A few weeks ago we received the final piece of furniture for our home office. It arrived 14 months after it was initially ordered. Finally, with that piece of furniture, I can finally call our home office ‘done.’ Keep reading below for all of the details of our home office design.
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We actually started working on this project during COVID. Brian began working from home full-time and we realized that it was time to replace the beat up Ikea desk he had used since grad school. Due to concerns about COVID (it was the middle of 2020), we decided to use an online interior design service rather than work with the interior designer with whom we had worked on other rooms in our home (including our basement and primary bedroom). I plan to write about the pros and cons of using a professional interior designer versus an online interior design service in a future post.
Working with the online interior design service was a lot of up-front work. To get started, I had to submit the room dimensions, layout, and photos of the space. I then had to enter information about my design style preferences and take a design style quiz.
I also included three specific requests for the design. First, I indicated that the office needed to have a significant amount of storage as Brian would be using it as his office full time and it was the room in which we intended to store most of our books (because we both have advanced degrees, we have a lot of academic books). Secondly, I indicated that I wanted the room to feel cohesive with the rest of the home. This meant the use of neutral colors and more traditional or transitional furniture (e.g. no modern furniture or super bright colors). Finally, we wanted a pull-out couch in this room so that we would have enough space when entertaining family.
A few days after I completed the style quiz and submitted all of the required information about the space, we received two furniture layout options. These were essentially black and white sketches indicating where furniture might go in the room. After selecting the one that we liked the best, we received two initial room design options. Each room design included ‘pictures’ of various angles of the room with the actual furniture pieces that they suggested we purchase.
I was actually pretty unhappy with the initial designs. While they were both pretty, neither met the needs we had for the space or the requests that I had clearly outlined for the space. Specifically, neither of the initial designs incorporated any significant storage. The furniture in both designs was very minimalistic and had almost no viable storage. The furniture was also very modern and the designs incorporated some pretty bright colors, so I felt like it wasn’t cohesive with the rest of our home.
Thankfully, after I gave the assigned designer feedback about my concerns, the third design was much closer to what we had envisioned for the space. It included much more transitional furniture and more neutral colors. There was also significantly more storage. We ultimately requested two more sets of minor revisions before settling with a design that we were happy with. We felt that the final design fit both our design style and our needs for the space and we were very happy with the more serene color palette.
Once we decided on a final design, we began purchasing the furniture and décor items that were included in the design. While we did purchase some items through Modsy, I also found that I could sometimes purchase the same pieces through other vendors for less. I intentionally purchased the Pottery Barn furniture myself because I have a Pottery Barn credit card and wanted to make sure I got the rewards for using my card.
We weren’t able to purchase all of the furniture and décor right away. We did purchase the desk and sleeper sofa pretty quickly, though. I knew that they would take several months to produce and ship. The rest of the furniture and décor were acquired over the next twelve months. In some instances, I substituted similar furniture and décor pieces because the ones in the design were no longer available or simply too expensive. Although it took quite a bit of time and effort, I am happy with how the space turned out.
The first pieces of furniture we purchased were the Livingston Executive Desk in the brown wash and the PB Deluxe Upholstered Sleeper Sofa in Brushed Crossweave Light Gray, both of which were from Pottery Barn. The small desk in the original design that acted as a printer stand was also from Pottery Barn. After seeing the design, Brian determined that he could easily build a similar piece for less money and to the exact dimensions that would fit best in the space. Plus- the one he built is solid wood and a much higher quality piece than the one from Pottery Barn.
We didn’t feel that the desk chair in the design would be comfortable enough for Brian to sit in for eight hours per day, so we shopped around for an alternative. We ultimately found the Addy leather desk chair at Arhaus and really like how it fits in the room. The armchair for the reading nook in the original design was $800, but I was able to find a very similar chair (the Laconia Caned Accent chair in beige) at Target for much less. Unfortunately, it is sold out, but Amazon has a slightly more mid century version available.
The dresser and hutch were quite a source of stress. Essentially, there was a mistake in the Modsy design. It indicated that the hutch and dresser were a single piece that sold for $699. I found the same item at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and chose to order directly from them so that I could use a coupon. This piece was advertised the same way on the Bed, Bath, and Beyond website; $699 for the combined dresser and hutch. So I was quite surprised when the shipment arrived and it included only the hutch/bookshelf portion of this piece.
It turns out that the hutch and the dresser were separate pieces. In order to replicate the design from Modsy, I would have to pay an additional $1,000 for the separate dresser piece. Unfortunately, I had a terrible experience with Bed, Bath, and Beyond working out the issue. They took weeks to respond to my messages and ultimately (in a very shady move) updated their website and claimed that I was mistaken and that it was never listed as a single piece. I had, however, taken screenshots of the website as it initially appeared (thank you to my mother for the suggestion to do so). By the time all of this had been worked out, the dresser was out of stock everywhere. I ultimately ordered the missing Cameo double dresser through the actual manufacturer and received it only a few weeks ago; 14 months after I placed my original order.
I replaced the pillows in the Modsy design with similar ones from the Studio McGee line at Target. The faux plant on the printer desk is also from the Target Studio McGee line. The Loloi Teagan Collection rug in Denim was purchased through Amazon, but it is also available from a number of online stores including Wayfair and Rugs Direct. The Adams Pharmacy Floor Lamp in bronze from Crate and Barrel is no longer available, but they have the similar Fleming Antique Brass Floor Lamp. In the original Modsy design, they feature this lamp behind the sleeper sofa. However, once we received the lamp we realized that it would not fit behind the sleeper sofa so we moved it to the reading nook. We asked the Modsy designer to incorporate our magnetic world map from Frontgate which they suggested be hung over the sleeper sofa. (It is no longer available in the style shown, but Amazon has a similar one available).
We ordered the pouf directly through Modsy because I couldn’t find it elsewhere online. They list it as the Foil Print Rope Pouf Gold by Saro. We ordered the sheepskin rug from Amazon in the gradient gray color. The distressed porthole mirror was also purchased from Amazon. We found the windmill prints at a local furniture store but I found similar prints on Etsy. The scientific prints above the desk were purchased from the DavesOffice shop on Etsy. We put them in inexpensive 18” x 24” black frames from Amazon.
The desk lamp is the Sutter Adjustable 27″ Metal Table Lamp from Pottery Barn. I also purchased square letter board, a vintage amber fairy lamp, and a vintage brass pedestal bowl. I haven’t figured out what to put in the bowl yet, but I am sure inspiration will strike eventually.
In general, we are happy with the space. My sister reported that the sleeper sofa is very comfortable (although we always add a memory foam topper for extra comfort). If we had it to do all over again, the one major change we would have made is that we would have simply purchased a tall bookcase instead of the hutch/dresser piece. This is not only because of the difficulty we experienced getting this piece, but also because the dresser feels somewhat out of place in what is very clearly an office.
What do you think of this space? Have you ever used an online interior design service? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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