The Little Office: It’s Done!


Guess where I’m writing this post from. Guess guess guess.

That chair right there. With my laptop on that desk. In front of that glorious wall. In my office. Which is finished, FYI.

How did you spend your Saturday night? I spent mine pouring myself a glass of bourbon and polyurethaning a desktop and some shelves. Then I poured myself some more bourbon and cut and installed a roller shade and made some paint touch-ups to the walls and baseboards. Then I poured myself some more bourbon and painted the third and last coat of paint on the floor, and then I sat in the doorway and basked. I was drunk at this point, true, but I would have basked regardless. Because this room? It makes me really happy.


When we bought the house, this is how things were looking. I really wish I had taken better photos than the ones that my old iPhone could capture because you totally can’t see how jacked up everything is. The walls were full of all sorts of problems, including old painted-over wallpaper that was peeling away from the plaster, enormous cracks, water damage from a leaky roof, and the floor had a few different types of linoleum laying on top of the original brown-painted tongue-and-groove subfloor. I think because this room is sort of out of the way and looked like such a wreck, Linus decided early on that it was an acceptable bathroom.



Things quickly went from bad to worse as I started to chip off all the old wallpaper to reveal the bare plaster. Large sections immediately fell apart and crumbled and later had to be patched in with drywall, but I was able to salvage and repair the vast majority of the plaster with plaster buttons, joint compound, various fiberglass mesh products, a lot of time and a huge learning curve. Repairing and restoring these walls myself felt completely overwhelming and impossible at first, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. The walls look so beautiful and authentic now, imperfections and all.


BLAM. Office magic.

Take it in. I’m usually pretty humble and not totally satisfied with everything and annoying about dumb stuff, but I have to say that I’m so thrilled with how this room turned out. Apologies in advance for the overly self-congratulatory tone of this post! Maybe it’s hideous! But I love it. It feels so clean and crisp and fresh (which are very weird adjectives to be using about my house, the majority of which pretty much looks like the “before” photos of this room, with fewer ceilings”¦), and to me it’s just the right mix of modern and old. It feels amazing to have brought this room from a really forgotten, awkward little space (it’s only about 7’x8′!) to a beautiful, functional room with a real purpose. Considering the mountains of work we have ahead of us with this house, getting this little room done feels hugely motivational and really makes everything feel so worth it.


The window wall had some water damage (luckily, plaster holds up pretty well to water, even when there’s a lot of it over many years). That corner was all buckled and cracked and falling apart, so it all had to be dug out and rebuilt. I’m saving the window sashes themselves for another time—they’re in OK shape but do need to be removed and fully restored, and that’s just not happening in February!


So fresh and so clean! I hung an ENJE roller shade from IKEA to give a little privacy, filter the light a bit, and cover up the current state of the window. I really hate the ways that IKEA has changed the design of the ENJE shade (they’re on a spring mechanism instead of a pull-chain now, for starters, and it’s a piece of crap), but the fabric remains the same and they’re easy to cut down, so I keep coming back to it. I’d love to use something nicer from an operational standpoint, but custom roller shades are SO incredibly expensive and I’ve yet to find a halfway decent alternative. So ENJE wins again!

The trash-basket is from Home Goods (they always seem to have an ample supply of nice, inexpensive baskets), and the desk lamp is a FADO lamp from IKEA that I’ve owned for years. The mug is from CB2 (with graphics on the other side designed my my internet-friend, Ben Wagner!). The sheepskin is IKEA. Max and I found the chair at the DWR Annex in Secaucus, marked down to something like $75 because there were a few scuffs on the arms! Most of it washed right off with a Magic Eraser, leaving only a tiny area of chipped paint smaller than a pencil eraser. Madness! It’s totally comfortable and totally classic and I like that it’s really visually light, which helps the room feel more spacious and really lets the best part of the room shine. I bet you can guess where I’m headed with this…



Y’all. I’m obsessed with this wallpaper. It’s the Diamanté pattern in black/gold from Hygge & West, produced in collaboration with Portland-based design studio Laundry. It’s incredible. I used less than a single roll for this little wall, but it completely makes the space and guided the direction of literally every other design decision in the room. I’ve said this before, but I love that the pattern manages to be really stylistically ambiguous but still really bold and dramatic—it’s well-suited to the age of the house but definitely not striving to be necessarily accurate to the period. I can see this wallpaper working in so many different types of spaces and looking amazing in all of them. It’s hard for pictures to really do it justice, but the gold is perfection in real life—it’s shimmery and metallic without looking either too flat or too overdone.

I love it. I want to wallpaper everything.

Maybe you want to get in on that wallpaper action in your own digs. Maybe you should stay tuned for the next post, because maybe the fine folks at Hygge & West also want that for you. Wink. Wink.



I’m posting a bunch of before/process pictures alongside the afters because I don’t want anyone thinking this was just a fresh coat of paint! And also I’m vain. This was blood, sweat, and tears, people. OK, it wasn’t that either, but it was really fucking hard.

The space to the right of the chimney was a total mess—the top half of the wall had to be repaired with big drywall patches, while the lower half had to be stabilized with plaster buttons, fiberglass mesh screens, and several skim-coats of joint compound. Same story for other parts of the room. It was bananas! It’s safe to say that I had no idea what I was getting into with this room (the whole house, really!), but that’s OK. The good thing about DIY is that none of this stuff was very expensive—just very time and labor intensive. I can do that.


But now? Ahhhhhhhhh. The only really logical use for this funny little corner were some shelves, and I think they’re so cute! Since I wanted to keep the desktop clear of clutter and distractions, these shelves are a great place to organize all the office-y stuff (and a few books) that I wanted in the space. I built both the shelves and the desktop out of inexpensive pine lumber, and I really like the natural tone of the wood next to the white walls and the black and gold wallpaper. I’ll post a whole DIY step-by-step for how I built them all super soon! The construction was really simple and I’m so glad I put in a little extra time and effort on something that looks really built-in and custom instead of using pre-fabricated or modular components. It makes the room feel special.

I picked up the big snake plant at Home Depot the other day for $15! I feel like these plants get a bad rap, but they’re super low-maintenance and one of the few houseplants that Max and I can agree on. The big crock that it’s in was a lucky yard sale find over the summer. Even though these are fairly common antiques-fare in the Hudson Valley, prices can get a little out of hand. This one isn’t super valuable or super old or super unique, but it is really big and I think we paid $30 for it which still felt like a deal. I stuck some small felt pads to the bottom to keep it from scratching the floor.

(I don’t know what that yellow glass thing on the top shelf is. I bought it at another yard sale over the summer for a few dollars along with some iittala stuff—the seller had no idea what he had!—but I’ve yet to figure out what it’s really for! The top separates from the bottom, so I guess the bottom part could be a vase, but maybe it has some other weird purpose. Maybe it’s for drugs. I think it’s pretty, though!)


The shelves also hold some things that are pretty special to me, including the stapler that belonged to my grandparents and this little antique box that I bought when I was little. I went through a big antique-box-collecting phase as a kid (yes, really) and have since gotten rid of most of them (how many little boxes can one person really use, honestly?), but I’m glad this one’s stuck around. The black and white striped box below it was on clearance at Target and fits 8.5×11″ paper perfectly.


This area to the right of the door was actually in the best shape, and all it really needed was three layers of skim coat and paint. The little door to the little closet under the attic stairs had lots of gloopy paint on it and I got a little carried away with the heat gun trying to even it out, so I ended up having to strip the whole thing. It’s less than 5 feet high, though, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s probably not something I have it in me to do for every door in the house, though. But it was nice to give this one a little extra love.


Yep, yep, yep. I’m pretty happy with how this all panned out! I stripped the paint off the door hinges in a pot of water on the stove (low heat for a few hours with a little dish soap!) and spray-painted them with Rustoleum’s matte black spray paint. I love the contrast of the black hardware with the white door and moldings.


The door also has the cutest little glass knob! I doubt it’s original, but it’s definitely old. It had some paint on it, but it easily came off using the same method I used on the hinges (again—LOW HEAT”¦don’t want to crack the glass!) and shined up beautifully. It has lots of little air bubbles in the glass.


I was planning to hang something else on that wall, but as things started to come together, I felt like the room needed some more old stuff to balance out the crispness of everything else. I picked up the mirror at a weird vintage shop somewhere around here for $45 a while ago, and I think it’s kind of perfect. There’s some damage to the frame and the glass is all speckled with age, which just makes it better. I love old mirrors.



