Monday, June 24, 2013

The Office

I have been on the fence for months about turning the guest room into my office. Well, I finally did it. It took about a month. Come on in!

Valorie Hart office - all photos by Sara Essex Bradley

Here's what the guest room looked for nearly seven years, with just the bedding and some accessories changing once in a while.

The guest room as it was for seven years

My inspiration for the new office was Tricia Guild. Like many of you, I have loved her work for years. I have always wanted to do something using her fabrics and wallpapers, so I decided to do it for myself, to do something that maybe a client would not embrace.

This image with a room designed by Tricia Guild was my inspiration for my office

Of course I am on a budget, so as much as I wanted to, I couldn't ring up Designers Guild and order fabric, wallpaper, and accessories. But I could make use of the signature gestures.

My office inspired by Tricia Guild

Key elements include:
  • Ombre wall
  • Bold color
  • Three different drapery panels
  • Mix of prints
  • Mid century elements
  • Classic antique elements 
  • Flowers
My jumping off point was the wall and the fabric for the curtains. I asked Mitchell Settoon to paint the ombre wall, and chose three Sherwin Williams colors. They are Forward Fuchsia, Exuberant Pink, and Vivacious Pink. My other strong colors are turquoise and chartreuse.

I tried several different fabrics, before I realized I had some silk remnants stored away. There was enough to make one drapery panel and to recover a chair! I ended up just buying a couple of yards of sheer fabric from for one of the panels, and used an old velvet panel I had made 13 years ago for our French Quarter apartment. The silk was the perfect color.

Tricia Guild likes to use the Platner chair, antique mirrors, and Saarinen tables - She reupholsters the Platner chair in her gorgeous mix of fabric

My Platner style chair - I chose to use a silk remnant and had Leonels reupholster it

The trick is to use a floral, a solid, and a sheer. Tricia uses rings on a simple rod, and I just used clip rings with the most humble brass rod that has rusted to perfection over the years in a storage closet. I keep things that I change out for others, and they always come in handy.

I kept the base wall color (Vamp Greige) and just refreshed it were it was needed. I removed drop cloth panels that were once behind the bed hiding a connecting door to the living room. My office is now opened up to pretty sight lines into the living room. I painted the back of the door with black chalkboard paint. I don't know if I will write on it, but I like the matte chalky finish of the paint, it suits old houses. Drop cloth draping remained on another wall, hiding a door that goes into the master bedroom. If you look at the new space, you will see elements from the old space re-purposed.

Drop cloth draping stayed on one wall - Chandelier was lowered over desk, and a second one that I had in my magic closet was added - I even found a dreaded cord cover in the closet and dyed it turquoise - I added shades found on the clearance at Steinmart for $1.95 each - The chartreuse over dyed rug is an eBay bargain

The settee moved from the living room into the office, and one of my favorite paintings worked perfectly - I used fabric samples that didn't make it for drapes and chair upholstery for new pillow covers - And I over dyed some faded floral pillow covers turquoise, that I had for over 20 years!

I over dyed the faded cabbage rose pillow cover

Another DIY project was painting a Chinoiserie desk that was upstairs in Alberto's office. I bought it for about $20. maybe 10 years ago. I used Sherwin Williams Blue Mosque. The top of the desk had some issues, so I just recovered it with turquoise faux leather. I added a pair of vintage brass lamps I got on eBay for 99 cents! Tricia Guild uses colorful damask prints in her designs, so I had a pair of damask lamp shades.

I painted my desk and added a faux leather top

Here's the Tricia Guild room again - I liked the ledge in the back with the antique  portraits of a lady and man - Mmmmm how could I do that?

This is a pic I took with my phone - I had a great painting by Louis St. Lewis in the living room, so I moved it into the office - I purchased an inexpensive console table that is handy for storing office supplies - The tole candelabra has been in the garden shed for a few years and I was so happy to be able to use it again

The console table became a ledge for the painting

There's a space across from the desk that is quirky. It's a kind of a large cubby below a row of built-in cabinets that go to the ceiling. I have always kept a cedar chest in this nook. It's a space I have often thought would be perfect for a TV. The problem - no power source. But Alberto to the rescue! He snaked around cable and power cords, and wall mounted the TV that was in the original guest room. I like to watch TV when I work.

