Solution to the Messy Desk

The front room from yesterday is actually supposed to be a dining room.  Some fool thought putting a flight of stairs, foyer and back door and hall in between the dining room and kitchen was a really smart idea.  This fool knows that we don’t really “dine” anyway.  We just like to eat and I like it to look pretty so we’ve settled our fancy dining room table into the breakfast nook of our house and never looked back.  Until a few weeks ago…

Anyway, the point is, clearly, I moved the table. Just to see.  And when I say “I”, I mean my husband.  I have been using this big table as a desk in my office for years and I’ve always wondered about using it as an eating table. And have I told you that we have another magazine coming in January? That always motivates me to destroy every room in our house like a mad woman.  So I’ve got that in my head and wanted to give myself some time to decide if I like a different table in the dining area/breakfast nook thing.  You will say you don’t like it because it’s not all cutsi-fied and staged like these other photos, but I’ve been sick and the sun hasn’t been out and I have no staged photos of the white table so imagine it all cute and in better lighting and without those place mats.

Here’s the old table and how it’s looked through the years…

We’ve had good times at this table.  Remember, I painted it?

It fits nicely turned this way, but then it takes up a lot more room.  We don’t have room for my precious tertiary table back there.  And I really love my library table and want to keep it. And now that we’ve gotten rid of the homework table I need my surfaces, people.

But we just like to have a lot of room in front of the table to be ourselves.  There’s also a door on the left so it’s a walkway.  So I’m not selling it or anything, but just having fun and moving things around just to see.


I had that huge table/desk in my office.  And now that I don’t just have to work in the cracks, but Nesting Place can be, like, my real job and junk, I wanted to be a big girl about my office and not have it look like a cute hurricane blew through.  Part of me wondered if having a super huge desk was allowing me to create a super huge mess.  Plus part of me just likes change and thought it would be fun to switch things up. “Just to see.”

So just for fun (don’t judge, this actually is fun for me) I moved the table out of the office, and my son moved the parson’s desk from the bedroom down.  And I put it against the window and ahhhhh. Let’s live with this for a while and see how it works.

Now all the hopes and dreams of our big dining room table have come true as it sits in the mattress laden bonus room.  We moved it up there and I hoped it could be used for ping-pong for the time being, and it was.  Then two days later Caroline and her family of six came and we had the most wonderful, restful, fun time

With friends stopping by and kids everywhere…

And it was the best time EVER!  Whenever we have her family at our house, the house feels very happy and the men always cook for us. But then they left and I think I’ve had the flu and now my table is all forlorn and sitting up in a sea of mattresses and we have two Christmas gatherings I can’t wait to host and a magazine coming to shoot for Christmas in January and my. house. is. a. dis. ast. er.

We decided now would be a good time to bring a shedding evergreen into our home.

And hey, grab all those red and green bins and lets open them all and spread their insides around the foyer!

And five minutes later we are all exhausted and have a fever and the house looks like this in every room.

And that is what happens if you decide to move your desk. Lucky me, I don’t have a messy desk any more. Problem solved.

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  1. I like the new office! And isn’t it funny how bad the house looks before it looks better when you are decorating for Christmas? Ugh, it’s hard to see through it all to the end result.

  2. This was the decorator’s version of “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie.” I loved it!

  3. Love it – reminds me of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…haha!

  4. Oh, mercy, Nester! After a house of glorious company this past weekend, my house looks just like yours! Thanks for being real and reminding me again, it’s the life we live inside these walls that matters. I’m off to sofa shop today so I may be making an even bigger mess soon. Praying you feel better!

  5. i like the office and i like the old table in the dining area/breakfast nook more because it looks like it fits better i think the table needs to be round or oval. if you turn the table it might look better. i hope you fell better.

  6. Sorry you are all sick. I do love the new office though. Feel better. Those bins will find their way back.

  7. so, the moral of this story is that we should have never left!?! we’ll just come back & let the kids play & the men cook some & we’ll sit and chat and stare at the Christmas tree & listen to the crackling candle all day. deal?

  8. I love the desk in the breakfast nook. Very appealing lines of the desk. As I tell my husband quite often… have to break a few eggs to make an omelet….meaning it always looks like a bomb went off before the cleaning/organizing is complete. Have faith…and carry on.

