Be Our Guest: Mommy Needs a Minute

I’ve no idea how I came across Mommy Needs a Minute almost year ago, but holy shmoly, I was instantly hooked. Erica’s unique voice and easy writing style had me laughing, literally, out loud from the start, and her account of daily life, musings, and overall misadventures often times hit close to home. Bizarre, considering I’m a mommy – just not to the human variety. When I asked her to share any random blip on her radar, you can imagine my excitement when she offered up a plate of office-reno-in-pink. Or, in her words, The Pink of Perfectionism. I’ll take two servings.

My name is Erica, and I’m a neat freak. Not in the cutesy, quirky way that means I arrange books by color (I’ve done that) or label storage items in calligraphy (dear god, I’ve done that, too). I mean neat freak in the most disturbing, possibly undiagnosed OCD sense of the term. I pour out unfinished beverages when left unattended for more than 30 seconds. I plop silverware in the dishwasher before it’s been used. I make my bed on sick days when I plan to remain in it. I am an obsessive sheet straightener, pillow fluffer, and toy picker-upper. I’m not a slave to it, mind you. I happily engage in these Sisyphean tasks completely on autopilot.

As you might imagine, living with me can be difficult, especially for my husband, who is oblivious to piled mail, sock-littered floors, and unfiled receipts. While I’m tossing unfinished drinks, he’s building a collection of water glasses that would make for a respectable glass harp (in fairness, he may have been driven to beverage hoarding given my drink-tossing proclivities). He’s the absent-minded professor to my neat freak — the Oscar to my Felix.

Until recently, Adam’s office spaces were his fortresses of solitude, meaning I shut their doors and let the ensuing messes grow, multiply, and colonize without my interfering. I figured he deserved a room of his own where he could litter in peace without being terrorized by my obsessive and unwanted organizational advances. But in January, I became a full-time freelancer, which required more space. Enter the prospect of Adam and I sharing an office, and you have a recipe for sitcom gold. (NBC — Call me.)

In sharing a workspace with Adam, I inherited a glass-top desk spanning two walls and decorated with giant, boxy electronics; an unsightly black desk chair on wheels; and a beige box of a room almost festively festooned in wall-to-wall wires and cables ensuring, I’m told, the best possible entertainment/file storage/digital library backup/Lawnmower Man situation. I carved out a spot for myself and filled it with sleek, totally unergonomic and carpal-tunnel-inducing office equipment. I made impractical little tabletop tableaus and bought some art. The result was this:

You can almost see the invisible line running down the center of the room separating the Type-A Neurotic from the Techy Creative. At first, I was fine to turn my back (literally) on Adam’s side, but working alone in the room for 8+ hours a day — and spending part of that time looking at tidy and beautifully designed office spaces like Kim & Scott’s — got me brainstorming about paint colors and ways to unify our divided corners.

I presented Adam with my decorating proposal, highlighting the most important points first: (1) I would work with the existing furniture, (2) I would not unplug or reconfigure any wires or electronics, and (3) I would organize his stuff but not throw anything away without his permission. In exchange, I could hang some art, paint the room, and generally get my neat freak on. This is what I like to call “warts-and-all” design. Despite my nutbar ways, nothing in the house is so precious that it can’t be gnawed to a nub by our toddler or so polished that wires, dog hair, and butt creases in seat cushions can’t be visible.

Adam reluctantly, though lovingly, agreed, even when I pushed the envelope and asked if we could paint the room pink. Yes, pink. He rationalized that I spend far more time in the office than he, so he acquiesced. Ah, the things we do for love and marital stability.

I must say, the pink-paint-picking process (please say that out loud) can make your head spin. There’s peachy pink, reddish-undertone pink, soft pink, bright pink, pretty-pretty princess pink, and the dreaded Pepto Bismol pink. I had about 6 different test pots and color swatches. We slapped different options on 3 of the 4 walls, checked them at different times of the day to see how the changing light affected them, and sacrificed our first born to the Benjamin Moore gods before settling on the perfect pink. After consulting here, I was leaning toward Wild Aster. I also loved the whisper of pink in Olympic’s Diana, which Kim suggested based on this bedroom makeover, and Martha Stewart’s barely there Pink Sea Salt. But the latter two were reading too white on our walls, even after applying our sample swatches in two coats. Perhaps our basement-level office wasn’t getting enough light to draw out the pink, or the cross-eyed paint guy at Lowe’s didn’t mix my test pots correctly, but I needed more pink. So Wild Aster it was. It wasn’t Adam’s favorite, but he admitted that if we were going pink, the other colors weren’t delivering.

I love the end result. The color reminds me of strawberry cream. It’s feminine but not girly, and though the room is undeniably pink, the effect is understated. In other words, you won’t feel like you were bitch-slapped by a flamingo upon entering our office. Which was the great magnanimous compromise I offered to my kind and patient husband, who now spends his evenings in front of the computer, bathed in a soft, pink glow.

Thank you, Erica!

7 replies on “Be Our Guest: Mommy Needs a Minute”

  1. Love it, doesn’t seem like too much was changed but the overall effect is tremendous.

  2. Looks great! You definitely have an eye for design. I had to laugh about the undrunk beverage comment. My husband and I do the exact same dance. I hold up half-drunk water glasses and ask him, “Is ths yours?” Then I walk around the house finding all the hidden glasses and proceed to tell him how many I found like I’m going to win a prize for it.

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