Years ago, we purchased a new dining room suite that included six dining chairs. I recently decided that I no longer wanted to keep the chairs because they were quite dated looking now, and I wanted to go with more comfortable upholstered chairs for our dining room table instead.

I decided to donate the old dining chairs, and just as I was getting ready to drop them off at the donation center I chose to keep the two end chairs and only donate the four side chairs. As I looked at those end chairs, I was reminded of why I purchased them to begin with so many years ago. I really loved the modern shape! Plus, these were well made solid wood chairs. The fabric had definitely seen better days, but I knew that if I kept these chairs I could likely find a way to repurpose them at some point down the road.

Well, I’ve figured out what to do with one of them. I realized that it would make a great looking desk chair in my new home office, and would also save me the money of having to buy a brand new one.

chair-before2one of my old dining room end chairs

But in order to make this old dining chair work in my office it was going to need a makeover!

This really was a very simple transformation.

I removed the seat cushion from the chair.


I gave the wood frame a quick light sanding and then primed it.


I painted it with a high gloss enamel in Valspar’s ‘Still Life in Gray’.



I have been busy gathering items to display in the built-in bookcases we recently installed in our home office. I really wanted to have a couple decorative boxes on the shelves in order to be able to store some small items in a pretty way.

There are some gorgeous decorative boxes out there, but I am big fan of Z Gallerie’s Ming boxes because I love the geometric emblem on the front as it really glams up the look in a modern minimal way. They also come in an aqua color that would match my office.


But, of course, these boxes sell for $59.95. I’m really trying to limit how much I spend on all of the decor for the bookcases since these decorative items are the types of things that are easy to save money on. So $60 was over my desired budget.

I figured I might be able to make something similar to the Ming boxes myself for much less, with emphasis on the word “similar”. The boxes I ended up making are not Ming box knock-offs, but rather they are inspired by the Ming box.

Personally, I think finding a piece of decor you love and using it as inspiration to make your own unique item is a great way to create affordable custom interior design in your home. Knock-offs are nice, but it’s hard to achieve the exact same look and quality as the item you’re trying to copy.

I’ve also learned that simply using something you love as inspiration can allow you to create a product that works better for you than the original item you were shooting for. My “Ming-box-inspired” decorative boxes are a better size and color for my office than the original Ming boxes would have been, and they are also made out of more durable materials.


I’m in the middle of giving my home office a makeover, and one of my biggest priorities for the room has been to add some built-in storage. It’s important to note that our home office sits at the front of our house and is basically the first room you see after entering the foyer. Thus everything in it is very visible… including the messy bookshelves that we had going on in there…


Our office also needs to be a very functional room for us. We store a lot of things in there and use the room for working and printing regularly, so we needed a way to store all of our stuff in a tidy and presentable way.

Enter the built-in bookcase! A built-in wall of shelving just seemed like the best way to contain everything in a neat and orderly fashion, plus built-ins can be a great aesthetic feature in a room.

We have a long alcove along one wall that was just screaming for built-in storage to be placed there. It measured 135” long by about 18” deep. Perfect!

I knew from the beginning that this was going to be a DIY project for me and my hubby because it’s quite expensive to have a contractor or carpenter install custom made built-ins. Honestly, they’re just a bunch of painted wood attached to the wall, so I figured we could build them ourselves.

There was only one problem with that… I really wanted drawers along the bottom of my built-ins. I knew that drawers were the best way to neatly store all of the small functional items we needed to keep in the room. So they really were a necessity, but they would also take a lot of time to build from scratch.

I finally figured that the best solution was Ikea! I could purchase some Ikea bookshelves that had drawers and alter them to become a custom built-in (I’ve noticed other people have done similar things so I’m definitely not the first to think of this). Not only would it save us the challenge of building drawers, but it would also save us lots of construction time and allow me to be able to do some of the construction myself, thus minimizing the amount of time I would need my husband’s help (if you didn’t read my ‘About’ page, my husband is not a big fan of DIY projects).


Shortly after we moved into our home in 2006, I bought four small cube ottomans from Target to use in our family room. They were a faux black leather, not the best quality but something to tide us over until we could get something nicer. They looked similar to this:


After a couple of years, the faux leather wore out and they looked like this:


We replaced them with a larger higher quality ottoman, but I decided to repurpose two of the old ottomans and use them in my home office next to my desk. I gave them a quick makeover by reupholstering them in a taupe suede fabric.


Now they are looking kind of tattered again and I’m tired of the color, so it’s time to give them yet another makeover. Perfect timing since I’m in the middle of giving the whole room a new look!