Office Remodel – Axiom Media

Whew! It has been way too long. For good reason, though. So much design goodness has been happening these past few months. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of projects we’ve been working on. It has really been non-stop and trying to balance my regular full-time job with amazing design opportunities has not left me much time for blogging. I am not complaining though – it’s been a great problem to have and I’ve gotten to see what the “design life” will be like once I do it full-time (putting positive vibes out to ya, universe!)!

We are so lucky to have entrepreneurial friends with their own businesses who need help designing their offices. Gordo and Bethany own Axiom Media and had contacted me previously for a design plan in their former office. They didn’t end up staying there and when they signed the lease on a new office space in Chandler, AZ, they contacted me to help.

AXIOM MEDIABeige USA. Beige central. SO. MUCH. BEIGE. Dropped ceilings, old nasty carpet upstairs, a million different paints and finishes… there was a lot going on here, and nothing at the same time. Add tons of fluorescent lighting and you’ve got a recipe for an office that makes you sad to go to work. We were going to totally transform this place! Axiom is a creative business with young, creative people, and the space needed to reflect that.

There was talk about leaving about the ceilings as they were, but seriously, they were 7 feet. That is claustrophobic even for average-height people! The process of taking down the ceiling tiles wasn’t necessarily difficult, but was time-consuming for sure. Once all of the tiles were out, the framing had to be dismantled and pulled down. There was only another foot up to the concrete, but it definitely helped to make the space feel more roomy. Leaving the ductwork exposed created an industrial feel.

AXIOM MEDIA Sayonara, you nasty fluorescent lights!


AXIOM MEDIAThis doorway led to the staircase and it was Gordo’s genius idea to remove the drywall here and expose the bottom of the staircase.


AXIOM MEDIAThe ceiling was kind of a mess but we didn’t want to dump money into moving the duct work or other wiring. There were acoustical tiles that were years old and rather than trying to remove them and the glue, we replaced the broken/missing tiles, and had the painters spray the entire ceiling white. The point of this was to make the ceiling just disappear and not stand out at all.


AXIOM MEDIAWe had discussed leaving the tile and carpet and just working around them, but ended up deciding to have everything removed. I know that budgets are important to stick to, and I also know the feeling of not completing a design exactly how you want because you’re trying to save money. I almost always regret it. If you’re going to end up eventually making the change anyway, my thought is that you might as well do it the way you want in the beginning. It ends up saving time and money in the long run, and you’re going to end up much happier with the final results!

AXIOM MEDIAI knew that the stairs were wooden, but wasn’t sure what kind of shape they would be in after the carpet was removed. These are the kinds of projects that you keep your fingers crossed during, hoping that you’re not opening a big can of worms and taking on a bigger project than you’re planning.

AXIOM MEDIAOverall, the stairs were in great shape. There were about 67,908,786 staples/nails in them that had to be pulled out, and then each rise and run had to be sanded smooth with the orbital sander.  We didn’t sand all of the green paint and marks off because I liked the character that they gave the stairs.

AXIOM MEDIADark brown/black stain was applied in two coats and when it (finally) dried, we added one top coat of clear poly specifically made for floors. Make sure not to get a poly that is for furniture as you don’t want your stairs to be slippery.AXIOM MEDIAThe floors were polished, stained and sealed. We chose a grey stain. You might wonder why a concrete floor would need to be stained grey since concrete is already grey, but there was so much variation in this flooring that staining it grey made everything consistent, covered up existing stains, and gave us a neutral surface to start bringing in other design elements.

All of the main walls downstairs and in the hallway were painted a beautiful, bright white. We chose a deep blue for the slump block wall and painted the upstairs office in Dolphin Fin Grey.



AXIOM MEDIAMy favorite project by far in the Axiom office was the pallet wall. There is a section of drywall by the stairwell that is bumped out and I knew would be perfect to add some texture/architectural interest too. We had also chosen this area for the conference table so it made sense to anchor it with something visual.

I found a pallet supply company downtown and was able to get scraps from old pallets for FREE and filled up my trunk and backseat. SCORE!  Once I got back to the office, I began sorting the wood into pieces that would work just as they were with no staining or painting, and pieces that needed a bit of help.

AXIOM MEDIAAfter I had a good mix of painted/stained and raw wood, I measured out the wall into a taped square on the floor, then laid the pallet pieces into a design. It was important to not have a seam that ran up the entire length and have the colors/widths varied enough to look random, but perfect.

AXIOM MEDIARandom perfection takes HOURS. Let me tell you.

Plywood was nailed into the studs in the wall and then the pallet pieces were added with finishing nails, starting at the bottom and layered in, all the way to the ceiling. The end results was BANANAS. Absolutely beautiful, basically free, and added so much visually to the space.

