Before and After: A Bold Office Redo That’ll Turn Even Skeptics into Pink Lovers

updated Jul 6, 2020
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Before: empty white room with beige carpet and a brown ceiling fan

Oftentimes, homeowners make bland-but-nice updates to their home before listing with fixes that are perfectly fine, if a little boring. That’s what Megan Housekeeper of Mid-Century Millennial found in her 1970s Texas ranch, which sellers described as “nicely updated”—”which for us, mostly meant upgrades like carpet and boring fixtures we would want to undo as soon as we had the budget,” Megan says. “In general, my husband and I love eclectic style of mid-century through 1980s mixed with bold design and modern details.” This room offered none of that, though it did have plenty of natural light that Megan wanted to take advantage of.

It was COVID-19 that finally inspired Megan to take the jump, as her work went from in-person to fully remote. Rather than spending her 9 to 5 hours in a bland and blah space, she wanted something that felt colorful and inspirational. “I was previously using my home office at most one to two times a week and it simply housed a desk and a daybed for guests,” Megan says. “I knew that if I was moving to full-time work from home, I really wanted a space that reflected my personal style and inspired me on a daily basis.”

Megan started by removing the “orange peel” texture from the walls, learning how to skim-coat drywall along the way. “This was my biggest setback, because I was learning for the first time,” Megan says. “I watched every skim-coating video that exists on YouTube and realized that like with most things, you just have to start.” After tireless hours sanding, Megan primed and then—with the tape-leveling help of her husband—painted two-toned pink (PPG’s Texas Rose) and white (PPG’s Pure White) walls.

Once that was done, Megan tore out the shaggy beige carpet and patched the concrete beneath for an even surface. Then, she painted it a deep forest green using paint formulated for concrete. Megan also replaced the old brown ceiling fan with a bright white modern one from Lamps Plus.

To furnish the space, Megan started with a mid-century style couch from Wayfair, which she’d already owned, then turned to local vintage vendors for much of the rest. Those vintage picks included the Art Deco and burgundy rugs, the glass coffee table, the desk chair, and the “spaghetti” light fixture over the desk (that’s from IKEA). “One of my favorite parts of this project was getting to interact with local vendors in Austin,” Megan says. “Local artist Whitney Avra, who creates multimedia art, has this amazing series of wild women that I knew I wanted to incorporate to add a splash of color. When I ordered the prints, I reached out to see if I could do local contact-free pick-up and discovered she lived a short walk away.”

“I wanted to space to feel 100 percent me because I share the rest of the house with my husband,” Megan says. “This was going to be a space where I would spend the greater part of my day and I wanted it to reflect who I am as a person.” She brought tons of personality with her art, which includes prints by Whitney Avra and upcycled vintage painting.

The project took about four weeks to complete in full, and Megan did most everything herself. The total cost for the room—including the hard upgrades, new (vintage) furnishings, decor, and plants—was $1500.

Of the finished space, Megan says, “It feels like me. Every item has a purpose and a meaning. I am excited to wake up and go to my home office every morning.” Next time, though, she’ll make sure not to rush the process. “The only thing I would do differently is be more patient with the floors,” she says. “I did two coats of concrete paint and I’m already seeing some light marking. I will likely add a coat and a seal in the near future. As I embark on my next room renovations I need to remember that as satisfying as the final product is, it’s worth the extra day or two to do it right for long-term.”

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