Friday, November 20, 2015

One Room Challenge: I can see clearly now

This #OneRoomChallenge home office makeover has been a real journey for me, but it is not over yet! I have made significant progress to the point where my very large desk is completely clutter free, walls have been repainted, and one of my favorite pieces of original art – a custom framed signed print from fashion designer Jason Wu – is now hanging right where I can see it every time I sit down to create.

There is still a bit of styling to do, and organizational pieces to bring in, but for now I am very pleased that I made it this far (even if everyone else’s rooms are done!) I could have given up many times throughout this process, but I allowed myself to just get started and set small goals. Even my kids are pretty impressed with the change. My youngest was in awe, grabbed himself a pillow, and laid down under my desk which is 8 feet long. He never would have fit under there amidst all the to-be-sorted boxes before I started this! 

Thank you for coming by to check in on my progress ... my next post will show more of the room for sure! I hope all of the other One Room Challenge participants are enjoying their freshly designed spaces as much as I have enjoyed seeing them come to completion. And special thanks to Linda from Calling It Home for creating this opportunity to tackle our design to-do-lists with the “we’re in this together inspiration of a community of bloggers cheering us on : )

to be continued ...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One Room Challenge: Fashionably Late

Jason Wu signed print that will soon hang in my office.

Over the years, I have participated in eight different show house type events, including small 10 x 10 foot vignette-like spaces to somewhat challenging bathrooms to a suite of rooms for a holiday design show. I typically am ready for the opening day regardless of how much time I have to prepare, although I have been found hanging art or walking in with a key design piece at the very last minute on several occasions. This One Room Challenge has been a bit of an exception. When you are working on your own surroundings, even if your business is designing for others, it often is a much more emotional process to get through. That can slow things down ... a lot.

I signed on to this challenge to motivate myself to tackle the years worth of life accumulations that had ended up in my home office. Being held accountable to others who are working just as hard to meet their own goals is quite inspiring. We are all rooting for each other. This is not about competition. It is about goal setting, being resourceful, and being honest with ourselves and whatever difficulties we may encounter as we strive to bring our design visions to life.

I am proud to say that I have managed to work through the sometimes uncomfortable task of realizing just how much I have neglected to do in my own home. Don’t get me wrong ... we have done a lot with our 1904 farmhouse over the past ten+ years. But for the last five, as my work and family life has gotten busier, I have let a lot of STUFF takeover when I really should have been dealing with it on a regular basis. Keeping it simple is all about establishing routines, and habits, and designing a good system to help deal with what is allowed to enter our spaces while making sure the unnecessary goes out. That is my wish for this makeover.

So while I have not completed my office makeover at the six week mark, I am definitely in a better place than I was even yesterday. I am thankful for the support and encouragement I have been receiving virtually along the way from the Calling It Home One Room Challenge community of design bloggers. It really does make a difference!

So please come back next Thursday to see my final reveal. I was always disappointed when a show house participation ended, so this is one way of keeping it going I guess!

I did take a bit of time today to take note of the accomplished spaces of the other link-up participants. Below are images of just some of the home office transformations that may inspire you to tackle the room where you “make things happen” at home. Visit Calling it Home here to get to each link. Enjoy!

These two by a couple of my local design friends are not offices, but are worth checking out ...

Would you ever consider participating in the One Room Challenge? The next one begins in April of 2016, so start planning now!

Friday, November 6, 2015

How is that #OneRoomChallenge going?

I managed to move a bunch of stuff out of my office, but now the hallway is an obstacle course of to-be-sorted boxes filled with magazines, paperwork, design supplies, swag bags, and oh so much more. I am going to need a small miracle just to get fresh paint on these four walls!! Please check in with a few of my friends who are actually making progress with their Calling it Home six week makeover #OneRoomChallenge:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

One Room Challenge: Confession Time

I wish my office was looking as pretty, neat and stylish as the
Christopher Peacock showroom at the Boston Design Center.

My One Room Challenge to-do list (week 4)

1. Completely empty office.

I may need to get a storage pod just to relocate all the stuff I am trying to sort through. I am not sure I can get through it one category at a time with any amount of joy at this point (sorry, Marie Kondo!) I am basically feeling pretty overwhelmed by my surroundings, and I have not made much progress since I have been working on other projects that I actually get paid to do, and the rest of the time has been procrastinated away by scrolling through facebook or playing with my new bunny or going out to eat with friends or taking care of my family (not necessarily in that order). 