AXIOM MEDIAMy other favorite project at Axiom was the stairwell stripe. I felt like we needed some “oomph”… something that was memorable and amazing. I have never painted stripes on a wall, but hey, I googled it once or twice so I could totally do it, right?

AXIOM MEDIAI used a yard stick and measured up from the banister 11 inches. I did this all the way down, making small marks as I went along. Then I connected these all and did another line 11 inches above that one. This made sense to me so without too much more thinking, I taped those lines off and painted high gloss black stripes from the bottom of the floor, all the way up the stairwell. The results are so, so cool!





AXIOM MEDIAWhen you look at the pallet wall with the hint of the stripes going up behind it, it makes for such an impact! And that was exactly what I wanted.AXIOM MEDIAWe painted the banister and the upstairs railing in a  high gloss black too, in order to keep everything consistent. We wanted the office itself to be neutral enough that it would compliment the furnishings without taking away from them, but also be a “personality” on their own. I really think this design achieved that!


AXIOM MEDIAOne of my new favorite things to do is add a little surprise of color on the edge of a doorway. In this case, we did black to compliment the classic white paint. This is a fun little surprise when anyone opens the door.

AXIOM MEDIABeing able to collaborate with Gordo and Bethany was so much fun, and something that really helped me to think outside of my own design ideas. They are also extremely handy and willing to put in so much work and do their own projects. Gordo used leftover pallet wood and created what we jokingly called “MEGA DESK”. A cement top and pallet sides came together to form a totally unique, creative and beautiful desk.

20150925_110013-300x169Bethany’s desk is feminine and simple. Such a gorgeous spot!

20150925_112811-e1443206031978-169x300This amazing sofa from Walmart is by Novogratz and folds out into a futon! Can you believe that? It’s beautiful and firm and perfect for an office. Not to mention it has such a great shape and is so affordable.

IMG_1866The gorgeous yellow and grey wood rug is from HauteLook and perfectly compliments the sofa and also looks great with the pallet wall.

IMG_1803Before the final clean up, but with the main furnishings and lighting all in place.

IMG_1800Curtains add softness and texture to the room, and keep any lurkers from peeking into the office at night. They can open these up during the day but keep the white sheers closed to let in the natural light.

IMG_1801I love this amazing light from IKEA. Super cheap, industrial and beautiful.

AXIOM MEDIAYou may be thinking, “What kind of design uses IKEA and Walmart?” My kind of design! When there is a budget, when you need accessible, great-looking pieces, there is no reason you shouldn’t use things that work, regardless of where they come from. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever! Design doesn’t have to be crazy expensive or out of reach for anyone.

We had such a great time working on this project and I’m so happy with how everything came out! Looking back at how this office started, it’s kind of hard to believe how much we did and how much the space changed. Thank you to Gordo and Bethany and Axiom Media for letting us into your lives and space and for all of your hard work and collaboration!




Black is the new Black

If you haven’t noticed, I have a really hard time posting just for the sake of posting. I don’t like “fillers” and never have, so if nothing is inspiring me, I’m not going to post. Just an explanation if you’ve been wondering… Also, it’s officially summer here in Phoenix which means I feel sad. You know. Anyway.

The other day I saw an ad for a refrigerator with a black interior. WHAT. Did you have to go back and read that again? I did. It caught me off guard for a couple reasons: 1. A REFRIGERATOR WITH BLACK INTERIOR and 2. Why did it take until 2015 for someone to do this?

Jenn-Air recently announced the launch of The Obsidian. Aside from being amazingly black in the interior, LED lights illuminate your food and they say the food looks better. The lights are also placed throughout the interior to minimize shadows and reflect against the black lighting. They actually call it “theater lighting”. The temperature AND the humidity levels in the fridge can be adjusted and they included all of the technology to make the drawers soft-closing and smooth gliding. This fridge sounds more equipped than my car!

Obsidian Jenn-Air black interior refrigerator









Ok, so now we’ve established that it’s beautiful and that your food has a place to perform, so what about the cost? I had a hard time finding an actual price but read a comment saying that the New York Times had reported it to cost $8,499. For some people that may be affordable and if it is, good for them!

Now if you’re into black but not into that kind of pricing, there is also the option of black stainless appliances. Coming in at $1,599 it would probably be a lot more affordable for most. You will have to apologize to your apples for not showing them in their best light though. We all know how important lighting is, right?

black fridge


So all of this talk of black appliances and new finishes and new interiors has got me thinking; Is this just another gimmick to get people to buy new appliances, even when they don’t need them? Do you remember the Avocado appliance trend?

