09 September 2008

What A Dump!

 

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Webb Design Headquarters - What A Dump!

What a delight (not!)  to open up someone else's blog and discover your own messy, unorganized office plastered for all the world to see.   Today, I had that lovely experience!   Now, imagine that this is the office that you hide, not only from your family who live in the same house, but also from the clients for whom the office is intended.  So, it's not exactly a pleasure to share it with total strangers.   My office started it's life as a guest bedroom, but it proved too small for anything larger than a twin bed.  For several years my husband officed out of this space - his desks consisted of wall to wall banquet tables bought from Office Depot.  Once he came to his senses and realized he needed a true office with its own address - not our home address - he moved out and left me with this miniscule room to use for Webb Design's headquarters.    I promptly tossed out all the banquet tables and folding chairs.  For a desk I went to Pier I and bought a 6' dining table with an X base, stained dark brown.  The table has proved to be a wonderful desk:  with its  large surface, I can spread out floor plans and fabric samples and still have room to work.    Perhaps the best advantage to buying a dining room table instead of a desk is price.  For some unknown reason, put the label of "desk" on a product and the price goes up. 

 

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The red console, which should be painted black!

 

Next to go in the office remodeling was the wall to wall carpeting which we had installed over the hardwoods to muffle my husband's office noises.  I then polished up the once hidden floorboards  and put down a large seagrass (naturally) rug.  For a console, I chose a red wood piece.  Today, about 8 years later, I would pick out something different, and definitely not something  in red.  But this was a choice made when the color red figured heavily into my decorative scheme.  It no longer does.  I know, I know, I can hear you!   Paint it black!  Isn't that what I tell all my clients to do with wood stain they no longer like?   I probably will, someday.

 

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The antique map of Rome.

The bamboo window shades came from Target, and the antique wine rack that holds files came from Chateau Domingue.   The sconces were once in my dining room, bought at the wonderful shop, Schors, during a summer vacation on South Padre Island - the best beach in Texas.    The focal point of the room, is, of course, the map.  A copy of an antique map of Rome, it is my favorite thing in my office.  The map is oversized and is pasted onto  a heavy, wooden board.  It weighs about a ton and I had to hire movers just to bring it upstairs to my office, it was that heavy.   I bought it - used, of course, from Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy, and the map, made of paper,  is far from pristine, which only adds to its charm.

 

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My sample closet:  wire shelves hold wicker baskets which hold fabrics and more fabrics.

My sample closet started out very organized, with  baskets for all the fabric cuttings.  But over the years, I've slowly outgrown the space and seriously need more storage room.  The overflow is now taking over my garage and my sweet mother-in-law came last weekend to help me reorganize it so that hopefully, we can get a car or two parked back inside.   She's promised to come back this weekend to finish the job, but I'm afraid it will take more than just one day;  creating storage room where there is none is an almost impossible task.  Until I can get more storage space and thus organize, my office is off-limits to everyone but me.  That was, of course, until now and Ms.Whitney English and her blog. 

 

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Using a dining table for a desk means no drawers.  I get around the problem by stashing the staplers and tape and scissors, etc. in this large, antique biscuit tin from England.

A few weeks ago Whitney English Kolb, of Whitney English, wrote me to ask if she could highlight my office on her company's blog.   gulp.  Why, I wanted to know, horrified at the prospect of showcasing my awfully messy office?    I explained to Whitney that my true office is really my laptop on a table, set up in my courtyard, where I tend to spend the majority of my time.  Undeterred, Whitney was very persuasive explaining that her company was highlighting bloggers and their workspaces as a tie in to her business.  Before I knew it, the article was written and there it was - my desk in all it's glory for the world to see.   Oh well, there is such a thing as truth in advertising. 

 

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My "real" office - outside, Starbucks and all.

The more interesting part of the story though, of course, wasn't my office,  it was Whitney herself.  A young, beautiful blond from Tulsa and Dallas, she owns Whitney English, a paper goods and stationery company she started in 2002.   The inventory is classic, sophisticated with just a touch of trend to make it exciting.   This March,  Whitney was honored by Country Living Magazine, when she was named one of their Top Women Entrepreneurs of 2008.  A few years ago, Whitney expanded her company by purchasing Hicks Paper Goods, a leader in the stationery world.  Young and full of energy, Whitney has a very bright and exciting future ahead of her.    My favorite factoid about Whitney?  Hailing from Tulsa, she is a relative of that city's uber talented interior designer, Charles Faudree, who was named to Cote de Texas' Top Ten Interior Designers list.   While in college studying interior design, Whitney spent a summer interning for Faudree, which she writes about in detail here.   I can imagine she learned more in that summer than in four years of school!   Be sure to visit her web site and read her blogging series on Bloggers and their Offices, including moi among others.

