reviving charm

The Perfect Little Office

Having a small space doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style and the 176 square foot office designed by Amy Mitchell is a perfect example of that. When her business outgrew the designated space in her New Hampshire home (her kitchen!) she converted a 19th-century building on her property that was being used as a storage shed into a beautiful office space for her interior design business, Home Glow Design. 

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I read about the project in this article on Houzz where I learned that the renovation of the space was designed over the course of 6 short weeks as part of the One Room Challenge earlier this year. In case you missed it (like I did) you can still catch up on all 6 weeks in these posts: Week 1/Week 2/Week 3/Week 4/Week 5/Week 6. Each week gives insight on the progress of the renovation work, as well as provide source details for the items used in the space. Many of the items are from Ikea, several which I’ve incorporated into my own office space. If you’ve been concerned about using Ikea in your own office, don’t be. My pieces have held up well, been very versatile, and come at such an affordable price point that my wallet appreciates. The money I saved allowed me to splurge in other areas. Plus, the amount of storage they provide can’t be beat. For me, they’ve turned out to be a great alternative to pricey built-ins.

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When the author of the blog “Calling it Home” put out the spring challenge of making over a space in six weeks I jumped in with both feet and used this as a wonderful opportunity to update my studio/office space. Challenge accepted! I can’t say getting to this point was easy and I know many of you were doubtful that it would happen but I am happy to report that I actually (barely) made it to the finish line.  (Insert huge sigh of relief here).

This room serves as my creative space. It is an office and blogging space, as well as the studio where I design and make jewelry, paper craft, and paint…among other creative endeavors. I designed the room in a series of vignettes as there are very distinct areas in this space each with its own purpose, design and flair.

To be creative you must create a space for yourself where you can be undisturbed…separate from everyday concerns.   –John Cleese


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CHAIR. The chair was a craigslist find that was refinished and reupholstered. The original planned called for painting it white, which I was very gun-shy about. Instead, I opted to have it refinished which turned out to be a decision that I am very happy about. It came out so well that I am almost afraid to sit in it! Doesn’t it look pretty?

ARTWORK. I intended on framing a series of large peony photographs on this wall but deviated from my original plan mid-course. Since spring has arrived I can’t help but think of the garden and I came up with an idea of framing vintage floral milk glass brooches. I plan on finding two small round plates to fill in some of the space between the round mirror and jewelry artwork. I just have not yet found anything I absolutely love. I also figure that the objects on display may change periodically since like to tinker with things!

The picture below is close-up of one of the art pieces I made. I posted it on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago but I know not everyone may have seen it.


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AREA RUG. I ran out the door at 7pm the night the room needed to be completed. I had to make a last minute purchase to buy this rug. The room would not be complete without it and the bright colors and floral motif make the room sing. Don’t you agree?

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DESK. I strategically placed the desk in the corner of the room enabling me to enjoy the view out the windows while I work. This is a creative space so having what I need available at my fingertips is important, as well as having a few other items for no other reason other than because they simply make me happy. That alone is reason enough to find them useful.

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All space is space in which to create.   –Eric Maisel

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I particularly love my pink ceramic elephant, affectionately named ‘Lil Jumbo. He was a gift from my aunt and I am so happy that he will be keeping me company while I work at my desk.

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Stay loyal to your creativity because it’s a gift.   –Pharrell

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INSPIRATION BOARD. This past weekend I created an oversized bulletin board covered in a heavyweight white linen fabric. It’s now an empty “blank canvas”, but the goal is that over time it will be entirely covered with inspirational images. I will continue to share my inspiration board as it fills up.

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STORAGE. I need vast amount of storage in this space and these cabinets (below) fit the bill perfectly.  I chose to keep the wall space above the cabinets clear allowing the eye to rest since there is a lot going on in this room. Plus, I didn’t want anything to detract from my growing pile of books sporting their rainbow of colors.calling it home one room challenge office craft room studio reviving charmone room challenge library reviving charmpiles of books reviving charm one room challenge librarypiles of books reviving charm one room challengeone room challenge art studio office reviving charmone room challenge office studio craft room reviving charm black dogs 1

So that wraps up your glimpse inside my creative space. I hope you enjoyed your tour. Be sure to check out the other room reveals here and here. There is a lot of talent out there! Thank you, Linda for hosting the challenge and giving me the push I needed to get this done!


One of my decorating philosophies is to first try and use or re-purpose items I already own. That may mean moving a piece from one room to another, switching out fabric, altering a piece or painting a piece. Sometimes a small tweak with new paint or fabric is all it takes to breathe new life into an object and transform it into something new, fresh and relevant. I approached the One Room Challenge no differently.

