Home Office Transformation…finally!

I’ve hesitated posting about my office transformation, because I thought “Who cares about this as much as I do?” and the “before” is pretty embarrassing, but I’ve had lots of people ask me to post the before and after, so I thought okay, I’ll do this. Maybe it will inspire someone else to start a project you’ve been wanting to do. So, here goes…

All of my worlds collide in my office…it’s where I do my work — both photography and graphic design, make playlists and pull articles for the fitness classes I teach, as well as manage my household responsibilities. By that I mean putting everyone’s schedules in my calendar, emailing, sorting mail and bills, working with my kids on their homework and projects, etc. It’s also the room where I dream. I save decorating magazines, fabric swatches and keep a file of clippings for ideas and inspirations. I also have several paint decks on hand for when I get the urge to make a color change. My dreams needed a place too! The office is simply one of the most used rooms in our house. For some people it’s their kitchen, but for me, it’s my office. So, one of my goals last year was to make my office a better workspace — one that I could enjoy being in and one that represented me better when clients came to meet with me. I was also on a mission to make it fun, efficient and organized for the kids and me to share. My husband Brad really doesn’t care that he doesn’t have a spot, because he’s good at keeping his work, at work! When you work from home like me, it’s just not an 8 to 5 kinda thing.

My workspace had been anything but functional and cheery! In fact, it was full of clutter and I felt totally boxed in by a computer cabinet I had purchased in our old house to use in my work/den shared space. It worked there. It did not work here, yet I had been tolerating it for four years!

I began researching what I wanted and planning out the transformation. There were things on my list of must-haves, such as the kids having their own workspace separate from mine. But, while they are at school, their work surfaces could be used for my work…putting together photos in mats, etc. I also wanted places to store magazines and catalogs that I keep and reference often, as well as file and drawer storage wide enough for photographic mats that take up a lot of space. Magnetic boards for reminders, notes, photos, kids’ artwork, invitations and things I needed to be able to quickly access were extremely important. The list went on and on.

In my old office, the kids’ art supplies and crafts were everywhere. Their stuff had literally taken over and their desks were always covered, because we had already filled up my office closet and there was nowhere else to store them. I would constantly ask them to straighten up, but they would get frustrated because they didn’t have anywhere to put away anything or display their precious artwork. They were right to be frustrated. I wasn’t giving them a solution to their problem. Oh, I had tried with different things over time, but they were always just band aids. So, a must-have for the new office was organized and accessible places for the kids’ art supplies. All those markers and crayons needed a neat home!

Besides all of the organizational needs, I desired for the space to be light, bright, clean and mostly white. It was time to get rid of the green walls! My favorite color is turquoise blue and it’s used on both my graphic design logo and photography logo along with gray. So I decided to be consistent with that color palette and carry it over into my workspace. The color scheme was easily decided, without hesitation, as shades of creamy white with accents of turquoise blue and gray.

As much as I love reclaimed wood and would have loved all of the surfaces to be that, I knew it would never hold up to paint spills, markers and crayons. This time, function needed to win out; but maybe, just maybe, somehow I could make functional also aesthetically pleasing.

I must say this has been a very fulfilling project for me. There are even empty baskets and drawers left to be filled! (I can’t believe it!) The only thing I regret is that I started it at the end of November, during the holidays — my busiest season for photography and my busiest season with my family. Choosing that time frame added some unnecessary stress and made the project take a little longer than expected, but most of my friends and family know that when I get a bee in my bonnet…watch out! Here comes a project!

I will also say that there are a few things that still have to be finished in the next few weeks — there’s going to be a cable that will hang right below the crown molding on two full walls where I can clip photographs and my kids’ artwork and another shelf to be hung above my current shelf. I’m just waiting on a few parts to come in for my installer to come back and finish. There’s also still some “fluffing” that needs to happen. That’s what I call it when I need to fill a shelf with some little interesting something or add some photographs to the wall. “Fluffing” is the stuff that fills the room with your personality. Or at the risk of sounding like an American Idol judge, it “makes it your own”. I’ll post those additions to my blog later.

Before I reveal the before and after, I have to shout out a big thank you to my precious friend, Jennifer Day, for making the first trip with me to get most of the furniture. It was an all-day event and took a lot of effort! She’s always been my friend I can count on through thick and thin and is always up for a project or adventure! She never complains and always puts her heart and soul into helping. I also want to thank my friend Steve Higginbotham, who manages Cameras Brookwood. He offered to help by putting some of the drawer units together for me in the midst of the Christmas rush. And last but certainly not least, a huge thanks to my husband Brad, who had the job of helping me put the furniture together…during hunting season…during the holidays when he took off 2 weeks from work to rest! Ha! He was a great sport about it, but I did make a promise that I would never do that to him again. 🙂

Now for the before and after! Unfortunately I do not have the extreme wide angle lens I need to get a shot of the entire room, so here it is in sections. I also have lots of pictures amidst the transformation chaos and the resources I used. I am willing to share them if you are interested. Let me know by giving me a shout on my Heather Durham Photography Facebook page. Thanks for being interested. Best wishes for the projects you are dreaming up right now!

And still…with hesitation…I am finally hitting the “Publish” button!


BEFORE - Looks decent from this angle...not too messy...
BEFORE - Again, not too bad, but not great...
BEFORE - And now you know why it was time for a change!
BEFORE - Yikes!
BEFORE - The spaghetti mess of wires behind the computer cabinet when we moved it! I know! Cut me some slack on the dust...it was behind that cabinet that weighed a ton! Couldn't get back there to clean.


My art table and my son's workspace
The cubbies that changed my life!
My corner workspace
AFTER - The "H" is for Heather. It's also for happiness when everything is right where you need it to be!

8 thoughts on “Home Office Transformation…finally!

  1. Heather…

    I love it… even though I am still laughing at the before pictures! Olivia and Luke’s space is wonderful… and you are teaching them about taking care of it at the same time. Your office looks great and that we share our favorite color… you have noticed my master bedroom and bath? Now you have inspired me to actually make the decision about long window treatments among other stuff in there… thanks so much for sharing!
    Love you,

  2. Heather, Oh my goodness!! I love looking at your blog and your beautiful pictures and could not wait to see what you had done to your office. LOVE IT!!! I can not believe you got that office put together as quick as you did. This is a total makeover!! Loved seeing you and Jennifer in Atlanta that time. How many times have you been back to Ikea since? Too many for me to mention! I could go crazy in there. Have to go back in a couple of weeks- my daughter’s playroom is my next project and next up- my office! I love yours! Where did you get the light blue boxes? And aren’t those gray ones from Ikea? I think I recognize them from there. Love those 2 together. Anyway, just wanted to tell my Ikea soulmate I think it looks GORGEOUS!!

    1. Hey Laurie! Thank you for your sweet comments. I’m really happy in my new office! To answer your questions, the gray and white graphic print boxes and files are from The Container Store in Buckhead (also online). The light turquoise files and boxes are from http://www.seejanework.com. Pick up the latest copy of Alabama Baby and Child magazine. There is a four page article about my office makeover. Thanks again for your interest! You and I could do some serious damage together at Ikea. Would love to see what you’ve done too! I’m sure it’s fabulous. 🙂

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