I’m back finally, and this time with the reveal of this long-awaited room – THE OFFICE . . . slash guest room. Plus, I’ve brought a special guest with me. The office user himself, my fiancé Macauley Johnson, who’s going to share a few of his thoughts on the room. I’m only mildly terrified of what he will say.
It is with great excitement that we present one of the first rooms where I feel that Mac and I actually found a middle ground in our design aesthetics (at least more successfully than before).
Navy Paint | Desk | Desk Lamp | Office Chair | Rug | Leather Ottoman | Sofa | Accent Table | Window Treatments | Painting by Koshin Finley | A24 Poster | Vintage Japanese Movie Posters | Custom Framing | Floating Art Shelves | Charcoal Candle
Quick editors note: Since Mac is going to be joining Sara for this post, his words will be bolded while Sara’s will remain unbolded.
OK, so. Where do we begin?
Probably the beautiful, inky blue paint that’s all over the walls. It’s “Goodnight Moon” by Clare Paint, and it was the perfect choice for this space.
Mustard Accent Pillow | BLM Poster Art | Bookcase | Gold Table Lamp
I like it because it immediately gives the room a “mood” while still feeling playful because of its saturated color. Clare Paint has a really curated selection of colors, and because of that you aren’t trying to choose between 4 different navy’s. They’ve got one navy, and it’s the PERFECT navy. But Mac, I know that you don’t traditionally like blue, so how did I convince you to go navy in the office?
After going dark in the TV room, I wasn’t so afraid of going dark. The biggest leap was going blue at all (call me crazy, but it’s a color I steer away from). We had been looking at some black or charcoal wall colors throughout the house, so this rich, dark navy started to scratch that itch. In the evenings it gets dark, but doesn’t feel overwhelming during the day. We also decided to keep the ceiling and door frames white to call back to the rest of the house and keep it from getting too intense. This room feels a little more classic, while the TV room goes more stylized.
Yea, the layout of the room is a little strange since there are three doors all crammed into one side of the space. Figuring out the painting of the trim in that area was a little tricky.
We ended up going with stained wood doors for the main entry and closet, and painting the bathroom door white. And we fitted all the doors with beautiful antique style hardware from House Of Antique Hardware.
Having crystal knobs for all the main interior doors felt like a nice through-line, but the closet stood out because it didn’t seem to want the same treatment. I mentioned going with something all brass, but you found the knob that fit the bill. It has just the right amount of vintage detail while still taking a backseat to the glass knobs. I like the idea of finding little artistic details like this one in lesser-seen corners of the home.
The next big piece in this room is the sofa. And not only is it a sofa, it’s a convertible guest sleeping sofa.
Sofa | Accent Table | Vintage Japanese Posters | Custom Framing | Rug | Mustard Accent Pillow | Candle
We really wanted to have a space where guests could sleep privately, but our home isn’t big enough to dedicate an entire room to that guest, right? A sofa bed in the office seemed like the easy, no-brainer solution. Our is from BluDot, and it’s beautifully simple in its design – the backrest cushions pop off, and the top cushions fold out, away from the couch to create a flat sleeping platform. We’ve had guests sleep on it as is, and said it was great. But we’ve also now started rolling out this amazing inflatable camping mattress that I found at REI that just happens to fit the platform perfectly, and makes it just as comfortable as any bed I’ve slept on. Plus the mattress allows us to fit the bed with a sheet.
And the blackout linen roman shades from Decorview make this room perfect for any guests who like to sleep in a little. They’re the same ones that we have in the living room and dining room, which is a nice tie in between the spaces.
As you can see, the room isn’t HUGE, so we packed a lot of personality into each square foot. I wanted some brass in the room, and Mac wanted really good, bright overhead light for when he works in the evening. I think the ceiling fixture from Rejuvenation was the solution.
That, and I like how it classes the place up a bit, bringing in some metallic shine while still tying into the wood that I picked throughout. My style is usually not very refined (I have a lot of STUFF and that leads to clutter) so it’s nice to have key elements that both satisfy a functional need and add some style to the place.
