My Home Office | Tour + Decorating Inspiration

Certain parts of the house are coming along. (You can check out the master bedroom and bath, downstairs bathroom, dining room, foyer, and living room in this post.) While other rooms still feel disheveled and hardly unpacked.

My office was one of the first rooms to get set up with furniture since I needed to have a place to work. But style-wise, it's not as colorful or inspiring of a creative space as I'd like. It needs to function as a motivating office for working from home, as an inspiring space for the creative writing and blogging I do as a hobby, and as a pretty room since it's on the main level and will definitely be seen by guests.

^Here's the room. We have a double parlor, and this is the back parlor. It was originally going to be our living room – with the fireplace and all. But the front parlor is friendlier for arranging a sofa, television, and additional seating. So I ended up with the fireplace in my office! (Not complaining.)

As you can tell, it's a large room. Besides the fireplace, it boasts a bay window and French doors that lead into the living room. To avoid closing off our space, the French doors will stay open at all times. 

My desk is made up of two wooden file cabinets and an antique door. I love that it's long and spacious, but I'm not down with the colors. I want to paint the cabinets and door, but I need to decide on a color. 

The fireplace is gorgeous. Just try to ignore the masking tape on the woodburner – I was trying to keep the bees out. ;) It's hard to tell in the photo, but the tiles around the hearth are a very light grayish blue. I'm still figuring out how the heck I want to decorate the mantle, so for now it's cluttered with objects I'm not sure where to go with.

This velvet desk chair is one of the best purchases I've ever made. It's attractive and comfortable. I keep a little ottoman nearby so my cat Cotton and easily jump up onto the desk and into the bay window – she loves to sunbathe/nap there.

I like my gray and white rug, but it's a bit small for the room. I want something bigger and more eye-catching.

This stretch of wall next to the fireplace is perfectly sized for my Mucha reproduction oil painting. I needed somewhere big, but away from direct sunlight – to keep its colors as vibrant as possible for as long as possible. I painstakingly narrowed down my book collection before moving, so this is what's left. I'm not in love with the cubbie shelf, but it'll do for now. This little antique chair was found in our basement. I cleaned it up and brought it into the office. 

It's difficult to see, but the wallpaper in this room is kind of hideous. It's a pale, creamy peachy pink floral with a subtle metallic. And thanks to years of Iowa humidity or poor installation, it's peeling at some edges and bubbling in places. Removing the wallpaper and repainting the space (with its ten-foot ceilings) will be a chore, but it will be so worth it.

So what do I want my office to look like? 

I'm really inspired by this office from The Inspired Room. The placement of the desk in front of the windows mimics my space. I love the balance of dark colors, bright hues, and lighter neutrals. I like the eye-catching pattern and long, spacious desk. And the chandelier is so lovely!

But I want light, airy curtains on the windows... and bright, bold pattern on the floor. And while the chandelier will be added to my wish list, for now I want to integrate the cage pendants I already have. While her office blends the exotic with the feminine, I want to blend the feminine with some industrial touches. And I want some majorly artistic elements – Mucha's muse and Botticelli's Venus.

So this is what I'm thinking:

I'm in love with this rug I ordered. It pulls colors from my large-scale Mucha and Botticelli artwork – seafoam green, sky blue, golden orange, and bright coral. It also has a bit of plum worked in, which matches my purple cabinet. And there's some cream and gray in there – two neutrals that I really want to play up equally in the room. 

I've got two decisions to make. 

The first needs to be made soon: What color should I paint the file cabinets and door that comprise my desk? Right now, I'm considering:

  • A deep dark plum to add more purple and match the nearby cabinet. 
  • A bright, bold coral to pickup from the rug and artwork – and add some fun, feminine flair.
  • A cool shade of bluish-green somewhere between seafoam and sky blue... like, a really light turquoise. But I have so much turquoise around the house already that this might be overkill... or it might tie everything together.
  • Black. Because it's classic and never goes out of style.
The second question will need to be made by the time we decide to peel wallpaper and paint the walls. What color should I paint this room? Right now, I'm leaning toward:
  • A very pale grayish blue that matches the tiles around the fireplace.
  • A nice medium gray
  • A dark charcoal gray
  • A creamy ivory that matches the curtains

What do you think? I'd love some paint color suggestions!