Speaking of old stuff, I’m in love with the light fixture. I bought it a while ago at this crazy junk shop for $5 (!)—it had probably been sitting outside for a few decades, and I had no idea what I was going to do with it at the time, but the art deco details on the metal and that ball of amber glass near the top made me need it. I thought at the time that maybe I’d spray paint the whole thing, so I stashed it in the basement for a rainy day and forgot about it. But when I remembered that it was sitting in my basement, the beat-up finish and rust and crap seemed to make it perfect for this room. I took it apart and cleaned all of the components with Barkeeper’s Friend, which helped eliminate the excess rust without stripping its age and wear. Max thought I was a complete lunatic throughout this whole sequence of events, but I had a VISION. I rewired the whole thing (which is really very simple, I promise!) and with a few new pieces of hardware and bulbs, it was super easy to hang up!

The ceiling medallion is nothing special—just a stock urethane foam medallion from Home Depot that was about $30 (they usually only have a few in the store, but the selection online is huge!). These tend to look really cheap and shitty in their packaging, but once they’re caulked and painted, they look like the real deal. I attached it to the ceiling with construction adhesive and drove a couple of screws through it while the glue cured for a few hours and caulked it around the edge. Later on, I took the screws out, patched the holes with ReadyPatch, and painted it the same color as the ceiling. It’s not really everything I ever wanted (I think it’s a little too fancy-looking for this decidedly un-fancy room), but I do really like the way it looks with the light fixture and the wallpaper. For other rooms I’ll order medallions that are more appropriate to the house and the original functions of the rooms, but I’m letting it go for in here. Good enough!



I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the floor! I’ve wanted to paint this floor white since the first time we saw the house and I didn’t even know what this room would be! It did not disappoint. I love it. It ended up taking a lot of prep work (sinking face-nails, sanding, retrofitting an underlayment, caulking between the boards, shellac-based primer”¦), but the end result is so beautiful and fresh. I used Benjamin Moore’s low-sheen white Floor and Patio paint (three coats), and the finish seems really durable. I’m not sure I could deal with white floors in large areas of my living space (I don’t like to clean that much”¦), but this room is so tiny and out of the way that I don’t think it’ll be hard to keep clean. It’s small enough that I can scrub the whole thing with a Magic Eraser every now and then, and enforcing a no-shoe policy in this room shouldn’t be too difficult. I love how the white paint actually brings out the age and imperfections of this old floor—all of the scars of years of use add a texture that keeps it from feeling sterile or cold.

Also, I think Linus likes it for camouflaging purposes. He no longer seems interested in shitting on it, either. Success!


I love this room. Thank you, sincerely, for all of the kind words of encouragement as I’ve been learning how to do (and sometimes, redo) a lot of this stuff for the first time—it really does help, and it really makes me happy that I have this blog. It never seems like there’s a totally opportune, not-weird time to say this, so I’ll just put it here: I’m so lucky to have such kind, phenomenal readers. I hope you like the room, too!

Now let’s tackle the rest of this madhouse!

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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Archives: 2010-2022

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  1. 2.24.14
    Kit said:

    It’s beautiful! You should be so proud of yourself!

  2. 2.24.14
    Jack said:

    dang dan good work. it looks like a really nice room and that light is amazing.
    was that the mirror from your old kitchen?

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Nope, different mirror! That one is a little smaller and doesn’t have as many details, but they’re a similar shape!

  3. 2.24.14
    M.E. said:

    Sweet glory, Daniel! This room looks AMAZING! I am living vicariously through your renovation since we currently rent, and I get so excited when I see your transformations.

    Can’t wait to see the post on the floating shelves and desk!

  4. 2.24.14

    So many smiles!!! It looks really great. (And that light fixture is everyyything!) xoxo

  5. 2.24.14
    Iris Vank said:

    This looks goooood! Congratulations on this fabulous job!

  6. 2.24.14
    gardenbre said:

    standing & clapping

  7. 2.24.14
    Jamie B. said:

    Soooo prettyyyy. I think the ceiling light is weird, but it hardly matters a damn what I think, lol. Everything else looks lovely and peaceful. <3

  8. 2.24.14
    Jory said:

    Just gorgeous. And the floor pics are putting my mind at ease, as I’m about about to do ours, and just keep finding other things to do instead out of nerves. You mentioned the fumes from the primer being strong – have they cleared out or can you still smell it now that the paint’s down?

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Fumes are gone! It was really only strong when the primer was wet or drying, but the smell seems to dissipate pretty quickly (the primer dries SUPER fast). A commenter mentioned that the fumes are actually due to the primer having a high alcohol content, so they aren’t even really as toxic as they seem. For what it’s worth!

      (your house is going to be SOOO good. I want to see more!)

  9. 2.24.14
    Bernadette said:

    I gasped several times reading this. SO GOOD! The desk! The shelves! That light – wow, your vision is so impressive. And this makeover gave me a new appreciation for the level of disaster you were presented with in the befores. I’m so excited for the rest of your house. If it comes out half as great as this room, it will be amazing. Nice work!

  10. 2.24.14

    oh my gosh. I was super excited to see how this wallpaper turns out in a small space. Superb. I can see some Turkish style vibes in it…(crazy, but true). It looks amazing…amazing…amazing. Fits perfectly.

  11. 2.24.14
    Laura said:

    Just AMAZING! I adore how it turned out – congrats on finishing such an intensive project! The final result is so worth it!

  12. 2.24.14
    Diane said:

    Verily I say unto you Daniel..It ROCKETH!

  13. 2.24.14
    Minnie said:

    You deserve to brag- this room is AMAZING!

  14. 2.24.14
    Julia said:

    So lovely! What did you use to finish the desk and shelves and how many coats? I have a raw pinewood coffee table I need to finish and am not sure what polyurethane to use. Your desk looks perfect!

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      I used Minwax water-based poly, two coats, sanding with 220 grit between coats! I think 3 coats is recommended, but 2 seemed good enough!

  15. 2.24.14
    Julia B said:

    Such good work! You will be a pro on the rest of the house now. It looks amazing.

  16. 2.24.14
    Maureen said:

    Whoa, Nelly! This is stunning. Congrats on all of your hard work paying off. I’m on the edge of my seat to see what you tackle next!

  17. 2.24.14
    Angela said:

    Well done sir! That wallpaper is
    e v e r y t h i n g

  18. 2.24.14
    Benita said:

    It’s beautiful, Daniel. What a great job!

  19. 2.24.14
    Jo in NZ said:

    Delicious! Simply delicious. Can I just ask if you consciously chose not to line up the desk height with the bottom shelf? It’s what I would’ve done, but your design eye is so incredible, I thought I’d ask and learn!

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Jo!

      Yeah, we waffled back and forth on the shelf placement, but decided that bringing the bottom shelf up to the height of the desktop looked sort of awkward, meaning we would have wanted another shelf below it, making the overall placement of everything a little tighter than I wanted. We definitely could have squeezed a few more shelves on this wall, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the little corner and I really wanted to space the shelves evenly (from the top of the baseboard to the ceiling) just to keep it from feeling at all busy.

    • 2.24.14
      Jo in NZ said:


  20. 2.24.14
    Anna said:

    Super pretty Daniel!

  21. 2.24.14
    Julie said:

    This room is glorious! I love it all and you should be VERY proud.

  22. 2.24.14
    Lisette said:

    Bravo!! I’m in mad love with your little office, and lusting after that wallpaper. Big. Time.

  23. 2.24.14
    Nele said:

    You seriously are a visionary…WOW.

  24. 2.24.14
    Cat said:

    Chapeau. ’nuff said (wow!)

  25. 2.24.14
    Colette said:

    A wonderful room! Love the minimalist look, love your blog and your sense of humor (which comes in very handy when doing a reno).

  26. 2.24.14
    JJB said:

    Had doubts about that wallpaper, but shouldn’t have. I am so impressed with your visionary ability. The room is stunning!

    Linus can’t detect where he last shat because the shellac smothered the odor, so good job on that. He’ll discover other pastures unfortunately.

  27. 2.24.14
    Jo said:

    Congratulations! Your Itty Room looks gorgeous.

