New Office Smell

Our house has been a veritable hive of activity lately. We’re doing a lot of work on it this summer, and by “we”, I mean contractors, of course, because I’m barely competent with a drill.

The first big project is mostly done, and that’s our new office!

First, some “before” shots for context:

This is the second floor of the oldest part of our house. When I was a kid, it had a staircase in the middle, leading down to the living/dining/kitchen areas, and served as my parents’ bedroom and my brothers’ and my nursery. Eventually my parents moved their bedroom to a newer part of the house, the staircase was closed and replaced with a new one in a different location, and the upstairs became a storage room and makeshift guest bedroom.

By the time we moved in, it was the de-facto place for all those odds and ends my parents didn’t know what to do with, plus all the stuff we moved that was supposed to go to the office. We planned to renovate sooner, but the costs of moving, taking a loss on our condo, and Gwen’s hospital bills set us back.

Three years later, we hired a family friend to start bringing the space back to life. It needed a new ceiling, trim, paint, and carpet…and to have all our junk cleaned out of it and sorted. Mom took care of most of her stuff, and we left the contracting work to a pro. Sorting everything was an exercise in nostalgia; even though I did a big purge before we moved, there were still a lot of things I didn’t miss in the three years they sat up here, unused. A lot of stuff was donated.

I can’t reiterate how nice it is having a dedicated workspace. I haven’t had an “office” that was truly my own since before Ellie was born, so having the freedom and space to do what I want with space is a thrill. And having worked here for a couple weeks, I’m surprised I managed as well as I did at the kitchen table; there are still interruptions, of course, and always will be while the kids are small, but it’s great having a place to escape to.

And the timing worked out perfectly, because now the front wall of the house is being redone, so the kitchen, dining, and living rooms are a mess! The office has become my sanctuary amongst the chaos.


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