Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Creating a Home Office with a View

So here is a lesson on how to overspend on a renovation, after you've already started the project!!  Because no matter how much planning you do, there are things you will want to change once you see the project begin to take shape from the blueprints.  And in retrospect - we still think it was the right decision.

Our original plan had the 3rd floor of the house as storage space.  The plan had a small landing at the top of the stairs to access the deck - the rest of the space was for storing all our assorted treasures (I have an embarrassingly large collection of holiday decorations).   But as the house was getting framed up, we realized there was a lot of space up there.  So we started thinking about different possibilities that could be a lot more exciting than a storage room.  And while we planned to use the third bedroom as an office/guest room -  a dedicated home office space sounded like pretty good idea!

Just look at these photos - can you see why we thought it was wasted as storage space?
Can you tell where we want to put a window? 
Pretty cool view on a foggy day......don't you agree?

Original Plan
So we started planning.  By moving the knee walls out to be 48" tall, this area is actually quite large.  We had already planned on utilizing blown-in insulation to maximize ceiling height and get a high R value between all the rafters.  This is known as a hot roof and really keeps the space warm in winter and cool in summer.  And by simply adding a wall of windows and a door to capture the view, we would make this room pretty great!

Speaking of windows, there was a funky angled wall beside the deck, near the future bookcase.  Originally we wanted to just close it up.  But when we realized how nice the view was from that angle, we decided to have a custom triangular window made to fit the space.  

We spent a LOT of time planning the staircase.  Since it winds up all the way up from the first floor to the third floor, we wanted it to have an open feel.  We didn't want it to be tight and cramped - and make you feel like you were climbing into an attic.  So, we decided to leave the stairwell open, with just a railing, giving the 3rd floor a more loft-like look.  And it accentuated the bright, open feeling we wanted for the whole house.

Speed forward another couple of months and the office starts to look like a livable space!  The staircase has been installed and provides an M.C. Escher sort of look, before the railings are added.  Oh - and do you see the lovely cherry insets we did on the landing?

The wall of windows and doors are great and capture the beautiful view.  
And the office portion of the room is looking good!  The window at the far end of the room faces south, so it helps the space stay bright all day long. 
Speed forward again and here's how the finished space came out (keep in mind, this is a working office for two people, not a staged house - so lots of real stuff everywhere!! And now that the photos are done, I notice dog toys in lots of them!).   The open stairwell provides lots of light and space.  You can see how the sunlight streams through the windows.  And I love the giant pendant we installed to light the whole stairwell.

Do you like my $10 chair from Habitat for Humanity's ReStore?

By lining the water facing wall with windows and doors, we have a space that is flooded with morning sunlight.  To make it even nicer, we wanted a comfy place to sit and enjoy the view - even when the weather is really terrible outside! There is something fascinating about watching a nor'easter blow through.   And the sofa has the added functionality as a sleeper sofa for overnight guests.

In the office space, we have room for two desks, a file cabinet , a work table and a long row of bookcases and drawers, to try and keep us organized!  There are access panels in the knee walls, to provide storage space for bulky items like suitcases and holiday decorations.
And remember the nautical charts that I used in the bathroom of our 2nd project?  Well I tried it out first in our own house (want to learn how?  click here).  My neighbor gave me a big stack of old charts - complete with his notations and markings, truly authentic!  Don't they make a great accent at the far end of the room?

I hadn't thought about it until I looked at this picture, but we never finished the moulding around the custom shaped window (they had to reorder it multiple times, before the shape was right).  That's a bit embarrassing after all this time!  You also get a peek of the 3rd floor deck - more about that in another post.

Needless to say, we are thrilled with this dual purpose room.  Do we miss the storage space we originally planned for this floor?  No way!!  This office provides fantastic, useful space and the fact that it has a view to distract you from your work is a nice bonus!

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  1. You are so imaginative! This space is gorgeous, just lovely.

  2. You had the perfect vision and now you have the perfect view. I'd be grabbing a book and heading outside to the deck and never get a bit of work done.

  3. I am catching up on the last few months of your blog. This room is amazing!! So functional and pretty. I homeschool and this layout gives me such inspiration. Wish we had a view like that every day. ;) Your taste is impeccable!

    1. Thanks so much! We absolutely love this room. Worth every penny of the overspend :-)

  4. Love the charts....it is perfect. I can imagine an old sea captains ghost up there charting his way while looking at the charts and the view.

    1. Thanks Linda!! I do like the sense of history the old charts provide!


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