My newly de-cluttered, organized, and slightly redecorated office. With the clutter gone, I can now see and use the desk top. When not in use the laptop computer stores nicely in the inlaid center drawer. I recovered the chair with a vintage-look toile fabric I found on sale for only $4.00 a yard!
This Winter, my goals have been to redecorate - on a budget - the entire upstairs of the Cottage. After a decade, things are looking a bit tired and in need of a serious freshening up. I didn't need to paint up there, thankfully, but have begun a ruthless de-cluttering campaign to clean out drawers, cupboards, and closets of all stuff I haven't used in years. It's time to lighten up. A lot!
A couple weeks ago I finished the sitting area near the wood stove with homemade slipcovers made from cotton duck curtain panels (see Feb. 17, 2012 posting, Shabby Chic Redo On a Budget), creating a Cottage/Shabby Chic theme. I like how it turned out and wanted to tackle my office/sewing/jewelry area, next.
So, I next turned my sights to my multi-use office, sewing, and jewelry-making space. I wanted to de-clutter, organize...and recover the two burgundy office chairs there with black and white toile fabric (draped over the office chair in the photo below).
This "before" photo shows that my writing desk/office space is useful but such a cluttered mess. Overflow files sit in a container on the floor because they won't fit in the tall filing cabinet. Organization and de-cluttering are my main goals, here.
My office and sewing area share the same space as this photo indicates. The sewing table - an old door atop two short file cabinets - also doubles as my jewelry-making station. A triple-use area in a very small space! In the lower right of the photo part of an ironing board is seen which is essential to my sewing projects. You can also see a small portion of a tall, wooden partition that is used to screen this work area from the newly redone Cottage/Shabby Chic sitting area.
In this "after" photo, my sewing/jewelry making station received a serious de-cluttering. I now have room in one of the cabinet drawers to store my jewelry-making supplies. I can use the table surface for sewing or jewelry projects and now there's actually room to do either! I also used some of the toile fabric to recover the chair that serves this station.
I first tried re-orienting the furniture but it turned out that things fit the space best just as they were positioned. I needed to de-clutter and organize the amount of stuff to make the space more pleasant to spend time in, and for more efficiency. I started by taking a couple of long days clearing out non-essential, outdated files, photos, and papers in the tall, four-drawer file cabinet in the office space. I ended up removing about 60 pounds of stuff I no longer needed.
That chore alone will make things much easier when I start my income taxes in a few days. And, I now have room to file everything in the file cabinet. No more file overflow on the floor!
The most creative part of this redo was making new toile covers for the two office-style chairs.
One of the fairly typical office chairs in the space. Not bad looking as office chairs go, but I wanted to freshen it and add a more feminine touch to go with the Cottage/Shabby Chic look that was developing.
To recover the chair I stretched and stapled toile fabric to the seat after removing the back of the chair and setting it aside. I couldn't remove the base and legs from the seat so I simply oriented the fabric onto the seat and flipped the whole thing over, pulled the fabric tight and stapled it into place. I bumped my head a few times on the legs as they spiraled about while I worked, but I prevailed in the end.
Then, I re-attached the chair back to its base and flipped the whole thing right side up again. Because the chair back tapers I couldn't just make a slip-on cover. It had to be open at the sides to accommodate the tapered shape so it wouldn't be too baggy. I cut two pieces of fabric and sewed a top seam. The open sides were hemmed and sewn to create tidy, non-raveling edges, and ribbons machine-stitched on so I could tie the sides closed. Easy! The other chair was done in the same manner. I like the fresh, updated look! It cost about $16.00 in fabric to recover both chairs!
Other than clutter-clearing, re-organizing, and updating the two office chairs, this multi-use area only cost me $16.00 to redecorate! I bought nothing else for the area other than the fabric. And, I have enough left over to make a couple of pillow covers...or something else. Hmmmm. I'll have to think about what that might turn out to be.
My last and final touch to the sewing/jewelry station was to make a cute cover for the sewing machine to help keep it clean and dust free.
This cute tea towel - also with a toile pattern - came as one of a set of two purchased from Kmart last year. I draped the towel over the machine and midway down both sides attached ribbons so I could tie the sides closed. The idea for the tea towel sewing machine cover is not mine. I saw it in one of Martha Stewart's publications a year or so ago. A great idea that was so easy and used a towel I already had. The ribbons were from saved Christmas gift wrapping.
I'm pleased with how this whole, multi-use area turned out. I'll be taking some excess clutter to the thrift store! A bunch of non-essential paperwork went into the trash. Some, like old tax returns from the '90's will be burned. The whole area is a couple hundred pounds lighter...and tons more efficient and pleasant to hang out in!
* * * *
Next, my plan is to work on the South and East gables. The tricky part will be tailoring the slipcovers that cover an armchair and a small loveseat in those areas. I'm not sure my skills are up to this. I'll also recover the seat cushions so that they sit on top of the slip covers which should negate the constant chore of straightening and smoothing them.