J E S S I C A  H A N S E N

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Bug Off! | Getting rid of unwanted guests of the 6- and 8-legged variety

To know me is to know I'm afraid of anything with more than four legs – except butterflies. After over a month of living together in our new-to-us, 105-year-old house in a semi-rural small town... G is just finding this out. He's come home to a beetle trapped under a mason jar, fireplace wrapped in tape to keep honeybees out, and me nearly in tears because there were two wasps upstairs.

One of the biggest, scariest adventures in having our own house has been dealing with the uninvited guests. The job has mostly fallen to me since I work from home... and our house is now also my office. So far, I've been pestered by ants, spiders, bees, wasps, and a solitary beetle. And with two furry co-workers – errr, uh... cats – I want to keep my extermination methods as eco-friendly and pet-safe as possible. And I thought I'd share my product reviews and recommendations with you!

Let's get down to the creepy crawlers, shall we?


Weekend Highlights: Fire, Flea Market, Spray Paint, & Mermaids

We've been living here in our beautiful old house for over a month now. And it's been hectic. Mainly because weekends have been consumed by unpacking, landscaping, and trips out of town to graduations. Last weekend, we finally had a weekend to have some much-needed fun – among more landscaping. ;)

We began our weekend with a Friday night fire on our patio. Just the two of us, some hamburgers on the grill, a few beers, and a nice fire going. It was perfect. I can't wait for many more nights on this patio together – and sharing it with friends and family!


Impromptu House Tour!

Happy weekend! Since we've been living in our 105-year-old house for just over a month now, I figured it was high time that I shared some photos. We're not completely settled in. The guest bedroom is full of clothes I need to launder, sort, and donate. And the upstairs bath is the current laundry zone since the washer and dryer are in there. But I do have some rooms to share!

Like the foyer. Above you can see our lovely antique front door. 


At Home with Honeybees (AKA: Bees in our chimney?!)

I love Burt's Bees. I love beeswax candles. And I love me some honey... especially slurped out of those honey straws from the farmers' market or brewed into a refreshing Kolsch beer.

But I'm a fraidy-cat when it comes to the little buzzers that make honey: the honeybees. I'm embarrassingly afraid. Not embarrassed myself, but bound to embarrass any friends or family standing nearby. Like, flapping-my-arms and running-away, embarrassingly afraid. I know, I know... flapping your arms can make bees upset or afraid, resulting in a sting. And that's why I'm afraid. I'm afraid of being stung. It's a fear of the unknown because I've never been stung. I'm afraid of the pain. I'm afraid of turning out to be allergic. And I'm afraid of watching the bee die because it stung me. Ugh.

So anyway, long story short: For a few weeks, we've been trying to figure out how honeybees are getting in. But now we've seen it with our own eyes. The bees are coming down the chimney and into my office via small openings around the woodburner. We went outside and looked at the chimney. Lo and behold! A bunch of bees swarming around the chimney top!


Love begins with family. Picking out the perfect gift for Mom this Mother's Day

This post brought to you by Hallmark Jewelry. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Lovely Side.

Mother's Day is right around the corner, lovelies. Life gets busy and hectic. But life is also filled with love stories and moments to treasure. And some of the most important moments and cherished stories involve our mothers. What are my favorite moments and memories shared with my mom? The first thing that comes to mind is books. From a very early age, Mom instilled within me a love for books and reading. She'd take me to Storytime at the local library. And most nights, we'd curl up and she'd read aloud to me... usually The Boxcar Children. I really believe that had my mom not shared her love of books with me, I would not be the writer and bookworm I am today. I also owe her my love of decorating, fearless use of color (I grew up surrounded by lots of red!), and knack for being thrifty. 


12 Chic Desk Chairs Under $200

When it comes to the perfect union of style and comfort, there are three things in this world I believe to be universally difficult to shop for: jeans, swimsuits, and desk chairs. One size and one style most certainly does not fit all. I'll leave the jeans and bikinis to the fashion bloggers, but today I'm go to share my search for a chic and comfy task chair with a price tag under $200.