How did your home get its ‘look’?

by S&M

This could go two ways–home offices or decorators.

A couple of regulars work from home frequently, and some of us might remember a regular having an office space constructed at home a few years ago. What kinds of spaces do people here use, and what office space do they envision in their ideal home?

We’ve talked about what people have on their walls, but how did it get there, and how did the rest of people’s homes get their “look”? Has anyone used a decorator, either full-on or something like this online service?

5 Fantastic Home Offices We Love

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96 thoughts on “How did your home get its ‘look’?

  1. I have the office/guest room combo for my paid work office. I also have a desk space in the upstairs “gameroom” (what our realtor said it was) that I use for volunteer work and personal stuff.

    In my work office, the bulk of the room is the guest space – my grandparent’s antique bed, vanity, and night stand. This was also the room used by our exchange students, so it also has a functional and pretty, but oddly placed for my office, wall mirror. It had/has two pictures – one over the bed that my mom embroidered and a framed poster I love from Denmark.

    The more comfy chair was taken out to make room for my work desk. My work space is elfa shelving hung right under a window, with an extra pull out shelf for my keyboard, and a narrow set of drawers for supplies/files. I also had a small table for the printer, but when my DD#2 gave up some elfa drawers with a top in her room, I took that and the printer and its supplies are now there. I added a floor mat and an office chair. Since my mom passed, I added some “Texas” pictures that she cross-stitched – state seal, Austin skyline, state capitol, governor’s mansion and a map. I also added a mini-quilt she made. I am likely going to replace the picture she made that was in her to begin with, because it is not my favorite and now I have a lot more choices. I haven’t unpacked those boxes yet though.

    Lastly, I have a bunch of boxes in here – my parents papers as I needed them to be segregated (at least until the estate is fully settled and all tax returns are completed) and boxes of their pictures that I haven’t had the mental energy to go through. However, these are neatly stacked and aren’t in my normal line of vision while I am working.

    I love the purple color of the room and looking out over my computer into the backyard. Lastly, this placement encourages me to get all my work done by 3 pm as that is when the sun comes in at an uncomfortable angle or I have to pull the blinds making it dark and depressing!

  2. I call the look of our home – “we both work full time and things are whereever we put them when we moved in two years ago”. Our furniture is a mix of old Ethan Allen inherited from grandparents, furniture purchased when we moved into a bigger house in Texas and a little Ikea. No cohesive look but if I was started from scratch, I would call my preferred style modern cottage.

    I actually won time with a designer at our school auction and haven’t had time to call them to set up an appointment. On my list for next week.

  3. Had a nice home office in Austin that I furnished with that mix and match office furniture from Ballard Design. This stuff didn’t fit in the second house and I worked out of a corner of our bedroom – really bad idea. Now we have a home office again but it is just far enough out of reliable wifi range that no one uses it. We have had two techs come out and it still is not great. Would like to get rid of the big office furniture by transitioning to digital records, but don’t have the time to get the scanner working,

  4. I should also mention that I initially thought I could work from my desk in the open “gameroom”. But, once the holidays hit (a couple of years back) and the kids were home all day, I realized I needed to be in a space where the door shuts!

  5. My office is a converted garage, with file cabinets, a table, desk, filing cabinets, books shelves and a dog underfoot.

    The house is I guess a Craftsman. The look of the home–“there is a lot of dirt around here, so everything needs to be a hard surface, easily cleanable or replaceable” So, we have granite countertops, hardwood floors, leather furniture and some area rugs from Home Depot. The one room that is actually decorated is essentially a trophy room. We have a large builtin bookshelf with mementos from trips over the years. There is an eclectic combination of south american crafts, a few bits from Asia, and other places one of us has been. I actually like it quite a bit.

    I wouldn’t mind having a designer come and tell me what to do with the rest of the house.

  6. Our apartment and building has a distinct style set by the architect. We did very little to change it. Otherwise, slow accretion, selective purging and benign neglect?

  7. We moved in 12 years ago and haven’t made time to replace the carpet in the bathroom. Everything is well worn. The house across the way has sold 3 times while we are here. Each sale brings tons of contractors in and out. I am dying to know what it looks like now.

  8. All those lovely pictures don’t show anyplace to store all the crap that goes with a home office. DH is considering working from home more often, and I’m a little nervous about what’s going to happen to the home office, and if I’m ever going to be able to get to the printer and office supplies ever again.