  9. I need to send you a picture of my dining room table asap.
    It has been covered with crappity for days, so much that stuff is spilling on the floor.
    Bills, books, photos. I don’t even know. And I am not sick. I have no excuse.
    Dining room tables are ‘piling’ temptations.

  10. Exactly like I decorate…..:)

  11. Regarding the “long cord” on the chandelier. Somewhere I read long ago that most dining room lights are hung way too high: the light over the dining room table should be at head height or lower, when you are standing. In other words, where it would bang you in the noggin if the table weren’t there. And it often does when I’ve moved the table to dust and vacuum.

    • oh yes that is so true, it’s way lower than our heads, but the cord is high enough for a 15 foot ceiling, we have 9 so lots of extra cord!

      • Nester,
        You may have thought of this but….for your light fixture take out and save the extra chain links and thread the wire cord back and forth like a capital N. The cord is less bulky than the chain and if you save the chain and can find it later it can be reversed. I still have 4 links stored from “stained glass” dining fixture. I was tired of bonking heads on it and worried there would be brain damage……. I do know there is a moment that all the Christmas decorations and cleaning come together and you have an all too short period of time when everything is magic, then it is time to take it all down and put it away. :(

  12. Okay, I know this is all about your desk and office, – which I love what you did, but I really love the cascading wall of plates in your “living”room. That grabs me each time I look at your pictures. Good job!

  13. You are the best! My office is looking pretty good right now….well, the top of the bookshelves are. I share it with a teen who is very much like me in the clutter dept. ;-)

  14. I have a theory about flat surfaces being magnetic…I hope you are all feeling well soon, (and I wish my husband was as open to the rearranging bug…!) :)

  15. Hi Nester!
    This post couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time as I sit in a big huge mess in these neck of the woods! It makes me realize “creatives” like us seem to find familiarity in chaos! :) Every year around the holidays I start a project right when I should be decorating for Christmas! I have a tarp with kitchen tables needing to be painted in the kitchen… 6 paint samples all over my walls (need to pick a color soon!) And my twin boys decided after 10 years together they want their own rooms and I’ve started that! I am a glutten for punishment I tell ya! Anyhoo….wanted to let you know I relate COMPLETELY! My husband just shakes his head and knows to leave me be :) Oh, AND I had the stomach flu all weekend and am jsut now feeling “normal”!:)
    Happy Holidays!

    • yes!!!!

    • I was thinking the same exact thing! I had to redo my living room right before Christmas…so that it would be ready for Christmas! Only for half of the stuff to be moved to make room for our Christmas tree! Whenever we are hosting a party I almost always am working on a project. The idea of having people over and getting the house cleaned reminds me I MUST finish this one project! Marley said it perfectly…there is familiarity in chaos and it seems that is the only way I function sometimes! When I was a kid I would do this in my bedroom. I would tear up the entire room to reorganize and move things around…only now I have more stuff and more rooms! Nester, you are a girl after my own heart. Can I be as awesome as you when I grow up!? :)

  16. I feel better. Your house looks like mine does right now…sort of like a Christmas-y bomb just detonated. And we’re not even sick. The “plus” is that one tree has lights so I’m enjoying its cozy glow, and a spruce candle is making the bomb site smell heavenly.

  17. I immediately thought of that mouse/cookie story too! Love the new office.

  18. Thank you for this post. I thought my house/life was the only like that! :) I’m in good company.

  19. Thanks for showing the beauty in the mess. The mess and realities of life you share make the rest of us feel weirdly encouraged :-) I love that about you ! I love the beauty you create and share with us and I love the beauty of relationships and family that you share that are so very much a part of home !

  20. Oh, so I’ve had a fever all this time? Thanks, Doctor!!!

  21. This was so funny! Thank you! I always love reading about your adventures instead of tidying up my own creative experiments!

  22. I thought of the mouse/cookie story too. So real and so funny! I still am not sure of where you moved all the furniture, but i know it will be beautiful when its done because its great “messy”. You’ve opened your heart and your home to your family, friends and readers and like “The HOKEY POKEY” , thats what it’s all about!!

  23. How funny are you? Love these posts where you keep it real. Its great and wonderful and inspiring to see the beautiful photos too, but my house looks like this a lot more than it looks magazine-ready.

