Laurel Street Blog

A Whole Room Redux: Spare Bedroom to Study

Posted on: February 23, 2009

Since we rarely have sleepover guests, our second bedroom was a bit overwhelmed with beds, dressers and two computer areas (one Mac, one PC).

Richard’s big-box particle board desk had collapsed during the move (pictured below, it is standing upright due only to gravity) and I had been working on the same tiny 24″ x 30″ table since I was an undergrad. I had been cruising craigslist for a ‘find’ of a sleeper sofa, but after months of watching the boards, never saw one I trusted.

I had been considering putting one of the computers in an armoire, to close off some of the computer clutter in the room. I found a few candidates but the majority required a lot of unfolding of doors, top and bottom, shuffling around of chairs, and general awkwardness. They all seemed to be made for people who rarely use the computer.

So I kept looking for desks and along the way I bookmarked a rug, a chair, new lamps, and even a sofa. Before I knew it, I built the whole ‘study’ from scratch with my browser and had it all delivered to me piece by piece from a variety of different sources.

The Before Shot: One can barely squeeze between the bed & the desk

The Before Shot: One can barely squeeze between the bed & the desk

The After Shot: Open & Organized

The After Shot: Open & Organized

Richard’s new desk anchors the left wall with accompanying hutch and matching file drawers. I ordered these direct from Bush furniture for about $600 for the whole set. I loved the ‘Chinese’ armoire (via because the work surface just folded down. No fussy doors and keyboard drawers to mess with to instantly clean up the room.

Hey there's a Mac in there!

Hey there's a Mac in there!

The ‘Chinese’ computer armoire set set me off in a design direction. A comfy, clubby, well-traveled look was what I thought the room needed. Leopard print on the floor, the Chinese Chippendale desk chair from Ballard Designs (a bit of a splurge, but it was my birthday gift) and a very inexpensive (faux) leather ottoman rounded the room out.

The room was small, so of course I planned everything out to scale in Adobe Illustrator before I ordered anything…

Plan for Study

Plan for Study

The paint color is Ralph Lauren “Library Mahogany” after an expensive false step with a something that turned out too orange from Benjamin Moore. The drapes are white linen, from I recommend them for price, but they messed my order up twice and I ended up waiting longer for them than anything else in the room, including the sofa (which took about 8 weeks to arrive). But I’m really happy with their product, they gave the room a great finished look for not much money.

Richard's Work Area (Complete with Napoleon Bust for When He is Conquering virtual worlds)

Richard's work area (Complete with Napoleon bust for inspiration when he is conquering virtual worlds)

View From the Door

View From the Door

This antique table had been hidden behind a sofa in the front room, I love that I can see it in full in the ‘study’ now. This fantastic lamp was a relief to find on super-duper sale from I really struggled to find the perfect light for this spot.

The Antique Table

The Antique Table

And that’s it. The room went from one that we basically ‘passed through’ to one where we actually hang out.

And since I never tend to FINISH projects completely, there are a few things I need to get too. I want some bamboo shades to layer underneath the drapes… Bright morning sun will clobber you between 8-10 am. And maybe one day we’ll treat ourselves to a small flat screen TV  to go above my red desk, so we can watch from the sofa, but right now… I think we’re good.

14 Responses to "A Whole Room Redux: Spare Bedroom to Study"

I just love this! makes me want to start over in our office …

The dark walls are amazing. What a great room!

I cannot even get over this transformation. I will be adding you to blogs I love! Thank you for sharing.

It’s so wonderful to see a room that can multi task. I love the Chinese armoire/computer desk. It’s perfect for your Mac. Stunning room!

[…] to the study, to finish off a very neglected corner beside Richard’s desk in the ‘study‘. I really bought these for him – since he loves ‘conquer the world’ computer […]

Love the transformation!

I just stopped over from The DIY Showoff and wanted to say hello. You have a lovely blog. This rom is gorgeous!! Wonderful work. Thanks for sharing.


WOW! What a beautiful GORGEOUS amazing transformation. Great job! I’m so glad you linked to this post or I never would have seen it. Love it!

Thanks so much for joining in and showing off your blog. This is definitely a favorite. :)

Have a great weekend!

I love this room and want to ‘steal” some of your elements for our own home office. How is the Chinese Armoire holding up? I’m a little worried that as the “husband desk” it might not stand up to heavy elbows. Also, could you tell me the height of the desktop work space? It’s not listed on the website and I want to be sure his monitor would fit inside. Thanks in advance! Really, this is a beautiful transformation. Great job.

Hi Amanda – sorry I’m so late in getting back to you… I was out on an vacation for the past week and some days. I’m at the desk now and the opening for the monitor is exactly 18.5 inches.

As to sturdy, I think it’s just fine. I was just learning on the top and Richie was leaning on it too (while standing up) behind me watching a video – that’s pretty sturdy. Like I said before, the best part about it is that the main lid just folds up with ease. I did, however make a custom desk pad (think chipboard covered with a faux leather like fabric substance so I would have to piddle around with mouse pads, etc) and adhered it to the work surface.

One more note, this is not ‘some assembly required.’ It is TOTAL assembly required and by the end, I patience was stretched. But ultimately I love the look and it works really well.


Wow! I love your choice of colors. This room looks amazing and I especially love the green bathroom peeking from a distance. So glad I got to see this and congrats on all of your fame!

What a beatiful makeover! Warm, cozy, sophisticated.

I love the colors in this room. Very inspiring. The dark palette (the red piece is fabulous) with the white curtains — and LOVELY white door knobs.

Very, very nice.

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Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

The Laurel Street Cottage

February 2009
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