The Hardest step she ever took was to blindly trust who she was.Atticus
How it all got started
Nothing worthwhile comes easy.
Let’s just start here. That phrase can have different meaning to everyone who reads it. For me it was getting out of my own way. For years I’ve had dreams of what I wanted for the future of LD. It was inevitable that we would need a space of some kind outside of our home sooner than later. That’s honestly been the case since about one month after we started this lil’ gig in the end of 2017. BUT life happens and you get so stuck just surviving each day that it’s easy to forget, YOU can make big things happen even with the daily life. Therefore, nothing worthwhile comes easy.
I was having a quick meeting with a local friend about some sweatshirts for one of her store locations when she mentioned that she had a key to a space her and her husband were thinking of renting out soon. “why not! Let’s check it out!” We moved the conversation across the street and into a “work in progress” of a downtown location. It was a dark, chilly space. Full of tools that I could tell work certainly had been done already but there was some more love needed to push it to be rent ready. That might scare some people away. If you know me by now, you know that’s just not my style. The second I looked around at the layout and the incredible exposed brick I saw a big ole blank canvas! My brain was whirling a million miles a minute. THIS WAS IT!
I half heartedly said I was interested but honestly was concerned. Should I cut into the monthly “profits” for a space when I should probably be putting the money into my house? Should I work away from home when my youngest is so close to starting preschool? “Maybe I should hold off” I thought. Nope. That just wasn’t sitting right with me. I kept this to myself for about a week before I mentioned anything to John. “So…. There’s this space that would be fantastic for LD.”
One of the first days after we “re-opened” from moving into our home in September, I had an award order that I was coming down to the wire on. I went to fire up the laser and noticed that there was a small puddle of water on the top of it. With some dried water spots also around on the top. My heart SANK. We had JUST upgraded lasers just over a year prior. If we have to buy a new one AGAIN I’ll ball my eyes out like a little girl. Long story short the bathtub drain happened to be above where the laser had been sitting. THANKFULLY there was no damage. I took this as a sign. It was time. I immediately wrote the owner and was like… Let’s make this happen!
Fast forward to mid November. The landlord had already put in LOADS of work to get this space to the place it was in before I even came into the picture. Here are some photos of what it looked like when he got started on it.
The owner completely redid the electrical, plumbing, and covered a big ole 8ftx 4ft hole in the floor by the backdoor. He had these really awesome vintage green lights they’d found at a yard sale. Once those things were done I pretty much shoved him out ASAP (poor guy)!
First Things First.
As you can see there had been a drop ceiling in there before that revealed some really ugly paint colors from previous years. I started with painting the plaster to all be white. I fell in deep in love with the exposed brick so that was a MUST to stay. Because of the age of this building 1890/1900’s you have to be cautious of lead paint. The plaster crumbed like a cracker upon gentle contact from a paint roller. I pulled my sleeves down to my wrists and went for it. I wound up with hundreds of tiny little broken plaster pieces. WHAT A MESS to clean up. Luckily I knew I was going to refinish the floors so paint splatters did not matter at all. Once the plaster sections were repainted. I painted the window frames in the front interior.
It’s Floor Time Baby!
Oddly one of my favorite steps was up next. Refinishing the floors! With a little research you can find pretty much all you need to know. I rented a Drum Sander (floor sander) from Menard’s. They have affordable tool rentals varying in prices for different tools and time frames. I went right before closing to rent the sander so I could get this job done while my kids slept. Let’s be real, dust from literally over a hundred years is nothing a child needs to inhale. I highly recommend wearing a contracting mask for this or the sawdust will hurt your lungs. In about 4 hours the floors were stripped down to beautiful wood! The baseboard areas weren’t reached with the Drum sander due to how wide it was. The next morning I went around and finished up with my orbital sander. The hole space is about 400 sq ft so that only took a few hours. Check out these before, progress and after pics!
The fireplace my husband wanted to do. The owner had initially planned to brick the fireplace but that would of been $800 (NOPE). We decided on shiplap since it’s cost friendly. In our area for some wild reason tongue & groove boards were more affordable than regular planks. We could have bought different wood and ripped it but to be honest we both were exhausted and had been working all day and then here at night, so we went the easier route with the tongue & groove. It came out pretty good! I was very tempted to paint this black BUT I already had a 5 gallon bucket of white from the walls. I brought in a Garland that I DIY’d at home. Details on it here Dried Orange Garland .
Unfortunately my husband was unable to take anytime off of work, so ya girl did some work on her own. I had a mood board and overall layout planned for this space since the day I saw it! A few trips to IKEA and some DIY’s had my basement FULL on the weeks leading up to moving day. Fortunately I already had a lot of these things from some shows I did last year. Add in some Marketplace finds and I was set to move and decorate!
