When my husband and I decided to renovate my home office together, I had high expectations. He, a professional woodworker, would install farmhouse-inspired open shelving, I would decorate them with knick-knacks from the local antique shop (of course), and then we would kiss and our kids would skip and sing happily around us. End scene.
Obviously, that didn’t happen.
What did happen is we went months over our timeline, we fought constantly, and there was one evening I’m not proud of where I dramatically stormed away to my bedroom to cry. Who knew deciding between hairpin and crisscross legs for a desk could be so difficult?
Renovating my home office, a space that represents so much to our family because it’s where I work to bring in the majority of our income, has been eye-opening and humbling. Here’s what we learned tackling the project together.
I REALIZED MY OFFICE WAS MORE THAN JUST A ROOM
About a year ago, we moved to our dream home, a 78-acre hobby farm that has everything my husband ever hoped for. While I’ve been grateful to call such a place home, it's also been a struggle to adjust to our new lifestyle. I missed friends and family, our children’s school, and even small things like my gym and favorite stores.
My home office was my quest to rebuild my identity in our new home.
I found myself unmoored and longing for a “room of one’s own.” Without a dedicated workplace, I was room-hopping and working wherever I could hide away for two minutes from the kids. I grew frustrated without a space to sit and concentrate. My home office was my quest to rebuild my identity in our new home — a way of redefining myself and moving forward in both my career and our life as a family.
I LEARNED TO OWN THE SPACE BUT COMPROMISE ON STYLE
I struggled with the idea that my home office should be “all mine” when it was also part of our family home. Would it be selfish to request white cabinets when my husband prefers the all-natural look? Could I live with the guilt of ordering an over-the-top chandelier? Would my husband refuse to step foot in our house ever again if I (gasp) painted the walls pink?
Tensions flared, fights broke out, but we learned to understand each other’s perspective. We mixed white cabinets with natural-finished bookshelves. I ordered the crystal chandelier but toned down the pink. The result is a room that feels all mine, with a nod of appreciation to the man that made it all possible.
WE BUILT AN INVITING SPACE FOR THE KIDS, TOO
I became a writer not only because I love what I do, but also because I wanted to be fully flexible for my four young kids. It’s important to me that they never feel like I am too busy for them or that my workspace is off-limits. So, we created a light, airy space that felt welcoming and inviting.
Today, my new space has a cozy reading nook in the corner, complete with a secret mini-library just for the kids where they can curl up and read next to me. I also added multi-functional pieces, like a seating pouf that can double as a footrest or the perfect spot to sit by Mom and color. Carpet was replaced with laminate to endure spills and tractors across the floor, while an electric fireplace with pillows is snuggle-ready during the winter months here in Michigan. And of course, because no one wants to leave our new favorite spot to go all the way to the kitchen, my coffee station is stocked with plenty of snacks and cocoa.
My husband and I make a good team. We’re supportive of each other’s careers and share one goal in building a house and a life together: to create spaces where we can all be together as a family. Especially if those spaces include pink walls and crystal chandeliers to make this mom very happy.