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)
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
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!
About the Authors
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 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.