I think we both agree that a good vintage rug brings a room together. We needed a very specific size for this strange, small room – one that stuck out far enough from under the couch, but not too far that it would run into the bookshelf or get caught under Mac’s office chair. Revival Rugs ended up having the exact rug we needed. Size-wise it fit perfectly, and the deep saturated colors it brings to the room play so beautifully off the deep wood and navy tones.
You have the eye for color and balance. And I’m usually in when the word “vintage” is involved. Turns out this was another great pick.
BLM Poster Art | Bookcase | Gold Table Lamp
Alright, up next is the bookshelf from Article, which was really a 100% Mac driven decision…
That means if it looks terrible, there’s only one person on the chopping block, but I am very pleased with it. First, it looks great – I have a thing going on in the room with right angles, metal, and deep wooded tones and this piece was all about that. The shelves felt like fun little areas to put pictures, figures, and other finds from along the way (STUFF). And it has a good amount of closed storage. That was especially something I was looking for: Hidden space to store the piles of things that don’t go so well on a shelf.
Mac, you also really wanted a plant for that corner, and to be honest I doubted you. I really thought we should center the bookshelf on the wall. I’ll concede though, you were right.
I did, hah. Part of that was me painting us into a corner (really, truly no pun intended) by focusing in on that shelf. The pros might say that it’s a bit big for the space, and it is. So when we had it closer to the window, you really felt the size of the piece against the stark, blue wall. I also wanted to bring some greenery into the room and I’ve never had a decent-sized plant, so we started a search. My only stipulation was that I couldn’t sit in the office looking at a fiddle-leaf fig after how many I see online regularly (Note: We have had one before and they look great, but I wanted something that felt different and more me). So we found this great little rubber tree at the Flower Mart downtown, and I hope to have it with us for a while.
Desk | Floating Art Shelves | Art by Kohshin Finley | Custom Framing | Desk Lamp | Office Chair
Here is where Mac works every day (he’s an Associate Creative Director at the motion graphics studio Scholar). I desperately wanted him to have a workspace that he actually enjoyed being in, and Mac really wanted a space that was functional for all his tech needs.
I like to have a lot of desk space because I usually work with a two-monitor setup. One of those monitors is a large tablet that can be drawn on and I end up moving it around a lot, so having some depth to the desk was also a must. Beyond that, I was looking for something mostly wood and sturdy because having heavy monitors on a wobbly desk is a big no and I’d like this piece to last a long time.
We found a few options that fit the criteria, but what won me over was this built-in cord tray in the Madera Oak desk from Article. The entire desk is extremely sturdy and it has the panel on the back that I can get in and out of to organize the ridiculous amount of cords I have. I had a power strip mounted under our previous desk, but now I have that power strip and all the cords neatly hidden away, which means no mess under the desk. We also opted for the wider option of the desk in case we ever both needed a desk at the same time. Which is great for leaning heads on each other’s shoulders, if you’re into that.
I really am 🙂
Most importantly, I really wanted Mac to impart his personality in this room. Your style is a bit more graphic and modern than mine, and can sometimes go more saturated or darker in color.
I definitely lean more graphic, finding bold shapes in movie posters or keeping clean lines in the furniture choices. I love typography so that graphic language carries through a lot of the things I’m drawn to. And then there are the figures. Whether small, skulled art pieces or actual action figures, I’ve amassed a minor collection and don’t want to hold onto things I’m only going to pack away. The floating art shelves made for great spaces to bring those in, instead of plopping Hellboy on the fireplace mantle (because not even I want that).
I think the fact that you picked all the art for this room was a hard aspect of the design control for me to let go off, and I know I still tried to influence some of your decisions. But I really love how it turned out. Why don’t you walk us through some of the art choices you made?
There’s a lot of movie stuff going on since films are a great passion of mine, so the opportunity to get more art on the walls meant I could nerd out a little. We ended up with two vintage Japanese posters, but that process of picking only two was arduous. Very happy with our picks though: One is more classic, really leaning into the ’60s style of the film, and the other is a more contemporary design with metallic silver lettering on the title. We got them both custom-framed through Framebridge, and they’re perfect there above the couch.
