Office Remodel


Dear over-looked, under-appreciated, almost forgotten little room under the stairs,

I told you so.

I told you 2013 was going to be your year.

And I have to tell you… look amazing.

Before Office

Remember where you started.

Remember the Monopoly game and the Christmas wreaths and the play dough and the 1000 + puzzle pieces and the potholder kits.


I know….you don’t even have to say it….I totally felt your pain.

It was rough.

Bless your heart. 


But look at you now.

Crisp and clean and organized and white and full of joy and so… incredibly beautiful.

I’m not surprised.

You see….I always knew.  I knew that underneath the wooden paneling and scraped, faded floor boards and dark, dreary exterior……

……beat the heart of a rock star.

Number 5


I mean…..seriously….you go girl.  You left that old, faded Gap sweatshirt on the dressing room floor.

You got your hair cut and highlighted and deep conditioned with fancy hair care treatments made from seaweed extract and emu oil.

And finished it off with some amazing smoky eye make-up…..


…..and a whole new outlook on life.


Built In File Cabinets


I love it all.

I adore the built-in filing cabinets tucked back under the stairs.

And the black and white damask file folders.

And the gray striped white table top.

And the chevron rug that makes my heart beat faster every time I see it.


Small Space Design Plan


Who could resist those tiny stacked paperweights.

And the curved bulletin board with numbered push-pins.

And the picture wall filled with little bits of framed joy…

….poems and inspiring thoughts and famous quotes by six-year-olds and laughing, giggling faces that make my heart smile.


Small Space Design


It’s one of my favorite make-overs……ever… the history of ever.

I still can’t believe it’s you.

And I just wanted you to know….I am totally nominating you for homecoming queen.

I think you’ve got it in the bag.

After all……

…..I think the chevron rug has it’s own fan club. 🙂

Country Living Thistlewood


PS  Look what just came out in Country Living……and I truly wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you.

Yes…….with the coffee mug or the hot tea or the diet coke.

Thank you.

Thank you for the votes and the laughs and the smiles and the encouragement.

And the joy.

My under-the-stairs-room and I adore you. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Amy@the Avery House Amy@the Avery House

    Oh how awesome!!!! Your Cinderella closet certainly found its fair godmother in you, Miss KariAnne! Her "ball gown" is simply stunning :-)! You did a wonderful job! Hope you have a magical start to your week!

  2. Image for Sally Sally

    Cue the angels singing. Who's the ROCK STAR now? Congratulations!!! And, BTW - LOVE the makeover. Sweet, sweet, sweet. Happy Monday sweet Friend!

  3. Image for Susan Susan

    Wow KariAnne that room is awesome! I love every little black and white thing in it! Great job. Also of course you're in Country Living Magazine.... you're just that good! Susan

  4. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Cheers to you with clinking coffee mugs!! How awesome! Congrats on the room and the magazine!!! I love the make over. I am wondering how you are going to keep it as your own and not share it with your kids...mine would want to take it over! Love everything about it...especially the huge numbers on the wall. Job well done, rock star!

  5. Image for Suzy @ Worthing Court Suzy @ Worthing Court

    You did a wonderful job of creating a cute office nook, Kari! I love all of the details that you added. This so reminds me of the same sort of space that we had in our former home, but our desk was just a slab of plywood. Nothing at all like this great little place that you created!

  6. Image for Jan Jan

    O....M....g!! How awesome is that? Love, love love! You ARE the fairmother of all time. Cinderella has married the prince!

  7. Image for kim kim

    What a very cool little office! So much detail in one small space! Loving every inch of it! Congrats to the Country Living Article!

  8. Image for Maureen Maureen

    Speechless!! Except to say I squeeled out loud when I saw you in my Country Living Magazine!! Love that you share your amazing talent and humour and that it is recognized in such a wonderful way!

  9. Image for Baileywife Baileywife

    Aww...Maa...Zii...Nggg....Yeah for lil room makeovers! And yep, you did it again, congrats on the Country Living Mag article! You are my hero;) ~ Kim

  10. Image for Lori H Lori H

    It's me, the one with the hot tea. Thanks for the mention :) Anyway, I just got my Country Living but had not yet sat down and perused it, so that is first on my list for this afternoon - congrats! And your new office is gorgeous! I love every BIT of it. Is it tacky to ask if you would post sources for the rug and those huge numbers?

