Archive | March 2013

“The Office”… on a Saturday.

Early on in my career as office manager, at a little non-profit called Partners for Development, I was asked to re-do the office. They decided that I had an artsy look about me and was therefore qualified to re-design the whole space. That is non-profit mentality for you, in a nutshell.

Painting the PFD logo on the wall.

Painting the PFD logo on the wall.

This was a tall order. The office was disorganized, and as the low man on the totem pole, I was anxious to please. At an international non-profit with a mix of personalities who all had strong opinions about how it should look, I had to marry ideas that included “clean & modern” with “island tiki-bar” and I had a budget of $3000 to overhaul 1600 square of space.

The reception area.

The reception area, after.

This was before Simply Turquoise ever got started, so the before pictures I have are really during pictures. I wish I had taken more before photographs so you could see the dramatic transformation. Here they all are, me and the interns slaving away, on a Saturday.

Office reception area, cleaning it out.

Office reception area, cleaning it out.

Hallway space.

Hallway space.

Intern Emily, painting the kitchen.

Intern Emily, painting the kitchen.

Conference room.

Conference room area.

After a lot of thought about where to put extra work stations, whether or not a Program Manager would be willing to share her office with me, and trying to carve out a small space for eating into what was a storage area, the creativity began.

The Cafe.

The Café.

I drew from several sources of inspiration and used bold colors, a beautiful collection of hodge-podge art and sculpture, and graphics for promotional materials as the basis of this makeover.

A Promotional Poster.

A Promotional Poster.

Sculpture on display.

Sculpture on display.

A painted cloth found in a closet.

A painted cloth found in a closet.

A painting from Nigeria.

A painting from Nigeria.

One of my co-workers actually looked at the door to make sure he was in the right suite the first time he entered, the change was so dramatic. He did not even recognize our office!

I used maps to highlight PFD's presence world-wide.

Maps highlight PFD’s presence world-wide.

I displayed a clean-burning cook stove we manufacture and distribute in Tanzania and framed a poster explaining what that lump of metal in our reception area actually was.

Jatropha stove.

Clean-burning stove that burns Jatropha seed.

Using a projector, I traced the PFD logo onto the wall leading to the café

space.

PFD Logo.

PFD Logo.

Together with interns, community service hours and volunteers, we transformed this space to reflect our identity as an international non-profit. We spend a lot of hours in this space and it was one of the most gratifying projects I have ever done.

Photographs from our programs.

Photographs from our programs.

The goal was to give visitors an idea of what we are about as an organization as soon as they walk through the door. The change in this office space created a more functional working environment, and brought our mission as an organization to life in a headquarters far away from the action.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio and Valerie Snogren.

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My Cabana Boy

The world of blogging decorators is full of husbands. The behind-the-scenes kind that don’t grumble about having to hang a blind or put together furniture. At Young House Love, they work together as a team and live and breathe their blog and they are successful. I cannot begin to speculate about their marriage.

I was reading The Inspired Room and Melissa, the blogger-in-chief, was asking her readers (like all 400,000 of them) to “please remind my husband to hang my kitchen blind,” so she could take the final after pictures of the space. I get that. I have a handy hubby who does A LOT of work around here. Much of it because I pester him into it.

Sunroom.... Before. Scary!

Sunroom…. Before. Scary!

However, there are times when back-up is needed. Maybe not all of us have a husband, or a husband who is handy. Or maybe your husband is handy, but is too tired after 12 hours in the field of hard labor to bother with your “pesky”  jobs list. Or maybe, the blogger/reader should consider that she (or even he) can hang the blind herself. And then, there is the option of… The Cabana Boy.

A crack on the ceiling.

Even “Chicken Little” was afraid to help.

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I got one this week. He is working in my sunroom. He is tackling cracks in the ceiling that are large enough to contain mythical monsters. He is sanding old windows and priming them with Kilz. He is wrestling with the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don’t know how long he will stick around for this project, but every day he shows up for more work is a good day. Find yourself a strapping young college boy and put him to work. I know mine would even sit and have a drink with me, cause he is that cool.

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Don't get excited, it's only Photoshop.

Don’t get excited, it’s only Photoshop.

Inspiration from Pinterest.

Inspiration from Pinterest.

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My Cabana Boy is handy with Photoshop and math. He helped me figure out the dimensions for the pattern we plan to paint onto the floor, and put the pattern in with Photoshop, so I could have a preview. The progress is unbelievable. He is not finished, but he has given me the push I need to keep it going. Even after he has wandered off to his next gig or I have run out of money, whichever comes first.

Paint sample.

Paint sample, Benjamin Moore’s Skydive.

The best part is, Stuart can take a breather and I am inspired.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Let There Be Light!

A recent one-act dramedy, taking place in the living room.

Setting: Me, standing on a ladder wielding the drill and trying to put a large hole in the plaster ceiling.

In walks Stuart, looks up at me, face twisting into a grimace.

Stuart: “Usually when I walk in and witness you holding the drill and crying, it means a project for me.”

Me: “Don’t worry, Stuart. I was merely whimpering.”

Stuart walks away and tries not to feel needed. Me, now cursing whoever invented plaster and this old house, tries to continue making a hole in the ceiling, ignoring the arm pain that is caused by holding a drill over your head for way too long. Then I am struck by a bright idea. Perhaps this is my opportunity to show Stuart how much I need him! Besides, every now and then a guy needs to be needed, right?

Stuart to the rescue!

Stuart to the rescue!

Scene 2: Me, now drinking a beer with feet up on the ottoman, watching Stuart put up my light. What is better than that? And we all lived happily ever after, or close enough.

Let There Be Light!

Let There Be Light!

The light was needed in this living room, not only for light, but for visual PAZAM!  It was my birthday present from my mom, who will buy me whatever I ask for without any thought to how it will be installed. A no questions asked sort of confidence policy. She would not want to damage my self-esteem or anything. When Stuart entered the scene above, I had already faced some turmoil with this light. I broke the inside shade that was supposed to conceal the lightbulb. The baby was “helping” me and I was frustrated with the plaster ceiling. The directions went something like: “open box, install light.”

Light fixture, in the store.

Love at first sight… in the store.

The baby "helping" me.

The baby “helping” me, holding the raceway.

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Even with the exposed lightbulb, it looks nice and I had no idea how complicated that raceway stuff is to use. If you want to conceal a wire running across your ceiling, it is great. Here is a tip: Put the wire into the raceway, clip it closed, and only THEN do you stick it to the ceiling. After it is up, it will fade away and not be too noticeable, I promise.

Raceway, used for concealing electrical wires.

Raceway, used for concealing electrical wires.

Installing raceway.

Installing raceway.

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And of course, one thing leads to another…. Now I need to get curtains to conceal the wire running along the window to the plug, which also needs to be replaced.

Living Room Light.

Living Room Light.

It is at these times that I am so grateful for Stuart and I can’t believe he puts up with me.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.