheme. I bought inexpensive cardboard banker's boxes at Office Max and covered them with brown craft paper. I printed out the labels and then laminated them before gluing them to the covered boxes: 

For the how-to tutorial, click here

Baskets and mini boxes from Dollar Tree hold all sorts of unsightly office items and a few office storage pieces from Target not only function for Juhree's preferred workflow method of "piles of things," but they look pretty, too! 

Finally, a splash of coral, some personal touches with lots of photos and a wall of fashion artwork and my design was complete! 

The is the wall that used to have the tacky framed bridal advertisements. Much improved, methinks. Your thoughts? 

Is that owl amazing or what? I named him Privilege, because that's what it is to live in this office. And yes, that is a photo of me and Juhree riding the Batman roller coaster at Six Flags. 

Are you ready to see the finished office? This post is seriously epic, and if you're still reading, you've earned the big reveal: 

This photo was taken before the computer and printer were put back in place. My next proposal will be for a MacBook Pro because let's be honest, computer towers and huge monitors are just gross. 

Here's the office with all the necessary equipment: 

Admittedly, it's still lovely. Just take a moment to let it all sink in and then move on to the other views... 

The light beige area rug and the fashion pictures on the far wall were some of my favorite touches because they weren't necessarily the first things I thought of when I planned this renovation, but they really complete the overall look and feel of the space. So, for my first major redecorating project, I think I did a pretty great job. And I was under budget- the ending tally was $434 with about $170 of that going to paint and primer. It took two gallons of paint+primer combo to cover the dark coral walls with the light yellow. TWO, yes TWO professional painters told me not to bother priming the walls. I took their advice. If I were to go back in time and do it all again, I would prime, professional advice be damned. 

To view all the inspiration, before and after photos and the how-to tutorials, visit my Pinterest page Juhree's Office Renovation Project. But before you head over there, drop a comment below and tell me how all my hard work paid off. And as always, thanks for reading! 
Related Posts with Thumbnails