I wasn’t sold on the idea of art shelves at first, but it really didn’t make sense to add more large frames to an already crowded room. I’m happy that we could fit some larger pieces on there like the painting by friend and incredibly talented artist Kohshin Finley that some might recognize from the last time we had an office reveal on here. And there’s plenty of space to mix and matchbooks, toys, and art or whatever else I find along the way.
On the left is a piece from one of the amazing people involved with Artists4BlackLives, a collective of creators donating proceeds to Black Girl Film School. Next to it, the shelving made for fun little dioramas of art books and tchotchkes. These areas will be fun to change up just like the art shelves. And on the right, the A24 poster holds a special place in my heart combining my love for design and my love for movies – it’s the sequence of their opening title animation.
IT ALL LOOKS SO GOOD, and so you. Ok, I think we’re starting to wind down. Let’s go through some of our favorite aspects of the room really quick. I personally love this little brass lamp – when it’s turned on it gives a really warm glow in a pretty star-like pattern all over the walls. It was also your idea!
I enjoy the couch, desk, and framed art a lot, but the bookshelf has become my little kingdom. It has worked out exactly how I hoped and I still have space in those cabinets for, you guessed it, more stuff.
Overall, how do you think we did on this room? Like, how did you feel about the design process?
This room is really special to me. I love the whole house, but I enjoy how we’ve been able to bring different moods to each space. While I mostly work in the office, I enjoy taking a break from the computer, kicking back on the couch and taking the whole room in.
I also really like coming in there and napping on the couch with a cat or two while you actually work. And I’m so happy we were able to get this room done while you are still working from home, so you could fully utilize it. Once you go back into the office every day, I’ll probably take over your desk though.
Well, there you have it. Our finished office/guest room. It’s moody, functional, and most importantly it’s a space that we both love. Now, all we have left to finish is the kitchen, our primary bathroom, our bedroom . . . the front bathroom, the backyard, the front yard, the garage . . . does it ever end??
As always, a huge thank you to all the partners who worked with us on this space. And an even bigger thank you to Mac for joining me on this post. It was so fun to write with you, and pick your brain about the design process. And thank you for generally being a super patient design client and decor collaborator – as you can all imagine I’m not the easiest person to design with and I have a LOT of opinions and ideas. He might not be on board with all my ideas, but he hears them all out and has signed on for some of the crazier ones.
Stay tuned for our kitchen reveal, which is moving right along. We should have all the major pieces installed by January, and then it’ll just be about finishing touches.
**Design by Sara Ligorria-Tramp and Macauley Johnson
*Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
Okay, I am always down for looking at pictures of pretty rooms, but what I truly love is design that reflects the quirks and personality of the people who actually live there. Bravo, Sara, for reigning in your boundless enthusiasm and keen eye for making classically beautiful design choices, and allowing Mac’s personality to come shining through. Though I enjoyed reading his observations and commentaries on various aspects of the room, just the photos alone tell me volumes about what kind of person he is and what he values. Looking around his office space makes me feel a little bit like I’m wandering around inside his brain and that, I think, is exactly what a well-designed room should do.
Thank you so much!
Can’t wait to see what’s going on in the kitchen!
A real classic beautiy. I love the deep colours and wood tones!
I dont know if I am the only one who struggles to fully understand this room. May I ask for a picture where we see all 3 doors? I can´t really imagine having 1 white door and 2 wooden doors, still looking intentional. And how big is the sofa actually opened as a bed? Mac on the sofa as “size” model helped me a lot to see that the room is really compact. Some simple phone pics or a story on instagram would be so helpful. Pleeeeaaaaaase!
Last query, why a sheen colour finish? Sorry for being overly curious. My analytic personality is taking over, expecially whe I like something and dont understand why I like it (not applicable for humans and animals – just unconditioned love rules!)
Hey Evelin, you can see the floor plan for this room here: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/closet-ideas
Em shared a pan of the room over on her stories today!
Love the room–cozy but not cluttered.
That desk lamp, though… I’ve looked at it online before because it’s so great, visually, but the bulb is non-removable! Which means that when the bulb burns out, you have to toss the lamp! Any
Where is the black and white throw from?