  24. I am laughing out loud! My entire house looks the same & I’m not even sick! My son stopped by to ‘help’ get the trees out of storage. Nevermind the mountains of Mess everywhere, Christmas & otherwise. He definitely ‘helped’ me, so I couldn’t complain… I’m telling myself I’m never getting Christmas decos out again after this year, which is what I said last year :) I love your plan to scale back; however I haven’t quite mastered it yet. Just this weekend I thought to myself, I wonder how much Nester would charge to come to my house (Greensboro) & help me purge? Not that I could afford it! Hope you feel better very soon!

  25. I love this post! That very same chain reaction happens in my house as well. Its good to know I’m not the only one. :) And who doesn’t love moving furniture around btw – my idea of a good Friday night!

  26. I love your decor so much I didn’t even see any clutter… just those fabulous white platters and plates on the wall. Sigh. Those, I’m jealous of…

  27. Oh gosh you are amazing. I have to do a good cleaning before decorating for Christmas. I’m more about a “holiday cleaning” than a spring cleaning. So I cannot imagine rearranging, etc. and Christmas decorating all at once! I like the parsons table in your office, not sure about the desk table in the dining room. I do love the original dining table!

    Poor puppers! Did he get fixed?


  28. Ha, ha, ha! This is too funny. This is usually how my projects go as well. Luckily, my husband just sort of rolls with the punches. I have to tell myself, “it get’s worse before it get’s better!”. Isn’t it funny how one small change can turn into a whole house restoration?? :)

  29. “If you give a Moose a Muffin” was a fun read when my kids were small. Reminds me of your great post. Hope you’re all feeling better!

  30. I love it all. You’re amazing and so creative. Question – how do you make those papers hanging in a circle things, like the ones in your office and the one in the white couch room. I know the couch room one is book pages, but what are the pages on both of them hanging on? I so want to do that.

    • one is glued on poster board, the other is actually a light kit that came with clips to clip papers onto, it’s from Joss & main last year, I’ll let you know if I see more!

  31. Part of why I love your blog is because you show these photos. My house always ends up looking this way and for a while I drove myself crazy trying to keep it picture perfect all the time, but that’s impossible. I have 3 other messy people living with me in a fairly small space. Stuff ends up on the coffee table for most of the day. It just happens.

    Anyway, thanks for the photos of you guys “living”.

  32. I could just hug you for sharing these photos! I hosted Thanksgiving this past week, and then hosted 2 birthday parties that weekend while in the midst of Christmas decorating. My house looks just like your right now (including a blanket thrown over the curtain rod to block sunlight for the Wii!!) and it’s so wonderful to see that even the stunning homes look messy while in transition too!

  33. Melanie Miller says:

    Nester, You are a Delight. Thanks for sharing today.

  34. You are my favorite blogger ever! I love that you change things around all the time “just to see!” My husband thinks that I can be discontent with our house, when actually I just want to see what things look like moved around. You have shown me that I’m not the only one who likes to mess around with the house, so a big THANK YOU! I’ve been following your blog for over a year now and don’t plan on stopping, so please keep posting those great pictures of your house in transition, I LOVE THEM!

    • Ohhh, sometimes when I write stuff like this I think I am the WorST blogger EVER, there is no point, no cute pinnable photo, no tutorial, but it’s what I’ve been doing all along, the story of ‘how’ and ‘why’ and ‘why not’. so glad you all get me!

  35. Oh, glory! This makes me feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one! My house pretty much looks exactly the same right now. The house is still recovering from Thanksgiving (we had both families over and don’t’ have a dining room or a big kitchen – so we just pushed the furniture back and set up some tables in the living room). And I decided I wanted to clean out and organize the garage while we’re bringing in Christmas. Our office looks like Fall exploded, every room looks like Christmas exploded. And then my husbands car went into the body shop, courtesy of someone wanting their car to be where his was. My car officially bit the dust. Grandma went into the hospital. So, schedules have been turned upside down, had to buy a car, all holiday decorations are still sitting in the same spot. And all I want is a nap! :)


  36. My house looks the same way! I’m hosting an open house for red&lucille tomorrow night and Saturday morning (feel free to come if you’d like) so I’m busy getting ready. What a mess! But sometimes (maybe most times) beauty follows a mess. And although late, I’m gonna tell you what I’m NOT doing this season…wait for it…. I am not decorating my car! No red nose, no antlers, no lights, no garland. Not that I’ve ever decorated my car, I’m just sayin’ this isn’t the year I’m gonna start.
    And I LOVE moving furniture too! I once moved the armoire in the family room to every wall just to see what it looked like. It ended up back where it started. But it was great fun moving it just to see.

