• Melissa Sanabria

INTRODUCING MY DESIGN STUDIO

This little ol’ blog celebrated its one-year anniversary last month! A lot has changed for our family over the course of the year and I have been remiss in updating you guys on all the juicy details. Assuming you want to know…here are the highlights: I left my 12+ year career in the financial services industry (I think this process warrants an entire post), officially launched my interior design firm (which I could not have done without the support the I received from so many of you!), turned 40 (not sure this is a highlight), and bought a lovely old house to restore and flip. And finally, my baby, Beatrice, started pre-school in September. What?!? After having an au pair for two and half years this is a pretty big change for us. We now have to get her up and ready and out of the house at a specific time every day so that’s a new challenge. And because it’s been a while since I shared some gratuitous photos of Bea here ya go:



I just love this little kiddo so much and I’m so proud of her for putting on her brave face for school. I’m pretty sure she cried about 5 minutes after this photo was taken.


There are also a few things that I did not get around to this year. Do you guys remember “my house (and life) goals for 2017” post? I hope not because I did not stick to many of those themes AT ALL. Namely, I was planning on running the New York Marathon this year and blog twice a week. Apparently I was incredibly well rested and/or delusional in January. The thought of adding those activities into the mix right now is making me tired (see previous note about turning 40). But once I decided to go all in and launch my design firm, I made the conscious decision to give myself some grace and take some other things off my plate.


About the design firm…I have been offering design services for about two years now, but had never really officially hung my shingle so that’s the biggest change for me this year. I’m officially putting myself out there into the world as a designer. That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s a huge step for me. I’ve always identified myself as an economist or a consultant so redefining myself in this way is awesome, but I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy.


Hanging my shingle meant that I needed to carve out dedicated studio space in my house so that I had an inspiring yet functional place to work. Oh, and I learned that when you’re a creative you get to call your office a studio and it sounds cooler but it’s really just a euphemism for office. Here she is, folks. My little studio!



We have a little bonus room off the back of our house that’s adjacent to the kitchen and that leads to our patio. It’s small, but it’s the perfect size for a small office. And it gets the best light in the whole house so it’s bright and lovely and I pretty much just hang out back here with my plants all day.



My desktop always looks like this, doesn’t yours?


Because we get so much light in this room, it’s the one spot in my house where we can pull off a dark, moody paint color. Here I used Blue Note by Benjamin Moore. AND it’s chalk board paint. Did you guys know that you can get almost any Benjamin Moore color in a chalk board finish? I did not and was excited by this. I know chalk board walls are so 2012, but the truth is that they can be really functional. In this space, I wanted to give Bea an area where she can hang out and draw (she LOVES to “chalk”) while I’m working or while I’m cooking (this wall is adjacent to the kitchen too). It also gives me a place to write myself reminders, keep track of metrics, or write myself generic inspirational messages.



To create my design library (fancy name for “storage”), I added some Elfa shelving. They may not be the prettiest shelves on the planet, but I love that they are adjustable and I can add to them over time. They are also super easy to install especially if you actually read the instructions first (trust me). You can see that I’m leaving the shelves about 4 feet off the ground because I don’t want Bea to poke herself in the eye and I want to free up the space below for her to draw. Eventually I think that I will add a few more shelves below for storage but for now these will do.



I LOVE that my studio opens to the patio (you can read more about my patio makeover in this post). If the mosquitoes are not in full-swing attack mode, I can work outside while still having access to our wifi and printer and yet I feel like I’ve actually left the house. Win win.



Oh, and did I mention that my studio does double duty as the laundry room? Yep. This is small-space living at its finest, folks. This room has two distinct functions. Three, really, if you think of it as a play space for Bea too. It is pretty convenient that I can get laundry done while, say, writing this blog post, but it can be a bummer when I have to turn off the dryer so that I can make a phone call. To the right of the washer and dryer is a powder room, which I have not renovated yet so I’m not showing you guys at this point, but it is convenient and does make for a pretty comfy office space.



What do you guys think of the little studio-that-could? Isn’t it amazing what you can do with only a little bit of space? My desk and file cabinet are on wheels in case I need to move them and the adjustable wall shelves let me take advantage of the vertical space in this room. Add pretty paint, some plants, and a vintage rug and suddenly the laundry room is a design studio. Links are below if you want to get the look!


1.Desk | 2.Chair (similar) | 3. Filing Cabinet | 4. Elfa Shelves | 5. Rug (vintage) | 6. Macrame Plant Hanger | 7. Copper Desk Lamp (similar) | 8. Small Striped Tray | 9. Wire Storage Baskets with Copper Handles


So now that I have a big fancy design studio, what can you expect to see on the blog going forward? I plan to share all the gory details about the flip house (I can’t wait to show you guys! I took LOTS of before pics and I’ll write a post soon to show you) so you can see what the process is like and how much everything really costs. It also means that I hope to share more room reveals as I’m wrapping up a few client projects, and I am also trying to get some more work done around my house so that I can share that too (my house is always the last one to get attention).


If you have been with me on this journey for the past year, thank you so much for your support. I am so very appreciative that you take time out of your day to read this blog and comment and send me emails. If you’re new the to the blog, welcome and thank you for making it to the end of this post! I hope you stick around to see how this thing goes!


Happy Friday, everyone! It’s going to be a beautiful weekend here in DC; I hope you all have a lovely weekend too wherever you are!

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