  11. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Of course you would turn that area under the stairs into an area of "corporate in the country" managed to "incorporate" eveything you could possibly need in that small room...bravo very well designed!!!..pretty, pretty!...and congrats again on the Country Living Award!...

  12. Image for Kaaren Kaaren

    I can say I knew you when! It should be a long time before your feet hit the ground. What a difference a year makes. Looking forward to another year of your wonderful post.

  13. Image for Beverly Beverly

    You and your carpenter make quite the team. You're even better than the Dynamic Duo. Really, it looks fantastic. Just what I would expect from The Country Living Queen and her King.♥

  14. Image for Christy Christy

    What an amazing transformation! It's incredible! I am so happy for you being featured in CL! What an honor!!!!

  15. Image for Patty O Patty O

    I LOVE your new under-the-stairs office! And look at how happy she now is...going from a blah little catch all to a shiny and bright new star! Of course she's a she because she's so pretty! And CONGRATULATIONS on the Best New Blog award!!! You are by far my favorite blog to read (out of the dozen or so that I read)!!! I love your projects and most of all your bantor. You inspired me to write in the same "conversational" style. You are wonderful, amazing, and inspiring! Kudos!

  16. Image for Mike (CraftyDad) Mike (CraftyDad)

    Wow! Your under-the-stairs space is "totally awesome". And I mean in that in the nicest way. Really. I love white spaces and yours is a perfect example. Two quick questions: where did you find that sweet mantle clock? And..did you make or buy the framed cork-board bulletin board? [The wheels in my head are turning on how I might find a frame like that. Love it.] Congrats on the Readers Pick in Country Living Magazine! My wife and I have been subscribers to CL for many, many years. Rock. On. --Michael

  17. Image for Doreen Doreen

    i remember the before - what an amazing use of space. Now you have me thinking of my closet under the stairs in new ways! Have a great week! Blessings, Doreen

  18. Image for Angie Wierman Angie Wierman

    I am brand new to your blog and I LOVE it! Where have you been all my life? LOL! Congrat's on your Country Living shout-out - that's awesome.

  19. Image for Marian Marian

    The chevron rug is killing me. I might have to get me one of those. not that I have any idea where I'd put it. And I love the idea of using those number signs as magnet boards. I would not have thought of that. So clever, I swear Karianne. And yay for you for being famous. That is super exciting, yet you don't sound super surprised. Could it be that inside you have just the smallest idea of how great the greatness inside you really is? Way to go girl. Marian

  20. Image for Jen Jen

    Finally,an under the stairs room that Harry Potter would be pleased to call his own...and who could not love such a sweet and charming nook? Congrats for your continued deserved recognition...and,as one Ky woman to another my dear, are making the Blue Grass state very proud!

  21. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Impressive! I didn't realize that closet was that spacious...she's just gorgeous. From her hair to her shoes....she could be Homecoming queen and also Senior Prom Queen, just saying! You mentioned tiny paperweights...I couldn't find them. They must be really tiny! ;)

  22. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    Hope all the attention doesn't go to her crown wearing head! Glad to see something beautiful living under the stairs - instead of monsters and dust bunnies! Guess what's under my stairs - another set of stairs leading to my basement - so no cute office nook for me. Oh, and my Cupid Float is ready to give your nook a run for homecoming queen - she went to Glamour Shots today and is looking hot! And over the moon excited that the readers of Country Living now all know what we do - you rock! Kelly

  23. Image for Kelli Kelli

    Amazing! Amazing? Does that even touch it? There HAS to be a bigger word. ;) It's such a lovely space...and I can understand lots of trips over to it...just to gaze. Wondermous!? Maybe a little closer! Have a wonderful day! k.

  24. Image for Nancy Carr Nancy Carr

    Congratulations on the magazine feature. Also love the under stairs office. I LOVE your blog and so appreciate you and your style.

  25. Image for Amber Anderson Amber Anderson

    You are awesome, Girlfriend! Love the little room under the stairs and I was super excited to see your photo in CL! Super awesome! I have to tell you, even my husband likes reading your blog. :)

  26. Image for Elzabeth@ Blue Clear Sky Elzabeth@ Blue Clear Sky

    Congratulations on the Country Living feature. I was so excited when I opened my issue to see you there. Love love this makeover. Your farmhouse must be loving all the care and attention it is getting :)

  27. Image for Kori @HautePicklesandPaper Kori @HautePicklesandPaper

    I left the link to my new blog (just getting started again) and I'm SO embarrassed that it's so tiny and just getting re-started! YOURS IS AMAZING - it always is - and I LOVE coming back here over and over again! :) I am in LOVE with your new office!!! Holy wow! It's gorgeous! Congrats!