    I’m gonna disagree with you, though, on the ceiling medallion: I think it looks fine. It might look too busy or swirly to you, because you’ve seen it up close, but take a look at that last picture. When you’re seeing it in context, from the floor, it looks perfect. Less swirliness, I think, would’ve been too stark.

    PLEASE do a how-to on those shelves and the desktop soon! I think I could figure it out just from your photos, but I need to know.

  28. 2.24.14
    Patience said:

    It’s gorgeous! What a huge difference from how it was before! It must be so satisfying to have your own space, completely the way you want it.

  29. 2.24.14
    Zoe Royall said:

    Oh, you magician, you. The work is fantastic, the styling impeccable. This office, to me, is the girl with shiny, thick, magazine hair in high school. How does she do it? How does she get it to look THAT GOOD? (Magic.)

  30. 2.24.14

    Holy shit! This looks fabulous!
    Congrats, Daniel! I knew you would “make it work”!

  31. 2.24.14
    Ines said:

    Woah! What a change! You can brag about it all you want, because you sir have made an excellent job. Who would have thought this tiny room had so much potential? I guess there’s hope for every space, then. Congratulations! Are you going to enjoy your success or are you already tackling another reno project?

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Ha! What if I enjoy my success”¦BY tackling another project? :)

    • 2.24.14
      Jo in NZ said:


  32. 2.24.14
    Thel said:

    Daniel, you have just come so far with interior decorating and renovating – you’ve already made an incredible investment in your future. With this project you have taken things to another level.

    I love how this room looks now, I love the built in desk and shelves, I love the floor space. The basket, chandelier, mirror – all perfect. I even like the Fado lamp in this context, it’s much more soothing somehow than a directional desk lamp would be.

    And yes, the wallpaper . . . it’s understated glamour brings the whole space into relief.

    BRAVO! BRAVO for you Daniel, and for your brilliantly written, exceptionally well-put-together blog! You’re an inspiration to me!

    • 2.24.14
      Thel said:

      Forgot the plant! I love the plant – plants are essential to peaceful living.

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Thel!

  33. 2.24.14
    Sommer said:

    Wow – it’s beautiful and it must feel so good to get it done! Great work. That wallpaper is awesome and your floors look amazing!

  34. 2.24.14
    Giuliana B. said:

    I am now convinced that your house is going to be some kind of touristic atraction when it’s done! Because, I mean, it’s going to be a design exhibition! I cannot believe what you’ve done to this little office! I wonder what the people who sold the house would think if they saw that…
    Also, I really wish I had the opportunity to buy salvaged/antique stuff like you do. I live in a city that was build from scrap in the middle of a formerly empty area (of Brazil) in the 60’s. So there’s no History! No old stuff for sale anywhere….so sad!

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Giuliana!

      Do you live in Brasilia? OK, maybe no antiques, but OSCAR NEIMEYER! Such a beautiful city——I’d love to visit someday! (and hey——EBay!)

    • 3.4.14
      Giuliana B. said:

      I do! I love living here and all of Niemeyer’s architecture (although we have no antique shops!)! If you are ever visiting I can take you in a tour!

  35. 2.24.14
    tami said:


    i think that says it all. oh – and


  36. 2.24.14
    Keith said:

    I love this little room. The house is so lucky to have you. :)

  37. 2.24.14
    Paula said:

    What a great room, I especially love the light fixture! Your home renos are getting very RehabAddict-esque, which can only be a good thing.

  38. 2.24.14
    Kirsten said:

    Self-congratulations are definitely in order. The room turned out beautifully! For some reason I was expecting dark walls with the wall paper for some reason, but it looks so lovely and airy.

    Also, I laughed when I read about your antique box collecting days. I did the exact same thing as a child.

  39. 2.24.14
    Kathryn said:

    Brilliant! You have wonderful vision. So enjoy your hilarious blog.

  40. 2.24.14
    Gillianne said:

    Chic and personal. This is the best of DIY–when you step back and see that you really did translate what was in your head to an actual space. And then you get to use it. Maybe it’s like childbirth memories and the pain vanishes in your happiness with the product? You SO deserve to savor this room. (And that light, well, now I want to know what else you have stashed in your basement.)

  41. 2.24.14
    Patty said:

    That room must feel likes beacon in the night. Good job!

  42. 2.24.14
    Tanja said:

    I cannot tell you how excited I get whenever a new blog post pops up. You are my design guru! ;-)
    Blimey! That is one beauuuutiful room. And now I want two rolls of that glorious wallpaper for my bedroom.

  43. 2.24.14

    AHMAHZING. I just painted my bedroom floors white last year with the same paint and they’ve held up really well. It’s got me itching t0 paint all the floors in my house (really great 1920’s picture frame woodfloors, but sadly beat to shit and poly’d orange) white.

  44. 2.24.14
    Abby said:

    Wow, so beautiful! And so classy looking – that wallpaper is incredible. Well done, all the self-congratulations are in order, it’s really gorgeous!

  45. 2.24.14
    Sterling said:

    Incroyable! The pine desktop and shelves look fantastic in that space, especially against the wallpaper (which I had my doubts about, as well…no longer!). Very efficient use of that dead corner, too. I think I’m most envious of your $15 Mother-in-Law’s tongue, I’ve been shopping for one for weeks. I can definitely see now what you mean with the references to the house settling, but I suppose nothing is plumb after hundreds of years. I’m blown away by this. You’re going to make the house look better than it did when it was new.

  46. 2.24.14
    Sophia said:

    I think this is the most inspiring post I’ve seen in a very long time, mostly because you showed how to make such a small space look incredible, functional, livable, and totally lovable. I am dealing with very tiny spaces, and right after reading this post I went and rearranged a few things, I was that moved:) Really, really well done.

  47. 2.24.14
    Adrianne said:

    I love this.
    That is all.

  48. 2.24.14
    Kirk said:

    Looks great! I really like the shelving in the corner.

  49. 2.24.14
    Kimberly said:

    Wow, you blew it out of the park. That wallpaper + light fixture… Awesome.

  50. 2.24.14
    Ris said:

    It’s beautiful. Seriously, it’s absolutely stunning. I’m amazed.

  51. 2.24.14
    KathieB said:

    You are a STAR! it’s fabulous… I, too, have used entire boxes of plaster buttons on a single wall! Congratulations… when you’re overwhelmed with all that lies ahead, just go into this marvelous space, close the door for a while.

  52. 2.24.14
    kerry said:

    Pardon my french, but I fucking love it. Given what you’ve accomplished, I think you’re being modest. Rock on.

    You are awesome, and I want you to know that you encourage me to try stuff I have no business thinking I can do, and I love it!

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh, yay! That makes me really happy to hear! And thank you, Kerry!

  53. 2.24.14
    Sarah J said:

    It looks amazing! Congrats on a huge (little) finish that makes us all drool with envy and still acknowledging it is DAMN hard work and good humour that got you there. I love your blog for all of this.

  54. 2.24.14

    I LIVE for a big crock.

  55. 2.24.14
    Sarah S said:

    Yay! I love seeing a new post from you in my reader – and this one is tops! Great work!

  56. 2.24.14
    Fiona said:

    We bought an old house this past summer. It has mainly plaster walls, with lots of repairs needed (definitely not as bad as what you are dealing with). We have done quite a bit of work but I have been avoiding those plaster walls (while intently staring at them to see if they are getting worse). Your office makeover may be just what I needed to get started – blood, sweat, and tears – I can do that!

  57. 2.24.14
    Peggy in Canada said:

    Friggin’ fantastic Daniel!!! You should be very proud of yourself and the finished product. Cannot wait to see what else you do in this old house. BTW, I live in Kingston too but in Ontario not NY : -)

  58. 2.24.14
    adam said:

    love, love, love. This is such an amazing little space. It looks wonderful all pulled together and I bet it must prove to be a little gem of an oasis among the madness of the rest of the house. I’ll assume Max is now spending 90% of his time in this room?

    A few questions on your decision making process:
    1. Why not also use the wallpaper behind the small wall with the shelves?
    2. Why did you choose to stagger the second to bottom (or even the bottom) shelf? Opposed to aligning it at the same height of the desk.

    This post was very much enjoyed.


    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Adam! Originally I was actually going to wallpaper the whole wall, including the chimney, but even after all the restoration, the chimney walls were just too wonky. I did consider papering just behind the shelves, but ultimately I thought it would just be too busy and weird and would serve mostly to accentuate the awkwardness of the chimney instead of the wallpaper!

