Several weeks ago I received a call that actually made me jump out of my seat – an opportunity to be a part of Katie Couric’s daytime talk show! When the discussions began, I had no idea that I was going to have the honor to work with Katie herself and makeover her very own home office. Needless to say, as more details came in about the project I got more and more excited. The planning for the project was fast and the turnaround time for the installation and the shoot were even faster yet. Six hours to do a total declutter makeover?! That’s unheard of! However, by combining my team with hers it was a task we were all ready to roll up our sleeves and take on.
The entire project was an incredible experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Katie’s team truly helped to make the experience a memorable one. I am not only grateful for having had this opportunity, but I am deeply indebted to Katie and everyone who was involved.
It has been 20 days since we began this journey and today I am super excited for America to finally see the product of many hours of hard work. I hope that everyone finds our tips to be easy and helpful. Since not everything could make it into the show, below are some additional thoughts and tips that I thought I’d share from the transformation. Enjoy!
- Wires – Messy cords are probably the number one kind of visual clutter that stirs up my anxiety like none other. I see it and feel almost instantly compelled to unplug everything and start fresh with wrapping and bundling. Cords and wires are a notorious culprit of visual clutter for many people and are actually a very easy thing to neaten up. With Katie’s cords, all it took were some zip ties (also known as cable ties), a couple 3M Command Cord Clips, a BlueLounge Cable Box (one of my favorite items, which I wrote about back in 2010) and a little patience. In about 20 minutes we had all the wires rerouted, wrapped up and looking neat.
- Multi-functional furniture – As I mentioned during the makeover segment, multi-functional furniture should almost always be considered for a room. Finding the right 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 piece of furniture that matches your taste in design can feel like you’ve struck gold. Pieces like the Safavieh ottomans we found on Overstock.com are great for adding additional storage, an extra seat or a place to put your feet up. Using two smaller ottomans like we did also allows for more flexibility within the room. If you have children and want to open up the floor for play time or are entertaining a lot of mingling guests, these are easy to move out of the way to create a bit more space.
- Mailboxes – If you are like most of us in America, then you will agree that mail is a huge source of clutter in our homes and offices. Personally, I have made it my mission to remove myself from as many mailing lists as I can by making phone calls to the various credit card and catalog companies and using services like catalogchoice.org. While that process does take time, there are more immediate methods to help manage mail such as the sorting system we created for Katie using the Kvarnvik linen boxes from Ikea to help her separate her personal mail from her work mail. This quick, macro-level sorting allows her to manage her mail more efficiently and avoid feeling too overwhelmed by having it as one large bundle.
- Frames – A large part of Katie’s home office makeover was her photo collection. There were framed photos on the wall and on the shelves, as well as several unframed photos in various drawers and piles around the room. Katie was definitely on the right path with her photo gallery wall by using uniform frames to create a visual story; however, it was upstaged by too many differently framed photos on the dresser in front of it and the two large lamps. Photo gallery walls are tricky because too many frames on a wall and in one place will start feeling cluttered and can make it harder to enjoy the special memories each picture holds. In Katie’s case, our solution was to simply move the photo gallery wall from the space above the dresser where it was harder to see to a space above the sofa where it became more of a focal point in the room. The wall above the sofa provides more breathing room for the photos and are now the first thing her eyes see as she walks in. We kept continuity throughout the visual story by using frames that had a similar color tone, like she had initially done, however we used frames with a darker wood to create a softer contrast with the red wall. By mixing the espresso multi-mat frames from Pottery Barn with some non-matted espresso toned frames from Hobby Lobby we were able to add some variation while maintaining a unified look.
- Desktop – One of the initial things I noticed when walking into Katie’s office was the size of her desk. The antique desk is beautiful, but it is very small and had a limited amount of work-space due to the papers, notes, random items and more photos that were covering the surface. Since we didn’t want to replace the desk, I wanted to open up the surface space and allow her to view her photos and other special items at the same time. To do this, we had a piece of quarter inch glass cut to fit the top of her desk exactly. Then, since I also wanted to lighten up the space and bring some texture and dimension to the desktop, we cut a piece of linen to place between the desk and the glass. We cleared off the top of the desk, laid the down the linen, neatly placed our special photos and notes on top of the linen and gently set the glass on top. This simple update opened up the desk’s work surface, updated the look of the desk, lightened up the area, and was completed for less than $150. Katie loved it!
- A Little Pop – There is something about a little pop of color or special design detail that can sometimes bring a smile to a person’s face. It’s a treat that brightens the day and in some cases, even helps to incentivize organization. If fighting clutter is not something that comes naturally for you, try adding some flair and style to the area to keep it neat and tidy. You’ll visually appreciate the styled space more and have more of that incentive to keep it put together. We used this technique in Katie’s desk drawers by lining them with a fun, bold-printed wrapping paper which we found at Paper Source. Once we cut and laid the paper in the drawer, we then outfitted them with clear drawer dividers that we found at the Container Store. We chose clear dividers so that the bold colors from the paper could shine through. Now, not only are Katie’s supplies organized, the extra pop of color helps to make it worthwhile to stay organized.