  28. Image for Skasten Skasten

    Your office has my vote for Homecoming Queen. Every detail was soooo cute. Love, love, love the bulletin board. Congrats on Country Living. Got my issue on Friday and thought "I know her!" Yeah, KariAnne, well deserved.

  29. Image for Peggy Peggy

    You would laugh at me but I squealed and did a little in place dance when I saw you in the latest issue of Country Living magazine... my son just gave me "the look"! haha! I am so excited for you!! Congratulations!!! You work so diligently on your blog, you deserve it! Once again congratulations!!! Now I'm off to do a little baking.... raspberry ricotta scones... plus i'm working on a recipe for valentine waffles... think raspberries, dark chocolate.... I'll let you know how they come out, if you want. Have a wonderful day!

  30. Image for Zolane Zolane

    Ok...I have no idea how you CONSISTENTLY transform "I think I can" spaces and items into glorious swans...full of beauty and personality and just ready for memory making. I've never come across anyone who sees potential like you and then delivers better than anyone can imagine. You are incredible and such an inspiration to this "I think I can" DIYer!!! Will you be listing a "Resource Guide" for all the perfect accessories/details you put into that wonderful room? I was so happy to open up my latest issue of Country Living and see your smiling face. It's a joy to see you get the recognition you deserve. Congratulations, KariAnne.

  31. Image for Tausha Tausha

    Oh my heck! This is one of the best makeovers that I have ever seen! Everything about it amazing! I am especially fond of your post-you crack me up! What a fabulous way to start my Monday! I shared your post at page today. Everyone in the world needs to know you! I heart you!! Tausha

  32. Image for Sarah Sarah

    Totally awesome! And so are you, KariAnne. Congratulations on the well deserved award and recognition. So exciting to see a friend in one of my favorite magazines!!!!!

  33. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    This is an amazing office space! You totally turn this into a diamond- love every inch of it! Congrats on your award! I'm so happy for you and proud too! You are an awesome blogger!

  34. Image for Julie Gingerich Julie Gingerich

    My you clean up well, little closet under the stairs! Seriously, KariAnne, this room is awesome! It packs a design punch most rooms 10 times its size don't even have. Congratulations on the Country Living nod to your blog - I spied your smiling face when I opened up my magazine the other day. Keep up the great work! :)

  35. Image for Regina Regina

    Oh, you KNOW the chevron rug has a fan club! :) I'm still looking for that PERFECT one for my little dressing room . . . that needs a makeover desperately . . . and now has some inspiration. This little room is so sweet! Honestly, I think it even has sparkly earrings . . . :)

  36. Image for karen@somewhatquirky karen@somewhatquirky

    Oh I love the change! (duh - who wouldn't) I love understairs getaways. I hate it that my stairs are stacked and I don't have a closet under the stairs. I guess it's ok cuz the tradeoff would be not having a basement and that would be horrible for a saver like me. Great job. And I think I've already said this, but congrats on the recognition in Country Living - you deserve it.

  37. Image for Shannon Fox Shannon Fox

    I have to say... you really outdid yourself this time!! It looks totally ultra fabulous. In a perfectly "farmhouse chic" with a dash of industrial style. Enjoy!! PS-Congrats again on the award - Bet seeing it in print was pretty spectacular!!

  38. Image for Kim L. Kim L.

    As always - just.... AH-Maze-ing! I did laugh at your paperweights, though (in a nice way) because I always think of this Andy Rooney quote when I see them: “I’ve got a lot of paper weights. What’s a paperweight for anyway? Papers don’t blow around in here.”

  39. Image for Dianne Dianne

    Wow I love your blog usually don't post you get so many but I had to tell you congrats and not surprised love to visit thanks for always sharing..

  40. Image for Anna Starner Anna Starner

    What a beautiful transformation. The space looks so much larger and it is amazing. Your husband works well under pressure. Did you have every item planned and ready to pop in there when the space was ready for the crowning jewels? You know the homecoming crown and the beautifully manicured nails and that special dress? Oh no I mean your cute little rug and the jewel of a lamp and all the rest of the cute little baskets, clocks and the wall accessories.