      I explain the shelf placement decision up near the top in response to Jo in NZ! :)

    • 2.24.14
      adam said:

      Makes complete sense. I would have probably had a similar thought process but waffled back and forth asking the opinion of everyone I know.

      Who knew wallpaper could be so chic? Thanks for the inspiration.

    • 3.5.14
      bella said:

      If I had any of that amazing paper left, I would totally do the wall behind the shelves. Not the chimney, just behind the shelves. This was something I was thinking too when I first saw the completed room.

      Also, it might be me, but is that desk level on the wall? It looks slightly off kilter, like it’s lower on the left. It could just be me. ha.

      Otherwise, I loved watching this room come to life, and I can’t believe you did all that plaster work. I was stressed out for you just reading about it. Fantastic job. I love this room. Can’t wait to see what’s up your sleeve next.

      BTW. You are a great writer. I Love all your words. Is that silly? I follow TON of blogs and your voice just stands out to me.

  59. 2.24.14

    You’ve really outdone yourself. It’s glorious. You should be really proud, and keep boasting. Because we all know that you’re actually really humble and earnest in real life, and because we know exactly how much work you put into those walls. Very well done. I’m equal parts impressed, inspired, and jealous.

  60. 2.24.14
    Teresa said:

    I love what you’ve done so much! It’s oddly satisfying (here in Houston, Texas) to see the little room go from dilapidated to crisp and clean and lovely. The room has just the perfect amount of anal retentiveness/good-enough-ness. Thank you so much for sharing this saga.

  61. 2.24.14
    Laura C said:

    You did such an amazing job! What a gorgeous little room.

  62. 2.24.14
    susan said:

    Everything in that room is just perfect. You are amazing. Truly amazing.

  63. 2.24.14
    Margret said:

    Yay! I’m so happy for you to have this perfect island of calm finished. You did a beautiful job.

  64. 2.24.14
    Dana said:

    Ah, Daniel. You’ve done it again.

    You’re either going to A) become a workaholic in this fancy lil’ office or B) get nothing done staring at that hypnotic wallpaper.

    You should be proud of all your hard work. What a sexy jewel box of a room!

  65. 2.24.14
    Marlena said:

    OMFG. Jaw-dropping amazement! Well done!

  66. 2.24.14
    Jo said:

    Looks fab! I know the house is all about learning impressive new skillz and doing hardcore renovation work … but but but … I am a sucker for the posts about making things look pretty!

  67. 2.24.14
    Rachel said:

    Simply stunning. Well done, as always!

  68. 2.24.14
    Kelly said:

    Looks great Daniel! How long did you wait between floor coats and how did you apply the paint? Yes, I will be tackling some wood floors soon myself. Your look amazing!

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      I waited about 24 hours between coats, but it was dry enough to walk on within about 12 hours, I think. I painted it with a brush (I should have mentioned! argh), which was necessary for getting down into the gaps and knots and whatnot, but I do think painted wood floors look much better when painted with a brush vs. a roller.

    • 2.24.14
      Kelly said:

      Thank you so much! You are a doll. I hope you at least take a nap in between projects. :)

  69. 2.24.14
    kirsten said:

    Phenomenal. So so perfect. And I think that light fixture success (because yeah it absolutely is PERFECT in this room) fully justifies any and all future light-fixture-hoarding that you may do.

  70. 2.24.14
    9lasgow said:

    You should be proud! Just looking at the before and after I’m starting to take a DEEP BREATH at how much work that would’ve required! Really awesome work and I really enjoy reading how detailed you get into everything and sharing your DIY secrets. Looking forward to seeing further progress with your home.

  71. 2.24.14
    kathryn said:


    Re: the yellow glass – is it one of those water decanter thingies, where the “lid” is actually a glass you can flip over and use? My mum has these for guests, so they can have a pitcher of water in their room at night…

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:


      I don’t *think* so, only because the top of the top piece is rounded, so it doesn’t really sit level when it’s flipped over. The bottom would also just be really awkward to hold since it’s so bulbous, there isn’t really a good place to grip it. It’s a mystery!

    • 2.24.14
      kathryn said:

      ah, right. It’s probably for drugs, then.

    • 2.25.14
      Cassie said:

      Isn’t it just a stacking canister thing? Like for candy? Like this:

      Sorry this is what I chose to comment on. The room looks great.

  72. 2.24.14
    Kate said:

    *clapping* Really nicely done! As I sit here hunched over my kitchen counter giving myself a hunchback, I’m more than a little jealous. =)

  73. 2.24.14
    Danielle said:

    Wow! Such an amazing job – it’s absolutely beautiful!

  74. 2.24.14
    Amy Robbins said:

    I think the yellow thing is a nightstand water carafe, if I see it correctly. Love what you have done with this fabulous office!

  75. 2.24.14
    Bonnie said:

    AMAZING!!! Yes, I’m shouting! Blood, sweat, tears, heart & soul went into that room. Well done!

  76. 2.24.14
    Tricia S. said:

    Wowza! I am jealous. I need to do something bold in my office but it’s in the unheated second floor of my house and I rent. I need to look for improvements that I can take with me. Regarding that vase thing on the top shelf, is it possible it is a bedside water carafe? It’ not unusual for the drinking glass to fit over the top like a lid. (although in all honesty, my first thought was that it was a bong. :)

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Woah, so many people guessing that! I responded to Kathryn’s comment above, but I really don’t think that’s what it is! If it is, it’s really poorly designed”¦which kind of makes me like it more. It’s just a nonsense glass thing! There’s definitely no way to smoke drugs out of it, haha.

      And thank you!

    • 2.24.14
      Lena said:

      Something bold to take with you: removable wallpaper? Like Daniel has in the apartment kitchen?

  77. 2.24.14
    Louise said:

    Congrats! Looks great

  78. 2.24.14
    Ulrika said:

    I really like your new room! And I´m happy that the nice looking plant is called snake plant – in swedish it´s called mother-in-laws-tounge….;)

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Yes, it’s called that here, too! Best name. I think the two are interchangeable, but I might be wrong about that!

  79. 2.24.14
    maya said:

    looks so so o good!! I think i need to come visit you in your house!

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:


  80. 2.24.14
    Spence said:

    I think you just motivated me to finally tackle my little home office. Currently it’s a super stereotypical lesbian-clutter-animal room. You really did a phenomenal job. I can’t wait for the tutorial on the shelves and desk.

  81. 2.24.14
    Muoi said:

    So incredible! Thanks for not making us wait so long for the after pictures =) Your progress on the house is truly impressive.

  82. 2.24.14
    tlg said:

    I think I may have just passed out from all the gorgeousness.



  83. 2.24.14
    Jodi said:

    it looks absolutely AMAZING!!! that wallpaper. i die.

  84. 2.24.14
    amey judd said:

    i love the idea that you will be sitting and writing in a space which inspired you to love it so much. also, that you have one space in the house that sings to you. blessings on all you write and think in this beautiful and instructive place.

  85. 2.24.14

    Amazing job Daniel! I love your vision and can totally appreciate how much hard work this was. Looking forward to reading the DIY for the shelves.

  86. 2.24.14

    Oh my god! It looks SOOOO fantastic. I LOVE that wallpaper. Wish I could find a place to make it work in our cabin, maybe I’ll have to put it in my NY apartment.

    I spent my Saturday learning how to tile, and reading your posts on Mondays and Fridays gives me that inspiration to keep my weekend cabin renovation progress goin’! Thank you!

  87. 2.24.14
    Ariane said:

    This. is. insane. (from a joint compound maniac to another one). Good job Daniel ! Have fun in this little space (what’s behind the small door by the way ?)

  88. 2.24.14
    Jeanna said:

    I freaking love that wallpaper. It totally does make the room! You should be so proud of yourself, all of your hard work has paid off in spades. And I would like to say how much I really appreciate your attention to detail. Those details make the room! Beautiful job :)

  89. 2.24.14
    KathyG said:

    I had the vision (you did a good job conveying it I think) but it’s even BETTER than I imagined! Good job! I think you are so smart to have done a private place like this, it will seriously save your sanity. Can’t wait for next… but you really deserve to take a breather and relax for a bit.

  90. 2.24.14
    Molly said:

    It’s just really unbelievable and wonderful how great and CLEAN it all looks. I can’t wait to see what you do with the other rooms!