Lastly, many thanks Whitney for including Cote de Texas in your Inspiration Series.    I am very grateful, and excited to be included, despite my utter humiliation!!!!    You are so sweet and I appreciate all your efforts so very, very much!

 

 

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Examples of stationery from Whitney English.

 

about whitney english

The beautiful entrepreneur, Whitney English Kolb.

53 comments:

  1. I love Whitney English! Such pretty stuff... It is so fun that she hails from my area and my old city, too! I'm off to check out the article.

    By the way, your office isn't a bad space at all. I could get a lot of work done in there!

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  2. I've sent you an email of solidarity to your email address. Just know that come hell or high water, our working spaces are as necessary as a good bra and expensive face creams! Anyone who says they "work" in a pristine spot is "puttin' on the dog" in my book.

    Either that or they have live-in help... :)

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  3. Not a dump, but a real office. Many of the photos I see of offices seem unreal, or the people do nothing I recognize as work. I think the red could become a red undercoat to a rubbed gustavian gray finish. Congatulations Joni.

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  4. I love your big map. I have one that size..maybe a little taller, of philadelphia and the surrounding areas. I just LOVE this 1918 map. It is paper and so fragile. Did you put this map on the board or did it come that way. Suggestions for display welcome ;)!

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  5. Your office, like you, is real. It looks very attractive to me.
    Question- How do you work outside with your laptop in that Texas heat?
    Penny

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  6. My first thought was "what a nice office" mine now is non existent its actually full of toys and extra bits of furniture I need to sell , and laundry lots of laundry , I would kill for such an office. Its beautiful , yes paint the piece black .
    Chris

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  7. Jeez Louis, if you call that a dump you are never, ever allowed in my house. The office itself looks very nice, I wonder if your problem is just the amount of storage or lack thereof that does not show in the pictures? I am now going over to Whitney's blog, I hope it isn't any good because I am running out of time in the day to do anything but read all the blogs in my google reader. I don't know how you can get to starbucks 4 times a day, blog and design houses. xo, MB

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  8. Okay, just back from Whitney's post on your office and that photo shows the office is a little (how do I say this without being mean) stuffed with stuff, bless your heart. I was told in the South if you say that after anything rude it doesn't really count.
    Anyway, it is still a nice office. MB

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  9. I love your desk (and how you stash the not so attractive office supplies like staplers)! The old map of Rome is to-die-for!

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  10. MaryBeth: well duh!!! I took those new pictures today - you didn't think I wasn't going to try to stash everything out of range??? hahahah!!!

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  11. Chris - go to Whitney's site for the real office pix.

    Penny - I don't know = the heat doesn't affect me that badly under the shade of the porch - where I sit during the hottest part of the day.

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  12. Joni, your office is way better than my home office. Thanks for the information on Whitney English. I can't wait to check out her site and her stuff.

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  13. I think it's real nice, love the map and I like the red console...but I like red.

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  14. Umm - ok, you're crazy - first. I think that office is fantastic, and you're right the map, to die for. The red console isn't bad - but if it's no longer in your design catalog, I say painting it black is good taste. However, isn't it more your style to have lighter toned woods with several layers of wash? Black seems so one-dimensional for someone with such vision and true taste. (Just saying). As for my space - the patio is, well, an event that I would love to hire someone to do. However, with the trip we've planned to Europe this year, spending $1200 on labor for a patio seems wasted when I can do it myself - oh, and there's that pride thing. What's better at a dinner party than to say, "Yep, I did that myself!"?

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  15. Joni, I love Austin, too. I live in Buda, just S of Austin, but work in Westlake. The commute's not fun, but we got more house and more yard for the money by buying a little outside the city itself.

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  16. Joni, You're office is certainly not a dump! It is an office not a parlor! Love the idea of a dining room table for great work space ..and the map! wow ..awesome... the red wood piece will be gorgeous in black below that fantastic map! Neat to see one of the two places where you probably scribe your wonderful posts to all of us!!!

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  18. Joni, I love seeing where you work! And that map is drool-worthy.

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  19. Great office, Joni. It makes me want to move out of my corner in J's "lodge" and into my own little space.

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  20. Oh silly, your office looks wonderful. I'm sure you spruced it up before the photos though. I love your red console, it adds a pop to the room! And tables are the best desks one could ever have; Lots of room to spread out! Who needs drawers when you have that huge console!

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  21. Your office is gorgeous Joni - I absolutely LOVE that old map! You are too hard on yourself! I'd love to go fossicking through your fabric baskets!
    xx
    Anna

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  22. I am with Anna, Joni - the fabric stashed baskets are definitely enticing. Your office looks in a perfect state - you should see mine!

