Monday, June 11, 2012

My New Home Office

I love old houses! Our 1916 Mediterranean style stucco home is full of period details such as the front loggia, green tiled roof, and gracious French windows and doors.
  
There are also drawbacks to life in “this old house.” One disadvantage is the lack of closet space. It never bothered me that a guest bedroom did not even have a closet. Pack light, I advised guests.

Recently, I converted that guest room into my home office, and knew it was time to install a closet system---something that could store my design boards, floorplans, samples, loose fabric memos, and files. So, I designed a built-in wall unit consisting of bookshelves, desk, drawers, and a wardrobe (for clothing should it be converted back to a bedroom). 

My office is still a work in progress, but I want to share what I’ve done.
My new home office with lots of storage. The upper wardrobe on the left is actually one unit (not divided) that can accomodate a large TV.
 The guest bedroom before the changes.
 This is my sketch. I made one change: a shelf, over the windows, for my collection of vintage garden items. 
 Two 56" wide drawers hold loose fabric memos. Since the drawers are so big, I went with oversized bin pulls from Restoration Hardware.
 I found the perfect metal bins, in two sizes, at Container Store.
I decided to continue our 9" baseboards around the front of the cabinetry, and had base drawers installed for more storage---great for floorplans.
 I am using these white magazine holders from Container Store for files.
 Looking down to the garden. Maybe I'll get a Mac for Christmas :)
 The green tiled roof over the front loggia.
 We made this custom 80" high bulletin board: stapled old linen curtain panel onto homasote board, and framed with stock molding from Home Depot. So pleased with how this DIY project turned out. Thank you to Nancy at Powell Brower for telling me about the homasote!
 The sitting area with a Swedish chest, terra-cotta finial converted to lamp, club chairs, antique French floral painting, and contemporary abstract painting. Eventually, I would like to cover the entire wall with artwork.
 A Swedish folksy demi-lune with 2 unusual variegated myrtle topiaries. The mirror is quite beat up, but I love it.
 I would like an ottoman with wooden legs on castors....probably in blue and white ticking fabric.
My latest plant obsession: fancy leaf geraniums. I am growing these for the foliage, and will pinch off the flowers unless they are white :-)

87 comments:

  1. So excited to see this finished space - GORGEOUS! Love the touches of blue, especially that one pillow - it's a beautiful shade. The abstract is perfect there too. I'm sure you will love working in there.

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  2. I love your workspace most. The entire room is very serene. The crisp, clean organization is the kind of thing I crave in a work zone.

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  3. So Loi, - your home is stunning, your garden is exquisite, you have impeccable taste - and NOW you're going to tell me that you're THAT organised as well??? Will your talents never end? And please don't get me started on where I'm supposed to stay, now that you've taken over the guest room!)
    Paula xxxx

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  4. Loi, this is fabulous! I love the accessories, paintings, and furniture.

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  5. I am completely smitten with the entire room. Love how you added the closet system that fits so beautifully with every detail included!!

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  6. Loi, it is fantastic. What a perfect place to work. I am envious of the storage space you created; I can never have enough. I like to hide everything! And I love the white Tolix chair. Have a great week! Phyllis

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  7. What a beautiful space and it has storage. Perfect!

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  8. Thanks for the mention my friend! What a great space sitting at that window looking out, and the lighting there is spectacular. Great built-in design and execution! Love the idea of a salon gallery wall in the sitting area. I hope you have a great week ahead. Seeing your desk makes me want to go to the Container Store! ( and purge my own office in exchange for yours :)
    xo Nancy
    Powellbrowerhome.com

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  9. Gorgeous - what a graceful and elegant room. You have just exquisite style. I would hire you in a second if you lived closer (and I could afford what you would suggest haha). I love the new built ins - beautifully done. The space is tranquil and elegant. I just love it. I wish we had The Container Store here...! I think I need to make a US shopping trip. Beautifully done....! xo Terri

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  10. Your new workspace is perfect; lots of white, items with real age and character, a place for everything done in your very stylish way. I love the old "beat up" mirror and your myrtle topiaries. All of this, and it overlooks your beautiful garden. Do you still have room for guests? Just asking.
    Best...Victoria

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  11. I love how you mix the Swedish monochromatic style with the warmth of Mediterranean architecture.