  91. 2.24.14
    Steph nelson said:

    Amazingly beautiful. But everything you do is. I love your taste Daniel! Great job!

  92. 2.24.14
    becky said:

    YES. Well done.

  93. 2.24.14
    Holley said:

    This room is amazing! You have such a wonderful eye for mixing new and old – I’m definitely learning from you. I just wish there were decent thrift/vintage stores around here. Seeing some of the gorgeous finds throughout your homes really makes me want to go hunting for my own special pieces!

    You are such an encouragement to those of us who have no experience doing anything DIY. Seeing the projects you’ve tackled, the things you’ve learned, the pieces you’ve created – all self-taught – shows me that I can do exactly the same. So thanks for being one of the most stylish, awesome, and encouraging bloggers out there!

  94. 2.24.14
    Kristen said:

    That wallpaper…oh that wallpaper. Swoon

  95. 2.24.14
    nicole said:

    GASP! Beautiful. You MUST keep your promise for a tutorial on those shelves/desk. I have a spot in my house just BEGGING for those!

  96. 2.24.14
    LD said:

    I’m in love!! Just absolutely freaking love!!

  97. 2.24.14
    Rachel said:

    It looks wonderful! Congrats!! I bet it feels really nice to have a room done. A nice little hideaway when the rest of the house gets to be too much. The hard work really paid off. Congrats again!

  98. 2.24.14
    Emme said:

    I didn’t realize I’d been waiting my whole life to read this post. This wallpaper must look so amazing in real life.

  99. 2.24.14
    christiana said:

    Well, this is just perfection. I mean, I knew it was going to be good, but this is SOOOOO GOOD! Love every last detail and putting that light into the mix is genius. Hot damn!

  100. 2.24.14
    Sam said:

    Well that’s just terrible. I think you should move out immediately and I’ll just take the house off your hands :P

    This is seriously breath taking though! Very view people could look at the sketchy little room and see this in it. Self congratulate for as long as you need to, in fact, I wouldn’t blame you if you started dragging strangers in off the street and making them look at it! I don’t think there’s a suitable word for it really. Greatastulous job!

  101. 2.24.14
    Christine said:

    Amazing! The wallpaper and the light fixture go so well together. And that little corner is the perfect place for shelves. Love it.

  102. 2.24.14
    eliza said:

    would you consider doing a re-wiring tutorial? or sharing any tutorials you used? i have a few old lamps that could use some electrical assistance…

    your office looks amazing! you did such an amazing job!!! gush gush gush! that wallpaper is phenomenal! i can’t wait to see how you did the desk! amazing!

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      I’ll admit that I sort of hate blogging about electrical stuff because people are so quick to yell “OMG FIRE” even when things are done correctly, but there are tons of tutorials online and in print about this very topic! This Old House has a pretty good step-by-step, but there are lots more—just google around! It’s reallllly very simple and mostly about just taking it apart, diagnosing the issue, and swapping out any faulty parts. Basic lamp wiring (or even my chandelier with five sockets) is totally fun and easy, promise!

      And thank you!

  103. 2.24.14
    cleshawn said:

    This is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life–and that includes my husband. Great effing job! You deserve lots of packs on the back–and front, if hubs-to-be is inclined ;)

  104. 2.24.14
    Molly Weez said:


    I am obsessed with that wallpaper. Is it weird that I want to do a little jewelbox of a powder room with it?

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Not weird at all—I think that’d be perfect! I love when small spaces like closets and bathrooms have wild wallpaper.

  105. 2.24.14
    Liz said:

    Absolutely gorgeous!! You did such good work in the office, and that wall paper is impeccable! Congrats for getting it done!!

  106. 2.24.14
    Pam said:

    Daniel, this room is absolutely perfect. Perfect. I love ALL OF IT. It must make it extra special for you to see each element of the room and be reminded of the extra effort you made to make it a special part of your home. Well done!

  107. 2.24.14
    Jill G said:

    I stared at the photo of the shelves for WAY too long. #organizationalporn

    • 2.24.14
      Nancy said:


      I’m into organizationalporn too.

      I’m trying to get a sense of the whole room… what’s on the other side from the desk?

      Did you make little holes in the desk top for bringing up laptop power cord, etc?

      This is really beautiful.

      I’m so in love with your kitchen too. I’m so curious as to whether your real estate agent has seen what you’ve done so far.

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      There is a little hole in the back corner of the desk for cords, yes!

      Are you asking what is opposite the desk? Just the doorway! This room is only about 7×8 and difficult to photograph, but I tried to take pictures from all the angles! You don’t want to see what’s beyond the doorway, trust me”¦:)

      Our real estate agent hasn’t seen it, but I’ll have to invite her over soon! She was also the seller’s agent, so she really had to watch over this place and maintain everything while it was the market for nearly 2 years (!), and I know she was really excited when we fell in love with it. I’m sure she’d be delighted to see the work we’ve been doing.

    • 2.25.14
      Nancy said:

      Ok, I found your 2nd floor plan – it looks like this is the closet off of bedroom 3. So cool.

      Your real estate agent will be in awe… :)

    • 2.25.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh, apologies, I didn’t realize that’s what you were asking! Yes, that’s the room. :)

    • 2.26.14
      Nancy said:

      No, you understood my question correctly. I just needed to get a sense of the space, so I went looking for the map. :)

  108. 2.24.14
    Cindy said:

    So this clearly demonstrates why you are nominated for a Homie award on Apartment Therapy!! You can vote for Daniel here:

    Good luck!!

    • 2.24.14
      Jo in NZ said:


    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Aw, thanks Cindy! I tend to sort of clam up and feel awkward and annoying asking for votes, but it would be nice! I’ve been in the finals the past two years (but the home design category, I think?)”¦maybe it’s time for a win! I guess I should do more than tweet about it once”¦:)

      Thank you for the vote!

  109. 2.24.14
    suzy said:

    bravo! you are a design genius! the room looks fantastic and, as always, your writing never fails to elicit a chuckle-and-snort. keep up the great work :)

  110. 2.24.14
    natalia said:

    I love it!!! I even like how you use the wallpaper!!! I can´t wait to see more rooms!!!

  111. 2.24.14
    Alicia said:

    Very nice! I especially like what you’ve done with those little shelves. A great use for the space. You are very good at masculine décor. It’s nice to see décor that tells you it’s a man’s space that doesn’t cross over into the realm of your typical “man cave” with talking fish on the wall, framed sports jersey’s and dark colors everywhere. I think it’s a special skill and you do it well. Congrats on the new room.

  112. 2.24.14
    Aparnaa said:

    You’re a total inspiration. Was going to get an ugly laptop desk for my similarly tiny office but now installing desktop like you did. Looks so classy!

    I mean, I didn’t WANT to choose an ugly laptop desk – it just seemed like every laptop desk I saw was ugly. Anyway. Thanks!

  113. 2.24.14
    Allyson said:

    It is truly beautiful. I adore every single aspect and am obsessed with the wallpaper. Huzzah! Enjoy the basking.

  114. 2.24.14
    Eily said:

    Ran to the computer as soon as I got home from work to see this – and wow! Very inspiring!
    Worth all the hard work and now you’ll have a space to keep writing your witty posts.

  115. 2.24.14
    Care said:

    It looks awesome! I LOVE that wallpaper – everything looks so good!
    Kudos to you for such a job well done. So inspiring – can’t wait to see what’s next!

  116. 2.24.14
    jen said:

    It’s truly incredible – the transformation is phenomenal. I LOVE it all!

  117. 2.24.14

    Daniel, please don’t ever change! I love your writing style and honesty; please don’t ever become one of those commercialized bloggers who are super politically correct but never actually say or do anything.

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Deal! (wait, you’re not saying that I already am that, right??)

  118. 2.24.14
    Alicia said:

    LOVE! Amazing job, Daniel!
    Trying to figure out how you mounted the desk? Love the floating look!
    So bright and pretty! Can’t wait for more as ever.
    PS Contacting you about my bertoia chairs part II.

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Ha, Bertoia saga continues!

      I’ll explain all the desk/shelf stuff soon!

  119. 2.24.14
    RebeccaNYC said:

    I love it and I want to move in. now. (I can bring bourbon)

  120. 2.24.14
    Zak said:

    Freaking amazing! I would want to sit in that room and drink Bourbon alllll day long, it’s that gorgeous. WELL DONE.

  121. 2.24.14
    Bobbie said:

    Looks amazing. You should be proud! I wish had half the vision for the design!

