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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My New "Big Girl" Office!

Confession time; I have very busy with a new adventure these last 6 weeks! The fun started when I began looking at fresh ideas for different ways I can offer my color services as well as the baby steps towards another little side business. With commercial rentals being at an all time low, it occurred to me that I could take my business in a whole new direction. 

My home office (which shares space with my guest room and the family computer) was getting cramped with color samples, books and project stuff. My fledgling side business with clothing was also starting up so our little home had reached overflow capacity! I started to dig around one of my favorite little cities, Alameda, and found a couple of waterfront offices at shockingly cheap prices.

Although I've had an out of town client pick up items at my home office once before, I usually see people at their site. Color is best viewed, when possible, on site. But I've been rethinking the possibilities of this lately and decided to try an approach where I do have a public office that people can meet me at, if needed. Having open office hours at my home didn't seem practical or safe.

I guess one of the few bright spots in a bad economy is the opportunity for small business owners to get into an office. I canceled one off my list when they asked for a one year rental lease. The other one immediately caught my eye not only for the price (and month to month rent) but it's amazing location! One side of the office building is bordered by a pretty little marina full of boats while on the other side is on the San Francisco Bay with breathtaking views of San Francisco. 

I was so excited to find this, my mind raced at the possibilities for moving some of my careers goals and passions forward. I didn't mind that the building is older and in a time warp of 70's/80's design in the common areas.  What is the real estate saying? Location, location, location!

My first order of business was furnishing the space.....on a tight budget!  As usual, I turn to the holy trinity of my sources; Etsy, Craigslist and HomeGoods. My landlord is so cool and is allowing me to paint the office....music to any colorist's ears...or perhaps, eyes.

But as tempting as it is to paint a vacant room and then furnish, I know better.

Here is the back part of my office with by bamboo desk found at a local antique store. The big question is to paint or not to paint?

Source: 1st Dibs

Next came an upholstered chair from my mothership, HomeGoods:

I also picked up the Drexel Heritage lamp there for a steal as it was missing a couple of crystals.  I started to see this space was taking on a Hollywood Regency feel.  I've always liked that style but never had room for too much of it in a house full of boys/men!

I didn't like the idea of file cabinets for my color chips so I found this very long dresser on good 'ol Craigslist.  Two antique dealers I purchased it from routinely buy good quality, but outdated furniture, and paint it white. They even redid the handles in silver. 

This piece is from Bassett Furniture, probably early 70's, and I can tell you from moving it, it weighs a ton!! There is no way I could have purchased a new one of this quality.  I think I spent $125 on this and it has lovely lines as well as solid drawers.

I wanted something quirky and cool for drinks, cups and my coffeemaker.  The idea of a cocktail cart
has always been interesting.  For this, I turned to Etsy.  I quickly found a few sweet carts at great prices.  As I tried to decide, I also found out that they sell quickly! So I pounced on this little green and chrome number.

I still had some substantial wall space to deal with.  Visions of velvet loveseats or chaises started dancing in my head!  This was tempered with the reality of the prices I was seeing online.  $800 for a mass produced, poorly built one? Na, I'll pass.  Back to Craigslist again!  Two weeks of searching lead me to this one:

  This antique, coral velvet one was being offered by a dealer of abandoned storage space contents for $300!  My poor husband was not happy about the drive out to a sketchy warehouse area near Candlestick Park in San Francisco to pick it up in the pouring rain to save the delivery charge... nor the effort it took to get it up to my second floor office.  After 21 years of marriage, he says he knows better than to get in between me and a furniture find!

Lastly, considering some artwork.  Already bought this on Etsy but it's small. Love it:

Considering this in a very large format:

I also need a large mirror, but I haven't gotten that far yet.  I'm going to keep the walls neutral as much for balancing out all this color as for viewing color chips within my office without a lot of competing  wall color getting in the way.  Perhaps Benjamin Moore's Shaker Gray, Night Train or Gibraltar Cliffs?  Maybe darker? We'll see as things progress.  Sometimes progress seems painstakingly slow but it's actually come quite far this two weeks.
  I'm so excited to have a little office to call my own.  My husband and I call it my Big Girl Office! The fact that I can have a little 165 square foot slice of the waterfront is just icing on the cake. I'll be sure to post an update when it's finished.