Have you ever had a room that you just couldn’t get right?

You know.

It had a weird angle or a window that was too small or too big or it went all middle school awkward with an unfortunate paint color.

You’d move the furniture this way and that way and over and around and after all that re-arranging it still wasn’t right.

The Mt. Everest of rooms.

No matter how hard you tried to climb it, you ran out of water and your nose got cold and the next summit was too far away.

That’s exactly how I felt with this office.

Here’s another before so you can understand what I’m talking about.

That fireplace is amazing–but it has a hearth that sticks into the room at an angle which makes rug placement a little tricky.

And there’s a built-in on one wall that isn’t centered.

Or it might have been centered before the fireplace showed up.

On the other wall there’s a bay window with built-in closets.

See what I mean?

It’s like someone long ago built this room for their furniture and didn’t understand that I might show up a hundred years later with mine.

Here’s the first evolution of the room at Christmas.

We painted the room SW Sandbar and the trim SW Extra White.

I bought this cute rug at Overstock and turned it on an angle to try and accommodate the fireplace.

The desk is now centered between the windows with chairs on either side of it.

The tree is between the bay windows.




So next I tried this.

I moved the desk over by the bay window and found this chair at a yard sale.

And placed a bookshelf behind the desk with a small lamp.

And added these upholstered chairs in front of the television with a thrift store table in between.


A little more filled up.

But I was still climbing the room arranging mountain.

And then last week a rug showed up at my house.


This rug.

The one with the cute dog.

I saw it and got inspired and ideas started running through my head.

And then?

I started climbing.

And now?


Can you even?


I still have a few things to add and a few changes I need to make like a new light fixture and adding roman shades in a buffalo check and lower shutters to the windows.

But just between us?


Here’s the glimpse of it through the hallway.

It looks so welcoming.

Every time I go to walk into the room my heart smiles.

I moved the desk back where it was under the windows.

And I straightened the rug.

And added new drop cloth curtains in the space.

There’s only one chair at the desk now.

It’s this one that I found at a yard sale.

I didn’t have to do anything to it because the wood worked perfectly in the space.

Here’s another view of the space.

That tall desk on the left balances out the built-in and gives me a place to work.

That’s where I’m sitting right now.

The fireplace makes more sense now.

I love the black against the painted brick.

This piece is original to the house.

I also just added the tobacco basket on the desk.

It’s long instead of square and the possibilities are endless.

You could also hang it on the wall.

Here’s the before and after one more time.

Just because I wanted to smile.

Just because I wanted to look at that sunshine dancing across the room.

Just because I wanted to see what the view looks like…

…from the top of the mountain. 🙂

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  1. Image for Terry Terry

    Lovely - but I have to admit that I liked the dresser and pic next to the built-in a little more that the desk. I thought it looked balanced and perfect. All the other changes are beautiful

  2. Image for Marty Oravetz Marty Oravetz

    Oh I love it, so perfect. The soft beige and white colors of the room are my favorite. Great rug, it just adds so much to the space.

  3. Image for Terri Terri

    You still got it !! You incredible rock star !!!!! You still got it!!! those drop cloth curtains ... on those amazing windows??? WOW .... although I was getting a bit nervous... like "Didn't she read her own book" ??? lololololol!!! Of course you did ... and Voila' !!!!!

  4. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Beautiful. I think I would never want to leave. My heart is smiling with you. Love your decorating skills. And your awesome stories.

  5. Image for Suzanne Suzanne

    Of course it looks WONDERFUL ... your Karianne! Your willing to put the time, money and vision into everything you do. I love it when it takes trial and error to get it right. I don't think it would be fun if I got it right the first time around. The room looks amazing! Keep up the GREAT work.

  6. Image for Cathy Weber Cathy Weber

    So pretty...would love to hear your experience with painting the fireplace. I would do it in a second but my husband shakes his head whenever I bring it up!

