Our new secretary and her lowly friend

A few months ago we added some new elements to our living room decor. I also realized since our main living area overhaul that I hadn’t shared any updated photos of the space sans popcorn ceiling, yucky yellowy paint, and the hideous ceiling fan. So all those things are kind of wrapped up into one post. First, let me introduce our newest addition, Ms. Secretary. Or mister, if you prefer.


This piece is kind of a family heirloom. Actually, I guess it legitimately is. I’m not sure what qualifications something needs to have to make it a bona fide heirloom, but maybe the simple fact that we got it from my parents who got it from my grandparents who got it from my great grandmother is enough?


I didn’t really know my great grandmother (we called her GiGi) very well as she passed away when I was six, but I love having something of hers that’s been in the family for a long time. And I think it looks great in our house! Since our house doesn’t have a lot of charm on it’s own, we’ve been trying to incorporate furniture pieces and elements that add more character to our house, and this piece alone feels like it has warmed up our living room immensely.


It’s very petite so it doesn’t look too ominous or heavy, it doesn’t stick out too far from the wall, and the height is just right with our low 8′ ceilings. The color also ties in really well with our 1950’s chest of drawers that’s on the other side of the living room. Sorry, don’t have pictures of it inside.

These two pieces add a lot of depth and character to our living room and keep the room from reading too modern. Plus, just look how cute it is on the inside?? So adorable!


Since getting it, we’ve been noticing a lot of secretaries at thrift stores or flea markets and I always have to comment on how ours is cuter. It’s not nearly as boxy as a lot that I’ve seen thanks to the scrolly part at the top and the bombay style drawers. The wood grain and color is also prettier and not as cheap looking, and I love that the glass doors don’t have any muntins so it doesn’t look too ornate. In other words, it’s perfect!

Here’s what that space looked like before without Ms. Secretary.


And here’s what it looks like after, with the secretary adding some much needed height and dimension to that corner of the room.


Oh, and do you, by chance, notice something else?? Well, there are a lot of changes, but the lowly friend, aka the rug, is another favorite change! And it’s not really lowly. It’s beautiful!


We found this rug at Garden Ridge in Little Rock. It’s kind of a crazy place! Crazy to the point that my younger sister refuses to go there because she swears she gets the hiccups every time! But they have rugs. Lots of them. Some are really strange so you have to hunt, but when I saw this guy I got so excited! I love the neutral, cool color to tone down the warmth of our orangey wood floors.


It’s 7’6″ by 9’7″. The length is perfect because it fits all the way under our couch and reaches almost to the entertainment center. I wish it were maybe just a bit wider so the front of the chairs could be on it, but when I saw the price it didn’t matter! It was $99!


Oh and that desk is a temporary thing…not staying there. Eventually we want to build a slightly narrower sofa table/desk to go there. We can’t do that, though, until we figure out where to store all the crap that’s hiding in those drawers. Another project for another day.

The rug really helps definite the space and warms it up tremendously. Before it seemed kind of cold and bare.


Now it’s so much more homey! (Minus the half painted front door…)


The cats also love to lounge around on it.  This means it needs vacuuming regularly, but our poor vacuum was kind of sad it had no work to do anyway.


Although, most of the time Winston seems to prefer this spot while Chaucer rolls around on the rug.


There are lots of other changes in this room, too, so here’s a more clear example of how this room has transformed. Here’s before the new furniture, paint, windows, light fixtures, etc. Very yellow and sad.


And here’s the after with smooth ceilings, an updated light fixture (that also happens to tie into the wood furniture very nicely), a wonderful greige paint color, new windows without the ugly yellow treatments, etc.


And just for comparison’s sake, let me show you the before before.

Living 4

I’d say we’ve come a long way! We cycled through 2 ugly curtains (both of which were left by previous owners) before finally getting blinds, and we no longer have furniture in our living room that doesn’t belong, like a bed frame! Really, though, we’re finally liking the way our living room is looking, and we feel like with every little change, it reflects us even more.


The next step is to get rid of that red couch and get something…less red! We already have a little money in our couch fund, so hopefully after selling a few pieces of furniture and maybe the couch itself on Craigslist, we can get a new one!


2 Responses to Our new secretary and her lowly friend

  1. Tracie August 4, 2013 at 1:58 am #

    Looks great! Since your secretary is not very big and bulky, have you thought of maybe angling it in the corner, instead of being flush against the wall? If it fits, you would be able to see more of its character and its facade when you enter the room. Just a thought.

    Love the rug. I agree that Garden Ridge is a trip…ours in KY almost has a flea market feel to it 🙂 Lots of junky stuff and then you find a gem like your rug!

    • Simple House Expressions August 11, 2013 at 12:49 am #

      Tracie, thanks for the idea! I hadn’t thought of that! And Garden Ridge is definitely a trip!

      – Arielle