The Purpose of A Workspace

My office is in this month’s (July actually) issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. {Insert Church Lady Voice) Isn’t that special?  But I want to tell you a secret…

It IS special, it is a HUGE honor, being in a magazine has been one of my life long dreams.  Some people dream of doing selfless things with their life. Things like curing cancer and solving problems of the world, I dream of making a pretty room and then having it show up in print.  I love my office and think it’s great and it knows how to smile and look all pretty for the camera, but it would be tragic if it always looked like this, don’t you think?

I love magazines, I subscribe to magazines, I want to be in magazines, I think they have their place.  But that’s the problem, some people think that magazines are trying to show us how we should be all the time. But they are not.  Shelter magazines are there to inspire and encourage and motivate.  Their place isn’t to shame and guilt and point out flaws.

Of course, you always have the purest and their voice, “oh they shouldn’t do anything to make a photo look better, I think it’s wrong to stage or bring things in or photoshop out the hole in the wall for a magazine or a blog post…” where do you draw the line?  Do you not vacuum either because hey, normally I only vacuum once a week and sorry but today’s not my day.  We get ready when we go out to see people.  We dress even nicer for a wedding.  We pay extra special attention to every inch of ourselves when we are getting a once a year family photo done.  There’s not a thing wrong with looking nice for the camera.

The problem is NOT the magazines. It’s what we do with that photo after it’s taken and published. Do we compare, feel bad, give up, believe perfect is the daily goal?

My husband says I look great when I first wake up with my crazy hair and no makeup and old tank top on.  Messy has its place. Messy is mom making bacon and eggs on Saturday morning while the kids chase the dog.  Messy is real life and getting things done and every day simplicity and it’s beautiful.

I hope you know the purpose of an office is not to look pretty. I’m a creative, my office MUST be a workhorse.  I need storage I need surfaces I need to be able to hide stuff away until I feel like thinking about it.  I want it to be pretty and inspiring but when I’m using it to its fullest potential do you think it looks like this?  If it looks like this then it means there’s a big part of my job that I’m not currently focusing on. That’s okay but that’s not my everyday.

This is an office of a mom who got some things done. I took these photos yesterday, June 26th and as I type this it looks exactly the same. No, I don’t want it to stay like this forever, but this kind of office has a time and a place too. This is the office of a mom who came home from Africa only to be met with the mad dash of three boys finishing out school, it’s the office of a mom who read the book 7 and is now beginning to collect stuff for a major purge, who didn’t want to bother her husband with putting up a few new light fixtures “just to see” she’d rather wait and make sure it’s what she wants, who’s preparing to speak at two conferences this fall, who’s actively working on projects, who loves trying new things and moving things around and who’d rather do a puzzle than clean her office today.

This is an office of a mom who went to the beach last week for four days with her family then came home by herself, spent the night and went to a conference for a few days with her dear friend, Angela.

This is the office of a mom who went to the pool with her husband and boys yesterday. Who also woke up at 5 am and did the hard work of writing for 5 hours before the first boy even woke up.

This is the office of a mom who went today to her son’s first orthodontist appointment.  Who’s practically stopped answering email and tweeting this summer unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is the office of a mom who is getting things done in a way that works in this season of her life with this family.

Tomorrow my office will probably look different. Mostly because my friend and once a week in home assistant Karrie is coming today with her mad organizing skills but also, because I want my office to serve me.  Sometimes that means it needs to be a holding room where I can close the door. Sometimes it needs to be cleared off and quiet so I can write.  Sometimes it needs to house all sorts of inspiration so I can create.

About 5% of the time my office looks like it does in the magazine, about 20% of the time it looks like it does this morning, and the rest of the time it looks somewhere in between.

I think the office is most happy when it’s being used whether that means it’s clean and sparkly or gloriously piled with projects.  And that goes for the entire house. Even though it’s been one of my dreams to be in a magazine, that’s not my ultimate goal for creating a beautiful, meaningful home.  These rooms aren’t there to look pretty, they are there to serve us and house our lives and foster creativity and be a safe haven and induce rest and be a place to learn to risk and a place for connection.  These rooms are workhorses and most of what they do you can never capture in a magazine.

July issue on newsstands for another week or so

Thank you so much, Ladies’ Home Journal for the feature and for seeing the beauty in my imperfect office.

Do you ever think about the real purpose of the spaces in your home, they tend to change with the seasons of life as your family grows, I’d love to hear how your rooms serve you.

Related Posts:

*My Paint Colors

*My $15 Office Desk

*Board and Batten

*Lamps and Mirror

*The Office 3 Ways

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  1. I am so happy to read this post! I related to it so much! My creative space was in “Creating Keepsakes” magazine back in the heyday of 2006. I was totally unprepared for how much guilt would be involved. So many people think it looked like that all the time. My husband joked that he’d never even seen the room featured in the magazine because it was always under a pile of ‘scrap crap’. I really struggled with feeling like a big ‘ole fake!

