I can’t tell you how excited I am about this space, having a room of one’s own is one thing, having a room that functions exactly as you need it to, plus a magnetic office wall, is something else entirely. When my son moved out of this room for a bigger room, and I moved my stuff in, we had already moved 5 rooms around in one day, arranging my office was low priority. For years the stuff has just stayed where I first plonked it, you can see the before here. Now I have an incredible space complete with a magnetic office wall.
We might pretend it doesn’t, but as a self employed person I think your work space really matters, of course I do like to work from far flung places while travelling, or from cafes, or the kitchen table, but I also need a space where all my stuff is on hand and I feel inspired. Without an employer to provide a workspace, you have to think about how best to work and what motivates you to work. You’re responsible for making sure that your working environment is ergonomic, well lit, comfortable and conducive to creativity and productivity. Gulp!
I cannot wait to share this, it is so exciting!
The Main Attraction – The Magnetic Office Wall
Rooms Made For You approached me to make a wall in my home magnetic. To find out more about the plastering process see my post here. The Rooms Made For You magnetic plaster wall was painted in blackboard paint from First4Magnets. It took one small tin, a coat of 50/50 water and paint first as it is new plaster, and then a full coat – I had just had enough paint.
I was so excited when the wall was finished, I couldn’t wait to get arranging! I knew from the start I wanted this to not be covered in random office paperwork, instead I wanted a space to collect ideas and inspirations. As a lifestyle and travel writer it is great to be reminded when I am deep in picture editing and writing, that the world is still out there, so I collected together:
First4Magnets Magnetic wall kit – First4Magnets sell magnetic plaster and also have all the magnets you need to decorate your wall. I chose these brushed chrome skittle pot magnets and a selection pack for magnetic walls, including magnets in all sizes and magnetic tape, more on that in a moment. First4Magnets were so helpful and recommended exactly the products I needed to match the look of my room.
Cheerz photos and magnets – Cheerz is such a brilliant way to have an ongoing gallery of family photos, just order your photo products online from your social media or computer photos. Smaller photos work much better in my small small space, I am going to rehang the canvas prints I had previously in one of the downstairs rooms which have high Victorian ceilings. The Cheerz prints look fab held up with First4Magnets tiniest magnets. I can’t believe how strong they are!
Cheerz is so easy to use – I ordered mine in 15 minutes flat, they really quick to deliver and the cool packaging means they would make a great gift as well as the perfect way to keep your photos around you for all the family to see and share.
The Cheerz magnets feel like lots of windows into wonderful moments we have had.
Arty prints – I have so many birthday cards and postcards hidden away, I want to have a mini art gallery on the magnetic wall. I used First4Magnets coloured skittle magnets for this and there is magnetic tape stuck to the back of the Beatrix Potter print.
Magnetic words – for those moments when you want to spell out how you feel or play with some poetry.
Reminders to live the way I want to – I will build on this, but for now a thank you note, to remind me to count the things I am grateful for, and Miss L’s to do list from a few summer’s ago, to remind me time passes fast and my to do list at work isn’t always the most important one.
Maps – I stuck some old maps onto old wooden picture blocks, I bought both the maps and blocks in a charity shop. I was excited to pull them out and realise one is of Skye – I’ve since managed to visit this fabulous island. The other is the town I grew up in. On the back are strips of sticky magnet tape – clever eh!
Souvenirs – Magnets are a great thing to collect on trips and travels, but they don’t have to be tacky, I love my Loch Ness monster and my Bothie from our trip to Scotland.
Calendar – I really like the twin magnets from the First4Magnets magnetic wall selection pack, the pair sticks either side of the paper, clamping the paper between the magnets, it then sticks to the wall, which makes taking the calendar on and off the wall really easy. This month my Visit England calendar has the place we got married, The National Trust’s Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire.
I can also write on this wall, I totally forgot to buy some chalk, but don’t worry, you will be seeing a lot of this wall on instagram and the blog in the future!
I wanted the decor to embrace the things I love beyond our home and family too, nature and travel. There is a little sea theme, but I wanted it to be subtle.
I knew I didn’t want a desk lamp, I spend so much time here and my office is part of my home. Jen from Love Chic Living helped me track this one down at Wayfair, turns out ‘Rustic Lamp’ was what I needed to search for. It brings colour and drama to an otherwise dark corner of the room. There are loads of lighting options here.
The mirrors I fell in love with a while ago, you can see them in this post, I love the shape and the rope – just gorgeous! On a practical level I dry my hair in this room (we live in a three floor house and this saves going up to our attic bedroom again). Although the mirrors aren’t best placed to reflect the light from the windows – I ran out of wall space for that – they do catch glimpses of some of my favourite treasures in the room, which in itself creates a feeling of greater space.
