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The Piper Project

Let’s get it out of the way that “Piper,” is the last name of my best friend. To protect her privacy, I’ll say her first name rhymes with “America.” I was lucky enough to have her as my first client and without a doubt, lucky to call her by bestie. She is in the Top 3 of the smartest people that I know, as well as being beautiful, fashionable, and I can’t fail to mention, she already has a killer décor style all her own. I wasn’t sure why she wanted or needed my help – but a friend in need…

The Before

So, Mrs Piper has a super important job, hiring super important people at a super important company. She spends countless hours in her office, behind her desk, and on the phone. Of course, like most everyone else, her home office was just somewhere she worked when she wasn’t required to be in the office. And, like most everyone else, that changed with COVID.

After a few months of working in this not so inviting, not so motivating space Mrs Piper decided it was time for a change. This was only solidified when her super important company told her that she wouldn’t be back in the office until 2022.

As I said before, she has a home with style that could be published in a magazine! Why is she calling me? I still don’t know, but I also don’t care – she called. When I first saw her office I was shocked, it was like the afterthought in the rest of the 3000 square feet that she calls home. Definitely drab, definitely lacking in character.

The Challenges

Through conversation and brainstorming we identified the biggest challenges that faced us in the remodel, aside from the lack of character:

Problem #1: Dog crates. I really shouldn’t have to elaborate any farther – dog crates suck, they are eye sores and at this size, they take up ungodly amounts of space. But, the challenge itself was more about the dogs – they needed to stay next to each other, they had to stay in separate crates and they had to stay on that side of the room.

Problem #2: Work space & Storage. Mrs Piper’s desk didn’t accommodate everything that she needed it to – her monitors were awkwardly placed and her printer was on a table made for a bedside.

Problem #3: Power & HVAC. There weren’t many options for power and only two air vents, located in the floor.

The Solutions

I designed a huge custom desk with a waterfall edge. The single solution to all of the problems. Thank you, Lumber Liquidators for providing the butcher block and thanks to the handiwork of my husband and FIL for making a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

Problem #1: Dog crates. What dog crates? It certainly isn’t what I see when I walk into the room. The dogs are still side-by-side, in separate crates on that side of the room. The unattractive nature of them is disguised by gorgeous wood, stained in Minwax’s Provincial wood stain. I also worked with TheDoormatory on the custom doormats and love the layered look with the washable base rug, found on Amazon. Problem solved.

Problem #2: Work space. This desk measures 11′ L on the front and 6’4″ on the extension. It is not lacking in space. Also, with the desk going from wall-to-wall, it helps make the room feel wider than it really is.

Our printer on the bedside table was moved to its’ new home on the desk. Power dropped perfectly behind the dog crates and the bedside table moved, back to the bedside.

Since Mrs Piper uses her laptop monitor as well as an additional monitor, we opted to mount it on the wall, freeing up desk space. The monitor is also located close to the outlet on the exterior wall, so cords trailing the border of the room are no more. Lovely.

She needed drawers and stuff. Everybody does. The beauty of the piece from Wayfair is the size and mobility. There are plenty of drawers for the things and a cabinet for the other things. Mrs Piper is able to roll it out of her way without being concerned about it covering up a floor vent or blocking power!

The Character

As I mentioned before, Mrs Piper’s house legit could be in a magazine, or at least featured on ApartmentTherapy. There are unique pieces of furniture and art. There are plants galore (I taught her that). And lots of books, pictures and meaningful trinkets. It was now my job to bring that vibe into her office…

If you have been thinking about using removeable wallpaper, think no more. It is great. Here we used Spoonflower’s Boho Tribal Wallpaper on the focal wall – aside from the delay in getting the order in, I was thrilled with the product. The calming blue color on the paper helps set the tone for less stress during the work day.

I’m still obsessing over the Boerpine Oriental Blue & Pink Indoor/Outdoor Rug that we purchased from Wayfair. Bonus that it is indoor/outdoor, so cleaning is much easier. But the colors, y’all, the colors are perfect. And it picks up on that boho vibe, in a subtle, charming way.

The shelves on the wall are scraps of butcher block from the desk. Genius. And the wall brackets are from Csonka’s Custom Rustics. The shelves hold memories and touches of Mrs Piper’s spirit animal, the cardinal.

The art that I curated, either from other rooms of her house, or the stack she had in waiting, fit perfectly. There is an ode to her alma mater, Roanoke College. Her family is ever present in photos around the room. And “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz is a focal point for Mrs Piper to reference throughout the day.

The End of One, Beginning of Another

I watch a lot of HGTV, and I always laughed when the designers would say to the homeowner, “It was an honor and a privilege to work on your home.” And I think in their case, it is a little silly, but in my case, it really was those things and more.

Starting this business was scary, still is, not gonna lie. Spending someone else’s money, super scary. But when you have the opportunity to start with friends, best friends, it makes a world of difference. And I really am so thankful and honored.

We are starting our next Piper Project in the coming days. A Zen Shed perfect for a super important person, who does super important things and needs a break from all of the importance.

What She Said

So grateful to Alyssa and A Working Home for reimagining my home office, where I spend a majority of my days at the moment!  I needed a space that felt comfortable and inviting, as my days are quite frenetic and ever-changing, and the prior set-up felt cramped, dingy and quite boring.  In addition, my loyal fur babies spend most of their day in the office with me, so I wanted a place where they would be comfortable, but also “out of the way” since I spend quite a bit of time on video calls.  I was beyond thrilled with the beautiful final reveal of my new office space – the custom built-ins, personal touches and what feels like an increase in space are all just incredible!  Not only do I need to work here, I WANT to work here – it’s much more warm, inspiring and comfortable. 

Alyssa was terrific to work with from Step 1 to the final reveal – clear, honest and regular communication, fair pricing and correct time estimates.  I would highly recommend – so much so, I plan to hire A Working Home for additional projects in our home!

Mrs. “Rhymes with America” Piper

All you have to do is type your email address in the provided spot… It will change your life. No guarantees.

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