Laura's Whimsical Eclectic Home Office

DeskTops

Name: Laura Parrish
Location: Quincy, Massachusetts

Tell us about your desk/home office: Our office serves as a good home base for anything work related. I am a designer, wedding photographer, and online furniture shop owner, and my fiance, Nick, works in finance, real estate, and is an upcycling lamp maker. We are always busy, so having a place where we can not only keep things organized for our businesses, but also inspire a little creativity for the work we do, is absolutely essential. When I am editing wedding photos for XOXO LULU or if Nick is thinking of what to make his next lamp out of, our whimsical eclectic items are the things that make us feel comfortable and at home...

I grew up close to Boston, and have always lived close by; I love the homey feeling of Boston's different neighborhoods, what makes each special, how each has it's own history. I love the unforgiving honesty of it all. I think this interest in Boston's past has always led me to love old things, vintage items. Somehow learning the history of those items make them feel more welcome in our home. I get a lot of my style from each of my parents. My dad's tales of vintage Boston ("in the old days this was..."), I find myself being drawn to knick-knacks that have that same story: "...this chair came from an old school, these suitcases used to belong to my grandmother, this cabinet belonged to a doctor in the 30's."

Our home office is a real life mood board for the work we do, and the places we've been. It's always changing, and always becoming more "us."

Favorite details?
The mural that sits behind the couch is a major favorite of ours. It is originally from a (now demolished) newspaper building here in Boston. It hung in the executive board room and was hand painted into the wall on canvas in 1955; it never saw the light of day until it was placed in our house!

We love old books and photographs and stack them upon one another to create a 3D collage. It's a fun way to play with the pieces you have and also a nice way to change things up from time to time; we're always switching books and pictures from room to room.

My fiance has some great jackets, sometimes I'll take one out of the closet and hang it on the wall. It's a change from the expected poster or painting, of course he just can't wear it for a couple of days until we want to exchange it with something else!

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Tips, tricks, or resources for setting up an efficient workspace?
Be honest about what you are going to be using the space for. For us, it's important to be inspired when we work, so having a space that reflects that and can easily change (so it doesn't become stagnant) is ideal.

Have the things you use in easy to grab places. There's nothing more frustrating than remembering you put very important papers in a "special hiding place."

Don't be afraid to find use out of pieces that aren't made for organizing. We found an amazing medicine cabinet from the 1920's, cleaned it out, and now use it to store extra papers and books. I usually place all my office supplies in vintage glass or crystal bowls, it seems fancy but I found them all at Goodwill for 60 cents!

Have fun with your workspace, and if it isn't right the first time, keep changing it, you'll find the right balance.

Resources?
We love flea markets, estate sales, freebies on Craigslist, and pilfering abandoned buildings for most of the cool things in our home. The best advice I can give is to always keep your eyes open, and to not worry about getting everything all at once. For us, we just acquired things over time, and if you like the eclectic look, you don't have to worry about it looking totally perfect. I talk a lot about things not having to "match" but they have to "go together" - there's a difference!
Don't be afraid about finding something second hand, I have found not only great pieces, but met some really awesome people through our adventures!

A couple of places we love to look:
The Olde Mill River Co., Mendon, MA
Marzipan Mummy, NY, Etsy
Bobby From Boston, Boston, MA
Goodwill
Salvage Chic, Hanson, MA

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(Image credits: Laura Parrish)