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The Home Office Saga. Crying involved.

by | Jan 22, 2008 | Decorating Inspiration, Domesticity, Offices, Organization

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The Home Office Saga. Crying involved.

No pain, no gain, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes? Redecorating, remodeling or re-arranging is sometimes downright painful! If it isn’t the mess involved, the frustration of the decisions, or the expense of it all, it is the emotional torment or battle that can go along with change. But, as with everything that is worthwhile, you sometimes have to suffer a bit for the cause. Isn’t that the truth?! I am suffering just a bit right now because of a little project I am working on. Ok, I’m suffering a lot. Sniff! I’ll tell you about that in a minute. I’ve got to grab my Kleenex first.

The Home Office Saga. Crying involved.

Some of you (at least all three of you who were reading my blog back in August!) will remember that I announced my exciting plans for a new master suite! The entire third floor of our house is going to become our retreat from the world! A bedroom for my hubby and me, an office for me, a boutique style closet with chandeliers and storage galore… Sound dreamy? Well, I’m still dreaming. Life happens and I have been too busy to actually get that project going.

How you girls manage to whip out so many home-improvement projects — like repainting all of your furniture — showing us how you did it step-by-step in photos on your blog and still manage to cook something for dinner in your cute little apron is a mystery to me! I seem to run out of hours in the day before I get to do anything pretty around my own house. And if I do manage a little project, I forget to feed my son dinner. Oops! I usually realize it when he is eating his sixth bowl of cereal. Bless his little heart, he finds his own meals sometimes.

Here is what transpired over at my house this week. My son came up to me while I was at the computer desk the other day saying (in his most serious and concerned seven-year-old tone):

“Mom, could we please clean up this room? There are piles over here, piles over there and it just doesn’t look good. It looks terrible in here.”

Ha! Out of the mouths of babes. Even my son recognized the problem! I need my own office! I need file cabinets! I need shelves! I need my own room to work in! I need cute boxes and notebooks and colored file folders! We all agree on that! And once a seven-year-old is complaining about the lack of order and style, you know the time has come to take action.

So with that little nudge from my son, my dear, sweet, thoughtful husband took pity on his overworked wife and decided he would dive in on my behalf. While I was on a phone conference last night, he started in on my new office! We realized that this master suite project was a big undertaking, so it was best to break it up in to smaller more manageable chunks. The best place to start was with the room that would help me the most — my new office. No more dragging our feet. We just had to dive in and get going. And that he did (sorry, none of these photos are mine, technical difficulties are preventing a photo of the real room).

The Home Office Saga. Crying involved.

But here is the painful part.

Starting on my office meant taking apart our 19-year-old daughter’s bed and packing away her personal belongings.

There. I said it.

You see, my new office has been her bedroom for over four years. It is MY DAUGHTER’S BEDROOM I am stealing for my own convenience. I know this is a line parents are not supposed to cross. Never, EVER, dismantle a college age child’s room while they are living in a dorm. Isn’t that a rule? I think it is. You don’t want them to feel they don’t have a room to return to on school breaks. And I do want her to come home! I do! I miss her so while she is at school.

The Home Office Saga. Crying involved..

But, trust me, we’ve discussed this thoroughly with her and have promised to provide her with a new room. She completely understands and supports the re-purposing of her room on behalf of my business!

But agreeing on this didn’t make us feel good about it as the bed was dismantled. No, we didn’t feel good at all. We stood in the room without a bed and just looked at it. Little lumps grew in our throats and little tears were in our eyes. Visions of our little girl climbing into that now dismantled bed flooded our minds. She was just barely into her teens when she moved to this room. This was her little world! Was this symbolic of the end of her childhood? Were we pushing her out of the nest by taking over her room? Would she ever come back? Oh, I’m telling ya. Being a parent is rough. You always worry you are doing it wrong. And the milestones are so bittersweet.

The Home Office Saga. Crying involved.

Ok, so this project is a bit emotional for us. It is the right thing to do and we all agree that the change will be for the best. But that doesn’t stop the emotions when you see it happening.

Time is marching on and we can’t go back.

The good news is, if I can bear to think of it, is that I now have a space of my own to work with! Hip Hip Hooray! I am now dreaming of what the room will look like and how organized I will be! There will be file cabinets and shelves, a pine table and lamps and OH MY this will be such fun! That is what I am telling myself. Through my tears. Thanks for being a shoulder to cry on.

Now I am ready to find that new office furniture.

all photos from Cottage Living online


  1. Barb

    Your baby is growing up! Have a good cry, Melissa.