The rug was chosen to inject some colour into the room and be a place for my dog Max to sleep. This handwoven rug is from fair trade supplier at Wayfair, Ian Snow, it makes the reading corner so cosy, I have room for a reading corner – I can’t believe that! This is an old tub chair I got from freecycle that was cluttering the kitchen. It will be perfect if the kids want to work or play alongside me.
The blinds are totally brilliant, I went for neutral, roman blackout blinds from Wayfair – all the boxes ticked! I didn’t want to interrupt this small wall, with two different sized windows, by adding colour and pattern, and I think I made the right decision. Instead the objects on the window sill now do the talking. This room gets direct evening sun, so by mid afternoon blinds are essential, and give me the flexibility to block out the sun inch by inch as it falls into my back garden.
This Best Day In My Life lantern, from Ian Snow at Wayfair grabbed me straight away, apart from being a bargain, something about the quote resonated. I was going to put plants or a candle in it, but couldnt find the right size one, so instead I put holiday beach finds in, and it now seems like the perfect reminder to me that sitting at home writing can be just as exciting as travelling. The print was from a good blogging friend.
Harvey Maria Church Pine floor
I will share another post on the Harvey Maria Church Pine flooring soon, so that I can explain it’s installation in more detail. I am so impressed with it, I love the effect, the colour and as premium vinyl flooring how easy it is to keep clean. The gorgeous wood plank lines make the room feel so much bigger.
The best bit though has to be that I can now slide my desk chair and filing cabinet around – this means I can keep the printer out of sight, tucked under my desk and easily pull it out when I need it. It also means I can easily move along my desk.
It is a massive improvement on that awful red plush carpet, even if Max took some convincing. So far Max has favoured the floor to the rug, so it can’t be that chilly! With a layer of plyboard and the vinyl it really holds the warmth.
Love the scaffold desk
The desk was made for me by Frizz, a local joiner, using 2 scaffold planks and 3 brackets, which were much cheaper and less specially invasive than a work surface I had planned. Karen at Making Spaces suggested making the ends different sizes and Frizz kept the metal parts at these ends as a feature.
I varnished them to protect the wood and make them look aged. I wanted a space I could work at, but also a space the kids could join me at or I could work at craft projects at. My hobby stuff for jewellery making, wood burning and crochet has been much neglected, I am hoping having a long desk and space to spread out will change that. I’ve also sorted new storage boxes so I know where it all is.
I was a little worried the desk would be too narrow, but I measured carefully to check the screen to eye distance, and I actually think my old desk let me put the screen too far away. It feels more natural.
I also had 3 shelves made from another scaffold plank, it feels great to have storage on the walls at last, somewhere safe for blogging awards, books and treasures.
Bulldog Clip Filing System
I am not a filer, I am a piler, so I bought these gold bulldog clips from A Beautiful Space’s shop, I have one for each project I am working on. Banging four nails in the wall and hanging them is a great way to keep paperwork off the desk. Over time I will find a striking image for the cover of each one, that I associate with the project, but for now, this instagram wrapping paper will do.
I spray painted the filing cabinet above silver, a plant pot copper and a plant pot blue to keep my pens in.
I used glass and driftwood bits and pieces to decorate shelves and windows for free. I have had this old coffee jar since I was little.
I found some old wooden drawers in a charity shop and painted them too, blue and copper. They will be perfect for keeping little bits for my hobbies – which I really want to spend more time on – jewellery making, wood burning and crochet safe.
Before vs after
I think this says it all! If you are wondering where that cluttered shelving went, well it is upended behind the door and the contents much reduced at last. The tall bookcase I no longer need, so my daughter is having it.
This really is A Room of One’s Own. Seeing Mr A’s snaps of me in it, I suddenly saw so many glimpses of younger versions of myself: busy making, creating, writing and doing – I am convinced I have found ‘my space’.
The magnetic wall is amazing, I know it is going to be a real source of creativity for me. The floor being smooth makes me feel I can move my chair about and access things easily, with the blinds and mirrors I feel like I have a bigger, calmer space. The desk is exactly what I wanted and more, and the finishing touches are absolutely me.
There is a freedom about this space I have been seeking for a long time now – already as I type this here in the space, I feel calmer, I know this room will change the way I work, and have a long term effect on the way I perceive my work.
Thanks to Rooms Made for You, Wayfair, Harvey Maria, First4Magnets and Cheerz for supplying the materials for this amazing makeover. Thanks to Andy, Frizz and Tom for doing such a great job of the plaster, desk and flooring. Thanks to Karen and Jen for advice along the way.