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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Office Redo



     So I had another one of those pesky birthdays recently, but instead of jewelry or some such, I asked hubbie for bookshelves and some hard labor. I wanted to redo my office. It was starting to close in on me - with piles of books everywhere. I just knew storage could be handled more efficiently. But really the whole thing started with a shoebox. This fabulous lime green interior:

I propped it up on my old bookcase and stared at it for months wanting to pull that incredible lime into my office. And then I came across these awesome orange bookshelves from West Elm (the 3x4 set in Saffron!). Had to have 'em! Aren't they purty?

     So hubbie and I pulled everything out of my office and started over. We painted the walls a pale yellow, called "Cornbread." With the orange shelves, I wanted the shoebox lime and some teal as an accent - it happens to be my personal color palette.
     What? Don't you know what your personal color palette is? I've found most people have one - especially illustrators. And it really helps to identify what that palette is and play up on the strengths of that knowledge. If you look at my website, you can see it in my main design. And here it is in swatches: The pale yellow is my neutral, the main colors are Orange, Lime and Teal.
     To find your own palette - lay a bunch of your art on the floor and stare at it. Are there certain colors you seem to use again and again? See if you can narrow it down to three.

     The hardest things to paint turned out to be my filing cabinet and stereo cabinet, four coats of paint later they were a lovely shoebox lime - a perfect match. The cool thing was the stereo cabinet ended up fitting perfectly underneath a parsons table I dug out of my parents basement. It was my grandfather's, and I couldn't get it out of my head when I first saw it. I loved its clean sqare lines and modern sensibility. Stylistically, it's a perfect match to my new orange shelves, and the color is a dead on match for the walls - sometimes I scare myself. By sliding the stereo cabinet underneath I ended up with an awesome credenza. And kismet - the orange magazine boxes slid into the album slots so perfectly, I couldn't have planned it any better. This kind of thing downright excites me:

To top it all off, I painted my old wooden chair aqua. It ended up lighter than I planned (teal), but it's growing on me.
     Now with my lovely orange shelves and the black bookshelf by the door, I finally have enough storage for all my books - yippee!! (Ooo, I wonder if hubbie noticed his shirt matched the shoebox?)
     The only thing missing now is my ego wall like in my old office. I think I'm going to reign it in just a tad (that was a lot of holes to spackle) and put two pin boards over my credenza. Maybe this weekend.
     Honestly, the biggest experiment in my new space was the removal of my drawing table. I've never been without one and I hemmed and hawed. But since I went digital, I was really only using it as a cutting surface and not often enough to warrant the enormous space it was taking up. We'll see if I miss it too much, but so far, so good.
     So, can I tell you what a good giftie this was? We purged, we scrubbed, we reorganized (and we're both still sore). But my soul just feels calm and content now when I sit down to work in my new space. Of course, that's when my men let me use it...



Blogger Sarah said...

SO Cool!! Those are definitely your colors too-- Love seeing the family, but we need to see you sitting at that desk!

2:00 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

I think that's the BEST present ever! Your studio looks so inviting ... the perfect mix of relaxation and inspiration. :-)

6:51 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

Oh, I forgot to ask ... did you have to sand and primer the filing cabinet before you painted it? Was it originally a laminate?

I have this gigantic office desk with hutch and matching lateral filing cabinet. It works but is so dark that I'd love to paint it. I'm just not sure if it'd work over a laminate.

6:53 PM  
Blogger e said...

Hi Tami,
They were both cheap laminate which is why they needed so much paint. I used a water-based primer (2 coats) but would probably use an oil based primer if I had it to do over. I think it would have stuck better. Two coats of the color paint seemed to be enough to make it look good (as long as you don't look too close). :)
Thanks for the nice comments!

7:53 PM  
Blogger Laura Zarrin said...

What a wonderful fresh space to create in! I absolutely love orange and lime green and that teal is the perfect accent!! My office is a very muted version of the orange and green. I've been itching to liven it up a bit. You may have pushed me over the edge now. Enjoy!!!

12:08 AM  
Blogger Paula Pertile said...

Jeepers, you're NEVER going to see MY space! ha ha

It looks terrific, congrats! When is Arch Digest coming over to do the pictures? :~)

9:31 PM  
Blogger gail said...

What a great studio re-do! You could be a designer. :) Love the colors. And it's so neat and tidy! Makes me want to re-do mine just so I can get it cleaned up. Good idea on how to pick colors. You'll have to let us know if you end up missing your drawing table.


1:56 PM  
Blogger gail said...

I just took a look again. You know, that stereo cabinet looks just like the teak one I have that came from Copenhagen's years ago.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous shawn said...

What a lovely space! And that very cool orange lamp just jumped out at me! I LO0OoVE that! Very fun colors.
Very inspiring. I like what you said about learning what our personal color palette is. That's going to stay with me for some time.

4:10 AM  

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All Artwork © Elizabeth O. Dulemba,  - Y'all play nice, okay?