  41. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Oh my gosh what a fabulous little space!!! I would have lived in there all the time when I was little….your kids must be so excited!! And congrats on Country Living!!!!!!!! Woohooooooo!

  42. Image for Polly Polly

    This is absolutely "cool beans" (does anyone say that anymore)!! Just plain cute!! Love the black and white, the numbers on the wall, everything! Also congrats on the CL award, haven't gotten my copy in the mail yet, but will be sure to take a peek! Thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us:)

  43. Image for Becca Becca

    I love what you and your husband did, KariAnne ... such a fun, cool space! Love the black and white ... the awesome chevron rug ... and, the fun pop of green! And, congrats on yet, another, well-deserved feature! Woo Hooo!

  44. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Awesome. What a great use of space. I love everything about your makeover and that chevron rug is amazing. Congrats on the Country Living award. I just got my copy in the mail today and look forward to reading about your big win.

  45. Image for Kimberly ~Serendipity Refined Kimberly ~Serendipity Refined

    I love your office under the's adorable, and bright and down right PERKY....sigh. Under the stairs at my house is dark...and unfinished...The screens from my house live there in the winter ; peacefully co-existing with spiders. While I haven't seen any actual spiders, I know that they're there. I could probably relocate the screens and make a charming and cheery office under my stairs...but I'm not moving the spiders...they're not cooperative. So I'll just adore your office (complete with a K that would completely work in MY under the stairs office if I had one) and your face smiling up at me from the pages of CL and remind myself how happy I am to know you and how fun it is to be your friend....Let me know when home coming voting is. I'll completely be the campaign manager for your office...I'll make buttons! xo

  46. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Well, she is totally winning PROM QUEEN!!! This is amazing but then all you do is amazing. I love it. We have a space under our stairs that looks worse right now than your before:) But it is working as a place to hang things I need to hang. I wish I could do this!!! You have such an amazing eye. I have said AMAZING too many times but you ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XO, Pinky

  47. Image for Patty Patty

    Awesome space! She's just waiting for the winning bouquet to be awarded to the best ever little under the stairs room. Patty/BC

  48. Image for Anne Anne

    Beautiful makeover Karianne!What a cool space to have too!Under our stairs leads to our unfinished basement.Not very exciting.Congratulations on being featured! xx Anne

  49. Image for Wendy Wendy

    What a stunning transformation! I LOVE every detail. Black and white is so my favorite. For those of us who want to be just like you, can you name some of your sources for the details--rug, file cabinets, IN/OUT letters, number pushpins, monogram "R" on bulletin board? All of those beautiful extras totally make it. Congratulations on your Country Living win. Eeeeek!! :)

  50. Image for Amycha Amycha

    This is beautiful!! The transformation is amazing, hard to believe it's the same space. I love your mix of white, black and neutral. I need one of these under my stairs! Congrats on your award at CL... I love that mag and hope to see lots more of Thistlewood Farm on their pages:)

  51. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    I want.............I want ....................I want...............but alas I can't have.................we don't have stairs in this

  52. Image for karen karen

    Huge congrats on your Country Living notice! You deserve that recognition. I love the under the stairs too. I would totally go in the hidey hole and hide and pretend I didn't hear anyone calling my name or knocking on the door.

  53. Image for Karen @ My Reclaimed Haven Karen @ My Reclaimed Haven

    Honestly, I could read your posts all day--actually I have. Yet another amazing room. Got my Country LIving yesterday and showed your photo to all my fam and friends and told them that YOU ispired and then encouraged me to start my blog! and your famous, and I know you (sort of) how cool is that! Congratulations

  54. Image for Audrey Zumwalt Audrey Zumwalt

    Congratulations on being honored by Country Living. You deserve it. Love the make-over under the stairs. Gives me some ideas for wall hangings for the guest bedroom I am working on. Blessings, Audrey Z. Timeless Treasures

  55. Image for Tina Tina

    OH W-O-W!!! Karianne that makeover is amazing. I would love to do something like this BUT alas, I have stairs but no closet :( Congrats on being recognized by CL. Have a great evening.

