BEFORE + AFTER: A Home Office Makeover with Space for Two

My friends Mike and Kate have one of my favorite homes - it's a rehabbed rowhome in South Philly with plenty of character, lots of light, and space for a home office. They both need a place to work at home - Kate spends a lot of her time working remotely and Mike needs a place for photo and video editing - but over time their home office became filled with stuff and nowhere to store it!

All we needed for this home office makeover was a custom desk to turn a cluttered catch-all room into a bright and airy study!




This is the picture that Kate first sent to me when she asked for help with renovating her office.

I immediately started thinking about how to use the entire back wall instead of breaking the room into little spaces, and became inspired by some simple desk DIYs using file cabinets as legs.

But first we needed to brighten things up.


Despite getting lots of natural light, the office was dark looking from curtains and wall clutter. One of the first things Mike and Kate did was cover up the navy blue paint and take down their open shelves, bulletin boards, and posters.

The white paint opened up the room almost immediately, and we decided on adding wood blinds to add contrast, texture, and privacy.


Because we were custom building from wall-to-wall we needed nearly 10' of butcher block. After some digging, we found a great deal on a butcher block countertop from a local store.

Mike used hairpin legs for the front of the desk, and attached cleats to the rear wall to support the back of the desk. A simple filing cabinet created additional support for the center of the desk along with storage for Kate's paperwork.



After putting the filing cabinet in, the desk was rubbed with white mineral oil for some dimension and shine and was ready to go! With all their newfound space, Kate was able to buy a midcentury bookcase to display some of their favorite books, camera lenses, and treasures. We added some more plants for color and a chair with a sheepskin rug to make a reading nook.

This home office makeover is a great example of how a little paint and some great inspiration can go a long way!