    One tip: you can use a crockpot (slow cooker) for removing the paint from your hardware. Same process as your pot on the stove. Your way is totally fine, but I’m bad about forgetting about the stove and letting my water disappear – no bueno.

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Bobbie! I actually typically do use an old crockpot, but I recently dropped it and part of it broke off, so I tossed it! I need to go to Good Will to pick up a new one”¦they always have a million of them for like $5. Perfect for this kind of thing!

  122. 2.24.14
    Eliza said:

    All I have to say, is that from the first time I laid eyes on your blog I became a fan forever! I check in daily, and was so excited today to see you had posted about your office….I am in love, love, love….I seriously read every word you have to say and am so inspired! You also crack me up like no one else can. Thank you for making my life so much richer indeed! Now to go back and admire this little space….

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Well shucks, thank you! :)

    • 2.24.14
      GG said:


    • 2.24.14
      jo said:

      same same. love you daniel

  123. 2.24.14
    GG said:

    SO GREAT!! I betyou snowball from this success into more and more successes with the other rooms of the house (I think that’s how it works). Now that you know how to fix the walls, anything goes!!

  124. 2.24.14
    Emma L said:

    I think I love this room more than I love my husband. Ah-mah-zih-ngh!

  125. 2.24.14
    Emily said:

    Incredible transformation! I’m more and more impressed at your skills (and determination!) with every post! Excited to see more!

  126. 2.24.14
    laurie said:

    You have no idea how happy this post made me! Blame dreary February, but this is so fantastic. I was going to say something along the lines of what Eliza said above, but she said it better – so ditto to what she says! Bravo!

  127. 2.24.14
    Bonnie said:

    This room is gorgeous. When you said Linus likes the floor for camouflaging purposes I had to take another look at the sheepskin. It wasn’t him, though.

  128. 2.24.14

    Love it ALL.

  129. 2.24.14
    Judi said:

    WOW! I was apparently too busy tweeting you about Saint Martha to have noticed this. WOWWOWWOWWOWWOW. I had no idea mid-C Scandi influences could work so well with ornate wallpaper. Now I feel I should get that extra ash wood sitting in the basement out and make a little vanity shelf for our bathroom…hmm….

  130. 2.24.14
    Kelly O. said:

    Oh my god! This looks so so incredible! I literally just yelled ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ alone in my apartment while I read this post. You’re my hero (and your office is going to be haunting my dreams for the rest of time).

  131. 2.24.14
    Kirsty said:

    It looks amazing Daniel! All your hard work is paying off.

  132. 2.24.14
    jo said:

    perfect. every little thing is perfect.

  133. 2.24.14
    Arianna said:

    WOW! Absolutely phenomenal work Daniel! So inspiring and just beautiful, you have every right to be incredibly proud of yourself! Can’t wait to see more!

  134. 2.24.14
    Julie said:

    Gosh, it’s just so beautiful. Everything. I hate to admit that my tendency would have been to dismiss this room totally, as not significant enough to spend much time on. The fact that you saw the value of spending so much of your time and energy on this tiny space seems to make it that much more special and beautiful. It almost makes me cry! Like “every space deserves to be well-tended and cared for”. I love the light fixture. How perfect. I would have agreed on the medallion as being too fancy for this space, but, strangely, I really love the juxtaposition of the fancy design with the simplicity of everything else; or maybe everything else, but the wallpaper. It all works together just so damn perfectly.

  135. 2.24.14
    Narelle said:

    So, so beautiful.

  136. 2.24.14

    So, so gorgeous. You’ve inspired me to truly fix my desk nook with drywall and skim coat rather than just half-ass it. And I can’t wait to install built in shelves like yours. Bravo!

  137. 2.24.14
    Anna said:

    This is amaaaaaaaaaaaazing. That wallpaper! Ugh! Im dying. I could never do what you did there. Wow.

  138. 2.24.14
    Nola said:

    A-mazing transformation! I love everything you did in that room, down to the small details of the dark hinges on the little door! The colors and the contrast are all swoon worthy! All your hard work will pay off in spades now, every time you are in your happy office! Who wouldn’t be happy in that room??

  139. 2.24.14
    Lindsay said:

    OMG this is SO amazing. Just reading this post exhausts me – you are a machine!

  140. 2.24.14
    AnnW said:

    Plaster buttons! I learned about those in your post last week. Never even heard that phrase before. I think this was like building a doll house for you. You have practiced and refined your techniques, so now you are ready for the rest of the house. Or at least a bathroom.
    If I owned some huge home improvement company, or even a hardware store, I would snatch you up as my spokesperson and make you write a book. Then I would give you a TV show. When I saw on Facebook that you had a new post, I kind of squealed. I wish you would have a meet and greet at your house and we all could bring something for you, or something to swap. Ann

  141. 2.24.14
    Maria Laura said:

    Pura magia!… você encanta com seu trabalho e humor! Amo acompanhar seu blog. Tudo perfeito em cada detalhe. Aqui no Brasil, essa planta chama-se “Espada de São Jorge” e traz proteção contra energias negativas. Você foi intuitivo em escolhê-la: ou terá sido induzido pelo seu anjo? Boa sorte e muita luz para você e Max!

  142. 2.24.14
    Paola said:

    Holy cheese, you’re amazing!

  143. 2.24.14
    Isabella said:

    Coming out of lurking mode to send you virtual high-fives on this gorgeous space! What a transformation, and what a beautiful result. I adore your blog, Daniel, and thank you for being such an inspiration where home projects are concerned. Too many bloggers write about renovation projects like, “Here’s the before, and then we nailed up a bit of this, and sanded a bit of that, and then I don’t really remember if there was much actual work involved, and then I got a manicure, and now my house is in Architectural Digest, and its all so delightful!” So glad to see the actual processes unfold, with cussing and horrible psycho monster caulk problems and drinking — you make me feel like I can tackle anything!

  144. 2.24.14
    pericolosa said:

    You (and your blogging) make my day ”“ and, no, there’s never a totally opportune, not-weird time to say it: you do have phenomenal readers. Reading through the dialogues carried on in the comments is half my fun.

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      I really do!! I’m well aware that not all bloggers are so lucky where commenters are concerned, but the people who read this blog and choose to comment on it are (almost) unanimously so friendly and supportive and encouraging and generous and helpful–it’s amazing. It really makes the whole thing really fun for me, and I hope it does the same for others. I feel like it’s something that’s becoming increasingly rare on the internet, but I hope it never changes here. Even when I’m a mess or upset about the way something is going, this is a good place to be. I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees that! :)

  145. 2.24.14
    Anna said:

    It looks incredible. So inspiring. And that wallpaper is killer.

    I completely agree with Pericolosa, finding out that you have a new post up always makes my day. :)

  146. 2.24.14
    Stacey said:

    It turned out amazing! Well done. :)

  147. 2.24.14
    Melissa said:

    The finished room looks AMAZING. I also love love love your kitchen, which I used as inspiration for a kitchen I just remodeled (I hope you don’t mind). That leads me to the point of this comment: the floor. I laid a plank plywood floor in my kitchen (aiming for the old plank style on a tight budget) and am just about ready to paint it white. I have been putting it off because I can’t stand the idea of more sanding and more dust at the moment, and every site I have read says that you MUST sand between each coat . . . ugh! Is that what you did? Tell me there is a way to make the finish nice and smooth without getting down on my hands and knees with an orbital sander after each coat of paint! What did you do?

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh, I did not do that! Maybe that’s better for certain types of paints, but I really don’t think it’s necessary for the BM latex floor paint. I DID make sure I vacuumed very thoroughly and cleaned between each coat, but that’s it! I obviously can’t attest to the long-term durability since I just finished, but the finish is definitely nice and smooth and it seems very well adhered!

      (for what it’s worth, my friend Anna used the same paint on her floor years ago, and she doesn’t mention sanding between coats, either. Her floor is BEAUTIFUL!)

  148. 2.24.14
    zola said:

    OK thats one room
    how many more to go ? lol

    Looks fab….. you are soooo lucky to have a whole house to play in!

    keep up the great work and thanks for blogging!

    love from Canada

  149. 2.24.14

    I’ve been looking forward to this! Primo stuff, as always.