  56. Image for Pendra Pendra

    Whew... I've never seen so many comments on your site before! That in itself should tell you how much this little under the stairs office is LOVED! This just flabbergasts me, so creative, so cute, so YOU! Hugs, ~Pendra

  57. Image for Carmel Carmel

    love it all! so much goodness I can't choose a favorite - and CONGRATS girl on the magazine - I was telling all my friends how cool I am because I know you while showing them the magazine ;)

  58. Image for Barbara F Barbara F

    Another gorgeous make-over!! I LOVE that little gem of a space under the stairs, it's perfect. And big congratulations on your spot in Country Living. You are on a major roll! xo

  59. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    First of all CONGRATULATIONS! I am so so happy for you! As you often say YOU ROCK... and you do! Your blog and you are really something special! LOVE the little newly renovated space under the step. It has my homecoming queen vote for sure!

  60. Image for Deborah Deborah

    A.maz. ing I would be closeted away all day! It is simply gorgeous. Congratulations on the Country Living award too. You go girl!! Have a great week! Hugs, Deborah

  61. Image for Melaine Melaine

    SHUT UP!!!!! You are my design hero! Come visit me, we can shop, have coffee, {redo my whole house} shop some more, read all about you in Country Living! Oh my gooness, loving the In and OUt bins too!!! xoxo

  62. Image for Lynne Lynne

    I love your little room under the stairs! I want one too! I would use it as my own time out space! I'd go in there and close the door and recall my youth and my secret forts! You knocked this one way way way out of the ballpark! See, you don't need no stinking piece of paper saying you know about decorating, cuz honey You KNOW how to decorate!

  63. Image for Angie@Echoes of Laughter Angie@Echoes of Laughter

    Wow! Stunning Kerrianne! Love, Love, Love it! What a gorgeous project and you executed it so perfectly! Wishing you a lovely week & Happy Valentine's Day! Angie xo

  64. Image for bridgett bridgett

    Holy Cow! What a transformation! I just recently redid the closet underneath our stairs but would have never thought to turn it into an office space! It is beautiful and I love your decor! Would love for you to share this fabulous space at the party tonight!! xo Bridgett Done

  65. Image for Merri Jo Merri Jo

    I am toasting you & your gorgeous creation, albeit a few days late, with my double-cupped extra-hot latte in hand. Your rock-star, little room is indeed homecoming queen and you, Kari, are without a doubt reigning queen of the blog prom! Your creativity, beautiful surroundings captured on camera, combine with your inviting tone and fun, whimsical style to draw me linger and enjoy! CONGRATS on well-deserved recognition! Thanks for this delightful place to visit!

  66. Image for Paula Paula

    Oh my goodness, this is wonderful. I love the transformation. I would love for you to share you post at our WIW linky party. Hope you can join us! Paula


    Love all the black and white and attention to detail, perfect little hideaway. I have a number 3 just like your numbers. I got mine from Barb at.... . Don't you just love them, I like the way you are using them for a magnet board, very clever. Did you get yours from Barb Too?

  68. Image for Jeanette Fellhauer Jeanette Fellhauer

    I am SO happy Kathysue just posted the link to Barb's shop. The numbers are really adorable and just make your space. I have the perfect spot for some too. And have you seen all the beautiful things Barb has in her shop? She sure deserves all the credit she gets for her great eye for design and for bringing to us all her finds at such great prices too!

  69. Image for Kimberly @ A Night Owl Kimberly @ A Night Owl

    Just GORGEOUS Karianne! Gorgeous. I love the crisp, clean, organized feel. I think that little corner looks better than my entire house! Hehe! Love all the accessories too, pure perfection. Thank you for sharing your genius! xo, Kimberly

  70. Image for lisa hains lisa hains

    Karianne!! You've done it again! Fantastic writing that pulls at the heartstrings!!! Fabulous decorating--so creative--just beautiful!!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING ALL OF THIS WITH US!!!!!!! And what an honor for you to be featured in CL--all your talent and hard work make your blog just stellar!! I'm so proud for you!! You go girl!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!! Hugs!! Lisa Hains

  71. Image for Christie B. Christie B.

    STILL laughing after reading through your whole post. Girl, you CRACK.ME.UP.!!! Congratulations on your Readers' Pick Award! So very well deserved! LOVE the office re-do...Luke who??? Once our laundry room is done (oh, so close!)...AND our 10-year-old's room...we'll be moving on to OUR office. Can't wait! Thanks so much for sharing your home, humor & inspiration!

  72. Image for Kathy Metcalf Kathy Metcalf

    Omg! How did so much talent get inside one person! I love this!! I would love for you to stop by my blog...since you've been inspirational to me! (Even though you didn't know it! ) Lol Thanks, xo, Kathy

Comments are closed.