  9. Timely post for me. I’m moving my home office as part of a larger home renovation. It’s a bigger space, and will have room for my large desk, some comfortable sitting chairs, built in bookshelves, and a desk for each of the kids for doing their homework. This is my “inspiration”
    room for what it will look like:

    Actually it turn out I don’t know how to post a picture, even though I thought I followed along the other day. Hmm.

  10. I own two desks from Ballard’s, one large one in our office and this secretary desk in our bedroom. I thought the desk in our bedroom would be perfect because you can close it up when not in use. Well, it didn’t work out that way. The person who uses it keeps it overflowing with papers and random bits of stuff (what are ties doing in the cubby hole spaces?) Plus papers overflowing on top and books and cords and boxes of stuff on the sides. Oh well.

  11. Maybe I underestimate how much crap is in the average office, but in the top pic I see the credenza and two bookshelves with cabinets in the bottom 1/3, then 3 file drawers, 6 smaller drawers, and two cabinets in-between shelves, and a screen that could be hiding a full wall of 5-drawer file cabinets in the third. But the last two–yeah, they’re “digital native offices”, to be charitable about it ;) And I could never, ever imagine such a clean desktop!

  12. Lark–the extension has to be an image format (like jpg or gif), and it has to be at the very end of the url. And the whole url has to be on a line of its own (or how ever many lines it needs)

  13. CoC- I used to own a desk like that with pocket doors. Looked fine unused; totally impractical in use. There was no space for anything. It ended up being used more as a bookshelf/ storage unit.

  14. Austin, what a combo of poignancy and drudgery! I used to think I wanted my parents to live in the house I grew up in until they die, so that I would be familiar with what was where. But hearing from those of you who have gone through it makes me think more and more that I want them to move to a much smaller space, so the biggest weeding-out (everything that’s left after hauling out what they need) will be done while they are still alive and available to comment.

    CoC, you are so diplomatic in mentioning the other person in your bedroom, who puts ties in the cubbyholes, lol! While writing my dissertation, I really wanted a full-sized roll-top desk. Never happened.

  15. Well I can’t figure it out for that particular image. But that, in general, is the look I go for in our house. Lot of blue and white, antique pieces mixed in with comfy upholstered furniture, and modern lighting.

  16. Let’s see if this works. This is not my house, and a little more formal than my house, but this is the general look in my house.

  17. Oh, built-in bookcases. Why don’t all houses have built-ins? Sigh. I wish mine did.

  18. My boss is paper intensive. My office is just over 6.5′ long and 2′ wide. I have room for about 24″ of “paper” – either in file folders or binders in this space – that is not fully used. I can do it because most everything I do in electronic form and/or I scan it after I finish with it.

    My paper stuff is mainly volunteer work where we need to take things to places (camp, the lake) that are not super user friendly to electronics, hand them out to people who take them home, or things like sign in sheets and written on forms that we are supposed to keep originals for a fixed time.

  19. Oooh times post. Our office cum guest bedroom is just overflowing with stuff. I blame it on DH as he never ever gets to his to do list when it comes to sorting the mail and shredding what he does not need. I feel a yelling session coming from me. Sadly, I am sure not even that will faze Husband enough to actually get anything done.
    I am sloooooooowly scanning all financial documents so I can get rid of a ton of paper.

    Once I am rid of all paperwork and find a way to store our books, I am getting rid of the large desk and getting something exactly like Lark has posted.

    In our next home, I envision a library/ office combined with either the formal living room with French doors. If one of us seriously works from home, only the. We might need a dedicated space.

  20. I’m writing from my home office now. It’s technically *our* home office as DH works from home 95% of the time and has the built-in desk, but he works mostly from the basement (with the news on), so this has become my office.

    I have a desk of my own (really an old table of my grandparents) in front of a big window–I much prefer this to looking at the wall. I also have a smaller built-in work space with filing underneath, which I use this to organize all the bills, etc. DH has all the office supplies, paper, printer ink etc in the desk, and there’s a separate printer stand (which I almost never use).

    Behind me is a large dog bed, currently (and pretty much always) occupied by the yellow lab. Behind that is an armchair, currently (and pretty much always) occupied by the minpin and her blanket. I often sit with her in the armchair to work or read.

    We converted this room from guest room to office – we had them build the desk where a closet used to be. It has floor-ceiling bookshelves along 80% of one wall so really has an office vibe to it more than a guest room. We have more bookshelves elsewhere, so the shelves in here are mostly filled with family photos and funny little things like DH’s framed certificate from when he won the 9th grade city-wide spelling bee (an honor he reminds us of about once/quarter).

