Updated: Apr 29
Last week I told you how we were flooded with motivation to remodel our basement. Literally. Honestly, every room downstairs was due for a refresh. One, my husband and I had been discussing in a ‘some day’ way just hours before. That it took a geyser of rainwater bursting from our laundry room wall to wash away our procrastination was a bit extreme, but, hey, it got things going!
The biggest focus of our attention, and the subject of last week’s blog, was on a room that plays a significant role in the layout of the basement and my life. R Design Studio’s home office. I shared the design process on how I created my light, airy and functional revamped Interior Design home Studio, including both the pretty concepts and the technical development steps. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to check it out here.
I left off last week with the layout plan and the design specifications. With that I knew exactly what I was able to re-use/repurpose and what I needed to source new. Now to get to it!
I needed to find new flooring to replace the old carpet that had been spread throughout our family room, bedroom and home office. We knew putting carpet down again was not an option we wanted to consider. A nice luxury vinyl wood plank floor would give the look, feel and functionality we were after. Our only requisites were that it needed to be waterproof, and we could easily install it ourselves. Fortunately, I was due for a little luck and it found me when I was gifted tickets to the Tiny Home Show by my friends at Ontario Tiny Homes. If you are in the market for stock or custom tiny home plans, check them out in my sources at the end.
I saw so many cool products and booths while strolling about, and while an elevated truck roof top camper would be pretty cool (and definitely avoid future floods at that height), it wasn’t what I really needed. What I did need found me when I came across a flooring store booth that just so happened to be based out of a nearby-ish town from me. They were at the show focusing on the suitability of their vinyl wood plank flooring for tiny homes because it is: waterproof (check), easy to install (check), looked fantastic (big check), AND was a super affordable price (triple check and SOLD)! I brought samples home, selected our fave, ordered the amount required over the phone, and picked up the boxes that following weekend. You can check out our selection and the many other beautiful options noted below.
7" width Almond colour it is!
The 7" almond colour is perfect for our basement. It looks great, was easy to install and even better was affordable! The colour is a beautiful greige colouring that had the warm natural wood tones mixed with a bit of grey to complement the existing warm grey wood of the modern fireplace surround. It has a nice wood texture, a good variation of wood pattern and tones for interest, and for the do-it-yourselfer the 48" long plank size and click lock system made it easier to work with.
With a floor selected, we’d next need stuff to put on it. I really wanted to reuse a lot of my furnishings, but between water damage and the suitability of what remained the options weren’t too plentiful. I managed to keep the faux hide area rug, desk lamp, and an Ikea desk drawer cabinet I had added to my desk space not that long before the storm. The desks and desk chairs I sourced online after a fair amount of searching and checking out reviews. Thankfully the new office furniture was relatively simple to install, complimented the new flooring and all together look far more expensive than they are. I’m really happy with them.
The revamped Home Office of R Design Studio!
With things going so smoothly, there was bound to be a hiccup. I had planned that my existing drawer cabinet would fit under the desk. I knew the measurements were cutting it close but nothing some minor adjustments couldn’t solve. But! The cabinet itself doesn’t have any feet or a base that I could remove and the desk levelers didn’t raise high enough to allow for the difference. It just wasn’t going to slide under. In the end it kinda was a good thing. Shifted to just beside the desk instead of underneath where I had planned, it became an extra surface, and acts as a side table to the sofa beside it. I’m good with that for now, and time will tell if it ends up bugging me once I finish the family room.
From the open Family Room towards our two person Office Studio, and our Primary Bedroom behind.
The other desk pedestal fitting under my return space is metal, and instead of buying new I found this one in great condition on Facebook marketplace. When I can I look for furniture and decor pieces on re-sale sites, used furniture stores and thrift stores. It's an opportunity to be kinder to the environment, save some money, and with vintage pieces add personality to your space.
We spent a fair amount of time looking for just the right office chairs. I wanted them to be mid-back so they were ergonomically comfortable, but not be so tall as to take up a lot of visual space. By going with a white frame with light grey seat and mesh back, against the colour scheme of the room, it would help minimize their overall size. That the arms could tilt so we could fit the chairs underneath the desktops was the deciding factor. They would have looked prettier without arms at all, but I find them often needed when working. It's about finding the balance between practicality and ergonomics versus aesthetics, however, in a workspace that you can spend hours of your day ergonomics is very important.
Behind me, I needed a narrow surface and storage piece to fit nicely beside the fireplace for samples and binders, while leaving room for my wall calendar above. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do at first, but I really wanted to repurpose something I already had if possible. My husband suggested switching out his writing desk in the family room for a lounge chair to set up a reading nook in the corner, suggesting I try the desk. I wasn’t sure at first, but once placed, and fitted with a new white laminate top, this vintage teak desk found new life. The original top had some damage, so the new top makes it more durable and helps it blend in with the other office furniture.
