Outhouse to Office

In 1,250 easy steps…

“Oh this outhouse would make a great office” I said, with little understanding of just what we would be taking on to make into the New York industrial-trendy office of my dreams. I couldn’t be faulted for my vision: it’s a spacious 13 by 21 ft building with solid(ish) brick walls and a lovely sloped ceiling with big old wooden beams. In my head, it was just a matter of clearing it out and running some electricity in and we were sorted – thus freeing up the office we currently had in the main house to be the snug of dreams (oh there is a story to that too). So here is what we started with…….

Meanwhile on my planet I was too busy creating this ……….

All images courtesy of a pintrest search

…to notice that it was, in reality, a cold draughty web covered hole.

Cue the start of some rudimentary plans ……. we measured up, realised it would comfortably fit us both and contacted a builder friend. Said builder friend came round – agreed to carry out the work no problem and would get a quote to us for the work the following week …….. in reality with a variety of delays and Christmas the reno didn’t actually get started until February.

By which time I’d already produced this ………

mood board images courtesy of a pintrest image search

Yes, I wasn’t concerned by how we got to the ‘fit-out’ stage I was already choosing desks and fittings. Until the details started to leak out, brick wall? “nah that needs to go love – too cold; you need insulation on those walls. Beams? Nah they need to go too. You need that roof thickly insulated and that will cover the beams”.

Image courtesy of pintrest

Eventually, as with all good reno’s, we agreed a compromise, we would board out 3 walls with insulation behind, one brick wall that backs onto the garage would be left exposed as insulation could be added on the garage wall side and a thinner insulation would be added to the roof allowing a bit of beam to be exposed – result.

image courtesy of pintrest

So let’s leave the gory details (and believe me, they were gory) and cut to the good stuff on here …… interiors.

From Life on Virginia Street via Pintrest

With the two of us using the office I wanted a long desk arrangement across one wall freeing up the rest of the office space for seating and storage. I was keen to have a sofa for guests (and us when we need a breather and a coffee) as well as storage. A tall order because although the space is 21 ft long, it’s only 13ft across so it really limited furniture placement. There were a few things I did know I wanted (and could have) – I wanted trestles with a long worktop along it as our desk, I also knew I wanted a marble effect kitchen worktop to add a wee bit of luxe living to the arrangement.

Image courtesy of www.chrislovesjulia.com
Image courtesy of www.chrislovesjulia.com

Luckily B&Q do a fantastic marble effect worktop which is very reasonable and allows us to get the 3m length we want for the desk. Sorted.

Except it’s not.

On reflection, I’m not sure that marble fits the industrial theme and I’m now opting for a worn rustic wooden worktop (but I so loved that marble) . Below is a selection of what we have bought so far….

Bought through Amazon UK

The wall lights were chosen mainly because they had glass shades and would give a good level of lighting. There will be 2 sets hanging on the brick wall with exposed electrical conduit to give an industrial feel to the room.

Laminate flooring from Carpet Rite was chosen mainly due to the thickness we required and the additional insulation which can be added below. I had my heart set on the lovely patterned grey and white lino on my mood board but sadly the lino was too thin and our builder advised against it.

Rustic worktop from B&Q

Another change to my mood board inspo is the desk worktop. Again I had my heart set on faux marble but on reflection I didn’t feel this would give me the industrial look I wanted so I’ve opted for a rustic wood laminate instead.

Back to the reno, this is how things are currently looking:

We have the first fix electrics completed, insulation done and the boarding has now started on 3 walls and ceiling, leaving us with one exposed brick wall and some of the beams exposed. Next step is for the room to be plastered, then the new external door to be added and the flooring laid. Hopefully I will have more updates for you later in the week and our cold draughty web covered hole will be a few steps closer to the dream New York style office!

Finally I have returned with an outhouse to office update……. things have gone on hold due to issues with electricity running into the house. I don’t pretend to really understand but basically whilst our house itself has been newly rewired the actual electricity from the sub station into our actual house hasn’t so we have needed Scottish Power to come and undertake the upgrade before we could run new electrics into the outhouse office. As our builder had other work lined up it made sense for him to slow down with us – the hope is that by the end of April we will be in -yey.

But having said all of that we have had some progress, the new door has gone on, the walls have been plaster boarded and the paint undercoat has gone on. All that’s left to do now is the final coat of paint and lay the new flooring before our electrician returns to finish off the electrics and finally we are in!!

The picture below shows the interior from the door, I still have my beams albeit much more shallow than the lovely originals, our long desk will run along under the shallow eaves leaving us the back wall for a wood burning style stove (not an actual wood burner though) and a nice arm chair and footstool for down time Lol. I’m so glad I insisted on keeping those beams though they really add character to the room.

This next picture shows the opposite side of the room. You can just make out the new door which has half height glazing, this works better than I thought as it acts as a window to the room and does give in a reasonable amount of light. The brick wall now really stands out and again as with the beams this was so worth fighting over, the builder was adamant we would lose too much heat and it needed to be plastered- I argued that we could insulate the garage behind this wall allowing us to keep the brick wall that will add so much character and style to the office. This wall will have a couple of wall lights on it but i think other than that and maybe some shelving we will keep this pretty clear. Although it’s a big room, it is narrow so I don’t want it to feel cluttered- but you can at least now see it coming together.

Stay tuned for the flooring being laid and some colour going on the walls. I’m hoping to have a finished office to show by the end of the month.

Incidentally we have installed a keyless lock to the office door, called Smart Living by Yale.It’s operated by a code on a key pad, or using a token or swiping your mobile. We have been thinking of getting these for the house so it will be good to try them out here on the office first. I will do a wee update on how we find them once we are properly in and using them on a daily basis.

Image courtesy of Smart Living by Yale

We opted for the brass finish but they also come in chrome, not sure how I feel about no keys, but having a fob and the ability to unlock it using my mobile gives me a bit of peace of mind that if i forget the code then I have a back up.