Thursday, February 26, 2015

a room with a vintage soul: my office update



DSC_1130 copy

Hello friends.

It’s been awhile since I posted on the progress of my office

but actually there’s a good reason

First of all, the big lesson I keep learning with fixer uppers is that everything always takes longer than you think. Always.


And believe me once you accept this little fact it get’s easier.

(Sort of. Yoga helps)

The second reason this room has taken so long is ME.

I’ve realized I can only go so fast because I prefer to decorate with collected items. And although I really admire those of you who can go on a shopping binge and find everything at once, …that doesn’t seem to work for me.




I like to ‘feel’ my way through the process, and unfortunately that means waiting until I stumble on that certain item or idea that will fit my vision for the space.

Can you relate?


Previous Owners: Before

DSC_0868 (2)



(the base boards are scheduled for next week)


So here I am, finally with an update on my office.

And I have to say, so far it’s become My Happy Place in our new home, full of sentimental touches that make me feel so grateful.

Black or White? 

Here’s my answer.

As a lot of you already guessed, I went with white all the way.

The walls and the bead board wallpaper are painted with BM’s Simply White.

The bookshelves are painted BM’s Brilliant White left-over from another room—and the floors are painted with white porch paint.




I honestly feel like the bookshelves that Dad made HERE set the tone for this whole space.

When I’m in here I’m surrounded by all my funny-joyful memories of their recent visit. And I love how my beloved books span the entire wall.

Choosing between black and white bookshelves was made easier because I lived with this wall painted black for a while; it confirmed that even though I love the dramatic, chic look of black bookshelves in this little space all that black felt too overpowering to me.

Isn’t color selection a fascinating experience?

I find it so intuitive.

How do you pick a paint color?



DSC_1158 (2)


Before: Previous Owner’s Closet



After: My Closet


Can you see my TV?


And ta-daaaaa …

here’s the barn door that I made with my Dad

It’s hung with black iron hardware and I love the rustic vibe it gives to this feminine room.

Look closely. You would never know those are fake planks in the center would you?


PicMonkeybarndoor Collage

Painting the inside of the closet was a perfect way to get my dose of black in the room plus it’s a cool backdrop for the vintage globes and my TV.




BEFORE: Empty Wall



AFTER: A wall of bookshelves


Practically everything in here has been recycled or found in a thrift store. Remember this desk?  I originally painted it a deep blue for Michael’s college room with his soccer number on it.

You won’t recognize it if you go HERE to see it.


A few collected oils hang next to Michael’s art assignment. A pencil drawing of a pumpkin that he wanted to throw away. Kids.


This precious valentine framed from thirty-three years ago

adds to the feeling of tender memories in here.

I had just broken up with a boyfriend (i.e. no Valentine) when Papa gave me this carefully typed little paper and I was so touched.

“…the heart does not forget such things

I know this especially.

Because my heart is filled with thoughts

of all the things you’ve done for me.”



PicMonkeyhistory matters Collage

  • The clock that sat in my pink and red little-girl-bedroom and served as my night light for years.
  • A photo of my Mom when she was on one of her first ‘dates’ with my Dad,
  • A hook with the Rosary that my Grandfather prayed on hangs with my hubby’s rosary from his childhood.
  • Pressed flowers I found decades ago in a thrift store. Two framed and dated May 19 1938. There’s neat handwriting by someone I find totally mysterious recording their romantic outing on a Spring day

(at least that’s my version, wink)



And I leave you with one last photo.

This one actually made me wince:



Can you guess why?

Because it clearly shows the lack of a baseboard. Then I realized my cell phone’s on the desk too but not in a stylish way. And opps! There’s the remote for the TV.

And even though I liked this picture because the sun was going down and the roses appear lit, I thought about deleting it. Or photo-shopping the bottom out.

But then I remembered a line I’d read HERE about perfection.

How perfection is a synonym for stagnant, how it’s a mirage because it’s not real life.

We bloggers know that better than most because we style and shoot lots of pretty photos.

So this time I decided to leave my ugly base-board missing wall in the picture because I figured that any place or person with a true vintage soul should  be comfortable with lots of flaws.

What do you think?



thank you for visiting today

you’re such a cute little blessing.





I’m sharing this post at French Country Cottage, & Share your Style



Unknown said...

Leslie, this is absolutely stunning! Taking your time to decorate obviously suits you well because you can tell you didn't just go out and shop for everything in a trip or two - the things in your room have so much more depth and meaning than that. What an inspiring space!

michele said...

your library office is so beautiful and personal. i have never seen a closet painted black, and i must say i find it daring, sexy, and brilliant. i am pretty skilled at picking paint colors, and i love to help other people make these decisions. i am itching to try venetian plaster which my husband and i both love. i love your gallery wall with its storied pieces. imperfect looks good on you. peace.

Jeanette@Creating a Life Studio said...

Leslie, what a lovely room you've created! All the sentimental details give it another layer of true beauty. Of course I love that you shared the "imperfect" part, too (smile). I haven't been around much lately, so I'm going to look for your post on the barn door you made with your dad. Gorgeous!

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

Oh I LOVE it Leslie. I totally relate to the time factor in collecting all that goes into a space. What a brilliant touch to paint the inside of the closet black. It really draws the eye towards the beautiful barn door and the intrigue beyond. I am glad you went with the white, it is so serene. Of course your bookshelves and the art wall are stunning. Really great space Leslie and one that will envelop you in warmth every time you enter.

Sarah said...