It was a limited run from Boot Boyz Biz (https://boot-boyz.biz/products/tekno-acid-beat-blanket).
If you’re looking for something similar, a local (to me) company in Kansas City makes beautiful throws – https://www.happyhabitat.net/throws – and focuses on using recycled materials, too.
LOL – just looked at the original link and it is NOT similar to the unfolded one, but if you want the folded patterned look…. you know.
K, you’re so, so sweet. You n your kitties n all!
Mac, great to ‘hear’ you in here. I’m chuffed that you kinda got your room a lot your way. It has a masculine edginess to it. Different to the moodiness of your TV room.
That paint is great in how it changes in the light and really works with the textured walls.
The bookshelf is wonderful. Different to the other furniture in your house, more structured. Hell guy is scary! Ha, I dunno about waking up to his face, yikes! (And I mean the face on the bookshelf, not Mac’s. Mac’s face is gorgeous!).
The rug is fabulous aswell.
K, I’ll stop gushing… 3 words = YOU NAILED IT!!!
The best props in the whole house? Those two kitties. (I still remember the pics of them crammed in on your wardrobe shelf! Do they miss that??)
As always, thank you so much for all the kind words! xx (the kitties have so many new hiding spots)
I was worried when you stopped working here full time we wouldn’t get to see your MOTO reveals, and I am so glad they are still coming! I loved seeing the interplay between you and Mac in this room, because for most of us we are not designing a room by ourselves, but there is always someone, even sometimes more than one, that we are collaborating with. And I think the turn out looks great, both with the rest of the house and with keeping Mac’s design preferences driving the design.
THANK YOU for showing a desk with space for actual monitors, and for addressing the cord issue.
So many interior design blogs (including this one) usually show cute little desks with just enough space for a teeny little laptop, and that doesn’t work for those of us whose jobs require multiple monitors and the pile of cords that go with them. Not to mention needing to have all that AND a decent amount of writing space.
That desk really is great-looking while also being a good size and functional, and I’m totally keeping that in mind for when I decide to upgrade my Ikea office furniture.
Agreed. Real life solutions for cords and things like that is sorely needed and appreciated when they occur in these posts.
I spent the weekend looking for a cord race to corral the cords and power strips for my stand sit desk. So as much as I’d love to have this desk and the clever cord solution it’s not going to work for my work situation. (I can’t sit for hours at a desk.)
Right?!? I feel like my MOST minimal setup is essentially equivalent to what Mac has here, and even that might be pushing it. And my coworkers always comment on how clean/empty my desk is – I don’t use a lot of equipment and I digitize things whenever possible. Even if my job only involved Excel and email (or whatever laptop people do – I don’t know!) I would still want a laptop stand, keyboard and mouse to get my ergonomics right. A keyboard attached to a screen is just never going to allow you a healthy setup for long, continuous hours of work.
Mac is VERY particular about his desk set up, so I’m really happy we were able to get him a desk that works for his needs.
The crystal knobs from House of Antique Hardware look marvelous! I don’t remember you pointing them out in your previous posts, so I’m going to go back and look for them in your photos. (I already returned to your “Part II” post to revisit your floorplan and see how the three doors fit.)
My absolute favorite thing here is the Rictu bookcase from Article. I clicked on the link and saw that it also comes in a 48″ height (3 shelves, all with closed storage), which would be a wonderful substitute for the old Sauder unit in my living room.
Thanks for the enjoyable post!
We have the crystal knob on our bedroom door too! It’s classic and timeless.
It looks really pulled together with the artwork and colors. I love the plant. If I had natural light like yours it would be a certified jungle in that room with more plants by the windows and hanging from the ceiling. 🙂
The one thing that I don’t understand at all is the placement of the rug. It looks weird to me. It makes the room look like 2 halves of a sandwich. Like the sofa and rug were shoved back against the wall to make a pass through.
I probably would have centered the rug and let the chair mat float over the wood floor/rug interface as needed. (the mat could be rotated 90 degrees when the sofa bed is pulled out and the desk is presumably not in use.) Maybe even pull the sofa out from the wall 4-6 inches? Then with a centered rug and a floating sofa it would look intentional not like it was pushed out of the way?
