Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Writing space makeover reveal!

Welcome to my brand-new writing space!

I've been burning the midnight oil to get this home office area made over in time to reveal on the Writer's Alley today. You may remember that two weeks back I launched a 2-part series on writing spaces, starting with an open-home tour of where the Alleycats write

I also promised I'd be back with a reveal of my own writing area - which at that stage, looked little better than this (yes, that bare space on the left with the wires hanging out of the wall.) The rest of the room had furnishings by then, but the study nook next to the kitchen remained sadly untouched.

So with a two-week deadline, it was time to get cracking! I began by stencilling the wall with paint (and yes, it was as tedious as it looks!) and then installed some Ikea floating shelves. The study desk was installed by our builder at this point as well.

I added a new replica Eames chair and a cute and comfy cushion for back support:

Spray-painted my gray mesh accessories turquoise for a pop of colour:

Then DIY-ed a set of mail-sorting baskets using three $5 cleaning caddies from K-mart. (If you're interested, you can read about how I did it here on my home-making blog.)

I added some magazine-holders, Ikea boxes and mesh baskets as storage on the shelves. These will hold everything from paperwork to scrapbooking supplies.

When I designed our house plan, I included a recessed area to the left of the study space to hold a filing cabinet. This is useful for filing away household paperwork as it comes in, as well as for storing novel research and story notes within arm's reach of my writing space.

One of the things I most wanted to incorporate into this work area was some writing inspiration in the form of graphic art quotes. I bought some Ikea frames and DIY-ed these prints in Photoshop. 

I love the "dreams" quote on the left, which is a great reminder that fulfilling a dream comes down to hard work over the long haul. The frame to the right holds my "One Word" for 2014 - FAITHFUL, which I arranged to look like an eye chart because I'm digging that look right now.

On the next shelf down I created a monogram with my initial, just for fun. This is the first time in ages I've had a space which is "just for me", so I really wanted to make it mine and fill it with colors and objects and art that inspires me.

One of the key verses God has given me for this year to go alongside my One Word, is this:

It's not the most usual piece of Scripture to have on display, but it's very meaningful to me. I love the story of how King Solomon took the time and care to make his surroundings beautiful, both in the Temple and the Palace. As an interior decorator, that gives me assurance that God is pleased when I use my creative gifts to honor him. King Solomon took on a vast number of building and beautifying projects, and he completed them. He followed through and carried out his plans.

This really speaks to me as I launch out this year with my brand-new home-making blog. A project-based blog takes an ENORMOUS amount of work, and it can feel discouraging to pour endless hours into something and then receive no comments on a post. But God reminds me that my task is just to remain faithful (there's that word again!) and follow through on my plans.

Writing a novel is exactly the same - a LOT of hard work over an extended period of time, perhaps with little encouragement along the way. The important thing is to keep going, and finish what we started.

My writing space is at the heart of our home. When I planned our house, I knew that I wanted this area to be right off the kitchen - for starters, so we could use it as a "command centre" to corral paperwork that otherwise ends up dumped on the kitchen counters - and secondly, so that I could snatch moments throughout the day to write/ blog while also keeping an eye on the kids playing.

The layout has worked beautifully for us so far. In this season of my life, it makes sense to have an open-plan writing space, because if I was tucked away from the family, writing would seldom happen.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse of my new writing space! If you've enjoyed this makeover, you may be interested in following along over at my new blog, a house full of sunshine. My tagline is "the art of making home", and my posts center around home decorating, organization, creative kids' activities, recipes and inspiration for Moms.

Thank you so much for letting me share! Your turn - do you have dreams of making over a writing space? How would you describe your ideal writing area?

Karen Schravemade lives in Australia, where she juggles writing with being a SAHM to three small kids. She's had short stories published in two literary journals and is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such. Find her on her website, Twitterand getting creative on her home-making blog, A house full of sunshine.


Sandra Stiles said...