  37. Im so confused! I think this post needs a flow chart :-) but I love to see that I am not the only one who has to make a big mess before things finally come together…

  38. that upside down crow is absolutely too much!!!! he says it all, doesn’t he …

    please rest well!

  39. Oh. My. I think you just described my entire life. My children live in fear of walking into a room and finding my doing, ” just a little rearranging”. Hee hee.

  40. Staring at my living room now, knowing I should be decorating – sore throat, kids hacking up a lung – wishing I had some super powers to snap my fingers and wah-la, house decorated and cleaned up :)

  41. This is exactly what happens in my house when I decide to redecorate a space! hahaha! love it!

  42. It’s so refreshing to know I’m not the only one who does crazy things right before something important! Next week I am hosting the annual women’s tea for our church here at the house; three days after we have new windows installed. Which of course means that every piece of furniture in my house needs to be moved so they can access the windows. As for my office, well you can’t even walk in there but there happens to be window at the end so guess what I am doing this week. :) I even plan on moving the table that is to big out in hopes to keep the room cleaner. Perhaps this plan will work as well as yours. I am done with messy, it’s been to long since I have been able to use the space!

  43. Your chocolate lab looks just like ours! I hope yours is better behaved.
    Your office is beautiful.

  44. LOVE this post! Thank you for giving us a peek into a not perfectly staged house! And I love the desk in the DR. Also, can I just say that I am completely envious of that big room with the mattresses and the table and the couch. Sighhhhhh… In my dreams I have a big “extra” room like that! Hope you all get better soon!!!

  45. I didn’t know, until now, that I am not alone. That one change leads to another and suddenly that “great idea” looks like the house blew up. I have a really hard time “living with the changes” if I don’t immediately like them. Then I want to move it all back. The funny thing is when I ask the hubbs “do you like it this way or that way”… he just rolls his eyes and doesn’t answer. I asked him “Why can’t you tell me which way you like the room better?”… Finally he told me … “What does it matter, we are going to move it all back again next week”… bahhaaaaa!! :)

  46. Love the messy look. Wish I wrote in your office. Why is it we feel we have to clean before we mess up with the decorating?

  47. I am really inspired by how you move things around and live with them for a little while and then move some other things around. The older lady who lived next to me as I was growing up was like that. I have always thought she was a decorating genius. So many ideas, she tried every one of them and if she didn’t like them, Oh well, she’d try something else. Whatever. And let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for publishing pictures of your house when it’s a mess. I just said today “The only distinguishing characteristics between my house and an explosion is that my house has less charred items.” Seriously.

  48. Thank you so much for this post. My flat currently looks like a whirlwind has passed through, I am trying to reorganise almost every room, hanging shelves, paint furniture, with toys strewn everywhere and a 19 month little boy who loves to create chaos, climbing every opportunity he gets and pulling everything out as well as making a bee-line for mummy’s craft and DIY tools if the baby gate is left open for a second! On top of that I have Christmas cards, presents and decorations to make and three rooms to paint! Reading your post has lifted some of the stress off my shoulders, allowing me to realise that other families are not living in perfect show homes and I don’t have to have it all done and perfect all of the time. I love your home and find lots of inspiration from your posts and your design flair and adore how you keep it real ;) And I love how your rearranged office looks and I like the desk table in the dining room, it looks like it would be more practical and I have a thing for rectangler tables over oval tables (at the moment, I do often change my mind, hence I am also constantly rearranging furniture :).

  49. Great way to look on the bright side! My whole house looks like that too. JUST like. Only we don’t have the flu(that was two weeks ago), and I haven’t moved any tables.
    Hope you feel much better soon.
    It’s still beautiful!

  50. Well if it makes you fee any better we are moving next friday from a 3550sq ft house to a 2150sq ft house with two young kids. Chaos I tell you chaos. Nice to see a home not all “pretty” and ready for Christmas!

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