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Yep. I Did That. And I’m Pretty Sure You Should Do It Too.

When I was a kid, my favorite thing in the world to do was to build forts.

Of course, “the world” consisted of my house, my neighborhood, and some woods behind my best friend’s house, so I didn’t know how many other non-fort related fun things there were to do in the world, the bigger world, the one beyond the realm of my own imagination.

So, forts it was.

Outside, the forts were limited to the selection of supplies the woods could provide and the ones my friend and I were brave enough to snake from our homes and stockpile among the branches and leaves and dirt.  We had no hammers or nails, so our structures often consisted of precariously leaning logs and bent branches held to the ground with rocks and sometimes, just a maze of pathways and rooms raked through the leaves with nothing but imaginary doorways and walls.  But it was enough.

Inside, we ran rampant.  Huge blankets and sheets draped across furniture and lamps, tied to curtain rods and doorknobs, pinched tight inside closed drawers, and weighed down with books — massive behemoths that would fill entire rooms and sometimes stairwells, completely filled with pillows and stuffed animals and toy dishes and secret passages and all of the things necessary for a play house or a restaurant or a barber shop.

My friends always liked to get the fort built and get on with the game, because the set-up was just set-up, after all –not the fun part.

But for me, the creation was the fun part.  I loved discovering that rubber bands could hold blankets to door knobs just fine and that curtains can actually be pulled away from the walls to create more coverage and that couch cushions made the sturdiest doorways.  I loved convincing parents who thought they couldn’t get up the stairs that they could, in fact, crawl through the fort and experience for themselves the sheer awesomeness that can come with self-imposed confined spaces.  I loved knowing which rooms were best for creating the most extensive structures, and I loved discovering new places to build and new ways to build them.

And sometimes now, as an adult, and even though I have an entire house to play with, I just want to grab a big blanket, drape it across my computer desk and office chair, and crawl inside.

Grown-up Fort

I’m pretty sure it would make a fantastic fort.  I could bring in a lamp and maybe some christmas lights, a glass of wine and a good book.

Inside Grown-up Fort

Then, when Justin comes into the room to tell me it’s time to do grown-up things like submit queries or pay bills, I’ll pretend he can’t find me because I’m inside my fort, and forts pretty much make you invisible.

fort for adults

Maybe a fort would stir my imagination again, like it did as a kid, and all of the stagnant bits that have drifted and settled at the base of my skull would float to the surface in a jostled frenzy of inspiration and creativity.

The pressure of time wouldn’t exist.

Just like when we were kids.

Every Room Has An Unshaven Armpit. Here’s Mine.

I know, I’ve kind of been MIA lately.

But I have an excuse.

Several, actually.

Remember when I showed you my nice, newly built desk that’s all pristine and clean and fantastic?

Well.  That’s all fine and dandy, but the other side of the room — the side I was too embarrassed to show you — has been looking like this:

Oh, the shame.  If the desk side of the room were the pretty face with fresh makeup and whitened teeth, this side would be the armpit.

It’s the unshaven armpit of my office.

It didn’t look like this due to laziness.

Okay, part of it was due to laziness.

But mostly, it’s my indecision that’s the cause of the hold-up once again.

I’ve definitely decided to paint the bookshelves white.  I’ve definitely (kind-of-sort-of-I-think) decided to stain the long wall shelves that will go above the long part of the desk a dark-ish color.  Although, I’ve since read that pine doesn’t like to stain dark very well, so now I’m considering painting them once again.

I also love this rug and want to have its babies:

Company C Tapestry Rug

“Tapestry” by Company C.  See it on my Pinterest page.

I could use something like this to cover up the horribly old and stained carpet in the office, but the more I look at it, I actually kind of want this for my kitchen.

And that doesn’t really matter because it is so far out of any rug budget we’d have if we actually had a rug budget, that I probably can’t afford to even look at it, let alone visualize it in any of my rooms.  So if you’re aware of a good knockoff or know how to knockoff any of the multiple online stores that carry it and get away with it, please let me know.

Anyway.  The good news is that I’ve at least managed to tackle some of that organizational nightmare that’s going on in that corner.  The bad news is that I don’t have time to show you right now because they don’t seem to like it when I show up to work looking like someone who woke up terrified in the middle of the night because her husband’s work pager was going off and now has to deal with the fact that he’s leaving town when there’s a hurricane coming our way.

But that’s another story.

Obviously I’ll need something to keep me busy this weekend, so let me know if you have any more office ideas!

Indecisiveness — not Curiosity — Killed the Katie

Hey, so remember the time I thought about decorating the office since I actually use it now and then a style quiz called me an alcoholic?

Well it turns out that quiz might have been on to something, because while I’m not an alcoholic per se, I would prefer to sit down and kick back a glass of vino while discussing the latest book I read over perusing the interwebs for office inspiration photos and staring at paint swatches.  Which is why it’s been… erm… 4 months since I declared I’d be decorating the office and have done exactly 1 thing:  bought a desk.

It’s not that I’m lazy.  It’s just that I’m so indecisive, I could probably spend so much time looking at  a dinner menu that the table next to me would have sat down, ordered, eaten, enjoyed some after-dinner drinks, smoked a couple of cigars, went home, had sex, and gone to sleep.