    I love your attitude and honesty! It’s wonderful that you had the opportunity to have your lovely space featured but your willingness to show the ‘real’ side is every bit as important. Great space and a great post!

    • Diana Foster says:

      OMGoodness…your posting and magazine feature is still touching people! Jan 2014 from Pininterest! Love your honesty…made me laugh out loud actually…how true it is that we create these beautiful spaces to live in and enjoy…and work from!! fabulous!!

  2. gorgeous!

  3. Katie @ Lady Bird says:

    Just beautiful and my favorite color palate! Please share where you got the rug. Please!!!!

  4. Love this space! I’m currently building my first home and my head is spinning with paint colors! I’m in love with the color on the walls, could you tell me what you used! It’s perfect!

  5. This is such a great post! Thank you for putting things into perspective, I was starting to get a bit out of control!

  6. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for posting this. I posed the question a while back wondering how bloggers keep their homes so neat. Now I know, we all live lives that are real and sometimes not so neat . : ) Keep up the great work!

  7. What a wonderful post! I sit feeling guilty because my house looks like a war zone but it looks that way because of the time I’m spending with family, not cleaning. I love that your husband likes you best in the morning, that is my hubby too, drives me crazy. Enjoy your weekend.

  8. In love with all of it. I would love to live in this house. Great work! What I would really really love to know is where in the world you found that lovely blue rug?

  9. Thank you for being a real person! It’s true, we (I know I do) tend to measure our home up to those glossy, perfect magazine photos. So thanks for showing us that our life is real and it’s ok to have a crazy house, that we’re doing what matters. Being a friend, being a Mom, being a wife…being us!

  10. I absolutely love this room! I am actually very curious where abouts you got your white chunky desk im so in love with it! Can’t find one like that anywhere! x

  11. What a beautiful room! Where did you get the blue and white rug? I love it!!

  12. I love your rug!

  13. LOVE this post. I have, unfortunately, been one of those magazine readers that thinks a house should look like it does in the magazine. It is so frustrating. So, I am sooo glad you did this post! It is so liberating to live in a house, that looks like it is, well, lived in!!! YAY!!

  14. LOVE this space!

    Just a quick question, where did you get your curtains? I would LOVE a pair for my dining room

  15. Holly Gunderson says:

    WHERE DID U GET THAT WHITE DESK FROM PLEASE EMAIL ME !….looking for something just like that for my new home office

  16. I love your design!!! Where did you get the rug??

  17. Laura Maxwell says:

    Your space is gorgeous!!! Thanks so much for your honesty. My space looks the same but it’s not half as nice. So much creativity so liitle time . . . to clean it back up! You are awesome.

    Laura M

  18. What a beautiful space and a great post! You had me at The Church Lady Quote…

  19. I so love you for this post and for being so real. Your office is absolutely gorgeous, and your perspective is even better.

  20. Beautiful – congrats! :)

  21. Hello!!

    My16 year old sister came across the picture of your office on Pintrest and she fell in love with it!! So much so that she wants her room re-done just like it!! We are having a bit of trouble though — we can’t find the rug!! My sister will not settle with anything comparable. So, can you please enlighten me as to where you found that gem??

    Thanks so much!
    PS — love your blog :)

  22. I absolutely love your colors and I really really love the blue and white flowered rug. Where did you ever find it… It pulls everything together so nicely. Love Love the look.

  23. I love the rug and desk. I’ve noticed a lot of people are commenting on the same thing. Where O where did you get the rug and desk?

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  25. I would love to know where you found this rug, it is beautiful. Can you please email me and let me know. I would so appreciate it. JLAWRENCE0499@GMAIL.COM

  26. Katie Lancaster says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful!!! I really need to start thinking about how to re-do my office. I tend to have a lot of projects going. Also, my office serves as our dining room (only when we have company). In the past, I’ve cleaned it up for company by putting everything in bins, hauling it upstairs to hide and bringing it back down after the event. There must be a better way!!!

  27. Katie Lancaster says:

    Ok, I need to add more….I had typed my initial reply before the photos finished loading. (I’m the last person on the planet with dial-up.) I am so happy you posted the regular pics – this is exactly what my office looks like most days. And the problem is that all my stuff is critical and I don’t know how to stash/store things without being a slave to putting things away and continuously pulling them back out again. Ack! :)

  28. Great post! I love that wreath also.

  29. I love this post!! And the room. It is GORGEOUS. Some of my favorite colors!! And so refreshing to see it in ‘action’! I am also in the middle of a re-do in my office! (and yes, it’s my workspace so looks like that most of the time!)

  30. Whew! Thanks, love this post. When my office or studio is clean–I’m almost shut down!

  31. Photos cracked me up and made me feel so much better about my own messy office space. Love to see the real thing. Perfection is overrated and temporary at best!!! Thanks for sharing the good and the messy.

  32. Oh thank God, I’m not the only one who has a desk that looks like that. It’s an organized mess but at least I know where everything is… Well, I can at least tell you in which vicinity it resides. Creative minds = messy workstations. That’s how we roll.

