Almost a year ago, I had a dismal dining room. But I had a dream of ditching the dining space for a home office for yours truly. The hubs was on-board and decided it was time to establish a more permanent space for the Baby on the Brehm World Headquarters.
But here’s the thing… I am horrible at design. Like, horrible.
I’m not saying our house looks like the inside of a frat house. We have nice enough things. It’s just… well… I am just inept at design.
So in order to take our front room from dining to designed, I called in an expert to collaborate on this project. I needed a pro interior designer who had moxie, patience, and panache. It wouldn’t hurt if I loved to spend time with her laughing about our college days. So. Enter: Linsey Lisowyj. (pronounced Lee-so-vay.)
I’d collaborated with Linsey before on a project. She’s helped design the front room in our old house. And then, she and a friend did a head-to-head match up on our mantel (yes. I just pretty much write about whatever comes to mind here on Baby on the Brehm. Mantels and boobs and babies, oh my!). And yes, both mantels turned out about 8 bazillion times cooler and more grown-up looking than anything I could ever put together.
So when I reached out to Linsey, I told her I was on a tightttttt budget but I wanted to turn this room into a pulled-together space. For an office sort of thing. She was not only up for the challenge but almost immediately got to work on three plans for a Blogging Studio.
A BLOGGING STUDIO?! OH BLESS! That. That already sounded better than anything I could have envisioned on my own. That vision made me swwwwwoooooooooon.
First, Linsey consulted with me regarding what I was looking for. What did I want to do in the space? What did I not want to happen in the space? What was the vibe I was going for? What other places did I find easy to write in? What was my budget?
I told her I wanted a space with color. And words. A casual feel that was very personal. And I told her that I didn’t want every other home office from Pinterest with a big desk in the middle of the room, an acrylic or gold/white chair, a fur rug, and all matching accessories. Because here’s the reality I knew… I am not that put-together… and I wouldn’t be able to get my words out in that type of space.
And she. kicked. buns.
Following the consult and presenting four plans, we narrowed it down together, and then, she scoured high and low and sourced incredible design elements for my space. My studio.
Once the design was set, we planned a day for shopping.
Last fall, we shopped together for a day selecting all of the locally-sourced items from large to small. She taught me how to choose what items to spend on and where to save. She worked within my budget (and because of this collaboration, comp’d her time fee) and found items that would fit the aesthetic and the pricepoint. She was patient with my questions and ideas and also worked my thoughts into the overall design in a way that worked flawlessly. And when I said, “I just can’t afford that,” she didn’t ask twice.
Working on this with Linsey was a freaking dream. And so is my space.
Here is a BEFORE photo of the space:
Yep. It’s a basic formal space for eating fancy meals in. But it wasn’t even fancy.
It has been almost 6 months since completion and I am honestly happy every single day as I sit in the space.
Let me walk you through the space post-transformation….
The first consideration was the existing wallpaper in the room. Linsey’s solution to working with the great textured print? Lighten it up with crisp, clean lines. Enter this shelving system from Ikea. Yes. Ikea. Every single person who sets their eyes on this shelving system in-person is surprised that this came from the pre-fab furniture king. If you’re searching for it for your space, it is two of the FJÄLKINGE shelf units with drawers.
Having used it for the last several months I can honestly say it is great quality. I love that Linsey chose to change up the shelf heights and stagger them for a more visually interesting look.
And. I love how much room this system gives me for showcasing books and pictures and items that really matter to me while offering concealed storage with the drawers so I can organize giftaways and the like.
The shelves are also a great example of something that I wouldn’t have found on my own and I also wouldn’t have thought of for the wall because I’m terrible with scale.
The floor lamp was found at Target and I think it’s just about the cutest little guy over in the corner. The chair. It’s sort of unexpected, right? But the shape and scale fit the space just right (according to Linsey. And I totally agree) so when I found it at a friend’s Insta Sale, she said, “Make it ours!”. I can’t tell you how much I adore cuddling up in the little Grey Grandma find. This side of the room is completed with fun decor and light, airy curtains replaced heavy, lined drapes to freshen up the windows.
This might be my very favorite corner of my house.
