Office Setup

Things are gettin’ wild over here.

Furniture and belongings are crammed into rooms they don’t normally live in. Dust and extensions cords cover almost every surface in the entire house. The only room that’s even semi-clean is our master bedroom. Semi, because we’re currently using all 225 square feet of it as our bedroom, office and dining room. (Insert mental image of me typing this post on our desktop computer, which is sitting atop our dining room table, which is in nestled into the Southwest corner of our bedroom right now, here.)

It’s a madhouse, I tell ya. But I have high hopes that after we’re done doin’-what-we-gotta-do, it’ll be a gladhouse once again, and all this DIY chaos will be nothin’ but a memory.

We’re working in what used to be our guest bedroom this week.

Click the play button on the audio player below this sentence to experience our before photo of the room the way we experienced it in real life, the first time we walked through the house…

(Freaky fact: We closed on the house on Halloween of 2007)

Over the past few years, we’ve done our best to de-spook-ify the room.

First, we ripped out the dog pee-saturated carpet. Then, one day, we felt extra adventurous, and decided to rip down a wall’s worth of sheetrock…

(We knew the wood was under there because we saw it in the closet.)

After that, we added an assortment of Pottery Barn bedding I bought on eBay…

(“Kristine” throw pillows, and Blue and White ticking striped quilt and shams…can’t remember the name of the pillow in front.)

…and sprinkled a variety of other inexpensive items around the room too. We made wall art using Walmart frames, our own photography, and some of our favorite quotes…

Around that same time, we traded our cherry wood queen-size bed for my in-laws 41-year-old, full-size bed, and threw down a $39 ERSLEV cotton floor rug from Ikea

(That rug fits in the washing machine and bleaches squeaky clean every time!)

But starting this year, we need the room to function as our home office/photography studio.

So we took out all the furniture the other day and assessed the situation…

We decided to keep these two walls pretty clear of furniture so that we can shoot different set-ups on them when we need to…

We shot our Flea Market Style magazine photos on this wall, and it really worked out great…

Over on the other side of the room, we’re gonna build some kind of desk for our computers…

Something sorta like this…

…but probably not L-shaped. Of course we’ll utilize that rest of that tall wall in front of the desk too. I’m thinkin’ shelves, and a chalkboard for sure, as well as some kind of insanely over-sized, leaning, wooden bead game.

(Pottery Barn)

I’m kidding.

This is kind of what I have in mind for the wall, organization-wise…

(Pottery Barn)

First up though, the floor. We’ve been dyin’ to get rid of the super uneven coat of stain and deep scratches for quite a while now…

Stay tuned for video footage of our progress, and (hopefully) some updated images of our newly-refinished office floor!


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  1. says

    Can’t wait to see it done. I know how much work those floors can be, but they are so worth it when they’re done. As usual, those Pottery Barn inspiration images are gorgeous. I imagine you don’t want the game because you would probably spend too much time playing and giggling! Ahhh to be a kid again! But on a side note, it really looks easy to make…ya sure you don’t want to try one for the little one who will be coming along soon!

  2. says

    isn’t it funny how when you are a renovation addict– living in that kind of craziness is at the same time well obviously crazy but also FANTASTIC :) it means stuff is happening and that is just the best feeling. :) it gets slightly less awesome with babes in tow.. they are just slightly flexible. :) can’t wait to see it!!!

  3. says

    Looking forward to another fantastic redo. You know that’s what your readers love most, don’t you?
    Also, I cannot tell you how it pleases me to hear that the cheap Ikea rug goes in the wash and comes out clean!

  4. says

    Wow! You have been busy. How many bedrooms do you have in The Lettered Cottage? I thought the guest room was being converted to the future Palmer(s) room. I’m so confused!

    Your Friend,

    • Layla says

      Nope! The room we’re currently using as a home office will become the kids room. Our reading room will become the new guest room. :-)

  5. says

    I have been curious about your ‘board’ wall – nice to see a photo of ‘when it happened’. Looking forward to seeing the steps up to, and your finished, office.

  6. Jenn says

    The master bedroom in our house is the same shade of mint green that you once had….except ours has the added bonus of PINK trim! Serious YIKES! I keep trying to convince the hubby that it’s time to put our vision into play and make the romantic hideaway we dream up, but thoughts of scraping yet another popcorn ceiling has him dragging his feet. Perhaps a peak at your transformation will give him some motivation!

  7. says

    It’s looking great! I immediately went to look at Ikea rugs. I’ve never bought anything from there but your rug is lovely and the price is great! I might have to buy one!

  8. Melinda Ke says


    I love the look of your wood wall, I was wondering if it gets cold in there? Was there sufficient insulation in that wall? I’d love to do this when I buy a house, but I’m worried about the cold weather here. Thanks! By the way, I can’t wait to see what you do with your future office!

  9. says

    i’m on the edge of my seat too! i never know what to expect from you, other than that i’ll like it! go, layla and kevin, go!

  10. says

    Can’t wait to see the outcome! I wish I could find a white rug that’s machine washable at home. Love the PB inspiration pictures you chose.

  11. Nikole says

    Can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

    Funny story – my “big and tough” 105lb German Shepherd was curled up, sleeping next to me when I clicked on the first play button, and the sound made him jump out of his skin and run around the house barking!! :) Clearly the poor thing was just a frightened by that room as you guys were!!

  12. says

    I think the giant wooden game is probably an oversize abacus…so if you need to do some counting, it might be worth it… ;). Your renovations are always incredible – can’t wait to see what you do with this room!

  13. says

    Wow! How exciting!!! It’s all going to be great!
    Our house is a little upside down too. We are doing a makeover on our wooden steps. It will be worth it in the end. :)
    Have a great weekend!