This repurposed vintage teak desk with a new laminate top makes a great work surface and place for samples and binders in its drawers, lidded baskets, decorative boxes, and pretty magazine files.
As for above it, I had originally considered reusing some shallow bamboo picture ledge shelves for an everchanging display of wood and quartz samples, as well as some art. My painted panelled walls weren’t physically supportive of this idea, so I nixed it. The display shelves above my desk return are enough and adding more ledges would make it look too busy, so this had the benefit of keeping me in line with my original concept of a minimalist Scandi look. In that spirit, I kept it simple with a dry erase wall calendar and a metal elephant wall sculpture I’ve had for years.
The repurposed teak desk against the warm grey wood clad fireplace surround - the finished look coming soon!
Side note: I have a thing for elephants and despite some intentional reductions, there are still bits of elephant décor throughout my home. If you keep your eyes peeled, it could make for a fun drinking game. But maybe stick with juice or you’re going to have a rough morning. We could call it The Elephant in the Room?😊
For the display shelves beside my desk, I was inspired by a Tiffany Leigh Designs article showcasing her own condo interior design office. She used white shelves paired with simple Ikea natural wood shelf brackets. I prefer the old-style Ikea brackets she used, with the larger angle equal on both sides. Sadly, they are no longer available. To make that concept even trickier, I had a hard time finding the length of shelf that fit my wall space properly. I was far too busy with putting the basement back together and projects that weren’t my own to build and paint them myself, so that was just not a viable option.
I could make do with Ikea’s Bergshult shelves, though the size I needed meant joining two together on a single bracket. They had been backordered for months at my “local” store, so when the online inventory listed seven available, I drove the 75 minutes to be there for store opening to grab them. However, the physical inventory didn’t match what the website listed. I even spent 30 minutes rummaging through the shelf piles hoping to magically find them buried within.
Eventually I caved and drove to the next closest store (nearly two hours away in a snowstorm, no less) the following weekend to finally get them so we could put my office back together.
What I love about the open shelving is that it creates a place to curate and display some of my favourite things. It’s accessibility also makes it really fun to play around with it every now again, refreshing the look.
Open shelving for a curated display of design books and decor items I love.
As for now I’m really digging the mix of design books and decor, showing off artisan pottery pieces (another obsession I’m working on taming), vintage thrift store finds, framed art, a personal photo and plants. The plants are faux. The one small window above the desks does not provide enough natural light down here so anything real I’d just be condemning to a cruel, photosynth-less fate. (That’s a word now). I’ll likely switch out the framed art with something more personal or fern related to tie-in with my logo, but for now the size and look work for me.
Open display shelving close-up.
I had my reservations about facing the wall but got used to it surprisingly fast, and I like having the window close by. I’m still working on getting used to using an extra monitor, but it works out really well when I remember to use it! Between it and my computer, I placed a modern corkboard I made myself. I took a white oak frame I had in my inventory, cut to fit some leftover cork and attached it to the frame backerboard with adhesive. Now I have a place to post pretty pictures, inspiration, and any important notes in a cute, tasteful yet hard to miss space right before my eyes.
The simplest DIY corkboard with my latest inspirations.
With all that work creating such a nice, open workspace, it really would have killed the vibe to see power cords dangling everywhere. Wire management is SUPER important! I must give the credit to my husband for working that magic. After researching and measuring, we purchased handy white metal wire baskets that mount to the back of the desk underneath, new extension cords, and power outlet blocks with surge protection. Subtle use of tiny re-usable velcro ties helped keep the dangly lengths out of sight as much as possible. I’ll share what we bought below.
Wire management is so important, especially with open desks and lots of tech.
There may be some finishing touches still to do, but so far, it’s been a great space to work in! Even though I didn’t change my wall colour, the feel of the space is like night and day. Considering how dim it once could sometimes be, it’s so light and airy now. I used to crave being upstairs for the natural light and view, but now I actually want to work downstairs as it feels bright and sunny even on gloomy, rainy days! It’s a beautiful and creative environment for me to design other people’s homes and havens!
An Interior Design Studio fostering creativity and functionality to design beautiful homes.
Yours in Design,
Mentions & Sources:
Tiny Home Show - in Ancaster Ontario. This year it's July 28-30th.
Vinyl Wood Plank Flooring - from Proper Flooring in Paris Ontario
Amazon Affiliate Links:
*if purchased from link I will receive a small commission.