Arizona House Tour: Home Office

I have lived in Arizona for six months now and while my very first order of business upon unloading the moving truck was to set up my home office, I am only just getting around to taking photos of the almost-done version. It’s not done-done because, to be honest, I doubt any house project of mine will ever be truly finished, I’m always dreaming up new updates and changes, but at some point you’ve got to just say this is close enough and move on, right? I spent very little money on this room, like, less than $100 including paint. I am quite pleased that the leftover hodge-podge from my Salt Lake apartment translated so nicely into a completely different space and set-up here.

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This room gets some truly lovely light due to a well-placed north-west-ish facing window, I actually have not been bothered by the lack of overhead lighting here, yet. I have some task lighting, but I rarely use it during the day. The natural light is soft and white and lovely. The before of this room was a boring builder-brown box, but a coat of pale smoke-blue paint (Flint Smoke by Behr) transformed it into a cool, soothing space. To be honest, I kind of wish I’d gone with the shade slightly mintier, but I’m not so torn up about it that I want to repaint.

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This full-wall desktop (and dual screen set up!) has been glorious, it’s actually two IKEA table tops put together, one trimmed slightly to fit the space. I wish they were purchased at the same time and were actually the same color, but I wasn’t willing to throw the perfectly acceptable, 2-years-old version out and then pony up another $60 for the EXACT same thing. I use the left side for my work and writing, the right side (a bit smaller) is my little painting space with some storage underneath for files and paperclips, camera equipment and painting supplies. I had all the artwork already, it was just a matter of pulling the most fun, brightest pieces from my stash and getting them arranged into a gallery wall. I clearly am still missing some pieces, that Target frame definitely needs a photo in it and the blank canvas on the right could probably use a little paint. But! I love that these are the images I look at every day: a big Matisse (left), a few of my own paintings and photos, a Picasso print (black/white portrait in the middle) that could have been based on my profile, Andy Warhol’s butterflies, and a few family snapshots.

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The opposite wall from my desk is all bookshelves, most layered two rows deep of novels and non-fiction on my favorite subjects. I had these Expedit/Kallax shelves from IKEA in my Salt Lake apartment, which is why they don’t all match either. (I’m trying really hard not to be bothered by the 1″ taller center section and just go with it, but honestly, it sometimes really bugs me.) The art on top was also pulled from my collection, some prints, some original oil paintings (by me or legit artists), one watercolor done by my niece when she was 3, all in the bright colors I wanted for this room.

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That chair is from my grandparents and is ridiculously comfortable. One day I will actually take the time/money to recover the mustard-yellow cushions instead of tuck a gray fleece blanket around them, but today is not that day. A big pillow and this little corner turns into my most favorite research spot during the day, and reading corner at night (with appropriate task lighting). A diamond-print fuzzy rug covers up almost all of the brown carpet, which one day will be replaced by something….less brown.

And there you have it, the 80 square feet where I spent the vast majority of my time. I have never actually gone to a coffee shop or library to work, most of my day-to-day projects revolve around document creation and data research, and that is just SO much easier to do on a dual-screen than a single, tiny, laptop screen. In fact, I have difficulty functioning when I have to use my laptop screen only to work, I guess I’m super spoiled with the two big monitors to move windows/spreadsheets around and check and triple check facts and figures as I create documents and write reports.

A few words on working from home: Six months ago I started working remotely for my company. In some ways, working from home has been absolutely fantastic, but in others it has been really, really hard. I have been really careful to maintain regular “office” hours, to get up and get dressed and “go to work.” I take a mid-morning break for 10 or 15 minutes, a solid hour for lunch, and another 10 minutes in the afternoon to do some stretches or make a smoothie  milkshake  smoothie, or whatever, but for the most part, I am at my desk during regular business hours, just like I would in my office in Salt Lake. I don’t work from my bed, or the couch, nor do I stream Netflix on the side. In that respect, actually, working remotely hasn’t bee that different than being in my corporate office, I just wear fuzzy slippers a lot more often. The functions of my day-to-day job are easily accomplished via a remote situation, but I miss being in an office, I miss the in-person interactions with my co-workers, I feel like I am losing out on a lot of spur-of-the-moment projects and initiative, and I spend the vast majority of my time completely alone. That part really really sucks. Yes, we have conference calls and video chat and instant messaging and a variety of social media channels where I can connect with some of my more favorite coworkers, the ones who really are personal friends at this point, not just colleagues, but for me, it’s just not the same.

I also feel like I should point out that I am missing out on the opportunity to find and make work-place friends or meet colleagues, and that has been hard too. When you work 700 miles from your co-workers, but are not at all in an industry that translates across state borders (I work for a state agency, my colleagues are ALL state employees in other Utah agencies in some way, very few are outside of state government or administration), how do you make work friends? It’s been a lot harder on me than I thought, not having a group of friends nearby.

Do you work from home? Do you have a dedicated office space? Are there any tips I should definitely know about that seem to be missing in my working-remotely situation?

Harriet sig