Anyway, I do like it very much. Glad to see you’re happy with it.
The room is almost more narrow than it looks in the photos, so that’s why we have everything pushed up against the side the of the room. But it’s a strange little space for sure!
I feel your pain for weird shaped rooms. Every place I lived in the past 20+ years has been weird. 🙁 I used to have my “office” in my bedroom with my bed lengthwise against a wall and head against the windows. There was a walkway to the windows between the bed and desk, and another between bed and closet and that was it.
But I remember one of the “rules” I read some time ago is to not shove everything against a wall. float things and it will seem bigger. So the article/blog post said.
Anyway, I think your room looks quite nice. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
Textured walls that are painted a dark color always seem a bit off to me. P.S. the couch is lovely!
We wanted desperately to smooth out the walls, but it just wasn’t in the budget or schedule this time around. But we’ve thought about going back and doing smooth walls in there when we eventually demo out and renovate the front bathroom.
I get that you might not like it but to me the sheen paint actually makes it look like a cool feature! It’s the sort of thing I didn’t think I would like until I saw it here, and it’s just so interesting, retro and also kind of manly? It makes the walls feel like decor, rather than just a background.
I think the texture with the paint colour and sheen is magic in this room! Keep it! 🤙
I love this so much! My husband and I are also dealing with our second bedroom that has to serve as an office for two and as a guest bedroom (all our family lives in LA or San Diego and we are in the bay area). The room has no less than 5 walls, 3 doors, plus one curtained off closet and minimal light. It’s been so tough to have our cohesive styles in a place where we have to be productive. This is such an inspiration!
And that bookshelf may actually solve all my thin and tall bookshelf needs.
It sounds like your room might be the soulmate of our room!
Another great reveal, Sara! I love that Mac had more influence in this space. It’s good to share. 😉 I also love that little brass light. Trying to figure out where to put it in my house. The black metal from the bookshelf and the art ledges tie together nicely. The A24 poster may be one of my favorite pieces, and I hate to say it, but I’m not even familiar with A24. The design and typography are just so good! And of course, you’ve found yet another amazing vintage rug. I need you to pick some for my house. Can’t wait for the next update on the kitchen!
Also, plant in the corner was a great call. And that cord storage on the desk is brilliant!
I love that so many of these choices were Macs!
Beautiful room!! So many lovely details. Do you happen to know if the BLM artist is Black? I’d like to support more Black makers. Thank you!
She is not, but I do know her personally so I was happy to hear that her and a group of peers were submitting work to Artists4BlackLives (https://artists4blacklives.com/) which is donating all proceeds. There are more great pieces on their homepage.
Would it be possible to get a lil’ video preview of how well the blackout roman shades working during the daytime? I need exactly that type of shade for a kids’ room with three windows (she weeps) and would love to make a purchase I felt highly confident in. Thank you!
The honest truth is that inset roman shades (the kind that are installed inside the frame) are never going to be ENTIRELY blackout – they’re always going to have a little bit of a light leak. You can get closer though by installing them on the outside of the frame have having the shades extend further out than the window on either side, top and bottom. Emily got pretty close in her kids’ Waverly bedroom. But drapes are going to be the most blackout solution (I think).
I would cry if I had blackout shades/curtains during the day. 🙁 Give me the natural light.
What I do for sleeping is a sleep mask. Instant and isolated darkness just for me. I can take it with me anywhere I go: plane train automobile and any bedroom or hotel room. I have several sleep masks in my bedside table. And another in each of my suitcases.
I paid only $2 to $10 for each. I love the “100 Yen” store Daiso where I bought the last 3 of my masks.
Love it, Sara + Mac! The desk is fantastic. I recently bought a different one from Article and really love their stuff.
They’re also just really lovely people 🙂
Hi Sara & Max,
Love the space! Absolutely beautiful. May I ask how you would rate the firmness of the sofa couch? I am in desperate need of a firm couch that also doubles as a sleeper. We’ve worn out our ikea sleeper sofa springs so our backs are killing us.
