Back in September, we moved my office out of the basement. We converted a small windowed section at the back of our garage into the new office. And I mean small — about 7 feet by 10 feet. I’ve been meaning to post photos of the makeover for months, and today’s the day!

The little space is actually a small alcove. We created a 4th wall with floor to ceiling curtains, 4 panels total. There is no door. To enter the space, you pull aside a curtain. The garage isn’t heated, but with the 4th-wall-curtain and a little space heater it stays toasty on all but the coldest days.

The ribbon section came about mostly out of convenience — I’m constantly reaching for a piece of ribbon. To tie up the girls hair, or to embellish a little gift. And I hate throwing away pretty remnants. So I pinned them directly to the wall. Plus I needed a bit of color there.

The Matisse print I’ve had since college. One of my very favorites. My friend (and fabulous illustrator) Apryl Stott had it framed for a wedding gift. I love finding a space for it in our home whenever we move.


The floor is unfinished cement. We painted it with our leftover wallpaint, then defined the floor space and warmed it up a bit with garage-appropriate-tiles from Flor in charcoal grey.

The artwork is an original painting by a Guatemalan artist named Justicia — my in-laws picked it up on one of their many world travels.

This is a collection of stripped tins I put together ages ago with inspiration from a Martha article. Mine are full of rubberbands and stamps and business cards and all sorts of office-y things. They have been with me in every iteration of my office (home or otherwise) since 1999.

The lamp is metal and it’s my current crush. The proportions are perfect. The best thing Ikea produced this year. In black, red or white.

The desk is tall — bar height. Actually a little taller because it’s meant to be used while standing. It’s an old library table from my alma mater. I picked it up at one of the University’s surplus sales. The little compartments are for stacks of index cards — you know, to write down the dewey decimal number when you’re searching for a book — remember card catalogs? Obsolete now as a library table, but still gorgeous, and very heavy. I love this piece.

The barstool is vintage leather and it’s so charming, even if absolutely disintegrating. (I realize I should really find a pretty and comfortable work stool with a back.) I have two of the stools and on the best days, Ben sits next to me with his laptop and we work side-by-side — with makeout sessions when we need a break.


The little shelf boxes are liquor shipping crates. In the lower one, I added a piece of fabric covered homasote, and now it’s a bulletin board as well as a shelf. The higher one was too high to function as a bulletin board — so it’s just a shelf. Making and installing these was a super easy, satisfying project. And they’re shallow — perfect for knick knacks. Plus the shelves don’t hang out too far over the desk, so I don’t knock into them with my head when I’m busy exacto-knifing.

The “before” space was super rough. Weird 2x4s lined about a wall and a half. The other walls were unfinished, untaped sheetrock. Because this is a rental, we have to be judicious about how much energy and resources we put into the space, so instead of taping and finishing the walls, we just primed and painted everything so it provided a clean, fresh backdrop. We used a grey/blue shade from Sherwin Williams called something-I-can’t-remember — but I’ll look it up.

What do you think? I know it’s kind of hokey — a roughly finished garage space — but I LOVE having a space of my own. No matter how small.

You can see lots more photos (before and after) here.