say bonjour to the new office.

Morning, girls! Thanks for all your feedback on the  marital name change...after reading the comments, I hope I didn't leave anyone feeling miffed because you kept your name, or plan to do so! I believe a girl can do whatever she chooses with her last name when she weds! Perhaps I'll write up a little something to explain my thought process and emotions on the subject, but for now...

On to more visually stimulating things! Remember this sad, sad mess of an office?

Oh it's so sad. I'm cringing even more at the root beer bottle and wine glass--I promise I'm not a frat boy. But no fear! Because, it's officially become this happy, happy office.

As my before picture illustrates, the walls were a drab beige. And not even a well-kept beige...there were patch marks and old nails dotting the entire wall. Trickily enough, I'm not allowed to paint the walls...so I knew I'd have to come up with something sneaky + punchy if I really wanted to jazz this space up.

So, I took my little tush down to the hardware store, where I wound up with beige contact paper, a small test pot of pink paint and electrical tape. I signed nothing that said I couldn't put contact paper on my walls...and then paint it. It was a madly inspired moment. After a 24 hour test, I could tell that the contact paper wouldn't ruin the walls, and the paint wouldn't soak through. So, up it all went! One roll and my small test pot of paint was sufficient for this little office backsplash. The black electrical tape framed the space...and covered up the small border that I didn't paint lest I it wind up on the wall. It was perfect.

I'm crushing hardcore on my desktop--it reflects exactly who I am, and is pretty gosh durn functional! This little gold-swan-turned-pencil-cup was peering out at me from a pile of antiques while I shopped in Stillwater, MN this weekend...and we were meant to be together. Forever. Also, I laid down some patterned paper and covered it with clear contact paper...I'm always leaving craft messes, coffee rings and so forth...and protecting my desktop is probably a wise choice.

The wallspace behind the desk now has a ton of DIY pieces--the silhouettes, the to do whiteboard, the framed "Bonjour" and so forth. I just couldn't find anything in the stores that I loved...so I did it my own durn self. The chair was another DIY moment. It originated from my gal pal Jess, and eagerly accepted it...how could I not? I loved its silhouette. A little fabric + spray paint does a new chair make! :)

To the left of my desk space, I created a little craft nook covered with a fabric curtain because...let's get real: craft shelves aren't always pretty. Unless you're Martha and can afford to install amazing shelves + matching containers. And elves to keep it all pretty. I'm 100% elf-free...so craft curtain it was.

Just a few antique store shelves down from the golden swan, I spotted four aqua flour, sugar and tea containers. They needed a little scrubbing, but I knew they'd mesh with my space once the bore some uber-femme labels. Now they hold craft items used most often, the items I like to carry to other spaces for some sprawled out crafting!

High atop a shelf in the antique store, I spied this dusty golden shadow box. It, too, needed some clean up and lovin'...and a little painting. At $45 it was a pricey splurge, but in the store I had faith. Then I did a 180. When I got it in the space...and for first few hours of my project...I thought it might have been an expensive misstep. But, once it found the right nook it worked perfectly...holding tape dispenser, stapler and a few other bits and bobbles.

I suppose I didn't intend to go so French-kitsch, or even as frilly and feminine, when I started this lil' makeover...but oh, I went there. And I'm loving it. It's surprising how inspired I feel sitting in this space. Now that it expresses my taste and what inspires me, sitting here feels less like a chore and more like a treat! :)

Where's your most inspired place to work?


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  2. (Sorry, posted from the wrong account the first time.... anyways)

    Can you please come over and do my space?! This is incredible and it was all done in one weekend. How do you do this? Seriously, if you're ever in VA stop by for a bit. ;)

    I love your style. It's so warm yet clean. I can't paint in my place and I have an older wooden desk which I'm struggling to figure out what to do with (I can't paint it because it belongs to the apartment complex....). I did buy a few little things (like a whiteboard and new pencil/scissor/etc holder) but not near enough to change my space yet and make it feel productive.

    Congrats on a new space that is just so Bethany!

  3. So lovely and creative! I adore the contact paper pink board... I never would have guessed that's paper! The entire vintage, soft, romantic look is so inspiring. Makes me want to do stuff to my office too :)

  4. Good job girl!! Wish I was that creative lol.

  5. I can't believe you did all this in one weekend! So amazing! It turned out beautifully, and I hope it brings you lots and lots of joy and inspiration :) I love the idea of painting contact paper...I can't paint my apartment walls either, so I'm definitely doing to remember this one! Hope you're having a great week so far!
    Lisa xox

  6. So cute!! This looks amazing! Love the contact paper idea to get around not being able to paint.

  7. ... "and elves to keep it all pretty"! Ha! I wish I had some elves like that.