Avocado appliances


When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, I was so excited to be able to get all stainless appliances. We kept our fridge, which is white, because it worked just fine and fit in the space. I’m so happy that I didn’t get a new stainless fridge because the more I look at the kitchen, the more I feel like having white appliances! Is that crazy? I’m going to answer for you. No. It’s really not. The kitchen space is small, and with the white cabinets and counter tops, the current stainless dishwasher breaks up the run of white and stops your eye. In a small space, I feel like you want to keep your eyes going, to make the space feel larger than it is. If we had a huge kitchen with tons of room, appliances that broke up the cabinet runs might be helpful to give your eyes a place to rest.

Black and white kitchen mint green




See what I mean? With the fridge on the left, your eye doesn’t really stop and I feel like that’d be the case if the dishwasher was white too. The best part is that our dishwasher might need to be replaced soon, which would give me the perfect reason to put a white one in. I suppose I would put in a white double oven if I was able to find one, but with the amazing Craigslist deal I got on the current one, that probably won’t happen.

The bottom line in all of this craziness is this: don’t follow the trend because you feel like you have to (refer back to “Avocado Appliances” above). Trends die out and you’ll be left with something that looks dated. On the other hand, if you really love a trend and don’t care about it looking dated, then do it! I read a blog where someone said not to have multiple finishes on your appliances, but I think if you love it and it works in your space, you should do whatever you want! After all, you are the one footing the bill and you are the one looking at your space each day. Be creative and surround yourself with things you love that make you happy!

Turning trash into gold

I had seen the Sequoia Console table from Z Gallerie last year and thought it was so amazing! The mix of the natural shape with the glam factor of the gold was a mix that I am totally into. At $999 though, it wasn’t something I was ever going to get.

Sequoia console table, z gallerie, gold table, gold tree

When I knew I couldn’t afford it, I put it out of my mind. Fate has a way of bringing things back around sometimes though. Last year, an orange tree in our backyard got some weird disease and died. We sadly had to cut it down and there had been a 20″ stump in the ground ever since. Paying someone to remove a stump is expensive and a lot of work, so we just left it there for the time being. One morning, John realized that the stump was pretty wiggly and kicked it out of the ground! What a superhero, right?!!

So we had this stump just sitting there and it dawned on me that this was the beginning of my very own Sequoia table (or Sequoia stump?).

tree stump table


The first thing I did was put a super thick layer of primer over the entire stump. I wanted all of the trunk kept as is with nothing flaking off, and also didn’t want any creepy crawlies that had made a home in the trunk deciding to come out once it was inside.

gripper primer

After the primer dried, my next step was to address the hole in the top of the stump. This is the kind of hole that something evil can crawl out of, that your finger gets bitten off when you poke it, etc. etc. I wasn’t exactly sure how to fill it and we had run out of that amazing can of expanding foam… so I filled it with wood glue. Makes sense, right? Glue keeps the evils from coming out. I globbed it in there and let that dry overnight.

tree stump table

Can you imagine the horrors that might crawl out of there?! Not gonna happen now! So once that was dry, I added another coat of primer to the rest of the trunk, and painted over the dried glue on the top.

tree stump table

The white trunk looked pretty cool and I thought for a second about stopping there but the gold called me like it always does. Why leave it white when it can be fabulous gold?

best gold spray paint

I used this Montana Gold spray paint which I’m pretty sure is for actual art pieces and is super fancy. I’ve bought my share of gold spray paint before but none has ever had a finish and color payoff like this one. My brother had this can of spray paint and said I could have it and I’m so glad he did! The color in this can is SO much better than the other gold spray paints I’ve purchased before.

best gold spray paint, tree stump table

Side by side comparison of the white vs. gold. Definitely made the right decision to not stop at the white!

best gold spray paint, tree stump table

The gold paint was still wet at this point and I noticed that the thicker I tried to apply it, the more running and streaks that I got. This spray paint covered the tree in one coat, which is pretty amazing. The paint comes out in a fine mist and immediately has a mirror finish. I was hooked and looking around for anything else I could spray. Sometimes I have to take a step back from the spray paint!

best gold spray paint, tree stump table

I rarely wear gloves (or safety goggles… shh! don’t tell my mom!) and this is typically what happens. Since it was gold, I thought it looked pretty cool but going to the gym with gold hands gets a little weird.

My goal for my golden stump was to hold the tray that the mail falls onto. Our house has one of those old mail slots in the wall, and we’ve had a weird little stool holding the tray for the longest time. I considered painting that gold originally but the shape didn’t really call for that. The golden stump fits perfectly in the spot and adds a little glamour to an area that is otherwise not glamorous at all. It’s super heavy and was a bit of a process to complete, but it was easy and the best part was it was free! Nothing like saving a grand and bringing in a similar piece with a little elbow grease.

I love how the trunk is still knobby but also smooth. Since this turned out so great I am definitely looking around to see what else I can spray. Nothing is safe from the gold, really.

best gold spray paint, tree stump table



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