  33. Hi again. As i peruse your blog from time-to-time i always stumble upon this post. I love it. Probably because as a stylist i often create the illusion (or aspirational look) for photo shoots … But i also love your honesty. Even though making things beautiful seems “shallow” i sincerely believe it’s a gift. Your gift to the world. Thanks for the inspiration.

  34. I feel better.

  35. I feel like it’s socially acceptable for me to say I LOVE YOU for this!!!

    As much as I’d like my office to look pristine and have the pipe dream that I’m a tidy worker, the truth is, I have a life! It typically looks like a bomb went off, however I function well in that space. Every couple of weeks, I put everything back in it’s place, only to drag it all out again.

    So thank you! From all the creative minds in the world!

  36. Love the desk!’where is it from?!??? Please email me

  37. Must know: where is the desk, rug & (Blue)Armoire from????please tell us!!!!

  38. Barb Butler says:

    I love the room and like so many others is it possible to get the rug Please may I have the source

  39. Mama of 2 says:

    Love that you are showing the day-to-day look. I can totally relate! Your room is absolutely beautiful regardless!

  40. Love the office space. You’ve inspired me to want to do my own home office in a similar style. Can you tell me where you got the pen holder from?

  41. Found you on Pinterest. Your honesty is not only uplifting for me it is almost spiritual. I love to sew, paint, make cards, sculpt, scrapbook, etc. I started many of these things as a child with my mother’s direction. In those days “ladies” knew how to sew crochet, knit, cook,etc. somewhere at sometime that all changed. All my life people (who do none of these things) tried to make me feel that all my interests were “cute, messy, hobbies”. Oh they all LOVED the final results–they would share behind my back how lovely my creations were–but to my face; let us say they were not kind! When I learned upholstery by watching a professional, my EX…notice the emphasis on “ex” had some nasty remarks when visitors to our home remarked on our ” lovely new chair…the one I had completed.

    You made me realize that those lovely, untouched craft rooms I have seen in the past…love yours…are the rooms where no one is working at the moment. When I am working, mine looks a lot like yours when you work!

    Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for lifting the guilt I let others burden me for enjoying my creativity. (So sorry to ramble on…)

    • Virginia, I too have always been hands-on with many creative abilities. Somehow I have a lot of family that only respects the store bought; very sad really. TV marketing has more of an influence on them than real people who make things. Don’t let it get you down, press on, enjoy and be proud of your efforts! If you want to read another good guy who inspires, see Mr. He makes handmade items jewelry , wood and leather. Quoting him: “What I have learned is that you should always follow your passions, do what feels right in that moment because creative sparks come and go. If you only follow one idea all of the time you may not make enough mistakes to really discover the true creativity and value of what your mind is really after.” He probably has a messy creative space too. Best Wishes at all you pursue.

  42. Thanks for sharing this post! I love it! Sometimes shelter mags (did you make that up? – love that I have a name for them now) make me feel yucky – like Cosmo makes me feel fat and ugly. But you are right, that is my fault, not the mag. Cheers ! I have three boys too and those pic of them look all tooo familiar! I dont have an office, tho. Working on creating a space somewhere around here. Thanks again! You ROCK!
    Now HOW did you get Ladies to feature you?? How did that happen?

  43. Congrats on the feature and putting together such a beautiful work space! I especially love the area rug. Here’s to hoping I can put together an office like that one day. :)

  44. Lisha LaBrec says:

    Leaving me speechless – LOVE LOVE LOVE it and wow and so awesome, love your honesty and talent. You are blessed. So cool.

    Thank you for sharing it!

  45. Love this office. Hoping to join the crowd and find out where you got that desk!! Beautiful.

  46. I’m a Fairly new follower,directed to your place by Edie.Loved this post about youroffice,in all stages of use and disuse.And remembering that it’s there to function the way that suits your ever changing needs. Pretty IS inspiring,so thanks.Workhorse is too.Thanks again.

  47. Love your office in all it’s conditions. All you need is the little folding occasional table for sorting; a folding wood TV tray could be propped open for spreading out, and set out of the way or in a closet when not needed. I do a LOT of paperwork/sorting, and for me it’s a must, since I don’t get down on the floor anymore. Tax season means the card table too. I just love the way you tied the armoire and dresser together with color. Great color – beach cottage, but sophisticated. What is the wall paint color name above? Love it, very calming.

  48. Lynda Radford says:

    omg I love your sense of decor, we are alike in mind. You Rock!

  49. I am finding it soamazing how people can find items to decorate their hosue with that are so well coordinated! I’ve got so many things in storage and lying strewn all over the place I don’t know where to begin!

  50. Christine Micheletti says:

    Hi, I just stumbled upon your website and love, love, love your decorating style. I am newly retired and have been dreaming of making my home a more cozy place and searching Pinterest for ideas. Your office is just gorgeous and I am absolutely in love with your desk. Would you mind sharing where you got it or is it even a desk or a piece that you’ve re purposed ??? You may not even see this comment as I see the article was a couple of years ago.
    Thank you,

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