    I have always been partial to the Mediterranean design vernacular (maybe because I grew up in that part of the world) but the older I get the more I prefer it stripped of its traditionally intense color schemes.

    It seems to me that you have found the perfect balance.

    PS: We sold the house!

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  12. Oh my gosh there is so much to take in here. I love your new storage system and it look like it could have actually been original to the house. Which is the best compliment of all.
    What a lovely view out of your office window, although it would be hard to concentrate on WORK. And I love the little peek at that Grandfather clock. The whole room has such a soothing vibe. Great job.

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  13. Wow Loi - looks GREAT! I love it - especially your view overlooking the gardens with a hint of the roof texture in the periphery. Wow... are you for hire? I would LOVE to have you take pictures of my home. They are SO professional.

    XXOO-

    B

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  14. how organized! Love the casement window and that view, tranquil. A space to find inspiration no doubt

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  15. Loi,
    Your office looks very very beautiful! And yes indeed, so organized! I love that shelf above the window for your garden items! This room must be a wonderful place to work! And the light tones make it so airy and soft!
    Loi, you really have done a fantastic job! Congratulations!
    xx
    Greet

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  16. So, designer, gardener, architect, retailer, photographer, antiques expert, organizational guru -- have I left anything out? Please tell me you didn't build that cabinetry yourself! Seriously, this is amazing. I'm sure you're loving your new beautiful, well organized space!

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  17. Your room is fantastic! My only comment: Don't wait to get your Mac. I love mine.
    Patricia

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  18. I absolutely love the new cabinetry and such a smart move to build it for any future changes back to a guest room. Love the organization and how you furnished it out. Beautiful.

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  19. What a great use of space. It looks as if the wall unit has always been there!! Great design, form and function. Your taste is impeccable. Love the leaves of the geranium and had to giggle at the thought of you pinching off colored flowers. I would do the same thing, I thought I was the only one that had to coordinate my flowers inside and out!! xo

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  20. Perfection, but I didn't expect anything less!!! Xoxo

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  21. Loi-
    Leave it to you to have the most perfect office in blogland. Your home is impeccable. You are just so talented.
    You have inspired me to get busy!
    Happy Monday.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  22. I don't think there's anything better than good built-ins to add character to a room and to add extra hidden storage although your hidden storage is so organzied, it deserves to be shown off. The drawer in the baseboard is genius! What a beautiful place to sit and work and enjoy the view during a mini break. Really lovely gray chest and the beat-up mirror. I'm also really intrigued by the abstract painting to the left of the drapes. That's a beautiful piece.

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  23. Love every detail Loi! Just beautiful! Peaceful, serene and elegant!

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  24. I think the true test of how well a room is designed is how easy it is to live/work in in-there should be ample storage to make being organized EASY and the colors/design/accessories should make your heart swoon every time you walk into the space. You've certainly done this in this room! Great view, too. Who wouldn't love working here?

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  25. Loi, you've done a fantastic job with your new home office and your storage unit. So necessary. The room is a beauty. However, I cannot restrain myself from saying that I'm sad that you had to undo such a perfect guest room! I wonder where you placed the beautiful hutch?

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Loi!

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  26. Love your new office! The view, the furniture, the design - all are so wonderful.

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  27. Loi, I love it!! What a wonderful place to work! Love your shelf of garden treasures! & your garden view! Brilliant built-ins & bulletin board. Beautiful room Loi!! thanks for sharing, so inspiring.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Robin

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  28. Looking great!! Love the little toekick /baseboard drawer, No wasted space!

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  29. Hi Loi,
    Love what you've done to create a home office. It's amazing how much "stuff" goes into the process of interior design. It all needs to be stored nicely and your storage system is fabulous. I agree that homosote is a great material for studios. I have a whole wall covered in it - painted white. It's endlessly useful.
    Your work is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.
    Best regards,
    Ruth

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  30. Dear Loi - you have exquisite taste, very refined and lovely to look at. Yes, definitely get a Mac for Christmas, I for one could not do without my Apple a day. I too put geraniums with variegated geranium leaves together in a large pot on my porch, but I do not have the heart to remove their flowers.

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  31. Lou! This all looks wonderful and what great use of the guest bedroom! Being from the pacific northwest I am very fond of those geraniums and your pottery is perfect. The Swedish peices are always a favorite of mine. Love the bulletin board and little window in your office. Looking forward to watching this come together!

