This is a guest post by my fabulous eDesign team member Lisa. She has a gorgeous historical home and she recently did a revamp in coordination with Photowall for her home office. What a creative and inspiring space to work in – especially with such a pretty backdrop for Zoom calls!
From boring farmhouse to romantic landscape
When my husband and I purchased this old home and started renovating it 8 years ago, I too fell victim to the “farmhouse” craze and implemented this trendy style into all the rooms with decor, paint and hard finishes.
EVERY colour decision I made was either black, white, beige or grey – even on the exterior. So, it’s a good thing the existing brown roof was new and wasn’t changing AND that our budget only allowed for stock white windows. Otherwise I would’ve chosen black for both and we all know where that would have left me.
Working from home as part of the MK eDesign team has literally been a dream come true! Once I started, I immediately set up shop in this dining/crafting space that is central to the main areas of our home so I could still be present in the daily happenings, all while having a dedicated space for work.
Exhibit A: Farmhouse office (BEFORE)
It was “ok” but it lacked real style, personality and COLOUR! As I started following, and later working for Maria I quickly realized my problem – I ignored the existing fixed finishes in my home and tried way too hard to turn it into something it clearly was not.
White furniture and a completely neutral colour palette did absolutely nothing for the rich wood trim and historical nature of this home. The decor was merely a hodge podge of furniture without any real character or interest. Although I work from home I still wanted a space that felt like a “real” office – something that was both inspiring to work in but also flowed with the other living space.
Once I started considering the existing elements rather than simply ignoring them was when the magic started to happen and the spaces in our home came to life and looked as though a designer had touched them.
Landscape wall mural inspiration
I was truly inspired by the mural Chris Loves Julia installed in their home office – it created a moody and dramatic feel, which was just what I wanted for my space as well. However, wrapping the entire room in a mural or wallpaper was not something I was interested in doing.
A feature wall is better suited for the room since this wall was such a focal point in the space and the adjoining living area as well.
And of course this stunning feature wall would create the prettiest backdrop for daily zoom calls with the MK team.
Photowall generously agreed to work with me on this project for Maria’s blog. First, I ordered samples of murals I liked to get a true read of the colours. As I mentioned before, the massive orange toned woodwork is the boss when it comes to choosing coordinating colours and finishes so comparing is a MUST!
Once the samples arrived I immediately knew which one worked best with the woodwork and also had the moody and sophisticated vibe I was after. The next step was creating a mood board to help visualize the mural in the space.
This mural is quite tricky as it contains nearly every neutral in Maria’s system, however the most prominent neutral undertone in the background of the paper is what direction I wanted to go for painting the walls.
Once I determined violet grey was the right choice I pulled out my large colour boards and started comparing violet greys in Maria’s system to the mural and my woodwork as well to ensure a good match all while having enough warmth to complement the trim that is such a prominent feature throughout.
Testing with Maria’s large painted colour boards
My colour shopping besties: Mood Boards & Colour Boards
As the mood board began to take shape I started shopping for accessories in both a deep blue green and violet grey to provide connection to the colours present in the mural and the green I was already decorating with in other areas of our home to create flow.
A mood board is extremely helpful in getting the colour right while shopping online. Using the paint dots from the palette allowed me to narrow down the selections for textiles and decor while shopping online.
The mural went up like a breeze. It was customized to the exact measurements of my wall and came in 10 easy-to-install strips – all labeled so no mistakes could be made – so simple to do!
Landscape mural wall reveal
Here’s how it turned out…
Since the mural is quite dark, and such a large element, I needed to repeat the same depth of colour again in a small and medium scale to ensure proper balance. (Just like Maria talks about how to incorporate black in your decorating).
I did this with a charcoal sideboard (medium) that melts into the background visually, allowing the mural and decor to be the star and then repeated the darkness again with the black chandelier (small). Even that dark old radiator seems to melt into the background now – don’t you think?
Pretty lighting and plenty of lamps
And let’s not forget lighting! This is the single most important lesson I ever learned from following Maria – every room needs lamps in order to have a look and a feel that gives balance and mood.
And not just the set of 3 matching lamps you buy in a box set! Always choose a variety of lighting for a more collected look.
And don’t forget, your overhead lighting should be pretty as well. So of course I had to add a trendy bubble chandelier that gives off the most beautiful violet hue through the soft white frosted bulbs – it is truly like I am sitting under a cloud.
I love that my pup is a bit violet grey too!
I am a budget shopper, so most of these items were purchased online at Target, Amazon, Home Depot and Kirkland’s and are linked above under my mood board – except for the puppy. Because he’s priceless ♥️.
Fun fact – you know you have the best boss ever when she gifts you pretty lamps for your birthday. This antique brass stick lamp is a constant reminder of how gracious and thoughtful Maria is ♥️ and it fits so well into the design.
I also like to include a few vintage pieces in a room as a nod to its history, like this antique teacher’s desk that the previous homeowners gifted me when they passed this home on to us. (and we love our original pocket doors that still work to divide the room from our living room)
Mixing patterns can be tricky, but helps give the room depth and dimension. I fell in love with this diamond pattern rug and it connects perfectly to the deeper greens in the mural and then I added these pinstriped footstools, which happen to also be violet and green grey 😉 Layers of texture in warm brass metal accents, woven baskets, and chunky textiles, are a cozy addition as well.
Go ahead and take a look at the before again…
And now the after….
Since learning Maria’s system and coming into my own as a highly trained designer I have labeled all the rooms in our home either PM or AM (“Pre Maria” or “After Maria”) because learning her system is truly like “night and day.” Comment below if you agree!
And I am so happy to have added yet another space to the “After Maria” category. Be sure to head on over to Photowall to see gobs of pretty wall murals!
Oh, and this lovely workspace doubles as a wrapping station this season… here’s a one more look at my home office with some holiday vibes. Merry Christmas everyone!
Thank you Lisa!
And thank YOU to everyone who visits this blog, my social media accounts, shares comments, purchases something, or simply enjoys my content – I’m so GRATEFUL for each and everyone of you. Wishing you the merriest of holidays this season and looking forward to a wonderful new year.
Snowed in? It’s the perfect time to snag one of my online courses and snuggle in on the sofa with a glass of wine. Just sayin’ 🙂