Friday, October 14, 2011

Phone-A-Friend: Itty Bitty's Office

Happy Friday! And welcome to the latest installment of our Phone-A-Friend series. Today were working on Itty Bitty's office.  Itty Bitty just got a new job and it came with an office... and a window. Lucky girl in our book! Did we mention it's huge? 

Oh, who's Itty Bitty? Right. The Itsy Bitsy is Deweese's "Little Sister" from our college sorority days. The nickname stuck and Itty Bitty and Deweese have been tight since! Blythe and Itty moved to NYC around the same time, and now they're tight too! And in case you're wondering, her real name is Jessica, but that's neither here nor there.

Here's Itty Bitty's note to us:

Hi ladies!

So, as you may know, last week I started a new job as the Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the grad school that I attended.  Even though space is tight, I got prime real estate with a huge office on the coveted fourth floor!  It's huge, with lots of wall space, a big window and lots of light.  I want it to be a warm welcoming atmosphere for students and potential students, to look young and reflect me, but I'm also conscious of it not looking TOO different from the offices of the "more senior" faculty and staff, which mostly are just lined with books. Here are some of my thoughts and things I'm wondering about...

1. I'm planning to move the desk to the back corner by the window, computer facing the wall, so the desk isn't between me and people who come in. I'll also be getting a bookshelf (maybe getting rid of a filing cabinet), and I'll hang my diplomas once I get them framed. 

2. We can't paint the walls but I have a bunch of colorful art and some personal photos (already framed in fun red frames, but obviously that can be changed) that I can bring in. How much should I limit the colors, and/or how much should be coordinated within the room? (I'm looking at the intense reddish-orange colored chairs as I ask that...)

3. Should I get a plant? Or something else to warm up my desk or the table in the room?

4. What should I do with the window area - does it need some sort of curtain or valance?

I'm really open to anything.  What's most important is that I want it to all come together well - not to be too cluttered or young looking, but not stuffy and boring either. But since it's a blank slate and I'm allowed to do almost anything, I figured I'd ask you both to weigh in before I get started! 

Thanks in advance,

P.S... My boss also just mentioned that if i wanted to get a couch for the office I could do so (she suggested craigslist... not sure what the top end of the budget really is, but i probably wouldn't want to spend more than $300... i also suffer from constantly being drawn to neutral colors while also feeling like they are boring.

And here's the office:

To Itty Bitty we say: Right on sistah! Congrats on the new job and the terrific office! After earning two Masters degrees, we'd say you've earned it!

Here's what we're thinking for your new space: You should embrace the orange chairs instead of trying to fight them. Check out this cool Marimekko fabric pillow from C+B. It's youthful, but vintage and very crisp. We think it says "I've got my shit together AND I'm fun, so bring it." Maybe pop one of these babies on the chairs or add to a sofa.

We love this jade green rug, also from C+B to tie in the green from the fabric and define your space a bit more. 

Let's talk sofas... you can spend hours of your life looking for inexpensive sofas on craigslist (we have), OR you could spend a few extra bucks and hit up Ikea for the Karlstad Loveseat. It's $379 in white, which is gorgeous, but depending on your budget, we love the dark gray too ($479) and it might hold up better to wear and tear.

We agree that the big window could use a little adornment, but you don't want to go over-the-top with something that screams "OBSESSIVE", more a casual: "Welcome!" How about some bamboo roll up blinds like these or these? You can find some inexpensive versions and we think they'll go a long way to warming up the space.

For lighting, maybe add a cool table lamp like this one from West Elm to avoid the omni-present fluorescent office over-head lights. Warm lighting is oh so inviting.

We think hanging your diplomas and artwork is a terrific idea. Try a gallery wall of the framed diplomas AND the art. Sometimes hanging just diplomas on a bare wall (and you have a lot) can seem a little "Office Space", but mixing them up with other art and personal things can give it the "collected" style we're always talking about.

And we totes recommend getting rid of one of the file cabinets (maybe the one on the long wall). Cause, girl if you need both of those, you also need an assistant to keep all those files in order. A bookcase would be a great addition!

Now to the accessories! Look for some cool pen/pencil holders that are similar but not exactly the same for a fun and collected look. We have a love/hate relationship with people who have candy in their offices. And we only hate them until we need another sugar fix. Nothing says "Come on in!" like a colorful jar of candy. And as Deweese is always preachin': PLANTS PLANTS PLANTS! Bring some life into your office with some greenery. Try to avoid typical office plants, maybe go for a spider plant? This is Deweese's favorite office plant, because they sprout little baby spider plants that you can give to your friends and co-workers. Deweese also loves a nice jade plant.

Itsy, we hope you like what we pulled together. Definitely keep us posted with how your new space progresses! And congrats, again!


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