  7. Image for Jo Jo

    The balance between light and texture are both calming and warm. This is a terrific room for creative thought, reading, and blogging!!! I love what you've done. Soft Surroundings is one of my favorites!

  8. Image for Jenifer Scherlin Jenifer Scherlin

    Please give us a tutorial on the curtains!!! How did you make them? How do they hang? Are they just stationary? The room is perfection!! Especially with the sweet puppy!!

  9. Image for Jere Jere

    Kerianne, Yes it does look much better but (Isn't there always a but?) ...just my opinion I think another matching built in bookcase would calm the eye. The large tall white desk distracts from the rest of the room...with the white fireplace white back (great change) and the marvelous light in the room..it seems just too much bright. Overall though it is so much better. Your mind must be whirling whirling constantly. At 91yrs. mine doesn't have too much to whirl about. Jere

  10. Image for Katie Heidinger Katie Heidinger

    Just wonderful!! Now it seems the room was designed for your furniture. It's funny how one addition, the rug, can help pull it all together and everything else falls into place. Teaches me to be patient and keep tweaking!!! My rooms are not how I want them yet, but eventually I'm hoping to find some pieces cheap at a y-sale or thrift store to get the right look. thank you..thank you.. thank you!!

  11. Image for Nan, Odess DE Nan, Odess DE

    Nice source list but HOW DO I MAKE DRAPES that wide and long? Details, pretty lady, please. I can barely sew and need instructions. How many drop cloths do you buy? Any hints on which drop cloths to purchase would be appreciated.! I understand WHY you will enjoy your office.. It is lovely and we all work better with great surroundings.

  12. Image for laura nus laura nus

    Wait! Soft Surroundings sells rugs? I kept waiting for an analogy about a soft robe in the office! Love it! I'm glad I am not the only one figuring out my home office. How do you like your back to the windows? I find myself looking over my shoulder!

  13. Image for Graham Graham

    I love it- you have outdone yourself! Those two closets look like they were additions- how hard would it be to lose them? Unless you need them for storage, they really don't add anything to the room. But don't listen to me, I'd have thrown my hands up when I saw the angled, red brick fireplace and unfortunate paint colors. You'll think of something magical- you always do!

    1. Image for Tori Tori

      That was my thought too! Rip out those closets that make that end such an awkward shape. Angles like those , and the fp hearth, are so hard to work around! Looks beautiful Karianne! Love the rug too. So much better than on an angle. Great job! 😍

  14. Image for Jan Fusco Jan Fusco

    Looks fabulous! I LOVE Soft Surroundings but I've only ordered clothes from them. (Only on sale cause they're way expensive). I'll have to check out their home wares.

  15. Image for Stephanie A Wethington Stephanie A Wethington

    Karianne, you are simply amazing. The room looked challenging, however, with you decorating and moving things around you created a beautiful office. I want one just like it!!! Great look and I know you are going to enjoy being in your new office!!! xo

  16. Image for Gina Gina

    Nailed it! Whole time I was saying 'desk btwn windows, something even w bookcase' and that's what you did! Desk from Ikea! Wow! Checked out that scrumptious rug from Soft Surroundings. So lovely. Curtains go so well. They look like my Belgium linen dining room curtains. Very serene office/mom cave!

  17. Image for Vivian Vivian

    Amazing! I love everything you've done to it...each time!! :) But you've out done yourself on this time! I am also wanting to know about the curtains...how many drop cloths and did you make your hidden rods?

  18. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    That rug. I can’t even. It’s so perfect. You have made it so wonderful. What a great office. And still with the sweet reminder of your Dad’s desk and that wonderful family member who needs to be in the photo...Love it.

  19. Image for Patty Patty

    As always, the finished product looks great. Do you have a tutorial on drape cloth drapes? I couldn’t find one in your projects. Thanks

  20. Image for Linda Linda

    I love the color you painted the walls, love the way you have your desk placed, love the walls and loved the curtains ! And just love....love ...love Buddy ! He is such a handsome boy !

