IT'S HEEEEERE!!!! The first finished room of MaoHaus is complete with before and afters!

If you've been reading for a while you know my husband and I bought our first home about 3 years ago: an 1890's folk Victorian home in a historic district. Because we like a challenge and are gluttons for punishment. MaoHaus is a lot of work. There's nothing glamorous about restoring (not renovating where you throw everything out and make it 'new'...restoring is when you work to improve 100+ years of damage to its former glory while adding your personal flare. BTW, we like clean modern and Scandinavian, so this was a way bigger challenge with a Victorian home which is typically dark and flourishy). Would it have been easier to move into a new home in a neighborhood? Sure. But not what we want. Throughout the first few years we've installed central heating and air, new gutters, removed an exterior stair case, removed a chain link fence around the property, pulled up carpet and  subfloor, restored the 'grand staircase' ...oh and literally removed every interior wall of the first floor. And the blow in cellulose insulation (think shredded paper). And plaster (too damaged to save, but upstairs is fine). And lath. In fact, we've really just wanted to call the house The Onion because we've removed so many layers. Also, I am amazing with a crowbar.

It's a labor of love and nothing like you see on HGTV or some blogs. Shit does not happen in a week or a month. No one freaking demolishes a kitchen and installs carrera marble and perfectly staged cabinets in a weekend (especially not if they're doing it themselves). That's why this is the first project we're sharing so far in. We don't want to be rushed. We don't want to 'feel bad' for not finishing rooms super fast and staged and blog ready. This is our home and we want to do right by it (usually the hard way), give the house the respect it deserves and make it our own. The husband and I are doing 90% of this restoration ourselves (because he has a background in building and design and we are ridiculously picky, also way less money). That means I honestly don't know when the next room is going to be ready to share! But that's reality: being 20 somethings running a business and restoring a historic home (meaning lots of town rules) is not easy. We are proud we made the decision to help restore this historic home, even though it means our home is in progress for a long time. Not a decision for everyone. As we always tell people 'it will be worth it when it's done'. 

We're thrilled to share more of our trials and tribulations and successes of restoring MaoHaus, but it happens when it happens. And when it does happen, it's going to be just right. In the mean time, you can catch mini looks by following the hashtag on Instagram. 

On to the office reveal!

House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!

AHHHH! Here's one side of the office. It's a former open second story front porch that was closed in at some point during the home's history. That wall on the right is literally wood siding. The floors are original and there are THREE WALLS of French double windows. Because the room is so long and narrow with so many windows, it was definitely a challenge to figure out the furniture configuration. I love the way it turned out: very uncluttered and clean. Modern yet heirloom (thanks to my Grandparents and parents!). 

So let's look at the before, shall we? 

Yeah, kill me. The room was bright yellow and the floors, once we removed the carpet and sub floor, were in good condition but covered in paint splotches and dry wall mud. The walls were riddled with holes or patches. All in all, this room really didn't need that much work but it needed lots of little fixes and a total color and floor re-do. And because this room served as my home office, we really, really didn't want to touch it because it would disrupt my work flow. 

So let's check out some more pictures, shall we?

The reading area

House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!
House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!
House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!

I use this side of the office for reading or lounging and sometimes taking calls.

House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!

the door and hooks

  • The door is BLACK AND I LOVE IT. We are painting all of our interior doors Benjamin Moore 'Onyx' with brass hardware. 
  • The black and white painting is by Meg Biram. 
  • The hooks are crazy ass basic white hooks from Home Depot. 
House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!
House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!

The Desk

House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!
House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!
House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!
House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!

the floors

After sanding the floors, I topped it off with this cowhide rug Rugs USA sent me. GUYS. This rug is AMAZING. If you're looking for a statement piece that's neutral, order it immediately. The cowhide looks like marble herringbone tile. I love that Rugs USA has so many sizes! I was having a killer time finding something to fit this long skinny room until Rugs USA. This is in the 2'6" x 8' size. 

House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!

storage and white board landing area

Right next to the hooks on the wall, I have a bench, storage and my white board. I like having a 'landing space' for my things when I come into the room.

  • The bench is handmade, again by the husband. He actually made this in college for a design class and graciously white washed it for my office.
  • The baskets. YOU NEED THESE BASKETS. Because this is a Victorian home, closets are few and far between. I wanted the office to be as uncluttered as possible, so anything that would be 'out' in some offices, goes in these gorgeous black and natural stripe baskets from IKEA. They're ridiculously sturdy.  
  • The white board is mounted with framing around it. I keep a few GSD calendars up for editorial (YouTube and Blog) and the whiteboard has photo shoot information etc. 
House Renovation: Home Office Reveal!

I am so happy with home the office turned out. It's my zen place and maybe the first room to ever really reflect 'me'. It's light and bright. A little Scandinavian minimalistic, a little Asian flare thanks to family pieces, and just enough fun (stripes, a giant greyhound, cowhide rug). 

If you see anything in the post that I don't have a link for, let me know (if it's not heirloom). OR if you have a question about how we pulled off any part of this room re-do, ask away! If you want to hear me talk through more of the room, you can also watch the video on YouTube. 


Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.