    This room and the rest of the house are mid-century modern. We used a decorator and a contractor when we first started renovating, but I soon found out that DH and our contractor have a real knack for design (especially DH), so we dropped the designer after Round 1. As for furniture, we spent a lot on some rooms–custom couch and armchair for living room, Three Chairs and Design Within Reach things for that room and dining room, crazyexpensive lighting for both rooms. We spent far less on the family room, which is off the kitchen and includes another eating area, and on the basement rec room. I never wanted to have to police the kids in those areas, or care if they were jumping on couches or spilling things or whatever.

    We have now redone every room in the house except for 2 bathrooms. And actually, we did a pretty superficial job on the kitchen, so it could use a ton more love. Those are the 3 rooms we’re debating about: spend the money on them, or just lower choose a modest sale price?

    I have really loved this place but I’m still really excited about downsizing to something way smaller, way newer and way nicer.

  21. I have determined after a few visitors have made certain comments (cute, cozy, charming – nothing really affirmative) that my house is quirkily mine. Blue walls and floor in the kitchen with the black quartz countertops and whitish cabinets are apparently even more idiosyncratic than I thought. All my funky mid century stuff (given that the house is not a period showpiece from a movie set) is unfamiliar and not to most people’s taste. The art work was painted for the most part by my husband’s mother, plus various decorative stuff from our travels. The furniture is mostly my mom’s not funky american mid century plus a sofa and large chair and my rugs. When I get around to painting the walls something other than white, the colors will probably still not be to most people’s taste.

    We have a bedroom repurposed as a joint non professional office, 2 desks, which also houses the lonely elliptical, free weights and bench, and the cat tree and litter box, a grandfather clock and my watch collection. I found ways to file what we need (most records are electronic), but I also keep archive boxes in the attic for old records and move them up every couple of years as the files get too full.

  22. The look of our house is “da*n, these people own a lot of books” with a little “they must have bought this furniture for a different house” thrown in.
    We are looking to replace the gigantic couch that was a mistake 3 houses ago, which dominates the family room, with one from Joybird, which I had never heard of before the furniture discussion here a couple of weeks ago.

  23. “Blue walls and floor in the kitchen with the black quartz countertops and whitish cabinets are apparently even more idiosyncratic than I thought.”

    Except for the floor this describes my kitchen, and I do have a blue floor in a bathroom (not carpet!) so I’m feeling very affirmed since I adore Meme.

  24. I am working from my home “office” today. Basically, it is a small desk from Target, dark brown, on one wall of the bedroom. I have an ugly brown office chair from Staples. I sit so close to the bed that I use the bed for temp storage – I can pile papers there and swing around and grab them. The desk is covered by a huge laptop (not really a laptop since you could not transport it anywhere) and a second monitor. There are also a whole bunch of camera lenses, and some paper stacks.

    I just snapped a photo – how can I post it?

  25. My kitchen has dark wood floors, white lower cabinets, no upper cabinets, a huge Wolf range, a small white Kenmore fridge, deep blue tile counters, a wooden table in the center, and Maisy yellow walls. Yep, Maisy yellow – we showed the paint store the “Yellow” page in the kid’s book Maisy’s Colors

  26. I don’t know what to call our house. I think it’s a center hall colonial but I liken it to early 90s mid-level executive relocation style. We built it by modifying some existing blueprints the contractor had. The dedicated office space is DW’s actual office with a desk, table, and smaller “stand” type table with a copier on it all from Ikea 25yrs ago, plus a bookcase/etager. There used to be room for a small hand-us-down living room chair but that got pitched after a while when she moved in some stuff for volunteer work she does. Very basic space, but it does have a bay window overlooking our front yard.

    Rocky, we had lots of built in bookcases installed when we finished our basement. Now to organize them!

  27. Our house, which dates from 1922, is a Sears catalogue house – the kind that would have arrived in boxes on the train. I have a facsimile of the house catalogue from that period, and our house is in it. When we moved in, there were almost no changes from the catalogue. Even the ugly heavy front hedge was there. We put on an addition, but we tried to be very respectful of the origins and look of the house and I think we mostly succeeded. My big regret is letting the builder get rid of the original interior doors. They were nonstandard in size, at least for today, and the builder insisted the new doors would be just like the originals. Well, sorry, they aren’t. They are lightweight and cheap looking, just like everything in houses today.