Thank you for sharing your writing space. It is beautiful and inspiring. I especially loved the pop of color you added to the mesh items. We rent our home and it is such a tiny space. I've had to be creative. I have a small six foot table in the entrance, right across from the door. Since we have crammed everything from a larger home into this temporary place I realized to make it feel mine I had to work with what I had. Sometimes just making changes such as new desk accessories that are your own and a new desk lamp are a beginning to inspire. I love the magazine holders etc. I have a shelving unit to the left of my desk and those will work nicely there. I will check out your other blog for other ideas. As long as we have to live in this house I might as well put my own touches on it where I can and you seem to have some wonderful ideas. Thank you.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Wow!!!! K, it's gorgeous!! All your hard work really paid off! This is where the next bestseller will be penned, folks! :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Oh, my goodness, Karen! This is right out of Martha Stewart Living or House Beautiful. Awesome job!

Dora Hiers said...

Wow! I love your new writing space, Karen. What a great idea to include it in your kitchen area so you can keep an eye on your children while you work. Love it!! I'm sure you'll enjoy this space for many years.

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Wow, Karen! It's gorgeous!

Sherry Carter said...

What great ideas, Karen! I've been in a huff because I have to share my writing space with the guest bedroom. You've given me some great ideas to make it work!

Ashley Clark said...

You amaze me! Seriously! This is gorgeous! It definitely inspires me to turn our office into a writing space!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

What lovely comments to wake up to! Thanks, ladies!

SANDRA: Yes, adding some new details and personal touches is a great way to make your space feel new and inspiring. Spray paint is the easiest and cheapest way to update just about anything - you could even find a thrift store lamp and spray paint it if you want that pop of colour.

Sometimes I think that creativity flourishes best where there are restrictions on what you can do. It forces you to think outside the box. All the best with making that writing space really feel like your own!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

AMY, well I'm not sure about that - LOL. You're such an encourager. Thanks, hon!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Karen, it's absolutely gorgeous! You have such talent - not only as a writer, but a decorator!

Thanks for sharing!


Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

JULIA, your comment made my heart smile! What a lovely compliment! It would be my dream to be featured somewhere like that. I have a bit of an addiction to home decorating magazines.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

DORA, thank you, and thanks for tweeting this! Yes, I'm loving the off-the-kitchen layout. It's so practical. I'm really glad I stuck to my guns and designed my own floor plan instead of going with a standard plan. So worth the extra time it took.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Thanks, LAURIE! :)

Angie Dicken said...

Oh my goodness, can I hire you to come to the States and do my house??? We could head to the Alley retreat after?;) This is gorgeous!!!!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

SHERRY, yay, so glad this inspired you! The writing room/ guest room combination is a common challenge for us writers. Here's to making that space somewhere you love to work!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

ASHLEY, thank you!! I can feel an office makeover coming on - do it, do it! It's so worth it to have a space you really love. Plus I like to live vicariously through other people's decorating adventures. ;)

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

SUE, thanks for your kind words - you're a sweetheart! I do love decorating, it's definitely a passion of mine. So much fun to tackle a project where my two passions intersect!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

ANGIE, I'm IN!! Yeah baby! Could think of nothing I would like more! Except I really don't know how much value I could add as your house is already gorgeous!

Casey said...

UH-Mazing! I loved what you did with that space and had to pin a couple images. The hanging baskets and chalkboard signs were my favorite!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Thanks, sweet CASEY! I am a little bit in love with those mail baskets myself. ;)

Pepper said...

That is so FABULOUS!!
I see how you worked it. You had us take pictures of our writing spaces first so we could have writing-space envy with POWER! LOL
AMAZING, Karen! Truly - you are gifted in so many creative ways. It's remarkable!
This is perfect
And I totally get the 'writing space' out in the open. Even with kids getting older, I need to be in the middle of them to get anything done ;-)

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

LOL, Pepper, you are funny! :) YOU are so gifted with aesthetics yourself - I drooled over the house pictures you shared on Facebook after your de-wallpapering/ painting marathon. You have such an eye for colour and you're not afraid to take risks, which I LOVE! A woman after my own heart. :) Love ya, girl!

Sally Bradley said...

Karen, it's bee-you-ti-ful! Thanks for sharing it with us. Hope you get lots of writing done there. :)

Linnette R Mullin said...

Karen! I'm in love with your writing space! Wow!!!

Unknown said...

Good job with the makeover, Karen! You've achieved quite the ideal space, seeing as how clutter-free and inspiring your writing space is now. If I were to organize my own writing space, it would probably be similar to what you have now. Thanks for sharing your space, and good day!

Hubert Cole @ Pear Workplace Solutions