A Calligrapher's Home Office Tour in Baltimore, MD
Shotgunning for Love Letters recently had a major creative space makeover. I probably should've taken some before pictures to demonstrate the transformation that has taken place, but I'll do my best to just describe it. The greatest challenge in redesigning the space was making it seem larger than it really was. We operate out of my home office in Baltimore, Maryland. If you've ever visited Baltimore, you may know that many of us live in row homes (basically town houses). They're long, but narrow spaces. Each square foot must be used wisely, being careful to never waste the potential of a hidden nook.
When we first opened up shop, it looked like our office was on one of those gravity rides at the county fair that spins around and sucks everything up against the wall. The desk was pushed up against the wall, shelves mismatched and tightly hugged the wall, cardboard boxes were piled and stuffed in a closet under the stairs. A heavy, dark curtain kept bright light from shining into the tight space. The finishing touch was the frosted glass grandma pendant hanging from the ceiling that was there when we first purchased our home. The shelves above my desk were raw, unstained and basically falling off of the wall (shameful, I know). I knew all of this had to change and I wanted to create a space that was inviting for clients AND a place that was calming for me as well.
My Style: Rustic Modern Glam
Inspiration: Anything Joanna Gaines does. I wanted to mix different textures and styles in the space. I prefer naturally occurring materials like wire, wood, lots of greenery, in contrast with [faux] fur and clean white lines. Since I mostly work from home, I wanted to have a creative space that was bright and welcoming. Most importantly, my chair had to be super comfy. Because I work inside so much, it was really important to me to have a lot of fresh plants so I could feel like I was outside! I'm really inspired by quotes as well. The day I finished up the space, I added a Picasso quote to the wall "I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else." This is pretty reflective of my working style and a great reminder to allow myself the freedom to see what can happen when nib hits paper.
Favorite Element: I absolutely love my giant shiny white desk from Ikea. It's barely ever a clean surface because I always have work strewn all over it, but I can raise it up, lower it, and tilt it as needed. You can find it here. I also really love the rusty plant holder behind my desk which is from Dot & Bo and I received as a wedding gift.
Biggest Challenge: I had limited space because I work from my home office in a tiny row house. The space is rather slim and less than 300 sq. feet. I had to maximize the space which was accomplished by using smart storage solutions and shoving the rest in my car (just kidding, kind of). I wanted to maintain an inviting space while also making sure it didn't feel overwhelming and crowded. I created some storage under the staircase to maximize the space's potential and hide less desirable pieces like shipping materials and supplies.
What my besties say: "I've been anxiously awaiting this." My most organized friend is very excited about this makeover because she saw the "before" which would make anyone anxious! "It's bright and fresh with fun details." Removing the dark curtain and bringing in new light fixtures really made the space look brighter.
Proudest DIY: I really can't claim a ton of DIY work in here because that is the work of my husband. He cut and installed the homemade shelves for me and also hung the new light fixture. He's a bit disgruntled that the Edison bulb I'm using isn't the most efficient on the market but, we'll recycle a bit extra this year to make up for it! He also created a little shelf for the wireless router which we then covered with some driftwood. It actually makes me not hate the wires so much because it looks a like a makeshift fireplace now. My proudest DIY moment during this makeover was probably going through some of my earlier calligraphy work during the cleaning process and seeing the improvement that has taken place over time. Practice really does make progress, folks!
Most embarrassing moment: Being too lazy to spray paint the shelf screws gold and the digital printer that was hidden in the closet for the shoot.
Shopping Source: Most of the furniture came from Ikea. Ikea has great storage solutions that are also stylish. I'll link details at the bottom of the post. I also purchase lots of detail pieces from Homegoods and thrift stores. I probably have over 100 brown bottles that I've picked up with the help of family and friends over the past year (I used them as centerpieces for my wedding).
Best Advice: If you're working on a creative space for your home office, incorporate some of your own work. I keep an inspiration board next to my desk that has important dates, past work, and Polaroids from Mexico (to remind me why I'm working so hard). The cork board is also great for client consultations to create a mood board and conceptualize wedding ideas in one space.
Honorable Mention: My dog Titan is one of my biggest supporters. You might notice he's my little/giant shadow in some of the photos. Whether I'm working on my laptop on the couch, headed outside for a quick walk, or diligently working at my desk, Ty is always at my feet snoozing. He's a five and a half-year-old Rottweiler-German Shepherd mix. We adopted him as a puppy from a shelter in Cincinnati, Ohio.
What's Next: I've got my eyes on a giant iMac with retina display. I'm coming for you.
- Apple MacBook Pro
- Brother Laser Printer
- Epson Workforce Inkjet Printer
- Ikea Linnmon/Finnvard Desk
- Cushioned Chair from Homegoods
- Metal Chair from Dot & Bo
- Storage Drawers, Alex from Ikea
- Gordon Faux Sheepskin Rug
- Kurt Mango Wood Lamp
- Hanging Rain Chain Storage Boxes
- Office and Living Room Art by Shotgunning for Love Letters