I never know what I want!  As the style quiz correctly determined, I’m into “Cozy… not oversized… a handcrafted gem.”

Yep.  That’s me.

I’ll admit it — I’m not hugely into the all-white/beige/cream trend that seems to have taken over the design blogosphere.  I mean, sure it looks gorgeous, but is it really all that practical?

For my lifestyle, NO.

I like warm colors.  I like comfortable.  I like reading a book in an over-stuffed arm chair with a crocheted blanket thrown over my legs.  I don’t love cleaning, I don’t own stacks of design magazines, and I definitely don’t collect little white ceramic animals and vases.

So why the heck did I buy this ultra modern, clean-lined, super white desk?

And more important, why am I painting another one to match it?

I guess it comes down to functionality.  I have a very cluttered mind, which, it stands to reason, would result in a very cluttered home office.  Therefore I think, when I ordered this desk, that I had a vision of a clean, minimal design, highlighting function, organization, and productivity above all else.

A room that screams, Just shut up and write.

Except maybe a little more tactful.

Something like this:

Photo source.

Or this:

Photo source.

Or this:

Photo source.

The problem?  These all require dark, bold wall colors, and I am not repainting this sucka.

I realize I didn’t clean up any of my junk, including the fugly dog kennel, but here’s how the office looks now:

View right when you walk through the door.  See that pull-up bar in the lower right corner?  Yeah… I can almost do half a pull-up now.  Probably because the pull-up bar lives on the floor.  Should I keep this painting?  I’m thinking I could pull some colors from it to use in the rest of the room.

Turning left… Yep, that’s my new desk, buried under junk from my trip to IKEA and an old office chair I wasn’t able to sell.  See that closet on the right?  There’s another one directly across from it.  I guess the architects designed it like that so there could be a window between to let more light in the room.  Those old computer towers in the lower left corner will be going away.  Eventually.

Turning left some more… Wow, that’s embarrassing.  Here  you will see no less than 3 camera bags sitting on the floor, my blue college trash bin, and a $10 bookshelf filled with… can you tell?… Justin’s Star Wars book collection.  I plan for the long desk he built to go on this wall in order to form an “L” shape with the existing desk.

Then, I think I’ll put some open shelving above the long desk with my IKEA file storage boxes, and maybe a bulletin board and/or some other organizational items on the wall in front of the short desk.

And one more turn… For some reason I neglected to take a photo of the wall to the left (or immediately to the right when you walk into the room.  It currently contains 2 more cheap-o bookshelves with my books.

So there you have it.  Here are the issues I’m willing to address:

  • Wall Shelves.  I’ve already bought the wood for 2 long shelves to go on the wall with the entrance to the room (above photo) above the long desk.  Should I stain them or paint them?  What color?  Remember, below them will be a white desk, and on them will likely be white boxes and magazine folders from IKEA.  So white shelves are not an option.  I’m all whited out.
  • Book shelves.  It would be a huge pain, but I’m willing to paint these.  Should we keep all 3?  I like the idea of setting up a “library” corner in the corner of the room you view right when you walk in (right side, first picture).  Should I paint them?  Should I keep them together?  Should they all go on one wall?  In the corner?  What?!
  • Lighting/Accessories.  I might be able to swing something by way of inexpensive desk lamp or ceiling light, but the budget is pretty tight on this project.  Like… nonexistent.  Like… I’m kind of at the end of my jobless grace period.  So I pretty much have to work with some paint and what we have.
  • Painting.  Should I keep that painting?  If so, where should it hang?  Should I use it for other colors in the room by way of accessories?  Looking through my Pinterest inspiration photos, I’m noticing a trend with a burnt orange color and/or a bold green.  Orange is in that painting; green is not. (*I take it back — green IS in the picture!  It’s in the leaves of the tree right in the middle.)  Here are some of my Pinterest photos:

Photo source.

I love this kitchen from the movie, It’s Complicated.  Maybe I could paint the book shelves a rusty green and have the burnt orange as an accent color somewhere??

Photo source.

Another photo with natural, rustic-looking wood has me thinking I should paint the book shelves a crisp white and distress and stain the wall shelves above the desk to look like the desk in the photo above.

Photo source.

White shelves with colorful books.  I could do that…

Photo source.

More wood, orange, and white.  I’m starting to see a pattern…

Photo source.

Hey, I’m more consistent than I thought!

Photo source.

Orange… green… wood…

Photo source.

This one’s slightly different, but I love that muted blue color, which also happens to be in the painting.

Let me ask you.  Did I already screw this up by painting the walls gray?  By buying/making white desks?  By being an idiot when it comes to design??


In retrospect, I probably should have tried to find a great piece from a thrift store and refinished it to get the used-but-loved look I’m pretty sure I like but have never been able to achieve (aside from the puppy teeth marks on my ottoman legs).  And I definitely should’ve come up with a design plan before getting started.  You think I would’ve learned with the kitchen!

Bottom line?

I need help.  And I’m counting on readers like TileTramp and YOU to help me.

So?  What should I do?  Besides say “screw it” and pour myself a glass of wine at 10 a.m. because it’s just an office?  (And that quiz thought I was an alcoholic.  Puh-leeze.)