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A 1950s Home Office Makeover

A disorganized office is decorated with a funky '50s theme.

Mary Ann La Russa's home office is a bit disorganized and under furnished. After two years, the space, like the rest of the home, is still like a blank canvas. With only a few pieces of furniture and no definitive style, the office is a bare-bones work environment. The design team works together to transform this space into a funky '50s themed office.


The Dilemma

Sam Kivett outlines the issues in the empty space, which include an insufficient workspace, a lack of storage and proper lighting, as well as complete disorganization. Kivett, along with design coordinators Summer Baltzer and Charles Burbridge, plan to turn this white disorganized box into an exciting and functional office that fits La Russa's quirky retro style.


The Solution

Here's how the design team reworks the space with a fun 1950s retro theme:

  • The walls are painted a bright aqua color to set the tone for the '50s theme.

  • Burbridge finds an old metal desk and has it refinished at an auto body shop with a silver high-gloss urethane to make it look brand new. He also refurbishes the top of an old dental storage table with methyl ethyl ketone, a cleaning solvent specifically used to clean laminate tops. After painting and affixing the old drawer pulls, the new printer table is now ready for La Russa's office.

  • Kivett creates a unique decorative accessory using old albums. He paints the centers silver and the rest of the album red (using a cut piece of sticky-backed paper to shield the silver). They're placed above the credenza that will house La Russa's old record player.

  • The Victorian-style light fixture is replaced with a unique hubcap creation.

  • The mini blinds are replaced with classic brushed aluminum Venetian blinds with red tape.

  • Four matching bookshelves solve her storage dilemma.

    The Cost

    Furniture - $635

    • bookcases: IKEA - Billy, #40043724
    • credenza: IKEA - PS,#400351877 / white

    Accessories and lighting - $106

    • desk lamps: IKEA - Expressivo, 00050467 / white
    • vintage hubcaps: Culver City Hub Cap

    Paint and stains - $62

    • wall paint: Behr - Water Dance, 1A47-3

    Window treatments - $184

    • vertical blinds: Just Blinds

    Hardware and incidentals - $9

    Project Total - $996

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