  28. CoC – I have that same secretary in off white. It was in my home office, but when I was told I had to come back into the office full time, we mentally converted the office to a workout room, where I could do yoga video, etc. Then with a furniture shift, it now has a big comfy chair and the custom bookshelves with lots of storage and a large flat surface for the TV, but no TV. The room has 2 wired LAN connections, so it is good workspace, just no desk now. I have actually been working on the leather couch in the living room when I work from home now, since my kids are older and never around. I have two nice wood end tables with built-in laptop storage and slots for phones, with 4 outlets under the lid, and slide out printer storage on the bottom. The coffee table top surface lifts up to use as a desk, and the drawers can hold files. Both have a lockable drawer. I’m pretty much paperless for work, so my storage needs are for home documents. I am working to store them all digitally as well.

    In my office in my last house we installed light colored bamboo floors and painted the walls “livable green” which is a very light shade. I had 8 foot tall window with plantation shutters, so it got a lot of light. It was very relaxing, and was my favorite place to work. I really miss having a home office all set up how I want it, but am reluctant to spend much on one now since I’m not at home as often.

  29. Our house is probably what MiaMama termed modern cottage above (shingled two story with pretty roof lines and a front porch). Lots of grays/navy/linens inside with pops of blues/green/red. We have the white cabinet/marble countertop/subway tile look in the kitchens and baths with navy blue cabinets in the beverage center. My husband’s office is downstairs and it’s navy. We intend to build built in cabinets around the front windows that are the same color as the walls with a built in seat below the window. He uses our old kitchen table as his desk which I was so happy fit because we lost our casual dining space with the renovation and I love that table. He’s got a couch in there and wants to put a tv in but I don’t think he really needs one. I have an office space upstairs in our master bedroom which has most of the paperwork in it so DH’s office stays uncluttered.

  30. Oh and we used the designer that our contractor employs for our kitchen renovation for the general layout but ended up picking the colors/tile/pulls/countertops ourselves. Other renovations we’ve done we’ve designed ourselves and done some of the less skilled work (like painting and redoing crown molding/baseboards) but we both like home design

  31. Hmmm. My “look” is “wow, I really like the same thing” x 20 years (natural cherry wood/arts and crafts style/non-shiny non-brass metals/cobalt blue glass) + “we have kids” + a soupcon of Ikea. We have never had a “designer,” but apparently when you like the same thing for 20+ years, most of what you pick up along the way tends to end up sort of going with stuff you already have. Since our house is an @1880s American Foursquare, it also sort of goes decently with the post-Victorian-but-pre-WWII period of the house (if only I liked oak, it would be perfect).

    My favorite office was in CO, when we had a big bay window off the front of the house, and DH built me a bubinga table desk that fit right in there, so I could sit and watch the deer roam my front yard. It was very sort of Colorado-not-formal-but-nice, with Brazilian cherry floors, similar color trim, and a dark green wallpaper below the chair-rail level. It was also like 10′ x 14′, which was just freaking awesome.

    Our current home office, OTOH, is this miscellaneous, awkward little space stuck on the SE corner of the house — tons of light (windows on half the E wall and the entire S wall), but the entire thing is only about 9’x9′, so very difficult to fit work stations, storage, etc. When we moved in, it was floor-to-ceiling shelving on all 4 sides and totally claustrophobic, with maybe enough room to turn a chair around in. So we cleared everything out, and DH built a wooden countertop that runs along the S and E walls, leaving the other two open. On the S side closest to the entry, we put 4-5′ of file drawers underneath and hutch tops above, both in a soft white version of the shaker cabinets that we have in the kitchen; these house the printer, some vertical files, our checkbooks, and a bunch of miscellaneous crap (drones? wtf?), along with a giant pile of paper (this is where stuff piles up before we file it). The other half of that wall (under the window) is where my workstation starts, with the main computer tucked into the SE corner. The S wall is all countertop and windows, with DH’s work station tucked in the other corner but facing directly out the window (because countertop doesn’t wrap around that corner). The W wall has a glass-fronted mission-style cherry bookcase that DH built that stores our supplies, folders, printer paper, etc. The other wall that I haven’t mentioned (the N wall) has the entry door in it, is painted hunter green, and has floor-to-ceiling pictures on it and our stone globe in front of it. Oh, and all the trim is fir, and the windowsills are lined with the fetishes that we keep buying in NM (they show well in the awesome light, although it was more awesome before we built the garage about 10′ away). I think we’ve crammed about as much as we can into the space we had available to us, short of the total claustrophobia we inherited. Biggest problem is there is no door — the space came with a glass-paned door that was basically destroyed, so we took that off but have never replaced it, so quiet can be difficult.

