See Jane Work.

A couple years ago, I began writing this blog to tell the story of a remodel of a moldy old house into  a home: a real home with kids, a budget and imperfect piles of stuff. But that kind of blog can only go so far, because a shiny new remodel is only shiny & new for so long and really, no one really cares that much about which paint colors I used.

I've been working to expand the horizons of this blog beyond the remodel to talk more about relationships, neighborhoods and family...you know, the stuff that actually matters. The stuff that actually makes a home. I don't have a limitless budget or time, although both would be nice. I have an old house with quirky room layouts, crumbling plaster ceilings and old cracked tile. In other words, it's a real house for a family of six, and I need it to function well in order for us to stay organized.

With that in mind, I'd like to introduce you to a woman who is out there, being awesome and doing good work.  I met Holly several weeks ago and I instantly liked her. Holly started her own company, See Jane Work, because she saw the need organizational items that not only look great on your desktop but also takes into account how people already attempt to organize their stuff.

Take me, for instance: I'm a stacker. When the bills, art projects, report cards, permission slips, etc. come in the door,  I stand next to the recycling bin in the kitchen and throw things out that I don't need to hang onto. Everything else gets stacked into piles and left on the kitchen countertop, which inevitably gets in the way when it's time to make dinner. When dinnertime comes around, my piles get relocated to the "office", which basically describes a table piled high with other miscellaneous junk in a nondescript room. 

Holly wanted to know if she'd be able to help me get my office organized, and could I send her a photo of my office?  So I did what any other person would have done if an organizational guru offered to help: I said yes. Um, and sure I can send photos of my "office"...I totally have one of those. 

This is the photo I sent to Holly, which is an SOS signal if I ever saw one.


The plan was to have a film crew come in and show off Holly's amazingness in my, um, office. My procrastinating self didn't begin tackling this project until the weekend before the film shoot (which is yet another reason why I need serious organizational help).

So I spent 48 crazy hours trying to create a space that would function as an office for Greg & I, as well as a homework/art room for the girls.

There's a bedroom next to the kitchen that we previously used for the girls' playroom. Now that the basement is complete, we've relocated their toys downstairs and I have a space to work with. We moved the piano out a couple weeks ago and this is what I began with on Friday.



The room had white walls, a giant bulletin board, and a table my father in law built out of an old countertop we had, but mostly there's the random stuff that we don't know what to do with. Most of the stuff I moved into the closet until I have the strength to deal with all of it. If that ever happens.
First, I moved the table to the center of the room so that several of us would be able to work around the table the same time. I decided on a [gulp] bold color, Hague Blue, by Farrow & Ball for an accent wall.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), two major changes occurred on Friday night. First there was a hail storm and I arrived at the paint store five minutes before it closed. The paint color was not tinted quite right and ended up more like a navy blue than I was intending. But I didn't have the luxury of time and didn't want to go back out in terrible weather so I just went with it. I painted one wall and Greg & I both like the color so much that we considered painting all four walls with it. I painted two walls and then had my typical nervous breakdown.  What if it was too dark? Would it feel like a depressing cave? I wouldn't have time to repaint unless I stayed up all night.

I called in some moral support (thanks, Michael!) who talked me off the ledge. I decided to paint all the walls. 


I had some woodwork to paint where the piano used to be, which I didn't paint it until midnight the night before the film shoot. Of course. 


I shopped the house to find something that could hold the printer and hide all the cords and the router.  I hauled this cabinet down from the girls' room and Greg drilled some holes in the back for the cords.
 


I was able to reuse a bunch of artwork from elsewhere in the house and it looked really great against the new dark walls. 




I scored the chair & white table at Marshalls and the air plant & terrarium at West Elm.




I reupholstered this old chair over the weekend too. It was a quick job and I just don't want to talk about it, which is why there's no tutorial and no close up shot of it.  Just keeping it real here. (Obvious tip #29: Don't upholster a chair when you're panicked and pressed for time. Obvious tip #30: Don't upholster a chair if you have no clue what you're doing).






Bright and early Monday morning, we started the film shoot. Thankfully, the paint was dry!




The shoot itself was really fun. I was a little nervous about how it would go with the girls in the house--one never knows when a meltdown cometh--but they did great. Just keep them fed between takes and all is well!



And Holly is just as lovely and fun as can be. We were cracking each other up between takes.






(All photo credits above go to my nine year old).

So here's a sneak peek at some of the goodies.




I love these engraved clips. They bring out the brass I have in the room and they're subtle, but I love the engraving so that I remember what goes where.



These large art boxes are the perfect size for the larger papers that come home and don't fit in traditional files or letter sorters. And I love the labels & magnetic lid!





School starts next week and I am thrilled to have an infrastructure for the influx of papers that will be coming my way. Plus, Holly had the goods to help stackers like me actually make sense of my piles. Are you a pile-maker? a throw-it-all-in-the-corner person? a vertical sorter? See Jane Work has your back.

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