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After taking inventory of the items I had in the space before the makeover, I realized I could actually reuse many of them once they had a makeover. With a can of spray paint in hand I realized that a quick, easy makeover is all that was needed to transform them to fit their new environment. These unrelated pieces now feel unified by their fresh coat of white paint. You will have to check back next week to see how they actually get incorporated into my new space. The picture at the right is a little teaser of what is to come. I was able to reuse a pair of lamps I had in the room and painted a mirror I already had.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.   –William Morris


The picture below shows a mirror transformation in progress. A black frame convex mirror gets an easy update with a fresh coat of glossy white paint. I got a little side-tracked and forgot to take a “before” shot. Trust me on this one…it came out great. It will be hung directly over the mirror shown above and surrounded by the jeweled artwork I made for this room.


Mirror makeovers in progress!


This is the mirror shown in the first picture. It was a great find at an estate sale a few years ago. A couple of coats of oil based paint provides the glossy lacquer look I was hoping to achieve. Don’t look too closely at the reflection in the mirror…those are all boxes of items being moved back into the room.

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I sure hope this little box will find its way back home on my desk.


I purchased this small glass catch-all tray to hold business cards on my desk. A portion of the price tag sticker still remains as evidence that this tray has never been used. Painting the underside of the tray  creates a frosted look and transforms this piece into something I can’t wait to use.


There is no project too small. I could have easily purchased a new desktop easel but I decided to use what I had and saved a couple of bucks in the process. This will hold a small piece of original artwork I recently purchased to display on my desk.


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade… I purchased this small picture frame at Goodwill for $1.99 about a year ago with the intent of giving it a makeover. I broke the glass this week after completing the project but realized I can use just the frame as a way to rotate a set of limited edition small scaled art pieces I purchased at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston this past Fall. I actually like it more for this purpose so I guess it was a happy accident.


I have always wanted an hourglass…I’m not sure why. This tiny hourglass was purchased at an estate sale for $1.00. I always planned on painting it but wasn’t sure of what color until now.

We are down the wire, my friends. It is crunch time. I somehow managed to do all the heavy lifting (not literally) in the last week but I feel great about the progress I made.


  • Painted various accessories and mirrors.
  • Dropped off my new/old desk chair at the refinishing/upholstery shop for a makeover.
  • Installed new receptacle outlet to plug in a pair of lamps that were moved from one side of the room to the other.
  • Framed some new artwork.
  • Purchased all supplies needed to make a custom 4 foot by 4’-10” linen covered bulletin board.
  • Most importantly, we successfully managed to pull out the wood for the bulletin board that was wedged into the back of our SUV without damage or injury (to us or the wood). Hallelujah!
  • Finished labeling all storage drawers.
  • Started organizing and began styling.
  • I’m sure there is something I am forgetting…it’s all a blur.

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Next week I reveal my finished room. In the meantime, make sure to check out the other One Room Challenge Wednesday featured designers, other guest participants, and Linda’s blog. Have a great weekend. I will be busy trying to put the finishing touches on my room.

All pictures (except the first and last) were shot using my iPhone.


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I am attempting to makeover my office/studio/creative space over the course of six weeks as part of the One Room Challenge hosted by the Linda of Calling It Home. I have two short weeks left. I fell behind a little bit so this past week was all about catching up and starting new projects. The most important thing was to finish painting the walls. I am happy to report that I can finally cross that off the list. With the painting done, I was also able to tackle a few other projects this week.

New Art. Art work plays a key role in a space. I am designing the room in a series of vignette spaces with the main wall (the one you see when you first walk into the space) originally planned to display a series of floral photography alongside an over-sized mirror. Now that we are halfway through the Challenge I decided to change my design plan with respect to some of the artwork going into the space.

Has anyone else changed their plan halfway through the design?


A while back I created some artwork for the our master bedroom using vintage milk glass brooches. Unfortunately, they were never hung on the walls. The background was originally a gorgeous melon colored Clarence House silk but I decided to swap out the fabric for crisp bright white linen that will fit in with the scheme of my new creative space. This is a great way to put your beautiful jewels on display and enjoy them on a daily basis. It beats having them stored away in a drawer where they will most likely be forgotten about. Here are a couple of the pieces I created.

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New Fabric: I went shopping for fabric and found a wonderful linen for the my new/old desk chair. If you live in Southern California you must to pay a visit to Dorell Fabrics in Fountain Valley. It is a warehouse full of great finds at exceptionally reasonable prices. The linen I found is a nice heavy weight, backed fabric for only $9.99 per yard. I asked an employee about their fabric lots and was told that they purchase from various manufacturers so it’s not uncommon to find well known and designer brand fabrics. A while back I purchased a Lee Jofa fabric for $19.00 per yard. It was a Kelly Wearstler design which would typically cost well over $100 per yard (retail).  I felt like I hit the fabric lottery with this find.

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The linen I selected is laying on the cutting table.

