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Before the kids were born I was a full-time freelance journalist, writing true-life stories for all the women’s publications – from Cosmopolitan and Chat, to Marie Claire and the Guardian’s Weekend magazine.
When OH and I bought our two-bedroom flat in London one of those rooms became my home office – until the arrival of Big Sis three years later. My office became her nursery and I was evicted to lounge, where I’d work on my laptop.
And that’s where I stayed – for 10 long years I ran my freelance business, and later carried out my blog and social media work, from the sofa. It was manageable, but far from ideal – not least because hunching over a laptop all day every day gave me terrible neck and back pain, but also because it was hard to concentrate with constant distractions and my paperwork would be scattered all over the front room (which drove both me AND OH insane).
When we began to talk about renovating our house, top of my ‘must-have’ list was a room that I could use as an office, that could also double up as another living area.
For a while, as we battled to work out how to fit everything we wanted and needed into our awkwardly shaped plot of land, it looked like we wouldn’t be able to squeeze it in, but then our AMAZING architect worked her magic and we shoehorned the extra space into our side return extension.
The work took five months, finishing last summer, but the office space ended up being our spillover area for all the displaced ‘stuff’ for the next year.
We slowly settled ourselves back into our revamped house and embarked on all the finishing touches. My office was on the ‘still-to-finish’ list, but right at the bottom under all the communal areas.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I decided to get stuck in and sort it out. The first thing I did was reconfigure all the furniture. The layout just wasn’t working, so I shifted my desk and switched around a storage unit, and all of a sudden it started to look right.
Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel inspired me to keep going, and I spent HOURS sorting through more than 10 years of accumulated paperwork.
I wanted to create a tranquil home office space, including a comfy corner to sit and work, so I ordered this small velvet sofa from Made.com that could fold out to both a chaise longue and a single guest bed.
A yellow throw gave it the final finishing touch, but you could also add a fluffy cushion or a chunky, cozy blanket (if you’re a knitter and up for the challenge you can even make your very own; subscribe to Yarnie’s weekly needle craft newsletter and you’ll receive free knitting patterns to download).
The print I bought from Desenio as it matched the sofa perfectly, and I just found it so relaxing. The trailing plant I picked up in Sainsbury’s a couple of months ago, the macrame pot holder I’ve had sitting around since last year waiting for the perfect opportunity to be used.
I placed a few other plants around the room, as well as the gorgeous Cocochi scented candle I was gifted a couple of months ago.
There are still a few things I need to do in here – there are some remaining paperwork piles that I’ve keep artfully out of shot; I need to put my memo board back up and I want to add a double roller blackout blind, so it doesn’t feel like the neighbours are staring in at me.
But it feels great to finally have my own creative space back, my own little office pod where I have privacy to make work calls, and can close the door when I need to concentrate.
The only problem is I think I’ve made it TOO cosy and welcoming – I’m constantly shooing out the girls, who love curling up on the chaise longue with a blanket and their iPads.
It was a long time coming, but I’ve created my perfect little work sanctuary.