    Leslie

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  32. Oh no! Typo.. on my phone! Sorry Loi !!! ;)

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  33. Dearest Loi...or is that Toi?....maybe Toy?! (Leslie I have made the same gaff) ... My friend, well done. I appreciate the fact that you placed my picture up on the bulletin board...my wings were especially white that day. As you know, since I fly there is no need for a bed, your lovely chairs will do just fine;) xob

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  34. Oh Loi I love everything you have done. I wish my office was as organized as yours! Love how you mixed the abstract painting with the impressionistic one. You will love those variegated geraniums...their leaves are great. I am wondering do you guys get the variegated heuchera's out there? The leaves are like the geraniums but much larger so they work well in floral arrangements. Your taste is impeccable...

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    1. Hi Cindy - I used to grow variegated heuchera, but do not have any right now. Thanks for reminding me about them. Loi

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  35. Yes! Homasote is wonderful! I've been using it for years.
    I discovered your blog through all your wonderful pins on Pinterest (I'm a follower). Your style, Loi, is so...what? perfect, is the only word. Clean, sophisticated, and a real pleasure to look at. My daughter lives in D.C. so I will definitely come by your shop on my next visit. Thanks for all your lovely images...

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  36. Loi, this space is a feast for the eyes. Serene, sophisticated and beautiful. Thank you sharing your wonderful room.
    I laughed out loud at your comment...I pinch of the flowers if they are not white. The geraniums are beautiful.

    And last, your view is inspiring!

    Have a great week, Elizabeth

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  37. Another WOW post Loi! Although I loved this room in it's former incarnation, there really is nothing like having your own space/office at home. I created my own office last year and I love it so much, it's my own little sanctuary. I LOVE your new office, you must have had so much fun organising those drawers - I love finding a place for 'things'. The storage unit you designed is a fantastic use of the space, nice touch having the vintage garden things over the view of the garden. Love the tolix chair, the 'beat up' mirror -(I actually prefer them like that), love the abstract painting, the topiaries, the Swedish blue chest, the curtains . . . etc., etc. LOVE!!!!!

    Sharon
    xxxx

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  38. Hi Loi,

    How satisfying to have created such an elegantly designed work space! This room is calm and composed, and in this way it has the ability to promote concentration and activity. On the contrary, because it IS such a beautiful space, that in addition, overlooks a gorgeous oasis of a garden, I would find it difficult to do anything else but sit still and appreciate the synchronicity of simplicity and sophistication at its finest!

    Thank you Loi. What a wonderful start to the 'work week'!

    Poppy

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  39. Love it all, of course! Great idea to build the base drawers into the baseboards. And yes, a nod (well of course!) and a chuckle in response to "I am growing these for the foliage, and will pinch off the flowers unless they are white :-)." I noticed the beautiful foliage immediately. Are they difficult to find?

    Thanks Loi!
    Kerry

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    1. Hi Kerry - The geraniums are not difficult to find. Maybe because I am on the lookout for them :-)

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  40. What a beautiful room. The cabinet is so practical and lovely. Adore your antique mirror and all of your gorgeous pieces. I wish...

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  41. This a such a lovely room. I love the base drawer! such a great storage idea. This is the perfect combo of practical and pretty. I love the converted lamp and the commode is the most gorgeous colour. I am looking for something just like that. Hopefully I will be able to find it. Thanks for sharing. I am feeling inspired.

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  42. What a beautiful and practical storage system, love the idea of using baseboard space - and all the fresh green (even the roof tiles, co-ordinated!)

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  43. Oh Loi, I wish you would come and help me organize my office. I love how calm and organized your office looks. You are going to be my new roll model! I want my office to be as organized as yours!

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  44. I can't comment. I'm too busy looking at the images over and over and over.......
    You are truly amazing at everything you do and I love every single detail.
    Please please keep sharing.

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  45. Loi, Because we don't have a Container Store in my hometown, while visiting Austin, Texas yesterday, I spent all afternoon at their Container Store. I was looking for the perfect size container for cards of thread I use for Needlepoint, and finally found the perfect storage system for it. I had almost given up!

    Love the clean lines of your office. I am wondering what you chose for your desktop?

