Interior

Before and After: This Dramatic, IKEA Hacked Home Office Redo Will Inspire You

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Home offices weren’t on a lot of people’s “must-do” lists prior to 2020. Michael and Nicole Francis of 1776 Faux Farmhouse were no different: When they moved into their new-build home at the beginning of 2020, they didn’t classify their office as top priority. So after painting the walls with a high-quality paint, upgrading the flush mount light to an industrial-style semi-flush mount light, adding a secondhand desk, and accenting the space with a rug and some curtains, they were ready to move on. “We felt like we could call it good and focus on other areas of our home,” Nicole says.

But, she says, “Fast forward a few weeks and Michael was working from home full-time due to COVID-19. At first, we were told that it would only be a two week work-from-home order, which was fine.” But even though the space was minimally functional, it lacked both desk space and privacy for conference calls. “With a 2-year-old it wasn’t practical for drives around our city every other hour to make sure there was peace and quiet,” Nicole says.

“It was just not working for us, but we only needed to do this for two weeks,” she says. Then, well, you know the rest. What started out as two went to three then to four and finally, Michael finally got an indefinite work-from-home order. “That was all the confirmation we needed,” Nicole says. “If our at-home office was going to become an office, we needed to make this work for our family.”

Nicole and Michael knew they needed to take revamp the office to make it both private and practical while also reflecting their home’s modern farmhouse aesthetic. They started with built-ins around the entire room, which are made from IKEA BILLY bookcases painted deep blue. They also added a window seat, which makes the room feel a little cozier—not like a purely functional space. The desk was another DIY project, made from concrete.

One crucial point of the design was the new door—something Michael and Nicole didn’t envision needing when they first moved in. “While we were in the beginning stages of our build, Michael and I intentionally left the entryway open,” Nicole says. “We really wanted an open concept office and felt that doors would take away from that. So when we our privacy issue arouse, we needed a solution that would block out the noise but still allow us the open concept we were desiring.”

A barn door fit the bill: It could be closed to allow for some privacy and sound blocking, but when open, preserved the open-concept feel of the entry.

The new home office is a hit for everyone in the family, Nicole says. “Michael is able to have the privacy needed for conference calls all thanks to our amazing barn door,” she says. “I am no longer driving aimlessly around town with our two year old trying to kill time so that he can have peace and quiet. Our two year old is loving the ability to sit on the bench in the office while her dad is working and not feel like it is an area where she isn’t allowed anymore.”

“We really feel like we customized our builder grade home and gave it the major upgrade that it deserves,” Nicole says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

Megan Baker

Home Projects Editor

Megan is a writer and editor who specializes in home upgrades, DIY projects, hacks, and design. Before Apartment Therapy, she was an editor at HGTV Magazine and This Old House Magazine. Megan has a degree in Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is a self-taught weighted blanket connoisseur.

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