Susanna Salk



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Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

As I was researching cool home office stuff for an upcoming segment of the same subject for the Today Show, (see link to the segment on this site from January 25th) it occurred to me that my husband’s bill-paying lair up on the third floor was in desperate need of revamping.

As I pondered his ho hum farmhouse-table desk, Staples-style chair and Eighties bank lamp (remember when that seemed so cool?!), I suddenly knew some big changes had to be made and they had to be done behind his back or he’d never approve.

It’s one thing to toss his weary gym shorts while he went out for his weekend hardware store run, but did I dare do a purge and splurge of this magnitude without his knowledge?…

Ladies, you already know the answer.

I had a two day time period where I knew he would not go up there due to his busy work schedule so I had to move and move fast.

First thing I did was get a tall, white, modern lamp from West Elm that looks like it belongs on a movie set, not a desk. Which is precisely why it instantly glammed up the quiet wood planks below and filled the space above. I realized why so many desk spaces are grim because there is no visual landscape to entertain the eye: just low-lying functional objects.

We needed height here, not to mention texture and dimension and the lamp was like adding a coat of mascara to bare lashes.

Next up was placing a rust orange Moroccan rug with a bold white hexagon pattern on top of the wall to wall beige floor. The orange was a nice compliment to the wood in the room and gave a masculine edge.

This defined his space and gave the whole room instant pizzaz.

I could have stopped there but of course didn’t.

I took out the so-Eighties Tiffany silver frames which held family pictures and placed them in Moroccan-style matching frames instead.

I chucked the hideous stapler and tape dispense and swapped in Lucite ones. The depressing steel file cabinet bowed to a white wood one on wheels.

Finally, I got a mod-looking chair for the other side of the desk, to round it out and take away focus from the office-looking chair he used and which I knew he’d never part with. If I changed everything, he’d see the new room as a insult not as a makeover.
(Smart, huh?)

His reaction? He grumbled a little, smiled a little and still complains about the lamp. (“What was wrong with the old one?!”)

But the bottom line is, it looks fabulous. And I love him.