HOUSE: New Mexico #1

Project four! The office.

Office makeover -

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Whoa, did I miss the before photos of Anna’s office? Or maybe you’re not thinking that. Either way, I’ve decided to just go ahead and put the before and after photos together in one post, because it’s hard for me to fake it and pretend like I haven’t already finished making my office look pretty damn decent.

It does look pretty damn decent, right? I think so.

Office makeover -

This is my office as it looked for the first seven months I lived in this house. Gross. I didn’t even bother cleaning up before I took the photos, because why bother? It looked gross either way.

But now…

Office makeover -

I love being in here. I’m thoroughly excited to get up every morning and go to work in my office, and that is a great feeling. I’m much tidier when I’m in a space that looks nice, too. I’m not a naturally organized person when I’m working, so I have to really make an effort to put stuff away when I’m done with it. The less clutter on my desk, the more productive I am.

How about some more before and after shots?

Office makeover -

Office makeover -

It would be great to eventually get a gigantic rug and cover up most of the carpet, but for now, this is what I’ve got—and it’s fine. Ditching those gross, dirty plastic mini blinds (which were too wide for the windows and were teetering on top of nails instead of being properly bracketed in place) made such a huge improvement. Plastic mini blinds have a way of bathing everything in this sad, grayish-yellow light. Blech.

Office makeover -

Office makeover -

How shameful is it that my Stendig calendar sat rolled in its tube for more than six months? Pathetic! Now I can stop putting post-its all over my desk to remind me of dates and deadlines and put them in a place where I’ll actually look at them. (No, I don’t use a digital calendar. For whatever reason, I can’t remember to do anything unless I write it on a piece of paper and put it in my daily line of sight.)

Office makeover -

Office makeover -


This side of the room is still looking a little unfinished, but it’s soooooooo much better. I’ve been meaning to get around to making proper doors for the Umanoff bar cart since…oh man…since October 2007 (gulp), but until that happens (and I swear it’ll happen), a tea towel covering the crap inside is better than nothing. I guess? At least it’s less visual distraction.

Boy, what a find that was for 30 clams, right? I miss Stan’z Used Items. If you’re in Kingston, make a trip to Stan’z. I’ve been going to that place since I was a kid, and it never disappoints.

Office makeover -

While this post was not sponsored by IKEA as part of my Ambassadör-ship, they were kind enough to include this ALEX drawer unit when they shipped the stuff for my bedroom. I’m so glad they agreed to do that, because there really is nothing else on the market that fills the need that ALEX does. I do so much hand-lettering and brush illustration for book covers these days, and the amount of paper that accumulates as a result is kind of mind-boggling. I also need a place to stash all of my supplies so they’re not cluttering up my desk, and I can fit a crazy amount of stuff in those drawers. I love how shallow they are—nothing gets buried.

(And no love has been lost for Bernie, by the way. I’m still feeling the Bern. I just moved the sticker to a safe place so years from now I can take it out and remember the time when a real American Socialist almost got the Democratic nomination for President. Those were the days!)

Office makeover -

My dad’s desk is still the best thing I own. Every time I sit at it, he’s with me. I love my dad. I love this desk. I’m so glad I have it with me here. What a journey it’s been on!

There’s not much point in putting together a source list for my office since much of what’s in there is vintage stuff I’ve had for years, but if you’re curious about where something came from, feel free to ask!

Previous Post Next Post

Other Stuff You Might Be Into


  • Reply Paul June 29, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    A big improvement. Is the task lamp vintage?

  • Reply Andrea June 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Great office! That desk is a standout, any idea on the maker/manufacturer?

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      No, sorry! It’s at least 100 years old. It was formerly a drafting table (I have the base in storage)—the current base is an underframe from IKEA.

  • Reply Peggy June 29, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Your office looks great also functional. I really love the yellow chair. Why the viva hate banner? It seems so opposite of who you are.

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Aside from being a phenomenal, life-changing album, the phrase serves as a reminder to me that hate will always exist as a counterbalance to goodness and love. It’s the ugly reality within all of us displayed on a sparkly, cutesy little banner.

    • gracie July 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Hi Anna, have you read Neil Tennant’s essay on hate? It’s an interesting perspective and one I can relate to.

  • Reply Courtney @ Foxwood Forest June 29, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Ahhh! I just love that chair.

  • Reply Chris June 29, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    That desk!

    • hello July 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

      That DESK!!! THAT DESK!!!!!!! The best, even before knowing its personal connection to the designer’s dad.

  • Reply Jenn June 29, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Love your office, and am jealous of the large, beautiful work table (and door that closes)! Do you design with just the trackpad on your laptop or do you have a mouse/wacom that comes out when you work? Just curious!