I had these cut-outs of Fornasetti plates that have been stashed away for years. I love Fornasetti, but I never could find a place to feature that love. Some people think he is so 1980s, but I admire the way he reinterpreted classical images in a mod way. Anyway, I created "wallpaper" in the TV nook with my collection of paper "plates". I added a shelf below the TV for the cable box and used it as an opportunity to add black and white accessories. I also repainted the cedar chest.

The Fornasetti TV nook

There is a small useful closet next to the TV nook. I removed the closet door years ago and had a drop cloth curtain instead. For my new office, I dug out a Fornasetti inspired shower curtain (I had the same one when I was 18 in my first apartment!).  It was too short, so I hot glued a band of white patent leather to the bottom.

The curtain on the closet door

I could not rest easy not having a place for a guest to sleep. So I got a white faux leather sofa bed, tufted in the Knoll style. When someone comes to stay I will rearrange the room, opening up the sofa to a bed, and camp out elsewhere to work during their visit.

There's still a place for guests to sleep

So there you have it! I have had so much fun making a room for me!!! I have already had a couple of business meetings here and the space works really well. Stay tuned for product info that I am always happy to share.

Valorie Hart office

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  1. Valorie,
    I really like your painted walls! The color selection is fantastic! I'd be so happy in that room, I don't know if I could work. :)

  2. Oh...I love it! Love the ombre wall. love all the repurposed goodies...especially the over dyed pillows. What a fun room! And still works for guests....brilliant.

    1. There's a giveaway in another post for two of the over dyed pillow covers. You should go and leave a comment. xo xo

  3. Know exactly how it feels to love being in your office. A real infusion of energy, creativity, grace.

    Love knowing you have this too.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  4. Oooh so pretty, I love Tricia Guild. What a gorgeous place to work in. That's a beautiful wall Mitchell, great job V!

  5. I love the way your office turned out! I recently turned an upstairs bedroom into an office for myself and love having "a room of my own".

  6. I love this room and everything you did. I am relieved to see that you don't get rid of stuff when you change things around. I've always been afraid to admit that I have a rotating stash, but you've validated my holding on. Everyone should have a magic closet----and not be afraid to admit it. I love your style and your creativity.

    BTW, I don't believe that Fornasetti will ever be dated. He's my favorite. I would so love to find some of his cut outs and add them to my home.

  7. Thanks for your nice comments. I am glad that this information has been of use to you.

  8. Well done! You will have lots of inspiration while you work in your newly decorated office.


  9. I love seeing your work. Thanks so much for sharing. Just stunning.

  10. I agree, its always fun to see your work. I would love to know more about your paint color, vamp greige. Your ombre wall, console and art are fantastic. I would love to see pics of everything in the room. so many cool objects and art. Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Vamp Greige is a color I have mixed and is on file (in the computer) at the Sherwin Williams store in New Orleans on Magazine Street. It is a perfect mix of beige and gray that looks good in almost any space and in every light. Call them and tell them to pass the formula to your local Sherwin Williams store. I am registered as Valorie Hart.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.
      xo xo

  11. LOVE seeing you interpretation! The ombre wall and mixed triple panels are FABULOUS!! xo

    Lynda (aka NYCLQ)

  12. Well Mz. V! You did a spectacular job recreating one of your fave looks! AND the space is VERY YOU! I know you will be inspired to create lots of good 'stuff' in your new space! xo

  13. Very hip, Valorie, but would we have expected anything less? I love your design courage. It makes me look like a mouse hiding under a rock - haha! Seriously, great job!!!

  14. Love the amount of color you used, the amount of neutrals and white you used and the clearness of the colors...the whole thing looks like a lovely, vivid watercolor. Love the Fornasetti. Love the Louis St. Lewis piece in this room and how it works with the colors. I am completely obsessed with your turquoise over dyed pillows for some reason.

    So so pretty.

    1. There's a giveaway in another post for two of the over dyed pillow covers. You should go and leave a comment. xo xo

  15. How your old guest room transformed into this extravagant looking home office is truly amazing! The renovation was easier because of your wonderful inspiration, but to accomplish all of this on a budget is pure talent. I'm sure your new office keeps you inspired to work now. Great job!
    Metro Offices


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