  14. Joanne B. says

    yes yes yes! looks great so far, but please, please, please do tell about the IKEA rug that a) fits in the washer and b) comes out squeaky clean! THAT, like all your reno’s—- IS AMAZING! Please share the details of the rug!

  15. says

    I loved it in the before picture (that would be the “after” picture but now it is a “before” since you’re redoing it? Okay, I’ll stop explaining now, I’m confusing myself) so I’m sure I’ll love the NEW after!

  16. says

    Oooh, my can’t wait to see the finished office! By the way I just loved your article in Flea Market Style Style mag…you guys are so creative! xoxo Beth

  17. says

    Oh my goodness, you know you have us all about to fall out of our chairs onto our fannies we are on the edge of our seats! I have just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and have sifted through it all. I know this room is going to be stunning and can’t wait till the reveal!

  18. Diane says

    Did you get the ticking bedspread from Pottery Barn too? I just love it and would like to find one, but didn’t see it on their website…

  19. stacy lovoy says

    Oooooh, are you going to sell that awesome ticking stripe bedding? I so wanted to come to Rhoda’s yard sale to see all of the goodies you were selling but I didn’t make it.
    Your blog is my #1 favorite!

    • Layla says

      No…I’m keepin’ it. :-)
      I see it on eBay from time to time though, and the Kristine pillow covers are always on there too.

  20. says

    Lol! Love the freaky friday music!! Too funny! Well you did a fantastic makeover the first time around & I expect the 2nd time will be just as good if not better! You guys do fantastic work!!

  21. says

    I had a feeling you were up to your eyeballs in something *fun*. Been thinking of you, Friend!

    Also – Inquiring minds (Cory) want to know: How did you know that stinking amazing wood was behind that sheetrock? Score!

  22. says

    ok! i’m dying for that ikea rug…something that can fit in the washing machine AND can be bleached!!!!! :) do you think it would work for a playroom?????? i have been looking for something durable that can be cleaned…and washing and bleach sounds pretty AWESOME!!!! if you say yes…i’m heading to ikea TODAY! HA!

    • Layla says

      Hey Hannah!
      I’m gonna leave that daunting decision up to you! LOL!
      I will say that we have a front loading washer, and that I’m not sure it would fit into a top-loader.
      So as long as you have a front-loader, you should be good to go!

      • says

        thanks…and that was going to be my other question! we don’t have a front loader…so it probably wouldn’t fit! :( oh well….the search continues! :) i still may go to ikea anyway… :)

        • says

          I just wanted to add that I don’t have a front loader either, but that has never discouraged me from buying a rug or bed spread because for a few bucks, you can get it washed at your local laundromat. Most have extra large front loading washers. And if you are willing to pay a little more, they will wash it for you!

  23. Nancy says

    What is the name of the song that is playing in the background of the video of the Guest Bedroom renovation? It’s a cool song!

  24. Jessica says

    I absolutely love your blog. I do, however, have to take offense to your comment about the “insanely over-sized, leaning, wooden bead game”. It is an abacus, and my dear hubby (after seeing me drool over it in the PB catalog for months), bought it for me as a birthday present. It looks wonderful leaning against the wall in our living room (I’ve been too afraid to hang it). Seriously, though, I love your ideas & your sense of style, and I look forward to seeing this room finished!

    • Layla says

      Oops! Sorry about that Jessica! :-O
      I love the look of it too, I just thought it would be funny to use it as an actual desk accessory. :-D

      • Jessica says

        I agree that it is way too heavy (physically & visually) to be used as a desk accessory. No hard feelings. :)

  25. says

    How very exciting! I can’t wait to see it when it’s done.

    You think you have a madhouse now? Wait til the little one(s) arrive!! LOL, remember my boys on the hammock at Screened Inn?! Yeah.

    We’re blessed to live in a madhouse that is also a gladhouse (love that expression!!)

  26. heidig says

    I loved the re-do on your guest bedroom so I’m sad to see it go. That being said, I can’t wait to see the home office!

  27. says

    Looks like lots of fun…well, what it will be, not the current messiness. We all know that’s the bad part.

    Can’t wait to see how the desk project comes to fruition. Looks awfully promising!

  28. says

    Layla, you had me at “insanely over-sized, leaning, wooden bead game”. LOL. I cannot wait to see how the new office space unfolds, and I look forward to the process that you always kindly include us in on. In my mind, come dust and extension cords, any day, no matter what day, is a gladhouse day in your home.


  29. Donna says

    This was “one fine guest room” and I’m so sad to see it go…however!!!…I’m even more excited to see what’s up as you repurpose this space! Looking forward to the “big reveal.”

  30. Mary lou says

    Can’t wait to see it finished but I loved the bedroom. If the bedding is for sale, I want to buy it! Please let me know.

  31. Trista says

    I really loved your guest bedroom. It’s been in my inspiration files for a long time. Looking forward to see the future of that room!

  32. says

    That is going to be a gorgeous office! What color is on the wall in the last PB inspiration board (the “brown” wall with the wall organization)? Is it even a real color or did you come up with it? I want to do this on a wall in my dining room but haven’t found a brown color that I liked.

  33. says

    Love love love your website.
    After being in one house and redoing it before kids, moving into suburbia and now thinking of another Redo house project- 3 kids later I have a couple questions for you?
    What sort of things do I look for in a new home? I know that is a LARGE question!
    What kids of things can be redone in a cost efficient manner? Paint, carpet etc…
    How do we pick something that can give us that cottage, warm feeling once we are done?
    I am so afraid to pick something and not get the vision right? Because my husband is a designer I do have somewhat of an advantage but I wanted to hear your tips when you picked out your home?
    thank you!

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