Let’s start with the Coffee Station
This Bar Cart is from Ikea along with the little storage boxes (links on both here). The cart took me 10 minutes to assemble at most. The storage boxes are where I keep my K cups and a few other things for around the office. The boxes come in a few different sizes. The clear coffee cups are so beautiful and only $1.50 each at Walmart! My Mother-in-Law gave me a very cool vintage set of tin cups that are a fun addition to this area as well! The Power of Color was an Etsy digital download I had printed onto a poster at Walmart. This is SO handy to have in the office when i meet with design clients to explain the different color systems for different things such as print vs digital colors.
Office Sitting Area
That brick though. I just cannot get enough of it. It gives me life. This cute little loveseat was a marketplace score for $100! The gal’s post caught my attention because she wrote a long elaborate story about “Clarence” (the couch). It was from Wayfair and nearly brand new! This lovely plant stand & plant was from my other Mama. We used to be coworkers, room mates and now we’re literally closer than most my family. She called Angie Marie’s, the plant and home store down the road from me and had her put this gift together for me from out of state. I ugly cried. I was so thankful that she took the time to think of me. This little baby makes me smile every time I see it.
This is hands down my favorite furniture DIY EVER! This console table is dual sided with the shoe cabinet bins lining both sides. Storage bins for both sides, the front side (pictured) is full of shipping supplies, office supplies, sale bags etc. The backside of bins is filled with more work station things on top row. The bottom row is filled with toys for my kids. My youngest (3 yr old) is with me full time here. My boys come after school everyday for a few hours too. The bins are Trones from IKEA. I built a frame to house all of them, no plans just sorta went with the flow on this project. Total it cost about $200 and took about 1.5 hours to do start to finish. It’s 80″ in length and about 34″ tall. I’ll be adding casters to it soon just so it’s a little taller and easier to move around if needed. This serves as a nice way to block customers or clients from going to the back. It also hides my kiddos while they’re playing in the back. I can still keep things professional. Faux Lupine flowers and white book shelf from… you guessed it, IKEA 😉 Those are items I had in my home office and just moved in. Cute little photo frames from Walmart! Bluetooth Vintage style speaker is one of my favorite purchases from Amazon.
Desk / Table
I know this post is LONG however, each piece and project has a story. To me, that means EVERYTHING. Every single thing has been planned with such care. I first saw this table when the wood worker down the road invited me into his shop. I saw the table top (at the time it was not finished and had things stacked on it). “Wow! This piece is really beautiful!”, I said. “You want it? It’s a table, here are the legs” Rich said, as he walked over to a pile of ornate table legs on the floor. “YES!” I said!!! This was back in August that I claimed this table. Initially I had planned for it to go in my house. My desk I had been using at home is a family heirloom that’s been in the family since 1920. I figured it would be best to keep that at home. THIS glorious desk would allow for me to spread out and organize my work much better too! The detail along the edges of this table caught my eye and my heart. I love it so much. I will definitely keep this forever!
I often get asked if I am happy with my big iMac. The answer is always YES! Here is the office chair that I really love. It’s a nice modern look but its shockingly comfortable as well! I bought it as a “used in good condition” option from Amazon for $75. It arrived with one small nick in the leather. I glued each side, pinched it together and painted white other the top of that YOLO! LOL! I’ve had this chair for about a year and it’s held up well!
The Retail section
This section will be a space that is rotated out with whatever collection I am working on that season, a display section to show some of the services we offer and just a fun little area. The wire racks I love. I used them for shows last year, They came with foot stands that I was not a fan of so I got wall mounts to connect them to the wall. The cute clothing rack has been moved around a lot! It has nice shelving on the side too. The dress form is a fun way to display shirts, and sweatshirts to our clients. In the spring I will be swapping out the Christmas decor for Plants, and displaying some bigger pieces.
The weeks leading up to opening were hectic. Lots of custom orders done on the side, prepping the Christmas collection, projects at the office all while doing family life and I was still painting doors at my house as we slowly renovate it too. It was a lot. BUT we’ve reached the finish line and no one died. I’d call that a win!
The exterior of the building needs some love still BUT we’ll cross that bridge in the Spring time when it’s not so chilly out. For now I’ll enjoy having a space dedicated to work, and having all of the things out of my house! This office has been a big labor of love, I am incredibly grateful for the owners work to get it to the point that we “handed off the baton”. Late night Menard’s floor sander rental, My husband and his friend installing our exterior sign. Just all of it. I feel the history in this space. It’s very special. This place is my baby and now I truly want to flip a house. It’s in my 3 year plan 😉
Thank you so much for reading this novel of a blog post. I hope you found some useful inspiration and I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday season!