    You are making a whiteflower addict of me!
    Kathy

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    1. Hi Kathy - Thanks for asking about the desktop: since I knew it would be painted, I chose a paint grade birch plywood. Loi

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  46. Loi,

    just curious- WHY, the abstract?

    Kathy

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    1. Good question: I love the texture, movement and composition. I think it is important to mix furniture and art from various styles and periods. Eventually, I would like artwork from all periods to cover that wall.

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  47. Love the square basket under the desk...where is it from? croce730@verizon.net

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    1. Hi Andrea - Thanks for asking about the basket. I purchased it at least 10 years ago from Hold Everything. They went out of business a while ago. So sorry.

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  48. What a great workspace! Love the bulletin board, never heard of the homasote! Thanks for sharing!

    Have a great week!

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  49. Loi,

    Great design and I love how it turned out bright and beautiful! It does look like a natural part of the room and not a new addition I bet your feel such a sense of relief to have a space to work in at home. I love being organized and having a place for design items...they can out number you if your not careful.

    You'll have to set your camera up on a mini tripod to capture nature's activites while your work. I bet you'll catch some amazing shots too...because I wouldn't want you to be distracted from your work lol!

    When you get your MAC you'll love it I love mine as well as my iPhone. Technology makes our spaces even lighter and more efficient so now we can work from home, car, boat, backyard etc. and not skip a beat.

    Bette

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  50. Dear Loi. What a wonderful use of space in the office and with a terrific view too. That's a lovely grandfather clock through the doorway. Oh! how interesting, I see your doors stay open all of their own accord;)
    Paul

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  51. Great space Loi! I love your built in and how organized it is. It is even beautiful when you open the drawers/doors! your terra cotta finial lamp is GORGEOUS!! I had a similar piece that our worker broke last year trying to drill the concrete out of the center :( I was going to turn it into a lamp also. Your view out the window is so special!
    joan

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  52. Hello!!
    First time on your blog! I love how you updated and transformed this room into your new office space.
    I did the same to on of my bedrooms years ago. It serves as my office, den and guest bedroom or anteroom to the guest bedroom adjacent to it... Also known as my college age son's bedroom!!!
    Love your beautiful style and look forward to visiting often!!!

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  53. Hi Loi,
    Whenever I see your posts and pics of your fabulous home, one song pops into my head - 'it had to be you'!!!!
    Although we haven't met in real life, I just know that all of your projects are just YOU !
    Great taste and great style, and a super work space.
    Hope you have a lovely week.
    Lizx

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  54. Dear Loi,

    I'm so glad that you discovered my blog so that I could in turn discover YOUR wonderful blog. There are so many things in this posting alone that are inspiring, from the baseboard contunuing around the built-ins, to the bulletin board, down to those great flower pots. You are obviously a man of many talents!

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  55. No wonder you have such artistic expression, how lovely to sit in that beautifully designed room, so serene and calm. It must be a great place to collect your thoughts and concentrate. We have a spare room, presently called 'the glory hole' all that is unwanted and unloved it tossed into it and forgotten about. Your room design gives me such inspiration to start again and clear the whole place out. I love the friendly way you present the post too, as if we are all part of an ongoing conversation about the guest room re-plan.

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  56. Love, love, love your new office, Loi. I do so love organization and your office exudes it, combined with spareness and, of course, topiaries. Doesn't get any better than this. I'm forwarding your post to my daughter-in-law who has been wanting to make the guest room into her office. But, she has to keep a bed of some sort for out of town visitors like me! Get a mac. You'll love it.
    b

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  57. If you aren't the cleaver one Loi I don't know who is...your space is beautiful. I love what you did with the baseboard drawer you didn't waste any space. Your view is stunning out your window.

    XX
    Debra~

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  58. Hi Loi - Your office is beautiful! The attention to detail in the design and construction of the built-ins is first rate! You must spend many happy hours working in that peaceful space, especially with that view. I hope you're having a great week.

    Deborah

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  59. Loi, just beautiful. You are so organized. Gorgeous view of your garden too. I always love a desk facing a window.

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  60. Thank you for the update. I remember Hold Everything..wasn't it part of the Williams Sonoma parent company? Beautiful tranquil space..

