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. dawn thompson says

    Never been inspired to make a comment until seeing your post. I too am a writer, artist and all around creative person. Reading the post, I knew where you were going immediately, and I couldn’t wait to get there! As I rushed to the photos of what I knew would be “The Scene” ! I laughed out loud! It was fantastic and beautiful to see my own mess in print! Haha!! Thank you so much for your honesty and a great blog… I really enjoy everything you write and your home is gorgeous! Looking forward to more…

  2. Olivia Hwang says

    i love the desk! Could you tell me where I could get it?

  3. Great read! If you like cool and original furniture, check out

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  7. Hi ? Love your office! What paint color is the armoire?

  8. I FULLY share your love of magazines!!! I was a journalism student as a result, who is passionately in love with words; I so agree with you in that it is not appropriate to blame the magazine or camera, it is what we do with it instead and should leave feeling inspired and recharged! So glad I found your blog; I’ve always wanted to start one myself and am feeling really inspired to do just that. Can’t wait to read more.

  9. Can I just wow! I love your decorating style and the color scheme of your house. I can also completely connect with you on the idea that not everything looks sparkly clean. I am just renting an apartment for now which means that my living room/dining room is my work space and the place to eat food. It definitely makes it harder when you don’t a designated private workspace, but we make do with what we have right? I can’t wait to read more of your posts since I just found your blog today! Have fun with all your summer projects.

  10. I really liked your openness about what your office looks like as a busy Mom. My wife’s work desk looks “messy” sometimes because she is involved in a million different school projects, and other projects with our son and 3 daughters. I do like your office, sometimes my office is a little too boring while yours is inspiring. Thanks for the ideas.

  11. I noticed that others have inquired about the color of the armoire? Sorry if that question was already answered but I would love to know as well! It is beautiful! Thanks, Shawna

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  14. The purpose of the workspace you share is great and inspiring. I would love to read your writing abif. Thanks for sharing.

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