    Then tear into that redecorating project. You’ve earned a space of your own!

  2. Debra W

    Oh Melissa,

    Now I have my tissues out, too. Knowing that we are entering a new phase of life, along with our children, is a very difficult adjustment. With my oldest being a junior in college, and my second daughter moving on to college in the fall, my house is going to begin feeling mighty empty. I haven’t been able to repurpose my eldest daughter’s room as of yet, but maybe someday soon.

    They leave us too soon, but maybe your new office will help you to give birth to a whole new set of projects and ideas. That should give you something wonderful to look forward to. I am sure that the new space will be beautiful, and that your daughter’s new room will end up being filled with many, many more lovely memories for years to come.

    Big hugs from one transitioning mom to another,

  3. jackie von tobel

    As painful as it is to admit that your children have moved on or out as the case may be – at least you are using the space for something very important – your sanity! I am struggling with the thought of turning my 21 year old son’s room into a huge closet for my husband and I. It backs up on to our double walk-in closets that should be amble but are busting at the seems. So I am probably going to pack up my son”s childhood memories for something as trivial as more shoe storage. Now don’t you feel more noble about your office?

  4. jlanier2001

    Hi Melissa,
    Since you’ve discussed the room change to your daughter and she’s OK with it, then you should feel fine about it too. It’s natural to weep reminiscently though. I’m not a Mom but I can look at it from your daughter’s viewpoint remembering my college days. I think you’re setting a very good example for your daughter. You know you need to have an office to continue your work and you’ve had a loving discussion with her to make sure she won’t be hurt. This event will help your daughter in her future decisions because she sees Mom pursuing her dreams and so she will know it’s important that she pursues hers too.

    I really enjoyed the office examples you posted. Had not seen those before. I wish there were more books and websites with home office ideas. I’m always tweaking my studio! Guess it’s evolving!

  5. Mockingbird Hill

    Totally relate to this…we did the same thing! But, after graduation she decided to come home, so now visitors have to rough it on the family room couch. No more Guest Room, but we are all together and that’s a good thing!!


  6. Rachael

    Oh that was a big moving on, moving in . . . very tough on a Mama. Rachael:)

  7. Becky K.

    Oh boy do I hear you! You really do need a space of your own…so go for it! Treasure the memories and embrace the future relationship with your grown daughter.
    My kids occasionally find their own dinners as well…not bragging…just saying…it happens!

    When you get all of your paper piles under control…I’ve got a few here…

    Becky K.

  8. Robin

    I sympathize….I don’t have a workspace and have used my sewing machine at the kitchen table, the kitchen island and even considered the coffee table…meanwhile my hubby has a sweet lil office all his own….sigh….

  9. andrea danielle

    Oh goodness, that will be hard. Luckily, I still have many more your to go. you had me absolutely laughing aout loud at our similarity. not enough hours in the day and mange to feed your child. I am the same way when i am working on a project. dinner is the last thing on my mind. My seven year old would just starve before he would fix a bowl of cereal, it’s my 3 year old that is self sufficient. Hint…I put all the snacks on the lower shelf of the pantry so he doesn’t have to disturb me, but he is getting really handy with the chair, so he can get a glass for some water…bless his heart! (that’s only when I forget to refill the plastic cups next to the water dispenser)

  10. Kathleen Grace

    Ah Melissa,
    I too have a 19 year old daughter and another who will be entering college this fall. With a small house I already cast a longing glance at their rooms on occasion! LOL! but I also dread the day I will have the opportunity to use them for something else. I dont think it is as important that you are using her current room as it is that you always have room for her to come home. She might actually be looking forward to the new room she will get when the remodel is finished! If it were my daughters I know they would be thinking about some new things they could do with a different room in that situation:>) So, this isnt the end of an era yet Melissa, just a little shuffle of the rooms you use. You will no doubt still have her around for a few years, dig in and enjoy your remodel and the room you create. You’re not losing a daughter, you’re gaining an office!

  11. janet

    I remember having that discussion with my youngest son when he was a junior in college. He didn’t care at all. He is the least sentimental of all the boys, but it was still hard for me. The hardest part of all is that the room has just become a storage repository instead of the TV room it is going to be…someday:).


    PS. I got the guest room from another son who moved out, so some progress is being made!

  12. Mrs.Limestone

    Can’t wait to see what your new office looks like – you have a fabulous style so I can only imagine. Im looking for inspiration for my own tiny office to be so your timing could not be more perfect.