  150. 2.24.14
    Becky said:

    Wow, you did a beautiful job. I love reading your blog for so many reasons. You’re a good writer, witty, take good pictures, you are not afraid to document your misery and you are brave enough to jump in to projects you have no experience doing. (wood gutters? obviously a moment of desperate insanity.) I hope if I ever sell my house the next owner would give it the love that you are giving yours. Has the previous owner seen your renovations? They would probably be delighted. Keep up the good work!

    • 2.24.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Becky, that’s so kind!

      The previous owners are sadly deceased (this was an estate property), but I suppose that doesn’t mean they haven’t seen all the work”¦:)

  151. 2.24.14
    Mom said:

    Looks like a great spot to sit and write that book we’re all waiting for. BTW, I can be shameless. All these readers should head over and vote for you and Manhattan Nest for the Homies Award. It’s under the Home Projects and DIY category. You are leading now but we know how things can go. Everyone here should vote and then tell their friends to vote too. Let’s do this thang!
    BTW, amazingly awesome office. You talented child of mine.

  152. 2.24.14
    Julie said:

    I love love love! I just started reading your blog and I am addicted! You have a wonderful voice and perspective. I’m in my mid twenties too and your success us inspiring and motivating! Keep it up!

  153. 2.24.14
    megan said:

    Totally in love with this room!!!! Love, love, love. Love the light fixture so much! What a cool find and looks so great with that beautiful paper. You’re my hero!

  154. 2.24.14
    Austin said:

    Hot. Damn.

  155. 2.25.14
    LinDA said:

    Voted! I always enjoy your mom’s posts, Daniel. Congratulations on completing this haven from construction/renovations. I am inspired! Love the wallpaper, painted floor, floating shelves and desk. You did good.

  156. 2.25.14
    Paul said:

    That door is spectacular. Out of this world. For your patience and perseverance, you are my hero.

  157. 2.25.14
    Lynnae said:

    Oh. Em. Gee. This is the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. I will be dreaming about that wallpaper for days!

  158. 2.25.14
    Jocelyn said:

    WOW! I have no more words than that! :)

    Where is that stripey pencil cup from, please?

  159. 2.25.14
    Kate said:

    Gorgeous! I think my favorite thing about renovating/refinishing a room or object (or even just painting!) is how you get to know every nook and cranny of the thing, like that little glass doorknob that you now know has tiny air bubbles! Had you not been cleaning and polishing every inch, you would have missed out on those fantastic little bubbles! When shit gets crazy, just try to sit back and imagine how you’re going to know every detail of everything around you, very soon!

  160. 2.25.14
    Sarah said:

    I’ve been quietly reading your blog for a little over a year now. (Well, not that quietly because I often laugh out loud at some point each time I check in.) Anyway, this post has inspired me to break my silence. THIS ROOM IS BALLER. I cannot get over how beautiful the walls and ceiling turned out. I know how hard you worked on the walls and ceiling, so kudos. Pat yourself on the back, enjoy a stiff drink, and enjoy the hell out of that office. Can’t wait to see what else you do in the house.

  161. 2.25.14
    Heather said:

    The little shelves, the snake plant, the sweet teeny closet door — all those little details really make this room special and SO worth it! I would never have the imagination to have seen *this* when looking at the before version. Genius!

  162. 2.25.14
    Simone said:

    usually I feel I should respect the comments and read them, but 198 comments is a bit crazy really. I love love love it. And is must be so nice to have a place in the house where you can recollect your sanity when other things in the house become overwhelming (but you could do that in the kitchen as well). I would have lined up the shelves with the desk so it becomes a bit more easy on the eye, otherwise really well done. What is the depth of the desk?
    Have a wonderful day.

  163. 2.25.14
    cat said:

    Looks awesome. Linus isn’t your partner’s name, right? Cos that would be gross x

    • 2.25.14
      Daniel said:

      Ha! Linus is a dog; Max is my fiancé. Lots of pet-sounding names in my house.

  164. 2.25.14
    Robin Grey said:

    Success! It’s perfection.

  165. 2.25.14
    Julie F. said:

    Congrats. it’s beautiful!!

  166. 2.25.14
    Alanna said:

    Wow. Just Wow. What you and Max have done to that house is amazing! I’m pretty sure I would have run screaming from that house. I can not wait to see what you do next.

  167. 2.25.14
    joyce said:

    If I knew you in real life I would squeal and jump up and down at how amazing that little office turned out! It’s absolutely perfect. Is there enough room for another chair (not at the desk) for reading/vegging out while one of you is working at the desk? Because that room is worthy of just sitting and admiring.

  168. 2.25.14

    It looks so, so good! I really love the light fixture — perfect. ‘Tis so sweet to see your hard work come to such beautiful fruition. Though I have a few small things to do before our master bedroom can officially be declared as “finished,” we moved our bed in this weekend and slept in it for the first time after 5+ years of renovating. What a satisfying night of sleep that was! I’m sure it’s the same with your office. Well done!

  169. 2.25.14
    Connor said:

    Absolute perfection. Way to remind me why this is my favourite blog :P

  170. 2.25.14
    Janet said:

    Gorgeous! Well done, Daniel. Thanks for sharing the details with us.

  171. 2.25.14
    Becky said:

    This is brilliant! You’re a genius! And now I am feeling like a total and complete slacker regarding my own home reno projects. Its been three months, and I bought a new bedspread and hung a shelf. Why is it always so much more fun to watch other people do the work? :-)
    Can’t wait to see what you tackle next!

  172. 2.25.14
    mia0909 said:

    WOW love it! I must say that even though I knew it would great, I didn’t expect it would look this great!!! Well done :)
    I’m curious though why didn’t you put that brilliant pic that was taken at a natural history/hunting museum in Paris? don’t get me wrong I love everything now…. I guess I’m just nosy :)

    • 2.25.14
      Daniel said:

      It was just too big! It just barely fit on the wall, and was just too overwhelming for the small space. I’ll use it elsewhere, for sure!

  173. 2.25.14

    Nice work! Those floors!

  174. 2.25.14
    Satu said:

    The office looks really nice! Can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the house. Thanks for sharing!

  175. 2.25.14
    Joann said:

    Beautiful room.

  176. 2.25.14
    Michelle said:

    Adorable! I couldn’t fully envision the wallpaper in an all white room, but it works.

  177. 2.25.14
    Christi said:

    Good god, man, are you kidding me with this room?

    IN. LOVE.

  178. 2.25.14
    Elizabeth said:

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I just have to say that I have a nearly identical pickling crock that originally came from a general store my family owned in the mid to late 1800s. I’ve never found a good place or use for it and after seeing the picture of yours, I immediately ran to Home Depot and bought a sansevieria to stick in it. It’s now in a place of honor in our den – so much better than being stashed in the back of a closet!

    • 2.25.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh, that makes me happy! So glad you found a use for it! :)

  179. 2.25.14
    misa said:

    so lovely!! that wallpaper is killer. and the floor is perfect.

  180. 2.25.14
    Camille said:

    Bravo, Daniel! What a fantastic job – that wallpaper is incredible.

  181. 2.25.14
    Elaine in Laguna said:

    Wow! It’s perfect! You did an awesome job on this little room, Daniel! Such pride of ownership! Congrats! You’ve inspired me to wall paper my master closet. The heck with cedar-ing it! PS I voted for you!

    • 2.26.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! :)

  182. 2.26.14
    Erin L said:

    This is so fresh and gorgeous, and you have done such an awesome job!
    Are you planning on using that wallpaper anywhere else in the house? It would look pretty swank with that dining set, whether or not you eventually go with the Norden (of which I am also a fan.)

    • 2.26.14
      Daniel said:

      I don’t know yet! I think the dining room and other larger spaces will just be painted, but I can definitely see wallpapering other smaller spaces. I’m a sucker for adding a little extra somethin’ to little rooms and closets and bathrooms and that kind of thing! I guess I have lots of time to figure it out, haha. :)

      And thank you!

  183. 2.26.14
    Kelly P said:

    Wow! I’m normally just a lurker (what a creep!) but I just had to say out loud what a beautiful job you did. My house was built in 1928 (which in Arizona counts as old ;) and it needs a lot of work. I’m so inspired by what you’ve done here! Thanks for sharing!

  184. 2.26.14
    Emily said:

    Congrats! It’s so great to have a finished “win.”

  185. 2.26.14
    Karyn said:

    Congratulations!!! You are amazing, and your office looks fantastic.