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  23. Wanna trade? I can't even face mine at the moment.

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  24. I love your office ! The Map of Rome looks gorgeous

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  25. I love your office ! The Map of Rome looks gorgeous

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  26. I like your office, especially the map. At least you're not sitting in a Dilbert-like cubicle somewhere!

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  27. Joni,

    You are too hard on yourself by far. I think your office is lovely. My workspace is hardly ever perfectly neat. I think a perfectly neat office or desk is a sign of someone who does little or no work in my experience.

    Give yourself a break. I saw your profile on the other blog, it was great.

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  28. Joni:
    your work space is orderly and neat.... it makes mine look like a dump.... had to move out of the guest room for July & Aug....summer company from Africa...Now that it's Sept I want to do a face lift and move back in....like you, the room is too small for a proper desk....I'm working on it and had it painted so wish me luck on the rest... Fay

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  29. Didn't someone once say that a messy desk is the sign of a great mind (or something like that)? Actually I was baffled that you referred to your office as messy and had to check out the photos on Whitney English's blog for a different view. It seemed comfortable -- a real work space with some lovely touches. Noticed an 18th century Gustavian corner cabinet in red on 1st Dibs today and immediately thought of you. I also have the identical vintage biscuit box. Mine is a lot more beat up. It stores a collection of post cards with favorite art from museums. How lucky you are to have a room of your own!

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  30. What an office! That map is to die for. I am so glad that you showed us your space.

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  31. Love the red console.
    I have never gotten over my love affair with red.
    And the lamps on top of it are pretty tasty too.
    It's so funny that you stashed some stuff for the photos. I sterlized my desk for my recent photo shoot! My reality is to work with stacks of stuff around me.
    I too use a table with no drawers as a desk. But I have a dinosaur computer armoire that I use for lots of storage, and a "console" space hidden behind toile curtains (curtains are way more forgiving than doors when you have to jam in more stuff than humanly possible), and a small coat closet that I call my magic closet, because it's exploding with discarded decor items that may come up in the rotation again.
    The biggest boon is the the lap top! Remember those cumbersome desktop horrors!
    I love your office, and I love the work that comes out of it.
    Congrats on the feature about it, and thanks for sharing it!

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  32. Your office looks great! I loved hearing about Whitney, especially that she is kin to Charles Faudree......I have a neat Faudree story as told on my blog. He is a delight!

    MIMILEE<><

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  33. What a dump? Heavens no! This is the office of a real woman -- who works.

    I shudder to think if anyone actually saw mine!

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  34. Our thoughts are with you as Ike makes its way toward the Texas coast!

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  35. Oh, you are a brave soul. I love my office, but wouldn't let anyone with a camera near it at the moment. Clearing my desk is the top item on my agenda this morning and as you can see by the fact that I'm over here at your place, I am not taking that task as seriously as I should!

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  36. Hi Joni:
    Thank you for sharing your office & all the details. I absolutely love your Rome Map and your beautiful courtyard! I see where you get your inspiration. Now it's time for my Starbucks.

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  37. Great office. The spot outdoors is dreamy. Are you having to evacuate because of Ike? Hope all is well.

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  38. You can buy black paint almost anywhere, Ya know!
    Just kiddin'. We're just glad to see that you are human and don't have your office just so! We have been badly wanting to re-paint our office. So far that has not happened.
    Someday...
    Karla & Karrie

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  39. I love your office! And the MAP!!! Love love love.

    Are you safe from the storm?

    Melissa

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  40. love the map and the lamps!

    AND Whitney English! I've used several of her invites and they always get compliments.

    stay safe this weekend, we're all thinking of you and your neighbors ...

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  41. I love your office!!
    It's really not messy or disorganized at all. It looks real, and it looks like it could be used!

    Don't make me email you a picture of 1) my office (cube) at work or 2) my terrifying "office" (aka room where the computers are at) at home.

    And I really like the red console - I like the contrast. But I hear ya on outgrowing things and changing preferences! I have to explain that to my fiancee often.

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  42. Dump? Are you nuts? Come over here and look at my spastic attempt at slapping beds in my childrens' rooms with no time to finish anything more than propping cheap lamps on side tables and I'll show you a dump. LOL.

    I think your office is charming. And the one in the courtyard is a delight!

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  43. So self critical! It's a very nice office. Why don't you buy these hooks
    http://tinyurl.com/5bmwde
    and hang the samples. You can get thousands in a closet, and you can do them by color.

    Love the map.
    Is that tiny striped chair what you sit on?

    Of course I love the courtyard office.

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  52. What an office! That map is to die for. I am so glad that you showed us your space.

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