2. Paint walls, touch up trim and ceiling.

I am not a huge fan of painting, in fact I dread getting started, but if I can empty the room, I will take on this part of the project myself. Once I get in painting-mode it will be fun, right? A fresh coat of paint is the quickest way to transform a room, unless of course you have to declutter the room to paint it.

3. Style the space.

Of course this is my favorite part of any design undertaking, but to get to this point I am going to have to move mountains. And probably reduce my time spent on social media for at least a few days. Already feeling withdrawals.

Can I do it? I am not feeling very confident. I really wish I had a personal assistant. Or a fairy godmother. Or both.

How is everyone else doing with their One Room Challenge? Check out their progress here. And here. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Transformation Tuesday: R+F and buildOn

Time to interrupt the tidying up of my home office for the Calling It Home #OneRoomChallenge to share what’s new with Rodan + Fields. One of the reasons why I love this company is because they focus on providing solutions, opportunity, and hope. First, they have created amazing products that actually work, solving sensitive skincare challenges, and as a result providing daily confidence to those who have transformed their complexions. Second, they are super smart as a company, distributing these products through an easily duplicatable social-media driven business model that empowers their Independent Consultants to easily earn their way to financial freedom on their own time, at their own convenience. And if all that were not enough, they have also made it their mission through their Prescription For Change Foundation to support a very important organization, buildOn, that empowers urban youth to transform their neighborhoods through intensive community service. There is actually a new buildOn chapter located right in Boston. What they do for kids and communities is really amazing. Transforming. Life changing. They are a movement, not a charity, and I am proud to be a part of a company that supports their efforts.

On November 6th, for every make-up free selfie posted on social media tagged with #RFGoNaked, Rodan + Fields will donate $4 to provide one buildOn program day for students in need. Consider posting a make-up free selfie on November 6th. A selfie for a good cause is a beautiful thing! 

Founder and CEO of buildOn
Jim Ziolkowski author of “Walk in Their Shoes:
Can One Person Change the World?”

“The buildOn movement is made up of passionate people from all walks of life who are committed to the belief that service and education can end poverty in our world. With your support we are breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service learning programs in many of America’s most under-resourced high schools and by building schools in some of the world’s poorest villages.

“buildOn’s service learning programs engage students in challenging urban areas and show them the limitless power they can achieve through community action. In each of these programs, youth contribute intensive local service – helping the homeless, seniors and children in their communities – to confront urban struggles with passion and optimism.”  {Learn more about buildOn here}


Thursday, October 22, 2015

One Room Challenge: Colors + Fabrics

Choosing fabrics and colors for my #OneRoomChallenge office makeover has been pretty simple (although clearing the clutter to empty the space has proved to be far more difficult – I am so very behind in this part of the process!)

Once the space has been cleaned out and freshly painted (see the Sherwin Williams paint swatches that I am considering below) I will be incorporating a set of drapery panels made out of the vintage fabric pictured above into my room, most likely to frame an open closet from which I had previously removed the sliding doors. I am still using the closet to hang my dress clothes, but I would love to make this area work as a place to organize all the bits and pieces of my creative life. The panels are from a design show space that I put together back in 2010. I have been saving them ever since, and they truly bring me joy when I see them (but I am not feeling so happy seeing them folded up and not in use!) I will have to add some fabric to the overall length, however, since they are a little short for where I want to hang them. I am thinking a band of solid color on the bottom will do the trick. 

One of the first steps in “tidying-up” according to the KonMari method, is to pick up each item in your home and either keep it because it brings joy or thank it for its service and then get rid of it. I have managed to remove a bunch of stuff from my office (thank you very much), but I am not doing so well at getting it out of the house. I seriously have issues with letting go. But what can you do if many of your personal belongings are of sentimental value? Just take a look at the design show space that I called a Designers Before + After – where the vintage fabric drapes originated – and you will see actual memorabilia from my childhood used to style the room. I still have ALL of it. Some of it may resurface in my new office.

Colors I am considering ...

Inspiration photo from Nancy Meyers Instagram feed
showing the set design for The Intern

Pinboard from my space designed for the

End note: In case you were wondering if I won the trip to Paris via the Legrand Best Before + After Contest, I sadly did not. But I am still loving my new bathroom and oh so fabulous switches!