    Seriously though, it's so pretty. What a great space to work and create and get inspired :)

    I love to work in my new office space, on my big, beautiful desk. I'm not quite finished with the decorating {those pesky kids of mine slow me down!} but so far I love it. Next up, a new white lamp shade and fun handles for my desk drawers. And maybe I can convince Alan to put my new, inspiring print up on the wall...

    Will do a big ol' blog post about it soon. Did you see my so-far photo a couple weeks back? You might notice a few items you've sent me featuring in the decor! http://pughs-news.blogspot.com/2011/08/scenes-from-weekend.html

  8. So clever! I love that you found a way to paint without really painting the walls! Gorgeous!

  9. So charming. I imagine some great writing will come from here.

  10. i'm blown away! that looks fantastic, and it just screams bethany!!!

    i love that you ended up with this look - and didn't just stick with conventional desky stuff. i'm so bad about that, i can't see beyond what i already have up and imagine something with totally new character.

    gorg, girl!

  11. Gorgeous! I love the shadow box shelving idea too, it's brilliant and beautiful :)

  12. what a transformation! i can't wait to create my own office space one day.

  13. well done! i was just discussing covering a wall with contact paper and painting over it with my cousin - who's stuck in cheap law school housing in tennessee.

    this is so doable!

  14. This is wonderful!!!!

    Look at you getting your crafty/DIY on. ;)

    This space looks so welcoming and pleasant. =)
    Great job!!!

    As for your question...Hmmm...I don't really have a "work space", but I usually end up working on my bed or at the kitchen table.
    Eventually I would love to create a creative work nook somewhere.

    Thanks for sharing the transformation with all of us!


  15. You are such a DIY rock star! LOVE everything about your office & so jealous/inspired by your creativity & ability (DIY projects scare the crap out of me!) What a beautiful spot!

    I had a hard time giving up my maiden name so I took a lesson from those in the South...I moved it to my middle name :-)

  16. Completely over the top amazing!

  17. I adore this space!!!! It's inspiring and adorable and girly and perfect. I really ought to hire you to decorate my dorm. Wanna drag your little bum down to Iowa and help a girl out?? Or at least share some of your marvelous DIY secrets! :P

  18. How pretty! I'm so jealous! I have this week off from work and I'll do some apartment-stuff. Hopefully my office-space turns out as pretty as yours!
    So, as a renter, are you really not allowed to paint? What if before you move out you painted everything beige again? That's kinda how it's handled here in Germany.

  19. Oh, I don't know if I can even find words to describe how fabulous this is! I love love love love it! I am so jealous of you space right now! Positively incredible!


  20. it's great!

    you did such a good job!

    love it!


  21. i knew it would be gorgeous, but this blew my expectations out of the water!

    it is perfect.

  22. damn girl, I'm impressed. It's ridiculously you, so obviously it's awesome and gorgeous!

  23. I love the room, Bethany!! It looks absolutely fantastic!! Come decorate my dorm room??
    <3 Kiersten

  24. how do you do it? no, seriously? i love it :)

  25. Bonjour, new office! You look fantastique!!

    Now can you please fly to France & do the same thing with my desk space? Pleeeeease? I'll even treat you to a croissant!

  26. Ohhhhh oh oh oh I love this to death! The bold black and white paired with the gold and pastels? G.enius. (Does that read how I say it in my head? haha) Yep, this screams Bethany...and I like that you didn't play it safe. It's whimsical but bordering on eclectic. I like it lots!

  27. So Bethany you are a DIY whizz! Your desk now really looks like it is straight off the pages of Pinterest!

  28. Ohh wow Bethany! This is amazing! You have inspired me to makeover my little office space.

    You are so creative! Gorgeous.

  29. So totaly off subject but you might want to get a mat for under your chair. As a renter (who rented an old home with wood floors) it looks as if your chair is scrathing the wood under your desk and you do not want to have to pay for that when moving out. Love the new desk area :)


  30. @Dee: Thanks! The scratches were already present when I moved in and I documented them so I wouldn't be charged! :) Instead of a mat, I secured felt pads to the bottom of my chair (just the kind from any old hardware store!). I thought about a mat, which would have worked well with a rolling chair. But, since my chair had legs I thought I might wind up bunching up a mat over and over! I'm too lazy to fix that several times a day. ;)

    Thanks for your concern and suggestion, though! It's a good tip for any renter! :)

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  32. Hi bethany!! I saw this blog on your, "you might also like" and I'm so inspired by your desk/work area!! I love the flow and the creativity of it and the swan! I actually have a blue one that I'd like to start using for pencils too now! =) Hopefully when I have more space I'll be able to start on an inspiring work area too! take care!

  33. So, I REALLY need to know how you made the To Do board!!! Pretty please?


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