Our House: Office Reno Reveal

Our House: Office Reno Reveal | A Couple Cooks

Over a year ago, we moved into a new home (well, new to us – built in 1926). What sold us was the potential of the kitchen, which we ended up gutting and replacing with a new one. We feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity for a kitchen reno! But it, along with the other reno projects in the house, completely took over our lives. We ended up pushing pause for a year, and it’s only now that we’re getting the house in order. Since we shared about the kitchen with you, we thought we’d share a bit about a few other rooms we’ve finished after the long wait.

While the kitchen reno was in full swing, we removed the carpet on our second floor and found a happy surprise: linoleum tile! Worried about asbestos, Alex donned protective gear and removed all of it himself. Removing decades of carpet and tile was rejuvenating – it was as if the house could breathe again! Underneath, the wood floors were painted bright colors: red, blue, and gray. We decided to have them refinished, and spent ages pulling our every single carpet staple and nail. It was incredibly tedious.

The Office: Before (Previous Owner)Our House: Office Reno Reveal | A Couple Cooks

Fast forward one year and that’s about all we’d done in the office, aside from painting. Otherwise, it was an enormous pile of clutter, since we had no furniture to organize any of it. It was an eye-sore, and even worse, the room has the only access to our third floor staircase, so guests would have to stumble through to get upstairs.

Since our office is where we shoot our food photography and spend a lot of our time, we wanted it to have a creative feel. We’re also incredibly budget conscious, since home decor and furnishings can be so expensive! We finally have an organized space, but it was a painful process. Here are a few of the things we learned about pulling a room together on a budget:

The Office: After
View 1

Our House: Office Reno Reveal | A Couple Cooks

  1.  Art makes a room. Being artists ourselves, we obviously think art is important. But it surprised even us at how depressing the office felt for that year without art. A few tips on art: first of all, don’t rush it. Though blank walls are a little sad, they’re better than art you rushed to buy and don’t like. Second, if you can, create your own art! There are many services these days that let you print your own photos on canvas. In our office, you’ll see: In View 1, A list of places we’ve been together that Alex created in Photoshop, then printed at postersigns.com and stretched it himself. In View 2, An original art piece we picked out as a gift from Alex’s parents (his stepfather’s boss is an artist and let us pick a canvas of our choice from his studio – score!). In View 3: A photo we took in Greece that Alex printed through mpix.com.
  2. Get handy. Check out View 2, or the photo at the top of this post: see the dresser? It used to look like this, when I bought it at an antique store. Alex and I decided to paint it white, but when sanding it down, Alex noticed that the wood was particularly beautiful. We decided to keep the white but leave the drawers lightly finished, added gold hardware, and love how it turned out!  I realize this tip requires you or someone you know to be handy, but it’s a great way to save money and end up with a unique look.
  3. Go shiny! Add a few shiny accent pieces to add dimension and interest to your room. View 1 shows a copper pitcher my grandpa found at a second hand shop (free!). View 2 shows the gold hardware we added to the dresser, and, we actually spray-painted the legs of our new chair gold to match with the vibe (they were a sort of dull gray plastic). Random fact: the chair is named Patrik…well, at least by IKEA. But we can’t stop calling him Patrik.
  4. Add some living things. Plants bring life to a room. In both View 2 and View 3, we added plants for a little bit of green. We love how friendly they look! Now we just have to keep them alive…
  5. Organize ’til you drop. As I mentioned, this room used to be a dumping ground for all items slightly related to office, crafts, photography, or construction. The room has a closet, but we realized we needed a few more furniture pieces to hide our junk. We ended up with the refurbished desk in View 2, for office supplies, and the credenza in View 1, for food photography props like napkins and silverware. We are not naturally neat and organized people, so we’re working very hard to find places for items and then put them back in their place. It might sound tedious (especially to artist personalities like ours!), but we’ve found it’s essential for us to have a clutter-free space to feel at peace in our home.

View 2

Office - 009

Our House: Office Reno Reveal | A Couple Cooks

View 3

Our House: Office Reno Reveal | A Couple Cooks

We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips! This post is not sponsored by any brands – we just wanted to share with you a little of what we’ve been up to!

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    shanna mallon
    January 21, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Oh my goodness, you guys, this looks so good!!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Thanks Shanna!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2015 at 12:51 am

    Love the dresser and the typographic art! Thanks for sharing the printer source. I’ll have to make one of my own ASAP!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Thank you Maria! Poster Signs is my go-to for all large format prints :)

  • Reply
    January 21, 2015 at 11:04 am

    what a beautiful space!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2015 at 11:59 am

    wow, looks gorgeous! I especially love the DIY canvas art – I wonder if you guys wouldn’t mind sharing a bit more about your process for creating it? xo, hollyanne

    • Reply
      January 23, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks! Maybe I’ll do a DIY post at some point on the canvas. I used Photoshop though, which I’m not sure many people have access to…

  • Reply
    January 21, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I love what you’ve done with your office. I understand completely about neatness and organization being essential to living in peace. I wish there was a way to convince my husband of that (his idea of organization is to use everything resembling a horizontal space to put things on, including the kitchen table)…

  • Reply
    Jamie Miller
    January 21, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Wow. Really beautiful. I love the idea of “art making the room.” So true.


  • Reply
    January 21, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I spy our wedding invitations in view 3!!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      Good eye!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I am in love with that dresser! What a wonderful space you guys created! Very inspiring.

    • Reply
      January 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you Susan!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Great job, you guys! I really love all the art and accents.

    • Reply
      January 23, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks Kate!

  • Reply
    Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    January 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    This looks so great! I love that dresser makeover. Major googly eyes for that. And my office chair’s name is Moses. :-)

  • Reply
    January 26, 2015 at 7:54 am

    I’ve never left a comment on an interiors post before, but I was really taken with the chest of drawers in the first photo. I love the idea to leave the drawers dark and how much it contrasted with the white of the unit. It’s gorgeous! And I love the painting/print above it.

    • Reply
      January 26, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Thanks! It was one of those moments of inspiration that worked out way better than planned :)

  • Reply
    Natalie | Paper & Birch
    January 26, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Wow, the dresser looks phenominal! Also love the floating cupboard. What a great idea!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Exquisitely done.
    I think i’d be embarrassed to show you my place…an artist too…but I think that even all the “stuff” as inspiration!..I humor myself into believing I don”t have junk or clutter!…also, it always seems that every time I eliminate something, I NEED it.
    I do believe that yours is just a beautifully done space; designed as you “Love your Work & Work your Love”…I do too…every day!.

    • Reply
      February 27, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Haha, thank you! As artists we are disorganized at heart, but have been training ourselves to de-clutter :) Once we finished our office design, we’ve been much better at sticking to keeping it organized. (Though the closet may or may not be a train wreck still!)

  • Reply
    October 15, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I love the slab of wood on the desk and the nice iron legs that keep it feeling airy and light. And you are right, art does make the space. What a beautiful transformation. I love your office reno reveal. Makes me feel like sprucing up mine!

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