    @CoC: I love those boxes too!! I have a bunch in my closet that I use for things like bandannas and hats and travel gear. I also have another version without lids that I use on top of an entry table for mail storage, and in the downstairs linen closet for things like ribbons, gift bags, and light bulbs. Freaking awesome.

  32. Is anyone else watching this season’s This Old House? I was thinking they were a typical totebag couple but as the costs mount I wonder if they aren’t a level or two above the totebag median.

  33. Our house is a colonial that was once a cape cod. It suits us. The style is “sea of plastic” chic with a touch of “we really tried to get some modernity and style after the flood then we had kids.”

    The main floor is hardwood and marble tile in the bathroom. Stairs and upstairs all carpet. Next mini renovations include 3 of the 4 closets we have the sets chosen but DS#2 messed up our timeline by coming early. By next winter we are having another built in bookcase made for the living room. Hoping to combine a desk space with more bookcase space.

  34. “Is anyone else watching this season’s This Old House? I was thinking they were a typical totebag couple but as the costs mount I wonder if they aren’t a level or two above the totebag median.”

    Yes. I was thinking they are totally killing a gorgeous house by painting all of the original woodwork. :-) I want to throttle them.

    Also, I agree with your assessment of the $$ involved. Holy crap.

    @Rhode: Easyclosets.com? :-)

  35. Neither of us works from home, so the closest thing we have to a home office is the library, which does have what is theoretically the family desktop computer in it, but which unfortunately is routinely infested with a teenage boy who finds that computer setup preferable for his Skyping-and-gaming sessions with his cousin and other friends, as well as whatever else he does in there (sometimes even homework). He’s gotten better about not letting piles of dishes and wrappers build up, but it’s not like he ever thinks to tidy the place up, and there’s this constant low-level funk even with his improved showering habits.

    Sigh.

    Also the library is where I have my stash of spare school supplies, which I carefully organize before stowing away, but which I sometimes find have been dug out and scattered so that it looks like our house was broken into and ransacked by particularly academically-focused burglars, or maybe the Rats of Nimh.

  36. LfB,

    I was watching last night and I think they decided not to paint the woodwork.

    I also thought of you when they decided to restore all the original single pane c. 1890 windows. Not only the staggering cost but they’ll basically be trying to heat the outdoors.

  37. @Rhett — really?? Last one I saw they were picking out paint colors. Bastards. That paneling-up-to-the-plate-rail look is just one of my favorites — DH wanted to add that to the dining room, but I convinced him that with the wall of built-ins and the coffered ceiling he wanted, it might be just the teeeeeensiest bit over the top. :-)

    My dream office would be the two-level library with the rolling ladder. And one of those globes that opens up to reveal a port decanter. Sigh.

  38. @HM — Yes. But the house with the appropriate library in which to put it costs about $2.3M. :-)

  39. This sounds an awful lot like the bedroom I’m trying to get someone to clean up so his grandparents can sleep there this weekend. For all I know, HM’s son might be buried under all the layers.
    “gaming sessions with his cousin and other friends, as well as whatever else he does in there (sometimes even homework). He’s gotten better about not letting piles of dishes and wrappers build up, but it’s not like he ever thinks to tidy the place up, and there’s this constant low-level funk even with his improved showering habits.”

  40. Let’s see if this works: as illustration, this is one of four windowsills with fetishes.

    Apparently we have a fetish fetish. . . .

  41. Our home office is has an new desk with built in drawers on one side and a space to put the computer tower on the other. There is a large new monitor too and a new office chair. There are a few bookshelves lining the wall and the closet in there stores school/office supplies, coats, albums and a bunch of miscellaneous items that probably should be weeded out.
    This set up is used by DH when he works from home. He uses his laptop but likes the big desk. I work from home less these days but when I do, I work from my bed.

  42. “here’s this constant low-level funk even with his improved showering habits”

    DH calls this “teenage boy smell” and apparently, it’s fairly common. I put a Citrus Magic (linen scent) air freshener DS’ bedroom and bathroom and things are much better.

  43. “’there’s this constant low-level funk even with his improved showering habits’

    DH calls this “teenage boy smell” and apparently, it’s fairly common. I put a Citrus Magic (linen scent) air freshener DS’ bedroom and bathroom and things are much better.”

