Project Reveal: Home Office - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

Our Home Office Remodel

Project Reveal: Home Office

Our home office is a very special, very important room for us. First off, it contains all our books, including my hundreds of signed novels I’ve treasured for years. Secondly, as someone who primarily works from home, it had to be a very functional space for me, as well as for my family.

At some point over the years, as I continued to amass my collection of books, candles, funkos and tchotchkes, the room began to overtake us. It felt heavy. Overbearing. Dark with its black bookcases and desks, with its olive paint color, and books overflowing and stacked in front of bookshelves that were already three books deep, stacked from top to bottom. The room also had one small window, which didn’t help with the dark feel. It was frankly a room we stopped enjoying, as much as I loved all my things. For the past year I had worked downstairs, by an open window, leaving our office desks unused and cluttered. The walk-in closet in our office was unspeakably embarrassing⁠ — we could barely close its door.

When we began to tackle our upstairs, I knew we needed to figure out the office. I also knew a few things going in:

  • I needed to open up the space somehow
  • I needed to (gulp) edit my book situation
  • I wanted lighter color walls
  • I wanted to create a space that felt calming, that I wanted to work in again
  • I wanted multiple workstations

I created a design plan that looked like this:

I loved this design SO MUCH. I loved that it was a combination of light and moody. I wanted to add textural pieces and interesting finishes. Leather and wood, brass and matte black. I was excited!!!! I was inspired by this Studi McGee design too. I was so ready to go make it happen.

Photo source: Studio McGee

I quickly found these CB2 desks that would work beautifully in the space. Two side by side against a wall. I was going to change the hardware to leather pulls for that textural detail.

Next and probably the most important part of my design: the bookcases. I looked at dozens of moody blue paint colors and narrowed down. The bookshelves needed to be custom, so I could get just the right blue to juxtapose against the creamy white of the other walls. The bookcases would be against another wall, facing the “desk” wall. This pic was one of my other inspiration pics.

And that’s when my design began to fall apart.

I started getting quotes for custom bookcases that would go from floor to ceiling. It was outrageous. $5,000 to $6,000 for non-painted bookcases. Guys, we were on a budget, and we had several rooms to do. I needed something $1,000 and under.

It was not happening.

I started looking for something ready to go. I had used the Ikea navy glass cases on my design plan more as a placeholder, but those wouldn’t work because they didn’t go floor to ceiling, and gosh, if I needed to get rid of books, I wanted the most space possible. I read dozens of blogs on painting Ikea shelves, and the takeway was that you had to paint these Billy bookcases just right so it wouldn’t look badly, so it wouldn’t chip.

I didn’t trust it. I knew if it wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t going to be happy.

I was so sad and I spent weeks trying to figure out how to make my design work. I considered painting an accent wall moody blue, but having white bookcases, but something just didn’t feel right.

I shifted. I had to redesign.

I’ll admit I felt I was settling. So we decided to paint the walls the same color as the other rooms – Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. At least I found the desks we wanted, the ceiling light we wanted, a chair we loved.

My husband and I painted one weekend. We painted the office from green to white. We also painted Luca’s bedroom.

As we gazed around the spacious “new” office, loving the creamy white, we both started thinking the same thing: Wouldn’t Luca love this bigger bedroom? His room was the smallest of the house and I had been struggling designing his space. We couldn’t even fit a full-sized bed in his current space and he was (is) growing like a weed.


Within a few minutes, we made the decision to let Luca have the bigger room. And our office became Luca’s new bedroom.

I had to redesign the office, AGAIN, to fit in a MUCH smaller space.

And guess what, no matter how I measured, there was no way I could fit two desks.

And guess what else, there was no way I could fit six bookcases. I was already going from eight to six, and in the new smaller room, I had to go down to four. FOUR!

I knew we had made the right decision… it was more important for Luca to have more space as he grew up, but man, it was freaking hard to sacrifice all that room. Let’s not even mention the closet.

So we made it work. Ikea Billy bookcases that went from floor to ceiling, with doors below, joined together. I changed the hardware to give it a more modern look and added crown molding to make the shelves look custom. I also covered all the little shelf holes, again so it would look more expensive, less bargain.

I spent a day sorting books, donating boxes upon boxes to my local schools. I’ll admit I was a bit weepy, but I also knew I didn’t want to be overrun by books anymore and donating the physical copies didn’t lessen my experience with that story and/or author. I kept only the books I loved most. I stacked hardcovers on shelves mostly and stacked paperbacks behind the doors.

I found a bigger desk with a beautiful textural top (since I could only have one now) and changed the knobs to black. I also found a picture light to frame our beloved Middle Earth map canvas.

Our leather lounger was perfect for hanging out, or playing guitar. And speaking of guitars, I wanted my husband to love the space too, so I surprised him by hanging up our electric and acoustic guitars.

I added warmth and color with a great distressed rug. I first bought a 5 x 7, but exchanged it for an 8 x 10.

Ultimately there wasn’t much space in the room, and although our design had changed drastically, it became one of our favorite rooms in the house. I work there every day and it feels light, airy and intentional. It’s also functional and fun.

I learned a lot of lessons through this process. Sometimes original plans don’t work out but it doesn’t mean you can’t create spaces just as great, or better. We had to make it work. We had to work with the space we had. In fact, I think that a lot of design is problem solving, and pivoting to change your perspective. I’m really happy with where we ended up. We love it so much!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

Subscribe for Updates:

Share This Post


  1. Dorothy said:

    Hi, can you talk about changing out the windows? I love the new window look in your rooms. Thanks.


  2. RitaB said:

    Great article. Your space looks amazing. We are going to re-do our small home office as well, but I need to downsize more books, files, etc before we get started. I like your book cabinets a lot! Gonna show to hubby.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Instagram