Leslie, it is truly a wonderful space. The wall of shelves makes my heart sing. My office is a small space with a short wall of shelves. I have them filled to the max. Probably need to do some editing, but they are filled with books and things collected over time. I recently came across a new to me blog, I Suwannee Style. She has a bamboo cabinet that I've been searching far. And it is crammed full of interesting treasures and books. ;-)

Debra@CommonGround said...

Looking beautiful, Leslie. I know you must be thrilled to get this all together. We girls all need a room to get away to. LOVE those wonderful draperies!

Karen said...

I love the room! I also thing your way of styling the shelves is exceptional, I'll be keeping this post for future reference on styling bookshelves.
The warmth of your collection is what always draws me in to any room, seeing the little things that a person has collected along life's path. I do agree 100%, a collected room is my kind of room too. I love the paint choices too.

SImple and Serene Living said...

I much prefer real life over perfection. It tells me you have a home that is lived in. Your library office is beautiful. WHhen I get stressed out over things, I meditate. Boy, do I do a lot of meditating :)

Anonymous said...

Ah, Simply White is simply perfect. Brilliant white turned bluish in the light here so Simply White in all it's soft, creamy goodness has appeared on all the wood trim and ended up on the kitchen cupboards too. Love your room with the great shelves and barn door and mementos, it looks so cozy. Patty/NS

Christy James said...

I love your progress so far! The shelving really sets the tone for the whole space. Absolutely beautiful and the barn doors are perfect!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is so lovely, Leslie...I love all of your personal touches. It's so wonderful that your father worked on it with are right, the bookcases are beautiful in the space. Love the special valentine, too. I'm always inspired by you!

Marilyn said...

It's beautiful! The white background is the perfect backdrop for all your treasures.

I love rooms like this because it shows who you are, the essence of your heart and soul. Plus, it's not "perfect". It looks like a home, not a museum!!

You can never go wrong when you surround yourself with love!

Marilyn (in Dallas)

Lori said...

The room is beautiful along with that last picture ~ it is called real life! I love that you went with the white and you have all your treasures on it. I am also a collector and lately realized that although everyone else may be displaying a certain thing ~ I don't have to. Another real life moment. Happy weekend xo

Carla from The River said...

It is beautiful. Well done :-))
I love the gallery on your wall, and so sweet to add so many family treasures. I love that!
Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

I love it Leslie...the wall of books is perfect...your desk looks like mine...candles, pencils...and your framed Valentine, such beautiful memories as you say your room has soul. And the last quote how true; I think life is very much how you deal with things when everything is not going quite right...remembering of course to enjoy the times when everything is just so...nothing ever lasts forever.
Thank you so much for popping by and leaving your kind words, I really appreciate it.
Have a wonderful weekend! xx

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Leslie I absolutely LOVE everything about this room!! That awesome bookcase and the beautiful way you have it styled...and I'm swooning over your gallery wall! Great job as always my friend!

Calypso In The Country said...

I love the bookshelves in white - especially with the beadboard! You have some wonderful treasures there like that precious Valentine! I love spaces that reflect the personality of the owner. Beautiful job!

Art and Sand said...

love the your your collections.

Thanks for the reminder about perfection and reality.

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Oh my goodness!! You've created the perfect sanctuary for yourself, Leslie! I love the curtain fabric you chose and all the vintage treasures tucked here and there throughout the room. The pumpkin drawing and the typed note to you are my favorites. And the wood barn door warms up the room nicely and is quite a show stopper, too. Everything is just lovely!

Enjoy your special space and thanks for sharing it with us!

Unknown said...

Leslie, I fell in love when I read the name of your blog! I have decided that only the things I love are the ones worth holding onto...and that I should be using them every day.
Your office is gorgeous! Your dad did a great job on the built-ins, and your own personal style of filling them adds the charm.
I think my favorite little detail was your use of the sweet little teapot as your pencil holder...says so much about you.
Thanks for that comment on perfection. Don't we all need that reminder!
You and I are not near each other in age...I'm 66, but soul sisters...maybe so!

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

Oh wow ... I love, love this, Leslie, all of it, no baseboards, all of it. And that wall of bookshelves made me weak in the knees. That has been a long-term goal of mine and you just stirred that up a little.

cindy hattersley design said...

You are so right Leslie a collected room takes time. WE want to gather special things over time. I have so few clients that get this but every once in a while I get one that does. I am working on my own little powder room redo. I bet my readers are thinking "how could it possibly take that long". To get it right it does!! Great post as always!!!

Leena Milligan Lanteigne said...

This is truly a magical room! Filling it with favorite items, bits and pieces of memories and your own personal touches, makes it so inspirational and charming! Gorgeous! Hugs, Leena

Tami said...

I do absolutely relate. What a wonderful space. With books!! I love books. Everything about them. I also love that you have no base board. You don't really notice it because of how everything else leads you away from it. The little clock, photos, the feeling of the room. Yes I can feel it through the pictures but maybe because I relate to your process. My sewing studio is a place that makes my heart sing, not only because it makes my creativity bubble out of me but because it is full of my history. I never noticed the tv controller or your phone. LOL Love the space. Tami (SJ)

Unknown said...

Love your honest style. So refreshing!

Stonecropsister said...

Hi Leslie,
Your office is beautiful (of course!). But what I loved about this post is that revealing glimpse of all the thought and emotion that was behind each element. Things may not be important, but they are linked to who we are, and what we measure as important in life thanks for sharing, it is lovely to be able to picture you in this wonderful space. xx Nancy

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