In this room, in this room of mine.

I’ve been wanting to do a home office makeover1 for the longest time, and it was last month’s termite invasion that pushed me to finally do it. I’ll tell you why later.
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First, let me show you what the soho used to look like.2:
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Office - before
Ugh, is that a mess or what. Believe it or not, we worked in this kind of environment for close to three years. Arn later relocated to a breezier section in the house since he likes working closer to nature so this office is essentially mine now.
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The makeover idea was sparked when I decided to lose the highly under-utilized green couch (on the right, behind all the clutter) and replace it with a table I found sitting in our compound’s common garage. I decided that I needed a spot to do my art and paper crafting, especially since I already had the supplies but just did not have the space for it. I was actually fine with that slight change for the meantime… and then we discovered that the termites had eaten into the built-in wardrobe3 that housed a lot of our files! Eep! Obviously the best only solution was to tear it down.
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Office - cabinet
It was a beautiful piece of woodwork but unfortunately, it’s just not meant to house “office” files.
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Obviously the next problem was where to put all the stuff that was in the cabinet. (And what a whole load of stuff that was!)
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Office - stuff
Dear oh dear. Just looking at that photo makes my head hurt.
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Three major criteria we considered in buying new storage supplies were (a) termite deterrence; (b) sturdiness; and (b) pocket-friendliness. The industrial shelving and plastic containers we bought all met what we were looking for, and it really helped much that the SM in our area had a 3-day sale last weekend.
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Office - WIP
The office taking shape slowly but surely. Yes that’s a Print Gocco PG-5 Abbas is sitting on! Bought it for 6,825 yen at a Tokyu Hands in Shibuya a couple of years ago. See I couldn’t even use it before because I didn’t have a proper work surface.
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Suddenly there was so much space and I excitedly put everything in order once the paint dried up. It took about a week and a half for everything: construction, cleanup, and sorting/deciding what went in and out of those boxes and shelves because there were just too many things to go through.
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Office - Taking Shape
Looking good, looking good… now, everything’s within reach unlike before when they were stuck in the depths of that gigantic cabinet.
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And oh, I also found a way to save the handsome narra cabinet doors – we saved what we could of the wood and then had them built into a book case for all my magazines and reference materials.
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Office - Bookcase
This way, those slabs of wood can still live in their “home”. 🙂
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Here, now, are the token “after” shots of my improved soho. I can definitely see myself working more efficiently in this space… well, granted that it stays neat and orderly. 😉
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Office - Daytime
Now to buckle down and work, work, work.
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Cost breakdown:
– Carpentry work: P400/day for 7 days= P2800
– Zen floor tiles (10 pcs) = P465.12
– Paint, primer, paint remover, cement= P545
– Varnish (for bookcase and table)= P190
– Industrial shelving: P2,200 x 2 = P4,400
– Plastic containers (on sale) = P3,000
TOTAL: 11,400.12.4

  1. Whatever for did I watch all those episodes of Merge, Clean House, and Design Remix when we still had the Lifestyle channel?[ back]
  2. Before you label me a slob though, can I just remind you that — ahem — Creative Minds Are Seldom Tidy.[ back]
  3. This office space used to be a bedroom and the cabinet was meant to house clothing, hence the size and depth.[ back]
  4. I would’ve wanted to stay below the P10,000 mark but we wanted to invest in sturdy shelving and storage and I think that decision will save us more money in the long run.[ back]
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The clover under your feet is shooting stars in the night.

January has been quite busy work-AND-household-maintenance-wise for Arn and me. Since my last entry, we’ve somehow managed to accomplish the following:
1) Had the house treated for termites. If you haven’t inspected your cupboards and storage areas in a while, do yourselves a favor and do so now, you’ll never know what you might find growing in there.
2) Had our wiring troubleshot by an electrician and had the old wire casings replaced with newer, less corrosive material.
3) Bought and installed a new energy-efficient refrigerator. It turned out to be a very good good investment, as reflected in this month’s Meralco bill.
4) Did some major spring cleaning, which was the hardest thing for me emotionally because I’m a packrat. In the end though it feels good knowing that someone else out there will benefit from things that I have no use for anymore.

Still on our list are a few items that need repairing, like the door screen that our puppy Vanilla tore while we were out because she wanted to be able to go inside the house and play with our cat Abbas, and the ottomans that are bursting at the seams because Abbas scratches at them whenever Vanilla’s yapping agitates him.

Abbas and Vanilla

Sigh, pets. But yes we do love them to bits.

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Let me just share that one of the best decisions we made when the year began was switching cable companies. We signed up for Sky’s Silver package when we moved here 3 years ago and if there are two — sorry, make that three — things we don’t like about the service, they are:
1) Not having Discovery, Disney, and Hallmark Channels1. The only reason we got Sky is that both Arn and I came from Sky-subscribing households and we were used to their lineup. We weren’t aware, however, that the Silver package didn’t have the channels we liked, but we didn’t find it practical to pay P300 extra for them.
2) Too many commercials! It didn’t feel like we were watching cable at all.
3) Paying P645 a month for the issues I stated above.

So anyway, after some research, we switched to Destiny and we’ve been a couple of happy potatoes2 since. There’s Discovery Travel & Living and Hallmark for me, Arn has his EuroSport3, and we get to have our Discovery & Disney Channel fixes. All that to the tune of P450 a month. Not a bad deal at all.

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WE 7

On the workfront – yes, the January to June issue of Wedding Essentials is on its way to hitting the newsstands4 Again, we have over 300 pages of beautiful wedding ideas, tips, and tricks to guide couples in planning their dream weddings. Here’s a quick preview of what you will find inside:

WE7 collage

Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as the team did in putting it together! 🙂

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Don’t ask me what my subject heading means, at the moment I’m loving the Rilo Kiley song5 it came from. Listen to it here.

  1. Yes I admit it, watching sappy made-for-tv movies is my guilty pleasure! Hey that’s where I saw “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” for the first time years ago.[ back]
  2. The couch kind.[ back]
  3. Great timing too, it’s World Cup season.[ back]
  4. If it’s not already there, that is.[ back]
  5. Didn’t care much for the new album, though. Sorry but I only liked 5 of the 11 tracks.[ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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