Just after I decided to exit my previous company and launch a new one, I was invited to participate in a global campaign for Google for Entrepreneurs that involved being on a Google Hangout that might potentially be seen by thousands of viewers around the world. This was exciting and a big honor… and a logistical problem.

After all, I was just about to close out my company’s downtown offices and consolidate what was left into my home office.

I should back up a step. Somewhere I probably have pictures of what it looked like when we — my late husband and I — first bought the house. Ah yes, here’s one:

way before

That window is, indeed, broken, and there is a charming amount of debris on the floor. And those walls? Dirty pink. Did you even know dirty pink was a paint color? I didn’t.

But we made the best of it for years, though, because you see, the thing was, the plan was always to do a major renovation to the house. This house, I should mention, is somewhere between 150 and 180 years old. And the part of the house where this room is, which is a 30-year-old addition done very badly and cheaply, would be demolished in the process to make room for a much better, more cohesive, and larger addition.

But that was in 2005, and we spent the better part of four years fixing up the exterior of the house. I’m not kidding; check it out:

house before and aft

It was grueling, detailed work. And even though we did earn a historic preservation award in the process, we needed a break, and it seemed the interiors could wait until we got to the big renovation.

But then I started my business, and that took up a lot of my time and our personal resources to float us financially until the business became profitable. And then the Nashville Flood of 2010 happened, and my husband’s basement art studio was destroyed and had to be rebuilt. And then… and then… it was always one thing after another.

And then my husband died. And as you might imagine, for a good while, I had other things on my mind.

And then, even after I was recovering from that loss, even after I met someone, and even after he moved in, I still held out the idea of demolishing the old office in a new build-out.

But when I closed my business and started a new one, when I moved my offices and consolidated into my home office, and when the Google Hangout invitation came in, it was time to do something, even if it was only a temporary fix on a room that would ultimately be demolished.

So I began to cover the pink with gray.

This room had always been shared with my five cats. They were not excited when I locked them out for a few days so they wouldn’t get any Pepe LePew-style stripes.

The room has pretty high ceilings, so getting up on a ladder and leaning around all day was part of the equation. Luckily, there was beer to reward myself afterwards.

And here’s a view of the finished product. In the background you can see the cat loft that my late husband built. As I said, this room has always been shared with the cats, and it was important to me to preserve their leisure area to ensure that we all coexist happily. They’re a calming force to have around when you’re working, so having them climb up and down the steps throughout the day, looking out the window at birds and squirrels, is one of the nice perks of working out of a home office, and reminds me to connect with the outside world and the things that matter.

And the view of it (and me) during the Hangout (at least as it appeared, backwards, on my screen):

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 10.31.06 AM

So let’s see that before and after again:
before and after


I think I’m going to like it here.

Home office revamp for Google for Entrepreneurs Hangout
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3 thoughts on “Home office revamp for Google for Entrepreneurs Hangout

  • March 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Kate, I was at the hangout today, and when it was your turn to speak, I remember thinking, “look how cute her office is!” It looked comfortable, happy and, well, put together. I have been looking at my own home office for some time now, and being sans husband (but for other reasons), I don’t relish the thought of repainting. But there you are.

    And so with the snow melting today and sun shining (above 32 in SW Ohio!) I am inspired to renew. repaint. restore.

    But before I was inspired with your cool reno photos, I was really glad to learn about the work you are doing in Nashville. (We are not geographically far away.) I would like to write follow up stories about whatever #40Forward followers will share with me, so other women may read and learn (and like seeing your reno, be inspired, and know they are not alone). But being a bit of a people organizer too, I am also wondering about the ability to replicate Nashville’s program here in similar size community in Ohio. We’ll be in touch. Thanks for sharing with us today.

    And the cat loft rocks. Our black bombay kitty will be verrrry jealous.

  • March 4, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks LPMarie. I appreciate your comments, and the cats appreciate knowing someone will be jealous.

    Please do get in touch about the ecosystem; and if perhaps it would make sense for me to come speak with a group there, we can certainly arrange something.

    Good luck with your own refresh!

  • March 5, 2014 at 12:28 am

    This is SO inspirational and I love the orange accents! Nice work!


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