Organization. The towers of storage are in place and I started organizing a bit. The first thing I wanted to tackle was labeling the many, many, many storage drawers in this space. I purchased the drawers about two years ago from Ikea. All I can say is this: best purchase ever. The amount of storage they provide is phenomenal. I started adding metal label holders to them but never finished. I resorted to using post-it labels as a temporary measure because I wasn’t able to find anything. Afterall, all the drawers look the same! This week I started to put on the missing label holders and am replacing the actual Dymo labels with printed labels using the same font as my blog header. You’ll see the finished result in the reveal. It’s a simple detail but one that will make a huge difference.

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  • Find desk chair.
  • Finish painting walls. 
  • Paint window trim and closet door.
  • Order area rug.
  • Hang light fixture.
  • Install one new receptacle outlet.
  • Buy fabric for chair and have  it reupholstered and painted.
  • Buy supplies to make a bulletin board.
  • Order window coverings (I’m sure the neighbor’s will appreciate this one!)
  • Frame artwork.
  • Spray paint accessories (I have been waiting for the wind to die down)
  • Freak out because there are only 2 weeks left in the challenge.
  • Other….(because I am sure I am forgetting something!)

That’s about it for this week. There is still quite a bit to be completed but I’m determined to get this done! Be sure to also check out the other One Room Challenge Wednesday featured designers, other guest participants, and Linda’s blog.

Thanks for following along…XOXO, V.


Last week I announced that I would be participating in the One Room Challenge. My goal for the Week 2 was to create a blank canvas by clearing out the room and painting the walls. This is probably the most stressful part of the challenge for me because selecting paint colors is not on my top ten (or top 100) list of things to do. A great plan means nothing if you don’t get the foundation right. If your foundation isn’t right something will always looks a little “off”.

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Before: Marking my territory on the existing grey walls.

I will admit to leading a double life (executive by day; blogger and creator by night). I have a full-time job so evenings and weekends are the only time to get things done. Over this past weekend I was able to prime and get the first coat of paint on the walls. The second coat of paint will have to wait because I will be out of town in San Diego this upcoming weekend. Being out of commission for one weekend puts a little added pressure to get things done but luckily I planned the trip before the start of the challenge and adjusted my schedule accordingly. However, I had planned to actually finish painting the walls during week 1 so my calendar will need some additional adjustments since that didn’t happen. No stress, right??!!

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”  –Arthur Ashe


I did a lot of research to find a lovely, sophisticated shade of blushy, pale pink. Yes, lots of research on paint, of all things. If you follow me on Twitter then you already know that I consulted my House Beautiful paint guide (as I do before each paint job) to help select the perfect paint. This is a resource I have had for years. It was money well spent.

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I decided on “Intimate White” by Sherwin Williams. It doesn’t look like much on the paint strip but even with one coat on the walls, it really came alive. I can’t wait for the second coat to go up. I can already tell that it is a beautiful hue that will make a huge impact on space and create a wonderful backdrop for things yet to come. I haven’t done any interior photography with my “real” camera in a while and with so much going on I was really too tired to bust it out for a few practice shots. These photos don’t do the color justice (granted they are iPhone pictures) so this is as good as it is going to get for today…



With week one down, I now have a new blank canvas to (almost) work from. The soft romantic feminine vibe I am trying to achieve is slowly coming alive. My Sweet Seaside Studio makeover is finally happening! Thanks, Linda for hosting the challenge as it was the perfect motivation to get me started!

Other news to report:

  • With a stroke of luck, I found a desk chair. I need to make arrangements to pick it up.
  • The room accessories I ordered have arrived. Each day has felt like Christmas!

key items to be accomplished:

  • Finish painting.
  • Order area rug.
  • Hang light fixture.
  • Install one new receptacle outlet.
  • Buy fabric for office chair and have  chair reupholstered.
  • Buy supplies to make a bulletin board.
  • Order window coverings (I’m sure the neighbor’s will appreciate this one!)
  • Frame artwork.
  • Spray paint accessories.
  • Other….(because I am sure I am forgetting something!)

Meanwhile, I have admired a few other office spaces I thought I would share. After all, sharing is caring…


Source: Unknown

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Source: Pink Peonies

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Source: unknown

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That’s it for this week. Thanks for following along!   XOXO, V.

Also be sure to check out the other One Room Challenge Wednesday featured designers, other guest participants, and Linda’s blog.



If you are new to this blog…welcome! I am a Southern California creator who owns a seaside ranch home that is in process of being decorated one room at a time. To learn more about me check this out.  Over the course of the next six weeks I will be participating in the One Room Challenge.

What is the One Room Challenge? 

The One Room Challenge is hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. Linda challenges design bloggers to transform a room of their choice over the course of six short weeks and document their weekly progress from start to finish. I will be participating by making over my “Sweet Seaside Studio” and posting updates each Thursday. The final reveal of my completed space will take place on May 12, 2016. Let the challenge begin…


I admit that it is taking a lot of courage on my part to post these pictures. But if I want to participate in the One Room Challenge then I really should include some “before” shots of space. I thought showing this montage of photos will give you a better understanding of what the space has looked like in its various forms,  whether it was tended by the prior owner or myself.

