Surprise Makeover


Planning an office makeover has many inherent challenges. Business offices generally are constricted by bland, commercial grade construction and utilitarian accoutrements. However . . . the latest office renovation that I pulled off with my team of incredible coworkers was anything but bland and constricted.

I work part time for a wholesale company that designs and produces vinyl expressions and images for craft stores around the country called Decorating Your Life. The owner of the company, Elizabeth, just had a birthday and we all agreed we should surprise her with an office overhaul. Giving her office a facelift was on her radar, but it seemed to linger at the bottom of her priority list. There is no one on Earth quite like Elizabeth. She is energizing, inspiring, funny, smart and the girl you are proud to call friend. Rallying the troops was the easy part. The hardest part, oddly enough, was keeping her away from the office while we finished the work. This girl has energy! Sure enough, she admitted after the reveal that she had planned to come in and get some work done over the weekend. It’s a good thing our team works well together. And quickly, too!

From Door Vert Before


Far Back Corner Vert before

Desk Far Back Corner after

Door Before

Door after

File Cabinet Corner before

Full Back Wall after

We started the makeover at 4 pm on Friday night, worked til about 7:30 and then came in Saturday morning at 8 am to finish up and surprised her at 11 am! One of the best things about this particular makeover was that because it’s for a design company, we had all the materials and supplies on hand for creating the artwork. We only had about $150 to work with and we were able to source the red leather chair for $110. That left $40 for paint, the little round rug ($10 at Ikea) and fabric for the desk slipcover. We went over budget a smidge, but were able to repurpose most everything else – including the fun pendant light!


IMG_5580 IMG_5581










Elizabeth’s husband, Jim, was in on the whole thing with us and helped secretly procure the fun little rug and bring her to the reveal on a moment’s notice. I wish every install could be this fun and this fulfilling. Knowing my “client” as well as I know Elizabeth made many of the design choices easy and my incredible coworkers filled in all the missing design blanks. Literally! Elizabeth was thoroughly touched and we were all thrilled to be able to do this for her. This was definitely one for the books!


A Sudden Burst of Energy

My husband and I are serial remodelers. I know some of you can relate. Both of us are wired as unstructured, artistic/creative types and although it’s fun — we struggle with completing projects. It’s probably because we have 100 projects started and only enough time and $$ to finish, oh, say . . . one.

However, since moving my upholstery studio back home over a year ago, the plan has been to finish out the garage so that I can move all my tools, massive work table and supplies out of my house. It may be a year overdue, but I’m happy to report that last week it happened! What’s more, it happened in exactly one day. Scott took the week off from work, our kids were surprisingly self occupied and it just . . . happened. Sort of. First Scott felt the large window needed to be moved up to match the height of the other windows, so that ate up a day. Then he spent another day’s worth of time framing the walls with 2×4’s.

Scott used a gift card to buy the 2×4’s for framing. He scrounged some salvage wood from his ample supply to frame the windows.
The insulation came from another salvaged stockpile. We’ve had bags of insulation in the garage loft waiting to be used for years.
Not only does the salvaged insulation get used in the walls, but now the garage loft is that much more cleared out.
The plywood was purchased new, but buying exactly what we needed made this project go quickly.
New wall mounted lights were another long-stored supply from Scott’s free collection. The guy is a salvage magnet!

Now that was a good day’s work! I can’t promise I’ll be more prolific with upholstery projects. I’m still at somewhat of a crossroads with my work future. But, when inspiration does strike, it’s nice to know I can commute 10 steps to an organized, dedicated space. It’s probably one of the biggest projects to be crossed off the list and that feels good. Really good.