    OMG, I think it’s the feet. Both kids get it from DH, and it hit DS around 10, BAD. It just sort of permeates everything, despite showering, odor eaters, foot powder, etc. — I went and got Febreeze to spray the couch, room, etc. The worst part is he loves sleeping with his socks on, always has, and I have just had to absolutely forbid it.

    I had No Idea. I mean, I expected nasty sweaty smells and such, but that perfectly-described “low-level funk” kills me. Just, wow.

  44. It’s not just the feet! Just overall BO. Think Sully from Monsters Inc…get up in the morning an apply ‘odorant’.

    On the positive side, DS3 seems to have actually started caring about personal grooming in this the new year! In addition to showering which has never really been a problem, he actually uses soap & shampoo every time as far as I can tell + deodorant after. He also shaves pretty much every day I think so he lacks that not-quite-able-to-grow-anything-recognizable look.

  45. Lark, if the photo you posted is really what your office is going to look like, make sure you don’t forget, early in the planning process, to make allowances for floor-mounted electrical outlets under where your desk will be.

  46. “I am sloooooooowly scanning all financial documents so I can get rid of a ton of paper.”

    I started doing this a while back. That’s when I started to aggressively convert paperless document delivery, which has greatly helped in keeping the office area from getting even messier than it is.

  47. You who are scanning your financial documents — where are you storing them? I was going to store on Dropbox but DH pitched a fit. I can store on local hard drives, but those will fail after a few years. It’s what hard drives do.

  48. RMS, I have an external hard drive that I actively use, and have been for quite a while now, to store financial documents. I try to keep it off most of the time, in part because that way it’s less vulnerable if my system gets hacked or infected.

    I periodically copy the financial statements onto a thumb drive that I keep in a safe in the house, and at a much lower frequency, I also copy it onto a DVD that gets stored in our safe deposit box.

  49. @ Finn, yes, thanks. The space is already built out, and we are using it now so we can figure out exactly where we need outlets, lights, etc. Definitely need wall outlets since my desk is floating although it’s not the exact layout of that picture above.

  50. First they get scanned into the home computer. Then they go on the back up drive if you don’t use cloud backup. For vital records that don’t exist on the servers of the other party such as bank, brokerage, Amazon, you can also scan them onto a data stick and put it in the safe or safe deposit box. And leave original legal docs in your attorneys vault and just scan the copies. You can refresh the data stick every couple of years. And you don’t need usually need receipts for tax purposes after 7 years, other than property and stock basis. I have one small fireproof box.

  51. Back OT, DW and I have desks in our family room. DW’s is next to DD’s, and mine is next to DS’.

    We used to have a bedroom set up as an office, but when DS got assigned a computer from school, we decided his workspace would be somewhere we could keep an eye on what he did, and about the same time DW decided she and I needed to each have a computer (we’d shared one until then), so we set up our offices in the family room.

    I think it’s worked fairly well overall by keeping the family together more, although DW has been prone to distracting the kids by watching TV on weekday evenings when the kids needed to study, do homework, or practice.

    Going mostly paperless with bills and statements has helped, as that has obviated the need for paper storage near my desk.

    I think we’ll continue with this even after the kids have flown the nest.

  52. Easyclosets.com and Home Depot’s closet maid planner.

    The boys’ closet is annoying and odd shaped. I had to do that one with graph paper by hand. The back wall is 52 inches, the right side wall is 32 inches, and the left side wall is 8 inches. Whoever designed that closet was a moron. But I found a good closet maid system – the metal mesh shelving and clothing rails plus their laminate shelving pieces.

    The linen closet and our closet were far easier. Both design programs could handle the dimensions and we have lots of options.

  53. “I was going to store on Dropbox but DH pitched a fit”

    Tell DH that our company uses Dropbox Business for all storage, including cap table, intellectual property documents, legal agreements, etc. The service is secure.

  54. Houston, we went several rounds on the topic, and I decided to just drop it. I agree, I think it can be reasonably secure.

  55. Our home office is really just a nook. A small sort of modernish secretary style desk from West Elm with a computer and a drawer that holds some writing utensils, a scissors, stamps and the checkbook. We throw out paper relentlessly. The printer is wireless and hidden in a closet.

    DS does his homework at the dining room table. He has a bin for his school stuff in the dining area. Mostly, we are on tablets/phones and not at the desk anyway. When I work from home, I usually sit at the dining room table or the breakfast bar.