  186. 2.26.14
    Sare said:

    BRAVO. Lux. Chic. Minimal. BAM.

    Have you ever tried replacing the fabric on a roller blind? I’m with you on not being jazzed about IKEA products as of late.

    And while sansevieria may not be the most chic of plants, it is an air purifier. Load up your lovely old house with them to combat all of the construction.

    • 2.26.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you!

      The fabric is actually the one thing I really like about the ENJE shade, actually! It filters light really beautifully without blocking it, and provides a comfortable amount of privacy for me. It’s really the spring mechanism being so crappy to operate that I hate! That, and they changed it so that they can’t be mounted as a reverse-roll and they changed the lengths so they’re super short and not long enough for our downstairs windows which are slightly bigger. I’m full of complaints! I wish custom solar shades were less expensive, but I can’t seem to find anything that wouldn’t end up costing like $150-$200 per window. I guess I better learn to like curtains…

  187. 2.26.14

    That light fixture is awesome!

    I bought a few plaster ceiling medallions from a guy on ebay for about $20 from a guy that’s casting them from old medallions. He paints them all kinds of hideous metallic colors but once you get them, you can repaint them white. I agree with you that the plastic ones look okay when they’re painted but I still know it’s plaster under that paint and I’d rather have the real thing.

  188. 2.26.14
    april said:

    Dear god-does it hurt to be this insanely talented? Next to your new kitchen, this is the best thing that ever happened to that house!

  189. 2.26.14
    ModFruGal said:

    That was a helluva a lot of work and it really paid off! Well done, you really earned all your accolades on this one – looks wonderful!

  190. 2.26.14
    Heather said:

    Great job! This might be my favorite post of yours yet!

    And as for that orange thing: I think it’s an old fashioned decanter. For liquor–not water.

  191. 2.26.14
    Steph said:

    Wow well done! Very cute and cozy office space. I love the balance of vintage and modern elements.

  192. 2.26.14
    maria said:

    absolutely gorgeous! You really are so inspirational- can’t wait to see what you do next.
    thanks for creating this blog :)

  193. 2.26.14
    dabney said:

    Such a great job Daniel – and I love watching your house progress over time. Good luck in the Homies!

  194. 2.26.14
    Andrea said:

    It’s gorgeous! And I think the swirly medallion brings out the details in the chandelier.

  195. 2.26.14
    Justine said:

    Amazeballs. You are awesome.

  196. 2.26.14
    Mary Lou said:

    Incredible transformation. The finished room is spectacular. I have a great fear of wallpaper but this room is making me do a rethink. It looks amazing. And the for the perseverance you deserve an olympic sized medal. I would have been drinking bourbon a lot earlier.

  197. 2.26.14
    Christie said:

    Daniel, I know your blog makes my day,and give me hope (Someday, I want to be like you- in a design/DIY sense. It’s a work in progress). Anyway, I appreciate you, too.

  198. 2.26.14
    Rucha said:

    Gah, so gorgeous. I absolutely love the white floors and like you said, the dings/scratches etc keep it from looking too sterile. As do the amazing wallpaper and decor.

  199. 2.26.14
    Emmy said:

    This redo is seriously unreal. You can just feel the life being breathed back into this incredible old house. The wallpaper is stunning. Sigh.. Amazing!!

  200. 2.27.14
    Florian said:

    I love the white floor! Gimme, gimme, gimme!

    But what lurks behind that creepy little door now?

  201. 2.27.14
    Bere said:

    WOW! you left me speechless. You did such a good job! this room looks just perfect. Congratulations!

    PS. I’m also wondering what’s behind the little door? I would be totally creeped out to work there at night ;-)

    • 2.27.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you!

      There’s nothing really too notable behind the little door——just some suitcases! Eventually I’d like to add a little closet annex, perhaps with some drawers or a file cabinet and a printer”¦all the stuff I don’t really want on display. We need to add an outlet for the printer first, though! That’ll be Part 2. :)

  202. 2.27.14
    Gigi said:

    Needless to say, this is perfect – but what I wanted to say is, would it have killed ya to ask folks to vote for you on AT? Like, once? The unspeakable results broke my heart.

    • 2.27.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! I actually did post about the Homies on Facebook and Twitter a few times and posted a link to it at the bottom of yesterday’s post, but it wasn’t enough! It’s FINE, though–I’m used to losing the Homies (third year running!) and CLEARLY I cannot muster as much energy to care about winning an essentially prize-less prize as much as is evidently required to win! I don’t measure the quality of my blog by awards and accolades, or a few days of high traffic from a popular website. If my content is good and my readers are getting something out of it (entertainment, knowledge, inspiration, whatever!) and everyone’s happy, that’s all I really want.

  203. 2.27.14

    What. A. Difference.


    That’s the first time I’ve seen photo’s that actually show the room, and I believe you’ve done one heck of a job. The shelves are a great find, which I’d probably have done too, as I don’t see anything else you could do with that space (for worse or better). The white floor turned out great (I was a bit worried about that in your previous post). The wallpaper, oh the wallpaper. I think it’s perfect where you applied it. It’s probably too hectic for a large wall, or even a complete room, but on the wall behind your desk it looks stunning.

    Enjoy your office, just make sure you’re still getting things done instead of drinking and tipping over ;-)

  204. 2.28.14
    Noor said:

    It’s fabulous and I love it. So simple yet so chic.

  205. 2.28.14


    I have fallen behind in following your blog (actually I’m behind in reading the RSS feed). ANYWAY, I was reminded of you today from another blogger I follow. It was her post from this morning that reminded me of you. I thought you might find this renovation interesting, seeing as it is a *Greek Revival* located in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY.
    Here is the link:

    Take care,

    • 2.28.14
      Daniel said:

      WOWWW. Thank you for the link! That place is bonkers! It’s really cool to compare a house like that to ours”¦obviously that house is a huge elaborate super-fancy mansion, but looking through the photos, there are lots of similarities! Similar doors, moldings, newel post and spindles, etc. etc.

      It’s good to hear from you, Susan! :)

  206. 2.28.14

    Thank you for responding to my comment. :-)

    It’s true — that house is crazy bonkers. Love it! I think it could be a great source of inspiration as a person can never have enough when in the midst of a remodel.

    I am almost all caught up with your blog and I have to say I am thoroughly impressed. I was married to and now divorced from a “high-end” contractor so I understand where your head is at as you navigate the murky waters of a home remodel.

    Lastly, I have to say, no one makes home remodeling as entertainingly funny as you do Daniel. Well done.


  207. 2.28.14
    patricpaiapa villamil said:


  208. 3.5.14

    This makeover is amazing! I just stumbled across it on Pinterest and cannot believe I haven’t read your blog before, where have I been?? Off to read more about your amazing quirky house and renos!

  209. 3.5.14
    Melissa S. said:

    It looks so good!!!! I love it! And you are totally right to brag about it. Don’t apologize for that at all.

  210. 3.6.14
    D'Arcy H said:

    Hi Daniel, I discovered your blog through Apartment Therapy, and I’m so glad. You have a great sense of style and you’re a great storyteller. But my favorite thing about you is your commitment to sensitively renovating a historic structure! My husband and I are working on our 1913 bungalow near Seattle. (I blog about it on I love stories of others’ blood, sweat, and tears, and I find it reassuring (and inspiring!) to look at pics of your place and the mess you go through before it all comes together! I have just started reading so I have lots to catch up on.

    Your office is awesome. I want an evening gown out of that wallpaper … even though I never wear evening gowns. –D’Arcy

  211. 3.14.14

    Oh wow! I’ve been on vacation and missed this…it’s amazing. Everything is so perfect. And I don’t know about that yellow thing, but maybe the tiny door is for drugs? IMAGINE! Oooo or a dog toilet. Keep it locked either way.

  212. 3.16.14
    Liz said:

    Love the transformation – great work!

  213. 3.22.14
    Different Liz said:

    Re:yellow glass thing
    It’s hard to see it really clearly in the photo, but it looks a lot like an old power line insulator. My dad had a collection of smaller ones he’d find while doing field work (he worked as a research biologist.) If it’s an insulator, it’s probably made of really thick glass, has a rounded top, and maybe has some odd ridges around the bottom or little knobbly bumps around the bottom edge. This reminds me to ask Dad if I could have 1 or 2 from his collection. I’ve always liked the pale blue/ turquoisie ones.
    Also, the office looks amazing!