My apologies for such a short update, but I obviously still have a lot of work to do over here! Follow the other One Room Challenge participants by visiting the Calling it Home blog. Some of them have been getting it done!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Office Makeover Inspired by ‘The Intern’ #OneRoomChallenge

image via The Intern Movie on Pinterest

Have you seen ‘The Intern’ yet? Well I saw it over the weekend and now the set design from the movie is officially my inspiration for my #OneRoomChallenge office makeover! Director Nancy Meyers (of Its Complicated and Somethings Gotta Give’ fame) hit another interiors home run with the set decor of this movie. The interiors were very Pinterest-inspired and the movie spoke to the changing of the guard when it comes to the way we work today and who is running the show.

As a working mom to four middle-to-high school age sons – and being of an age in between that of the main characters – I still felt that I could easily relate to the aspirations of both: Anne Hathaway as the young mom/internet start-up success story trying to find balance in her work and personal life, and Robert De Niro, a recently retired senior looking to fill his post career days with meaningful work and joy. I have always been intrigued with these types of stories. How do we do what we love, provide for our families, and still find balance in our days? The main character played by Hathaway, Jules Ostin, has to deal with managing a successful boss-babe empire on top of figuring out the whole can we have it all thing. It is definitely worth seeing how everything turns out for her and her loves while this beautifully decorated film is on the big screen!

Below is a photo of the loft space of her internet-based fashion business, About the Fit ... 

Houzz article by Anne Colby // photo credit Francois Duhamel
‘The Intern’: Nancy Meyers on Bringing Movie Interiors to Life

What I really liked about the companys office interior was the modern design paired with classic styling, intentionally set with open spaces for collaboration and multi-tasking. The super large work surfaces are my favorite part. In fact, I have a table pretty big in size (3' x 8') in my current office. In all honesty, it is probably a bit overscaled for the room size, but when I saw how good a large desk looked in the movie, I have decided to keep it in my room makeover. It is a great work surface to have and I have always intended to keep part of it cleared off for impromptu design projects. But since I got it a couple years ago, it has becoming somewhat of a flat filing system much like the desk of Jules Ostins executive assistant in the movie ...

What my desk looks like (maybe a little worse!)

How I would like it to look:
Fresh flowers. Seating for guests. Organized.
Clean. Room to be creative.

The floor plan above shows what my office layout will look like and how it will be all about The Desk! What I have altered from my current layout is the editing out of many storage boxes filled with clutter, along with a large double wide children’s dresser that is currently on the largest wall. We bought the dresser for my boys when they were little, and years later it is not in the best shape anymore. Drawers are off the tracks, the paint is chipped, there are stickers on it. It kind of just ended up in this room, and I do not love it anymore.

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to get motivated for this One Room Challenge, I have learned that to live well we must let go of what no longer serves us or provides joy. Every time I enter the room and look at the dresser – which is now piled high with papers and objects that need to be sorted – I feel completely overwhelmed. I want the clutter to be gone and the wall to be clear of furniture so that I can use it as a pinboard-type area for inspirational images. 

Back in 2011, when I was trying to get my creative career back on track after staying home with my kids, I started an online design magazine, New England Finery. Back then, this wall was where I sorted out my stories. The space was energizing! I had a vision and could see it come to life right in front of my eyes. 

New England Finery photo by Elizabeth Wertz

I really enjoyed that creative period in my life despite the fact that I was struggling with the ups and downs of raising a family at the time. Designing the magazine while curating editorial content was completely engaging, and I met a lot of creative people along the way. It combined my graphic design training, my passion for interior design, and my love of technological innovation all in one place. I could hardly call it work.

Unfortunately, this self-created position didnt exactly pay the bills, so I ended up shelving the magazine for a full-time job at a local luxury showroom that needed a marketing director. Since then I have taken on other full-time jobs (furniture sales, large format printing sales) always searching for the perfect combination of creative challenges and work-life balance. I finally decided that being a freelance creative director (define as you wish!) with multiple sources of income and opportunity is where I want to be. My plan is for my new office to support me in following this path.

A few items that may end up in my home office makeover

A friend and teammate from my new position as brand ambassador for the skincare company Rodan + Fields, posted the image below on my Facebook page recently. Seeing it in my photo stream made me realize that my home office was not looking as fabulous as a successful entrepreneurs place of business could look today. Seeing that photo motivated me to take on this One Room Challenge. Stay tuned for next weeks post that will detail my selected colors, fabrics, and lighting. Check out this weeks updates from the other Calling it Home ORC participants here. Hopefully I will be Instagramming my decluttering progress shots soon! #justdoit