I keep reminding myself that a really, really bad “before” picture will make the best “before and after” story when all is said and done. –V.R., Author of Reviving Charm


No. 1: These pictures were taken the first time we toured the home in December 2012. I know what you are thinking…run…and run fast! Even though this space was a total hot mess we still decided to purchased the home. In fact the moment we walked into the house Mr. B said “This is the one.” At that point we had not yet even seen the entire home, including this room. You can say we both had vision. Lots of vision. Hence, the title of this blog…Reviving Charm. We felt that a little TLC is what the home needed and reviving its’ charm would be an exciting endeavor for us.

Old pictures of the home show how the previous owner attached beadboard to portions of the walls to serve as headboards for two twin beds. I am not sure how the beadboard was attached but it damaged the walls extensively when it was removed. The baseboard was also either missing or damaged. The pictures show the poor wall restoration done by the prior owner. You can also see that the original hardwood floor was in horrible shape after being thrashed by  the former human and canine occupants.

No. 2: Before we moved in we had professionals come in and repair the walls, restore the hardwood floors with a beautiful custom stain, install new baseboard and remove the popcorn ceilings throughout the entire house. It was better to do these things before we moved in without any furniture to get in the way. At the time I wasn’t sure what color to paint this room so I had the contractor leave the walls white. These pictures were taken after deciding to paint the walls grey. You can see several paint swatches on the wall.

No. 3: Who’s silly idea was it to purchase furniture that you have to assemble yourself?

No. 4: Photo from 2014. Grey paint is now up on the walls and I was still moving in. I was never really successful at moving into this space completely. I had every intention on finishing this space but it just never came together. Luckily, I can close the door to this room when guests come over!

No. 5: I purchased this chair for the office space at my old home and tried to make it work at my current home. The chair is by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair and I love its design. However, as part of the One Room Challenge it will be finding a new home in the family room to be paired up with a new desk in that space. I hope I can find a suitable replacement. There is a bit of nervous nail biting action going on with respect to finding a new chair in a timely manner. I do have a few things in mind so both you and me will be surprised with the final selection.


The goals for this project are simple:

  1. USE EXISTING FURNITURE. I will be reusing most of the pieces in the room. There is the potential of swapping out two small storage pieces and I am looking for a new desk chair. Whenever possible, I try to re-purpose a piece or reuse it somewhere else in our home. For example, the antique buffet now in this room was previously in the dining room at our old home. It provides a great amount of storage space.
  2. CREATE A MULTI-PURPOSE SPACE. The room will be used for a variety of creative uses. I use the space to write, blog, wrap gifts, make jewelry, sew, paint and papercraft. I need desk space and lots of storage. The room is located at the front of the house so I would like to maintain the desk near the window so i can enjoy the scenery when I work at my desk. I want the room to be an attractive space but I also have to realize that it is still a studio space so finding creative storage options will be on the list of things to do.
  3. LIGHTEN UP THE WALLS. The room is currently painted “Intellectual Grey” by Sherwin Williams. I love the dark, moody color but since this is a creative space I think it could benefit from a lighter color.


So here it is…a glimpse of what is to come. What do you think?

I have quite a bit to accomplish so be sure to check back here each Thursday so see what progress I have made. Alternatively, you can always subscribe to my posts and I can come to you (via your inbox) so you don’t miss a thing!

Also, make sure to check out the other One Room Challenge Wednesday featured designers and guest participants who are all so brave to tackle the six week challenge.


I have been scouring the internet, magazines and my collection of books looking for inspiration for the makeover of my seaside studio/home office space.  This is a project I have  been planning to tackle come Spring. And since Spring is here it’s time to kick it up into high gear and GET IT DONE! For those of you wishing to see more of my own home, I am happy to announce that you will soon be able to. I will be documenting my office makeover on my site over the course of six weeks starting April 7 as part of the upcoming One Room Challenge hosted by Linda of Calling It Home. It’s just the kick in the pants I need to get the job done! And if any of you want to join in and update a space of your own (I encourage you to do so) I am sure you won’t regret it! There is nothing like a little pressure to get things done. But don’t fret…there will be lots of us to cheer you on. Meanwhile, here is one of my favorite office spaces of the moment.  I love the subtle pop of color but I am not sure how I feel about living with white walls in my own home. I might have to ponder on that for a while (or at least the next couple of weeks)…talk about major life decisions! You will have to stay tuned to see what direction I take with my own space.

By the way, happy last day of March…XOXO, V.

mandarina studio reviving charm office

Room design by Mandarina Studio. Image via DecorPad.