Our growing design team completed a one-day home office design and renovation project for Julia Watson, author behind the http://fivefairiesandafella.com/ blog and the recently published book ‘Breakfast, School Run, Chemo’ (which we also designed the cover for), which chronicles her life with four gorgeous daughters, her wonderful husband Gary and her life with cancer. She’s doing it really tough and she wanted an inspiring space to write in and also somewhere to chill out when she wasn’t feeling well.

She had fashioned a home office space for herself in an unusually shaped room under the stairs but it quickly filled up with the clutter of six people! This is what it looked like once Jules and Gary cleared all the junk out.

Home Office Design Melbourne for Julia Watson - Before Image

Above: Julia’s oddly-shaped room showing the small nook under the stairs.

Home Office Design Melbourne for Julia Watson - Nook Before

Above: And this is the other ‘end’.

Not only were we working with an incredibly tiny room but it had to serve two functions – be a work area for Jules’s writing – and also a space to relax in.

Sound tough? Actually, design challenges like this are incredibly fun to puzzle through. Design is as much about problem-solving as it is about creativity, and luckily our team of three are good at both.

Judge for yourself!

The New Home Office Design and Renovation

Home Office Design Melbourne for Julia Watson - After

Home Office Design and Renovation in Melbourne for Julia Watson - Desk Space After

Above: Julia’s gorgeous new home office design features suspended conical light bulbs with visible filaments from 2K Labware and a ‘Love Party’ poster with text by Catherine Deveny and design by Jen Clark Design.

Once the room had been cleared these are the steps we took to take this space from ‘depressive’ to impressive!

1. Sand and treat office walls.

These neglected walls had a few lumps and bumps that we needed to smooth out to create a perfect foundation for painting. There were also holes from old picture hooks that needed filling.

2. Paint office

We chose Dulux White for most of the home office’s walls and Dulux Mushroom to create a feature wall over Jules’s desk. After one coat we found Mushroom to be a bit pale to create contrast with the white so we bolted back to Bunnings to get the colour strengthened (there’s no charge to get your paint lightened or darkened).

3. Design to maximise space.

Did we already say that this room is TINY? One thing that greatly reduced an already pint-sized room was the door. It opened into the room and along one wall, which made that area of the room completely unusable. To solve this design problem we removed the original door and replaced it with a concertina door that instantly gave the room about 1/3 more space! We used this brand-new area for a gorgeous sideboard that not only gave Jules heaps of extra storage but somewhere to display a few personal items as well. Small change, BIG impact.

Melbourne Home Office Renovation for Julia Watson - Door removed - Before and After

4. Find a hero piece.

Every room needs a design hero and this home office is no exception.  In this room it’s the stunning peacock-blue chair. We’ve already had enquiries as to where it can be purchased but it’s a one-off design! Our faithful leader Jen sourced it on Ebay. As the budget for this room was quite small we used a lot of flat-pack items purchased from big stores like Ikea and Officeworks. But this unique chair lends the space a lovely bespoke feel.

Home Office Design's peacock-blue armchair - hero piece - After


Julia has blogged her feelings about the new room here and in doing so confirmed for us that we’d hit the mark  – and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

Suppliers for this project included 2Klabware, IKEA, Officeworks, Adairs, eBay, Freedom Furniture and Bunnings.