    My office at work is small, but cozy. In the last remodel to stuff more people on each floor and be more “collaborative” I went from a nice windowed office with solid walls & big windows to an interior office with a glass wall facing the open area. I hate fluorescent overhead lights so I brought in a bunch of lamps. And I have some prints framed which makes it feel less industrial to me.

  56. @RMS – Thanks! I will check them out. We are really loving it! We even brought it on vacation. (Beach condo) It’s been great for throwing things in, going to the beach/pool and then just searing on the common area grills. The beer brats were one of my surprising favorites so far.

  57. I admire and envy all of you who have managed to digitize so much of your paper and photo paraphernalia. I’ve been re-organizing attic stuff (again!) and trying to cull my “memories” boxes, but it’s so hard. My adult kids’ writings and drawings are probably the most difficult, like the note from my now-journalist son as a little boy expressing his interest in going on a “piknik” and my daughter’s artwork from her tall/skinny humans phase. I just melt, and digitizing takes so much time. And the photos, omg. I have boxes and boxes. So for now I am putting everything in clear plastic Container Store boxes and organizing by approximate year, which is a step up from the cardboard boxes where they were previously stored. At least it will be easier for my kids to deal with after I’m gone.

  58. S&M: I only read your Costco question yesterday.

    They usually carry one brand of Gluten Free pasta – we really like both the BiAglut & Garofalo brands.

    We also get the frozen strawberries and other berries for smoothies, and I store the almonds and pecans in the fridge and toast them myself a batch at a time.

    Additionally, while the food amounts may be too big for you – they may be just right for snacks for your teenage DS. My DS likes the Pork Tamales, Chicken Potstickers, Chloe’s Strawberry & Mango Popsicles, and Corn Chips. The latter three are organic.

    I have also convinced myself that their latte freeze (w/o chocolate) is a decadent treat and it makes me happy every time I get one, although that may be the caffeine talking.

    Note: just when you figure out where everything is, they will rearrange things.

  59. @Louise – IMHO – you can’t please everyone. It’s nice that there is more diversity than there was before even if it’s not meeting some imagined quota of whatever diversity happens to mean. I admire Ashley Graham – she’s gorgeous, and promotes healthy body image but also exercises regularly and posts about that too.

    And the job of Vogue is to sell ads for makeup and clothes. They are only ever going to go so far.

  60. the note from my now-journalist son as a little boy expressing his interest in going on a “piknik” and my daughter’s artwork from her tall/skinny humans phase

    Oh, save the actual copies! When they start to have their own kids it’ll be fun to compare. I remember when my niece was preschool aged, some old drawings of mine turned up while they were visiting and my sister was fascinated by the similarity to what her daughter produced.

  61. CofC/HM – I agree you should keep things like the “piknik” note and some of the drawings. Several years ago, DH’s dad sent a selection of stories and letters DH had written as a very young boy and our family got such a kick out of them. There was one about 2 raccoons off an adventure, who ran into a tiger on their travels. The next line: “And that was the end of them.” We laughed about that for ages, and years later, we try to work, “And that was the end of them” into conversations whenever we can. (99% of DH’s stories ended in death, which also made us howl).

    About 3 weeks ago, my DD and youngest DSD went through my “kid keeper” files in the office and read all the crazy kids’ stories and self-assessments and Mother’s Day poems, etc, and entertained us all for over an hour. Priceless moments and worth the bins or cabinets or wherever else you’re keeping them.

  62. @Rhett: I drove the new Giulia today. I am in love. DD may get an ’08 TL after all. . . .

  63. If anyone is looking to upgrade their router to improve your home wifi, I highly recommend checking out the new mesh systems. I first read but eero in the WSJ, but college son did a bit more research and convinced us to go with the google router. It was $300 vs. $500 for the eero system. They work by placing multiple devices throughout your home, which then work together to provide the wifi network. The google package came with 3 devices, and it has resolved all of the dead spots in our nearly 4000 sf home, and increased speeds dramatically. Installation is super easy, as they simply plug into electrical outlets and then you use an app to set it up.

  64. Thanks SBJ! It opened two days ago. I haven’t heard about any extra savings or anything, so I’m giving it a few days for the crowd to die down. Some of your suggestions sound good

  65. Thanks Scarlett, I would hope that the info would be available. If not, I wonder if they are prepared for the reaction, not from the parents of “losers” that they may expect.