  13. Elizabeth

    When I left for college my youngest sister claimed my room, put posters up over all my Laura Ashley wallpaper and threw my stuff into her old room. It was a little off-putting at first, but it wasnt too bad. I’m sure your daughter will adjust just fine, it’s probably harder on you than her! :) Just focus on your very own office… you cant put a price tag on having your own space!

  14. Thirkellgirl

    I told my folks I didn’t care if they moved from Massachusetts to Florida while I was away at college, but I did. Just saying…

  15. Rhoda

    Awww, Melissa, it will be OK. Life after college is never quite the same at home anyway. I’m sure both you & your daughter will adjusts to the new changes. AND, you’ll get a beautiful home office too. Change is good…just remember that! Can’t wait to see what wonderful inspiration you come up with.


  16. Pat

    You’ve made the major step in the journey to your new space. I know how difficult it must have been for you!

    Now, I’m looking forward to seeing your new office, Melissa. It’s going to be fabulous!


  17. Melissa

    Hi Girls! I should clarify in upcoming posts about this that really SHE is NOT emotionally attached to this room. While it has been hers for four years, she is in her second year of living at the dorm (she is almost 20!).

    Had this been her childhood room from an early age, I think I would feel differently. She is actually looking forward to her new room because we can paint it the color she always wanted. And, I think she really has her mind set on growing up and moving out, she is an independent girl! So, really you are right, it is more emotional for ME than it really is for her. I hope!

  18. Catherine

    Melissa, I know how you feel. Our son is finishing up his masters degree and I still can’t believe he is going to be gone soon. His room is the third floor and has been his private sanctuary for 7 years. We moved here when he was in high school. I will have to decide soon if this will be my new art studio or my husband’s messy office. It is seeming more logical to put my husband’s office on the third floor where it can’t be seen by anyone else. But, I can still envision a beautiful large art studio too! Decisions are difficult! It’s hard to let go of our children!

  19. anne

    I have a spare room for when my boys and grandchildren come to stay…my husband has an office, which I have a PC in, but I am going to create a little office corner in my front room, for my laptop.

    Your right Melissa it is more emotional for mums, and I am sure she will love her new room.

  20. julia

    in the middle of this same situation myself. I wish that I could say it’s been an easy transition but having two rooms that i have to re-invent from “theirs” to “ours” is just plain weird.
    This time of letting go kind of stifled my creative juices but each day does get easier… good for you for sharing your heart. It helps!

  21. Esther Sunday

    This was so cute. Your son saying what he said – priceless! How sweet of your hubbers to dive right in! Sorry about your daughter’s room. That does give a lump in the throat. Can’t wait to see the results! Love, Esther

  22. Julie

    Aww, honey! I’m sure it must be hard to let go of the past. I hate change (as you well know) so I feel your angst! But as long as your daughter is ok with it…take in a deep breath…grab a few kleenexes…and get moving. It’ll be ok. And as you sit and sob, packing her things, grab a glass of wine and know that I’m with you in spirit, holding your hand through this.


  23. Erin

    Oh Melissa, I hear you! My kids aren’t grown just yet but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think about the day that they do. I have been trying to make a craft room for myself in our basement and it has meant long hours of clearing clutter and getting rid of things that we no longer have a use for (but still hold memories) and it is SO hard. I keep trying to see the end result but it has been difficult! I found lots of art projects and papers from the preschool and kindergarten years. Mementos from the day each of our kids were born. mementos from our wedding day. I kept all of them. I can’t bear to part with anything! Now, if I could just find a place to store them! I feel your pain!

    Ps- I’ve tagged you for a “7 weird or random things about me” meme. If you have some free time, (I know, I know, free time??!!) stop by my blog for all the details. Have a great day!

  24. JO

    Our children will always be our babies in our mind… no matter how old they get…. so of course there is a bit of an emotional attachment on your part even if it was only four years that she was using that room …

    How exciting though to begin a new decorating aventure for your own space …. and just think how happy you will be once you have it finished



  25. Neutral Dwelling

    We have embarked on the same path this past weekend! and it is emotional for Moms- dismantling a grown too soon child’s room. I have shed a few tears myself!
    But, I am trying to think of it as a wonderful decorating project! Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Our new space is going go be used by the hubby for a music studio :)

  26. Vee

    What an exciting time for you and your family! I am sure that you will make it up to your dd in spades. :>

  27. Jill

    I am giving my four-year old a big hug in a second. I KNOW that the time is going to go sooooo fast. I love your comment about how quickly other bloggers seem to get their projects done…I am completely amazed too!