  21. Image for Anne from Sydney Anne from Sydney

    Yay to the straightened rug!!! Now I can relax ;-) Congratulations on resolving all the tricky issues, Karianne. It's a delightful room.

  22. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Ahhh, yes. I like this arrangement. Very comfy and it doesn't feel crowded either. Some rooms are just difficult but I think you tamed the awkwardness in this one!

  23. Image for Karen U Karen U

    KariAnne, I LOVE where you ended up with the room! Such fabulous taste and design sense! I love the rug you finished the room with. But I have to say, I do love the rug you started with.any chance you could link where you found that one? Thanks so much! Karen U

  24. Image for Lynne Lynne

    It looks fantastic KariAnne. Your energy and drive to get things done amazes me! I spend a lot of time thinking and trying but often don't finish jobs! Could you please explain about drop cloths. I looked at some but not sure what size. Also, what sort, which backing, etc? I'm in Australia, so will have different hardware stores to yours. Do you wash them a few times to soften them before sewing? Many thanks Lynne

  25. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    Gorgeous as is everything you do. Sometimes it just takes time living in the space to get it where you really want it. I love the new rug from Soft Surroundings. I always love their clothes. I would have to agree with several other comments that I liked the dresser next to the built in as opposed to the tall secretary. However, if it is functional and gives you a place to work it's a great reason to have it there. Maybe it's because it's a large piece and is "glowing" white that seems a bit distracting. Maybe some raised detail on the center of the upper doors would soften it a bit? I always love to see the old standard brick painted white. Looks so fresh and clean. Anyway, as always, it's a wonderful reworking of your first endeavor.

  26. Image for Sandi Sandi

    Karianne the room is just beautiful. I thought the Christmas shot looked just fine, but in my opinion you've defined the room by using all warm tones. It changed everything! Especially getting rid of the red brick! Genius! It's beautiful and I even like the parquet flooring (never have before). Please keep decorating your house and sharing with us!

  27. Image for Louise Adkins Louise Adkins

    Lovely. Have to say you painted it exactly as I thought I would of done it before I scrolled down. Maybe you are rubbing off on me! :)

  28. Image for Susan Hall Susan Hall

    Honesty, I truly can,t believe how amazing it looks! It must have taken forever to paint the brick on the fireplace???

  29. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I like everything in the room, except the way the curtains are hung. In my opinion, the one you didn’t ask for, the rods need to be out from the wall far enough so curtains hang straight and not resting on the trimwork. Would love for the rug company to give your readers a discount! Love your rug!


    KariAnne, so glad you reached the top of the mountain! Your office is just beautiful! As usual, you have done such a fabulous job! You always do! Enjoy your lovely office with your precious Buddy at your feet enjoying that beautiful carpet! Blessings!

  31. Image for pamela pamela

    it is lovely and classic. the drapes are great, did you make them? thought they were linen. wish I could steal that desk chair, had my hands on one like it once but i listened to my husband and let it go. sigh. that rug is so pretty, it really reminds me of the Hobby Lobby fabric you used to redo your mom's dining room chairs. I bet doing this house could be more difficult to imagine sometimes because you have all the decorated rooms from before in your brain.

  32. Image for kathy kathy

    This room looks awesome! I can't believe what a difference the paint made. That dark trim was scary. I have a hard time painting brick but yours was a good change. That rug is perfect! It made almost as much of an impact as changing the paint. I also love the warmth of the wood in the desk and chair. And, the "art" between the windows is pretty. It adds even more character. (Someone... in a former post where you were asking about art... commented that all of the unusual things you hang ARE art.) Who knew your office post would inspire me so much! Great job!!!

  33. Image for Becky Becky

    I like every step of the evolution. Before I scrolled down my first thought was paint out that fireplace and built-in. you were off and running. Love the final result

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