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      No, I never use a mouse or a tablet. When I need to draw, I use a brush or a marker and then scan it—I don’t like tablets.

    • Jen June 30, 2016 at 12:17 am

      Anna, if you don’t mind my asking, what scanner do you use and are you happy with it?

    • Anna @ D16 June 30, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Jen, I’ve had an Epson Perfection V600 for about a year now, and it’s fantastic! I’m really, really happy with it.

    • Jen July 3, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Thanks for the info, Anna!

  • Reply Fiona June 29, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Looks gorgeous… is it the same paint color as your bedroom? It looks whiter but maybe just the light. (Sorry to be one of 8000 million people asking source questions but you’re my only paint guru who has never let me down!)

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Yes, it’s the same color—Valspar Swiss Coffee! This room is MUCH brighter than the bedroom.

    • Fiona June 29, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Love. I tried out the Swiss Coffee in our bedroom but it was a bit too yellow in our insipid New England sunlight. Went with White Dove (boring but lovely). And I agree about those Ikea drawers – I LOOOVE how shallow they are and how it keeps me organized 🙂

  • Reply Susan June 29, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I am still astonished at the difference white paint can make. Worlds better!

  • Reply Taste of France June 29, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    I was admiring the desk, but now that I know its heritage it’s even better.
    Great job on your office. White is kind of miraculous, isn’t it?

  • Reply Kelly June 29, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    This is excellent! It makes me want a home office! Girl, you are so good and you get things DONE. My little bit is 5 months old and her room is still unfinished. I am inspired by you to GET IT TOGETHER! 😀

    Tell me more about that multi-textured/colored pouch that’s in a few of the pics…

  • Reply Rheeds June 29, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    So many posts!! It’s like Christmas. Yippee!!

  • Reply Katrina June 29, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Damn it, that desk is Amazing. With a capital A! It’s amazing what a coat of paint and getting rid of the blinds can do! It looks so much brighter! I can see why you want to be in there everyday.
    I have a few rooms to tackle and I’m once again inspired!
    I will say it seems a shame that there isn’t any plants in there!

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      There’s a little succulent on the right side of the desk, next to my pens. 🙂

  • Reply Alex June 29, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Anna, what do you do for privacy on the Windows or does it face into a yard or something? I’m looking for ideas for a few spaces where I can’t decide whether to ditch the blinds or not. Bare windows are the best!

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      The desk faces the street. I’ll put something up eventually!

  • Reply Jen Collins June 29, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    I need to ask about the wooden (?) artwork on the wall – who is it by? I love it.

  • Reply AT June 29, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Where is the ViVa Hate Banner from? I love it!

  • Reply Suzy June 29, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    What’s under the carpeting? Hardwood floors would be pretty.

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 8:43 pm


    • hello July 5, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Oooooh! Concrete! Wonder if the building owner would be up for you taking up he old carpet and waxing/polishing the concrete below. Could be a cooling and lofty look–maybe also make a difference from the residential spaces of the house, if you’re working from home. Another thought would be to put down jute or sisal over the rug (if it works with the doorswing)? Another related thought would be remove and replace that standard landlord hollow-core door with something solid, maybe a salvage door cut to size, or even just your own thirty dollar hollow-core that you’d be comfortable painting. …Anyhow. Your old house was aspirational but it’s inspirational to see you really make something out of a less forgiving building. Keep it up!

    • Anna @ D16 July 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      There are 12 doors in this house, all of them old hollow-cores, and they don’t bother me at all—they’re appropriate for the house. The wood is nice. Also, in this kind of house, I don’t think exposed concrete is the answer…plus, it would be exorbitantly expensive to remove 1200sf of carpeting, wax and polish the concrete, and then install new carpeting when I move out. Rugs are a much more reasonable solution! I’m all for improving rentals, but I’m not willing to invest tens of thousands of dollars I don’t have into something I don’t own. 😉

  • Reply Lizzie Modern June 29, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    You know, I didn’t even notice the tan carpet was there in the first photo until I scrolled down to the before and then had to go back and look. Wow. You did a great job at neutralizing that color. The whole office looks great! Especially your dad’s desk, it’s lovely. That snake mug looks like the one Craig Ferguson used on his late night show.

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      That is indeed the exact same mug Craig had on his desk! Except he gave his a gold tooth.

  • Reply SLG June 29, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Your book “Penguin by Design” reminds me: I will forever wish that when Random House and Penguin merged, they had called the company Random Penguin.

  • Reply Monica June 29, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Hello, perhaps silly question, but did you drive nails into the wall to hang the Stending calendar? Or is there some other less invasive way? Mine is also still in box, the first one I have ever bought, mainly as I am uncertain if there is a trick to hang it.