Thanks again for sharing,
The seats are FIRM! Very firm and bouncy. At first we were like “wow this is FIRM” but now we’re very into it. The sleeper bit is actually more of a platform – totally fine for a night or two on its own, but I would suggest getting a pad of some kind if you plan on having anyone sensitive or long term sleeping on it. We were using a full size foam mattress topper for a bit and then switched to our inflatable mattress, which we love. It’s working perfectly for us, since we couldn’t fit a traditional sleeper with a pull out mattress, but wanted something that could fit two people!
Thank you for that thorough description! Much appreciated!!
Is the navy paint a semi-gloss? Curious about your thought process for picking a sheen for this color and room.
…wondering the same thing about the level of sheen. Do love that you painted the woodwork at the bottom of the walls the same color as the walls. Love the room especially the posters but what is that satanic-looking thing on the bookcase? (Surprised no one has asked.)
It’s a handmade mask that Mac picked up in New Orleans – Mac collects masks 🙂
Clare Paint only comes in two sheens, wall and trim, both of which have a slight sheen to them 🙂
hey lovely EHD team, these two-person posts aren’t quite ideal for me. After a bit, I find myself scrolling past the words. Can you try a different format? Maybe one person asking questions, the other answering? Or each person sharing their top five favorite things / tips about the room? Or one person interviewing both your guests? Or different formatting, eg. more paragraph breaks? This format is a bit hard to take in.
Otherwise a beautiful room, I hope Sarah and Mac will enjoy it for a long time! Love the colors.
I actually love the interchange conversation format!!!
I actually love the conversational format!
Disagree, I love the format. Found it very easy to “read” who was “talking.”
Bravo you two, it looks awesome!!
Everything is beautiful and I love your style (both of you)! Can you explain the decision to keep the bathroom door white and have wood for the closet and hall door? If it were me I probably would default to all the same, so curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks!!
The bathroom door is one of the few original doors left on the house (and it was white when we arrived) so we liked keeping it around the way it was. Would have preferred if it was stained wood to begin with. There will probably be a point eventually where we paint it a color of our choosing so it feels a little more fresh in the space.
Love all of Mac’s choices, I like him lean towards modern and clean lines. It really turned out gorgeous. Only thing I didn’t like was ‘‘twas the sheen on textured walls.
Is is possible to get a link directly to the rug or get the name of the rug – the vendor has a lot of rugs to sift through so it would be nice if I could narrow it down with some details (or get a direct link 😉
It’s a one-of-a-kind vintage piece. We went through a similarly lengthy process of checking out all that the vendor has to offer, but worth it in the end. We were able to focus our efforts by looking for rugs by color which is an option at the top of the page, if that helps!
Is the pen/scissor holder one of Sara’s creations?
Also, love the mug with the face (and how it speaks to the posters behind it) and the cloche with the cameras inside. Really, I like everything about this room.
Yes it is! And Emily actually gave me that cloche and the mini cameras for my third workaversary 🙂
What a great gift!
I’ve started collecting ceramics (I have 8, it’s definitely a collection), and it’s really making me want to learn. Would love to read a guest post about how you got into it and what you’ve learned.
While I’m at it, would also like to hear Mac’s list of posters he almost chose. Elephant man is one of my favourites, but I haven’t seen as many Japanese movies as I’d like. If I’d had to choose a (from any country) movie poster for your office, I probably would have gone for this one:
Aaah… now THIS would be a great post!
Maybe guest posts on artistic ‘sides’ that current and past EHD teamers have?!
I’ve watched so many Japanese movies in the middle of the night on an International channel. Man! The Japanese do scary movies too well! Yikes!
I studied ceramics at uni for 4 years, Art and Design Teaching was my minor, English Teaching my major.
My house is full of things I’ve made (ceramics, te tiles and a few paintings, pastels, with an oil or two).
I’m determined to get creating again once I’m ‘on my own’.
Beautiful post! Love seeing you two collaborate. I’m sure it was tricky but it’s safe to say my collabs with my partner aren’t nearly so neat. xo
I love everything about this office – awesome job!
Where are the small shelves under the desk from? Looking for storage just like that for my motion designer husband, who uses a sit/stand desk 🙂