  66. My family and friends who work in the SPED community generally classify four types of parents that they deal with on a regular basis.We have had many conversations over several years and these don’t seem to change but of course there will be exceptions.

    Group 1 – no matter what testing is done there is a subset of parents who cannot accept that there is an issue with their child. They deny that there is a problem and try to block services for their child. So even if the school provides services for the kids, they are not continued at home.

    Group 2 – no matter what testing is done there is a subset of parents who cannot accept that there is NO educational issue with their child. They still demand services or accommodations to “help” their child and will go outside and find an advocate to get these services financed by the school district. Their child truly does not have an issue but they insist that they do.

    Group 3 – these kids do have issues but their parents will accept whatever plan the school lays out for them and generally do not rock the boat. They do not have the time or resources to demand more of the school unless the plan is sub-optimal.

    Group 4 – these kids do have issue and their parents do have the time and resources to demand that they school accommodate every request and if it cannot then demand their child be educated outside the district and billed back to the school system. These kids use a great deal of the SPED budget because their parents are working the system or suing the system if necessary.

    The main issue with these four groups is that there is a finite budget so if the parents in group 2 and 4 are using up all the resources then the kids in group 1 and 3 are shortchanged. Anecdotally, groups 2 and 4 parents are UMC but not always.

  67. The four classifications provided by Used to Lurk are consistent with what I’ve read. Additionally, various reports actually show that males, African-Americans, children from poor families and single parent households are over represented among special ed students. Now, the quality of services provided is another story.

    This is considered a truism and certainly something I’ve personally seen:
    It’s cheaper for the school district to fight one or two parents in court than it is to give in on all the services.
    And it’s the wealthier families that can better afford the resources to advocate for their children.

  68. Totally off topic – I am wading through Outlander – there are quite a few books in the series. It has been interesting to read about life in colonial North Carolina.
    The research that has gone into the novels is amazing.

  69. Group 2 – no matter what testing is done there is a subset of parents who cannot accept that there is NO educational issue with their child. They still demand services or accommodations to “help” their child and will go outside and find an advocate to get these services financed by the school district. Their child truly does not have an issue but they insist that they do.

    What are the parents not ready to accept in these cases ? That their child is getting Bs instead of the As they *should* have gotten ?

  70. Totally off topic: what is with Adele? Makeup and hairwise, she always looks like a girl from 1966 Alabama, and she dresses in friggin’ curtains. Her dress last night – ugliest thing ever. Is it on purpose.

  71. Mooshi – I think the curtains dress you are referring to was designed by Givenchy. The designers don’t always come up with flattering dresses.

  72. “Totally off topic – I am wading through Outlander – there are quite a few books in the series.”

    Masterpiece of understatement, as usual. :-)

  73. Louise in a word yes. For example, they want their child to have an accommodation for taking standardize testing without time limits to improve test scores. Now there are children that this accommodation is needed but for a child who does not it gives them an edge over their peers.

  74. Louise, or they want to provide an alternative to various educational malpractice like group work or heterogeoneous classrooms.

  75. I think I have moved between a couple of those groups of special ed parents. There was a time I did not believe my child belonged on the spectrum. We still sought services both in the school district and outside but I did not want the autism label because I didn’t think that’s what his various issues added up to. We moved districts to get better special ed services and it was 100% worth it. This school district is more affluent and has a lot of parents of special snowflakes as well as kids who are profoundly handicapped. Some parents may be gaming the system but overall, the district delivers exceptional services that are very child-centered. They don’t provide the minimum, they provide what is needed to make my child the best version of himself he can be. For example, the 5-8th grade school has a special ed staff of at least 20 people for approximately 2,000 students. I will caveat this with the fact that there are no poor children in this district and few with parents that are accepting of the status quo and would not show up for an ARD. I knew a few who will not admit their children have an IEP or 504 plan but that’s another story….

  76. I am going to have to try the extenders that create a wifi mesh. I am due to renegotiate our contract for internet soon and had been debating whether we have someone come and hard wire the office but I think money is better spent by getting the extenders and dropping the landline (kept for home alarm purposes but we don’t use it).

  77. Mia, can’t you connect your alarm to a monitoring service via cell phone? Or perhaps internet?

    Whenever I thin of landline connected home alarms, I think of a lot of old shows in which one of the first things the bad guys do is cut the phone lines.

  78. The additional cost for the cell phone connection from the alarm company exceeded the cost to add a landline at the time. Its been a couple years, may no longer be the case.

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