The pouf was found at World Market and I love how it somehow goes with the chair even though they couldn’t be more different. Linsey found this perfect side table at Grandin Road (similar one here) and it, paired with that pouf, makes for the boho eclectic easy vibe that I dig. Her use of color was just right for my creative space. The colors are warm and cozy and I love that the whole room feels like it’s beckoning you to pop a squat in that spot.
And then. The. Light. The ceiling light. I know. It’s totally different and wild, right? And yet, it is so totally perfect in this space. I would have been terrified to pick something like this out on my own. I wouldn’t have known the scale (in terms of how to space it when putting it up in the tray ceiling) and I would have shyed away from the color… even though it’s actually everything I love.
Linsey found this on Amazon, decided it would be a perfect fit for the room as long as the quality looked good upon delivery. When it came and we installed it, she said, “I love that it is funky. But not cheap.” And I have to 100% agree. And while it took a bit of time to install (or for the husby to install. Measure. Measure. Measure.) it was a smokin’ hot deal.
All the colors of the spider light cords are just the happy I love for this space.
And the choice to do Edison bulbs over circular? Also a Linsey decision. It definitely gives it a bit more class, in my non-designer opinion. And we have it set with a dimmer so it’s perfect for all times of the day.
As I noted earlier, I didn’t want a big, fancy schmancy substantial desk in the middle of the room (maybe because I don’t want to feel like this dream is that big… but that’s a whole other subject) but I knew that some sort of a desk would be a necessity. So, instead of making it theeee main focus in the room, I feel like Linsey did an awesome job creating zones of sort. There is my cozy writing corner. And then this really wonderfully me desk area and wall that seems to be where I do a good bit of brainstorming.
I had so many special items, gifts, and cards that I received during my breast cancer treatment and Linsey said, “We should always showcase those things that make your space yours.”
The desk (in vintage oak) and chair are from Target and again, honestly, the quality has been superb. The framed items on the wall are each special to me, and of course, the large pictures of my three little men are one of my favorite design elements in the room.
The slide roll of paper… that amazing goodness was initially thought-up by Linsey for me to keep track of all the ways my brain goes and was executed by my awesometown husband. I use it every single day to keep track of deliverables, to-dos, and ideas.
The third zone of the room is a space for my printer, mailing items, and also a bit more storage. Linsey found a really incredible piece for this space that wasn’t in my short-term budget so we utilized an old antique buffett that my parents handed down to me. And while initially I was bummed that I don’t yet have the bright-colored credenza, I am actually really fond of utilizing a family heirloom with so many memories. Above it, the guest “book” from our wedding. And on the wall next to it, two happy little planters with the only kind of plants I can keep alive.
I knew I would love having a space to call my own. A place where I could keep all of my writing, blogging, and speaking stuff somewhat organized. But I had no idea how much I would feel inspired by a room. The way that Linsey could style my items that mean the most and make them look like they all happened together on-purpose… that is a true sign of a great Interior Designer.
I also underestimated how much the boys would love playing right across from me in the other front room. And that’s actually been really wonderful because I can be in the mix as I work on my stuff.
One of my friend’s said, “I feel like if we looked inside of Ashli, this is what it would look like.” And that is exactly how I feel when I’m in my studio. I feel like it is so totally me.
It’s functional. It’s funky. It’s fresh. And it also has a great lived-in feel which is a must for this mama of three.
My favorite thing of all: Having gotten to work with a person who created a space for me that feels like home. And where I can give my words wings. How grateful I am that some people have a gift to design because oh, lawdy, I do not.
So there you have it, the ins and outs of my Blogging Studio. The place where I write, play, imagine, and dream. A room that used to be used for holding a table that we piled stuff on now has a purpose. A place that I get to call mine. And all that is pretty cool.
Are you wondering how you can hire Linsey? I get it. She’s awesome. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting. Whether you are working through your house room by room, building new, looking to refresh an outdated space, or just figure out how to make something function better, Linsey not only holds a degree in Interior Design, she has years of experience in residential and commercial design so she’s got a ton of experience to draw from and a creative mind to look at your space with a fresh set of thoughts. And she’s extremely talented and lovely to boot.
And if you’re curious if I miss my formal dining room? Nope. Never. Not one day a year:).
Also a huge shout out to Gitzy & Co for her beautiful work photographing the space.