  28. sandy

    Hi Melissa! Change is good and you just have to go with the flow. When we moved into our current home, I had it all planned to have my office upstairs in the loft. But then I realized I could not see the kids while they were in the pool. So … in the bedroom it went. My office/work desk (I work from home), right by the back slider, next to the pool. It’s not ideal to have my office in my bedroom but, “oh well.”
    I’m really not a project girl – I can be! But I’m trying to put those aside during these crucial, precious years with my kids. So yes! I get the food on the table – but I don’t get the projects done! LOL.
    Thanks for sharing … Blessings! Sandy

  29. Terri

    Oh, I so know what you mean! Ashley is getting married in March and I have totally redecorated her room in my mind! It will be an awesome guest room! I do feel guilty about it but I am hoping that she and Eric will want to come “home” on the weekend and feel pampered while staying here!

  30. megan duerksen

    i have been in diapers and time-outs stage for so long i never even realized this was a phase i have to go through yet.
    when i started reading i thought “what’s the big deal…she’s in college!” but then thinking of my oldest daughter all grown up and out of the house was tough.
    i would have a hard time with it too!
    you know the office will be great…comfy and cozy.
    i like the green office.

  31. Jill

    Yes, it’s very hard! Having a room of your own, though, will be fabulous. Can you set up your daughter’s bed in another room? I was lucky – I took over my daughter’s room when she left to get married so I didn’t have to feel guilty about it. I mean, she’d better NOT be coming back!

  32. Aimee

    I was just thinking about you yesterday and wondering whatever happened to your master suite project! I’m sure your office will be amazing! Please share pictures!

    I’m beginning to realize that no matter what stage of parenting you are in, it’s NEVER easy!

  33. shelbi

    you deserve a room of your own melissa…i am working on this as well…since my 15 yr old is usually in his brother’s room anyway, he recently ‘gave up ‘ his little room in order for ‘mom’ to have some space of her own! i battle my own guilt, but oh heavens! can it be true! a space of my own to create!

    now i just stand at the door of the room, look in, and feel an anxiety attack over ‘where to start’….

    it will be my ‘studio’ …but a big undertaking….! we are together in spirit on this project melissa~


  34. kim in Camas - ScrapToMyLu

    I think somebody needs a cupcake! As long as she has a space, she’ll be fine. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  35. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Melissa, we are with you sister!!! Well when your seven year old tells you that, maybe it’s time to do something! lol Don’t know how all those ladies get to do all they do either, I don’t even get time to get the washing on somedays so you are not alone there! Melissa your daughter will have a new beautiful space, and so will you :) No pain no gain so true! We look forward to seeing your project take flight! Jenn and Jacqui xo

  36. anindiansummer

    Melissa, I am sure you will come up with a great home office now that you have started. :-) All the best and keep sharing updates!


  37. Irene

    I have been feeling like that ever since my eldest daughter joined womanhood…However, you are making a wise choice. Sanity and a place to call your own are a must for a happy mum and a happy family.

  38. Penny, Mosaic Artist

    Awe… is very hard watching our babies grow up…..But think of the wonderful space you are going to have to create in!!

  39. Design for Mankind

    Awww, you are SO sweet. As a daughter, I respect and support your decision 100%!

    Love to you, dear. And go get ’em!

  40. {this is glamorous}

    Hello Melissa!

    First of all, I’d like to say, “a boutique style closet with chandeliers?!” That sounds amazing–very much looking forward to when you get to that part of the renovations!

    Secondly, it was so bittersweet, reading about how you felt about converting your daughter’s room into a home office. I’m certain she understands and of course she’ll always come home, and imagine having your own office to while away long blogging hours!


  41. Carol

    Oh Melissa, I so know what you mean about walking into your kids room when they are gone and having a lump in your throat. My two boys are both away at College, I treasured the Holiday’s so much when they were home and sleeping in their rooms once again. But not to worry, my college graduate daughter did move back home while looking for her first real job. So I am not totally suffering from empty nest syndrome.
    I know the day will come though when I will need to think about redoing their rooms ~not sure my heart will be ready though.

  42. All Things Bright and Beautiful

    Oh cherub – you poor darlin’ oh I have tears in m eyes and my children are all under 3!!

    Oh cuddle to you – BIG Cuddle

    Big BIg BIG CUDDLE to you

  43. casacaudill

    If it makes you feel at all better, my parents claimed my bedroom for another not even 20 minutes after I’d left for college … and I was absolutely okay with it because I was AT COLLEGE and that was so much more exciting than my old bedroom at home. I’m sure you daughter IS absolutely okay with it. :-)


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