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  61. Hi Loi...
    There really isn't anything left to say as I agree with all who have left comments above.
    Your amazing talent and exquisite taste are evident in every endeavor.
    I so enjoy each and every post and thank you for sharing your inspiring photos.
    If only I could learn the art of editing! :)

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  62. Hi Loi, I loved the room before, and I love the study room now! Gorgeous!

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  63. Boy, do I have some catching up to do after this vacation! This is truly spectacular! I can't imagine being that organized and having everything so beautiful as well! It really is stunning! I've never seen magazine holders before! I'm certainly getting some soon and you've inspired me to re-think my office as well! Thanks so much for your sweet comments and I look forward to reading more of your blog posts when life get backs to normal! Which will be all too soon, unfortunately! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous home with us!
    Carolyn

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  64. Loi - Did you have the cabinets custom built by someone in the DC area? I am curious about the finish. Your talent and blog posts are so inspiring! Leigh

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    1. Hi Leigh - Yes, we used a local cabinet maker. The finish is Ben Moore's satin impervo low lustre, and color is White Dove. Loi

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  65. Tutto molto bello,fresco e di gran gusto!
    Ciao e lieto giorno:)
    Luci@

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  66. When you come visit me in Spearman Texas you can float in my pool (I'll move the mudcats out if you're scared of them) and figure what we can do to MY home office and MY art gallery...and then I'll cook you a steak on the grill. Bring the person you love too!

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  67. Hey Loi! How many ways can I spell JEALOUS?!! Just kidding, of course, but your new office space looks so relaxed and creativity-inspiring, a place where it would be easy to think! I love the geraniums too. That's one plant on which my thumb turns from green to brown, unfortunately. But I do love to look at them. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

    Keri

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  68. I adore the palette in the new office - just divine!

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  69. Just came over from Reddoorblog. WOW. Will definitely be following you...

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  70. Where have you been all my life? Just gorgeous. What an eye.
    Love your spot.
    pve

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  71. That view...good grief! Absolutely gorgeous!

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  72. Your guest bedroom looks very nice and comfy. I love the pale white touch of the place. Anyway, your new house is just lovely, and I do have to compliment on the plants! They make the atmosphere seem fresh and new! :)

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  73. Hi Loi,
    What an organized, well planned and elegant work space! We wouldn't expect anything less from you! I am also of the "cannot think or create until my work space is neat and clutter free" mindset.

    My favorite touches are the hardware on the window, the well thought out cabinetry, the beautiful view of the garden, the geraniums in Guy Wolfe pots on the white saucers and the sitting area is charming too. Have you tried air beds for your guests? Our kids have them in their apartments in NYC and Chicago, they are actually comfortable with mattress pads and nice sheets.

    Know you will love an Apple for Christmas! I love my macbook, ipad for travel and iphone..I mean it...LOVE, I think I speak for all of us that use these inspired inventions, they really enhance our daily life!
    Best, Cindy

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  74. Your talent is overflowing out of your fingers.....toes.....and eyeballs. It's just overwhelming. You are the master of composition.

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  75. Your depth of appreciation for beauty in objects and people is remarkable and refreshing. Your blog is a treat! Thank you for generously sharing pieces of art and parts of your SELF.

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  76. Thank you, LisaC! And, thank you to EVERYONE for your kind comments!! I really appreciate it.
    Cheers,
    Loi

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  77. Loi, how lovely. The timing is perfect as I am changing my old red living room into my home office. Lots and lots of inspiration!!! Would you share your wall paint color?

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  78. Congratulations on your new place! You did well with this article by taking pride in your lovely work area! Overall, your new place is stunning! :)

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  79. Congratulations, my friend. Judging by the pictures, so far, the transformation of your office is going well. I like your white solo couch, by the way. Its design really goes well with the rest of your office. I suggest that you paint the cabinet, though, it looks old. Other than that, everything looks fine. :)

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  80. I love the metal bins you used for holding your stuff in the cabinet! They look so organized and neat in there, all arranged nicely like that. And aside from keeping the files in order, it also helps create a great working environment in the room. :)

    Regards,
    Ericka Muldowney

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  81. What a perfect idea to maximize the room! I would love staring out of the garden all day if it was decorated like that. Also having an office that is designed that way would be simply splendid. With peace and relaxation, you will be able to get your work done. Thanks for showing us your ideas! They are, indeed, beautiful.

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Many thanks for your visit and comment. If you have a question, let me know and I will respond here. Loi