    • Anna @ D16 June 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      Yes, the easiest thing is to just use three nails.

  • Reply Anna June 29, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Do you have any window covering recommendations now that IKEA is no longer carrying the Enje blinds?

  • Reply lau June 29, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    looks so wonderful, anna! that is such a new mexico door, haha. i’ve lived in so many places with that exact type of door. <3

  • Reply Patricia June 30, 2016 at 3:10 am

    I love your new office!!

  • Reply Lorelei June 30, 2016 at 3:41 am

    Well thank you for reading my mind! I was just at Ikea this evening and saw the Fullfolja paper clips – they made me think of you! I wondered if we would get a peek at your office, and tada! Here it is. What a bright and inspiring space!

  • Reply chloe June 30, 2016 at 7:00 am

    You have done such an amazing job of transforming your office! The change in wall colour has made the biggest difference, I now have office envy!! Enjoy your revamped space! -xo

  • Reply Christina June 30, 2016 at 8:16 am

    You didn’t paint the door? I love your dark doors!

    • Anna @ D16 June 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

      I only painted the bedroom and front doors because they had been previously painted. I don’t own this house, I’m renting…

  • Reply Fiona June 30, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    I love to see how your style evolves and still stays so distinctively you. Also, <3 <3 Chip Kidd!

  • Reply Sky June 30, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    That is a very cool office! It has some ’70s retro vibes, maybe because of the color scheme.

  • Reply Kelly July 1, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Just the paint and the removal of the mini blinds alone made a *huge* difference!

  • Reply S@sha July 2, 2016 at 10:19 am

    The room of course looks a 1000 times better, but that wrinkly wall-to-wall carpet still makes me cringe whenever it peeks through. Do you have any plans on buying a house in NM? Or are waiting and seeing how it goes? I know you did a post about moving to Portales, but I don’t really think you ever explained why Portales? Being from NM, I constantly wonder why on earth you ended up there. Not saying it’s not a cute little town, but ???

    • Anna @ D16 July 2, 2016 at 11:26 am

      I can’t afford to replace the carpet, but eventually I’ll get a bigger rug. (Can’t afford to buy a house, but you probably guessed that if I can’t afford to replace the carpet.)
      I moved to Portales for personal reasons.

  • Reply Sharon July 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Lovely! Did you remove the casters from the bottom of the ALEX drawer? Or put on different legs? I can’t tell if they’re gone or just covered by the fuzzy rug. I love that drawer unit but am not a fan of the casters, wondering how it would be to take them off or is there any easy way to swap them out for something else?

    • Anna @ D16 July 5, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      The casters are there, the rug is just hiding them. 🙂 Leaving them off wouldn’t be a problem, though, nor would adding a different kind of leg.

  • Reply Ingrid July 5, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    As another self-employed person with many deadlines and many different hats to wear in a week (not literally, but I do have a lot of hats!), I COMPLETELY concur with needing to see my calendar so I know what I’m supposed to be doing and when! We’re tech-savvy gen-xers but I, for one, hit 40 and have developed CRS disease something fierce. Your Stendig is so elegant but I need way more detail–including stuff like ‘file fingernails and ‘feed the cat.’ If I didn’t, I’m pretty sure I’d just sit looking at design blogs all day long and forget to eat.

  • Reply Hilary July 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    That desk is so amazing. My heart jumped when I saw “it’s okay” and VIVA HATE, because while I know it’s a Morrissey’s album, it made me think of a NOFX lyric “It’s okay, allow yourself a little hate” which is always comforting on a bad day! Keep up the great work. xoxo from CT

  • Reply lisa July 12, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Just wondering if you ever finished your mud room?

  • Reply Katherine July 12, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Y’ello! Have you seen the Pia Wallen style rug at Land of Nod? It seems right up your alley! The price for an 8×10 is pretty great, but I’m concerned that “indoor/outdoor” really means “feels waterproof.”

  • Reply Kim July 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Looks fantastic Anna! That beige paint was just a downer! Unrelated, but I have to ask did you ever finish your Mudroom? I’m dying to know if you are happy with the floor tile and did you stick it directly on the cement? I am considering using the same thing in my Laundry room, different climate though so I might have to do a subfloor…sorry to go off topic..
    p.s. love that viva hate banner… too funny!

  • Leave a Comment

    Door Sixteen is a hate-free, drama-free, spam-free zone. Open dialogue is welcome, but comments designed to harm or deceive will be removed.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Get D16 in your mailbox

    Sign up to receive weekly digests and (occasional) other updates from Door Sixteen! I promise to not bombard your inbox.