before and after

before and after: paula’s studio

by Grace Bonney

it’s been a while since we’ve had a full room makeover so i was thrilled to see paula prass‘ office makeover land in my inbox this week. paula is an interior designer who just licensed her first line of fabrics through michael miller– she decided to makeover her design studio in celebration of the new launch and i think she did a fantastic job. i love the color scheme she chose and, after seeing her before shots, think she pulled a serious 180 in terms of brightness, mood and inspiration. it definitely looks like an office where i’d be happy to work. as opposed to the sad laundry room it looked like before. click here to visit paula’s blog and here and here to see more of her work. thanks, paula!

[ps: be sure to catch the cute shot at the bottom of the wooden figure “holding up” a metal panel]


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  • This is GORGEOUS! I am due to find out the sex of my my baby next week and am thinking that this would be a wonderful color scheme for any baby’s room, boy or girl. Thanks for the inspiration Paula.

  • This is really inspiring. I find that organizing your environment to be a living example of what your work strives to accomplish–to make the world a beautiful place–then your work is so much more likely to achieve it’s purpose. Thanks for the ideas!

  • What a dramatic difference! I love the choice in flooring — is that carpet? The birdcages on the top shelf of her workspace look great together as a collection.

  • wow. I am in the current of redesigning (well, designing) my craft room, which is a mess and a half right now! after seeing rooms like this, i definitely think I need more color… more brightness!

  • love love the ‘used to be a closet’ but now versatile workspace. what a great use of space. where did you find those great side-by-side desks?

  • Wow- I’d say that is a complete change! What a fun, creative space to call your office! I would want to just enjoy my handywork, probably would not get tons done!

  • Wow! Great inspiration! We’re in the midst of making over our work room (office/craft studio combo room) into something functional, so this is great inspiration. We’re definitely going to “borrow” the layout of her wall shelves…

  • I was just looking for 2 new office chairs, and have fallen in love with the one in the first pic. Could you tell me what/who it is? THANKS!

    That room is juicy… I just wanna bite it!

  • I was so happy to hear Paula signed on with Michael Miller. I worked on a Decorator’s Showhouse room a few years back, she had the children’s room and WOWSA!! That girl is talented!

  • First off, thanks so much for the enthusiastic comments. i’ll quickly answer some of the questions here and on my blog, and if you click on the photos in my blog…you will end up in Flickr w/ more photos and descriptions.

    The flooring is FLOR tiles. Perfect solution for covering over that horrid linoleum. So many options…go check it out. They are washable and so easy to replace one at a time. Many options out there. The boxes are literally cheap photo boxes.

    The desks were disc. from Pier I…sorry. But check around on the internet.

    My husband went to some shop locally that has galvanized sheet metal and asked for it to be wrapped around plywood in a size of our choosing.

    Wall shelves are from Ikea. My husband is certain they cannot be made for that price.

    Hope to inspire!

  • I love it and I am hoping to redo mine in the fall when I can keep the windows open to paint. I am not sure if I would paint a bright color though because it changes the way you mix colors, but I am hoping one wall will work.

  • Wow, what an awesome room! We just redid our guest bedroom/office in a very similar color scheme, and I was thinking of doing unevenly spaced shelves over my desk very similar to the white ones. I definitely think I’m going to have to do that now, they look fantastic!

  • I want to move in there! All the creating that can get done in that beautiful space…. tempting.

    What great ideas for that space.

    That green is so yummy.

  • although there is a great effort to create an organized, effective space, it’s difficult to see any sign of creation here — the creation is a perfect example of consumer/market influence that erases all signs of life. what more is this than another empty space you can easily walk into at an IKEA showroom display? Do we need more birdie-on-a-branch images?

  • beautiful! i really envy people woh’re able to transform a space with sduch a big dose of creativity. An architect friend of mine came to my house and gave me 3 tips on things to do and make my bathroom look 2 times its size (plazing a round mirror, a glass wall and a smaller sink but with a longer shelf). And he was right. I’ts pure magic.
    XO Puri

  • While this is a nice transformation, I have to second Pickles’s comment. That was my first thought upon seeing this…

  • This is exactly the kind of space that makes you think “who needs spotless white walls when you can fill a room with sooo much character?”

    any of you that have gotten inspiration from sites like this in your own homes in the UK, take some photos and submit them to the ‘love the place you’re in’ contest of UKTV. follow the link for more details — http://uktv.co.uk/style/item/aid/604257

  • I love the colors of the carpet, I thought they were Flor’s products! The idea for two desks together is great, and the alumin. wall is awesome!!

    Great work on re-doing your space and making it something completely yours! Love it!!

  • Wow, Paula has done a great job! Nice colors and layout. Looks like she may be inspired by the work of Anne Harwell on her idea board – her colored chairs look almost identical to Anne’s work I saw last Summer, minus the bird!

  • In response to the comments by pickle and Jen: I am an artist and I have to say that if I had to come into one of these two rooms (before or after) every day and sit down to do my work, it would definitely choose AFTER. So, good job, Paula. I’d be afraid that if I sat down in the before room, it would inspire me to make macrame and potpourri, or maybe dryer lint ball sculptures. Anyway, just because you don’t see any work yet, doesn’t mean that an artist is not going to flourish in this space.

  • I have to second Jennifer’s comment – that is NOT Anne Harwell’s work, but what looks to be a BLATANT rip-off. After some blogging investigation, if I was Anne, I would be steaming mad right now.

  • Design Sponge,

    I love the transformation!!! With just the right mix of bright playful colors and rich neutrals, you created a space that looks both inspiring and highly functional. I particularly like the floor. Those four colors work so well together. The touches of black add some visual anchorage. It’s a great room and congratulations on the launch!!!

  • I love this entire space. I am in the process of making a “studio” for myself and you have definitely inspired me and caused a change of direction for my room. :)

  • Lol! Hi there! Looks like im alittle behind on the comments..oops! Absolutely love the new updated craft studio! Great job!

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