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When Sarah Weirich and her husband Justin bought an early 2000s home in Northeast Indiana, they knew it lacked historical details.

The DIY-loving couple made up for it with an enchanting home office encased in olive green shiplap that oozes historic charm. “I grew up in a house that was 150 years old and I love the character that these homes bring,” the Simplify the Chaos blogger describes. “I wanted this room to feel like it had been here a long time.”

To achieve an inspiring workspace, the duo had to rip out dated beadboard paneling, tired trim, and battered baseboards. They also aimed to increase the storage (there was none) with a spacious built-in unit: Sarah longed to fulfill her childhood dream of a Beauty and the Beast-style library where she could read books and recharge her creativity. With the added obstacle of a six-week timeline, the drastic transformation is an even bigger feat:


Doing the Math

Simplify the Chaos home office renovation before

Home office renovation with green built-ins

The original owners, who built the house themselves, weren’t shy about adding plenty of quirky features and nonstandard angles. This gave the place personality, but also made for a difficult renovation. “It ended up causing a few headaches when it came to measuring,” Sarah explains. She and Justin had to do tons of computing to figure out the right cuts necessary to install crown molding and arrange the vertical shiplap in continuous lines from the walls to the ceiling.

The planks even appear behind the open shelves that the duo constructed to top their massive built-in unit. The base cabinets (crafted from IKEA Sektion frames paired with Semihandmade DIY Shaker fronts) provide much-needed closed storage. “The doors were a no-brainer to make everything look a little more custom,” says Sarah.


Choosing a Mood

Green built-ins in home office renovation

The couple went for a monochromatic look, painting the entire unit, walls, ceiling, and trim in a muted olive tone she discovered while scrolling Instagram. Though Sarah convinced herself it was a wise idea to test a handful of samples, she ended up choosing the hue she was instantly drawn to on social media. “It is a bit of a chameleon color,” she observes. “Sometimes it looks greener and other times it looks gray. It really depends on the lighting and time of day. I liked that it changes like that.”


Taking a Seat

Yellow vintage chair in green home office

As an avid reader, Sarah knew her study needed a cozy nook to curl up with a book. The bay windows that overlook her expansive yard offered the perfect location, she just had to find the right chair. After a tireless search, she happened upon a vintage yellow seat with rolled arms and a tufted back that was posted on a thrift store’s Facebook page in her Ohio hometown. 

Not able to drive there herself because of the distance, Sarah begged her mother to check it out. “She thought I was crazy when she saw it,” she remembers. “It had flaps along the bottom and looked very dated.” Once her mom confirmed its solid condition, comfort, and “odorlessness”, Sarah asked for it as her Christmas gift (all she would have to do is remove the flaps).

A brass Sputnik chandelier and a streamlined desk balance out the traditional elements, while art bought on the streets of Florence, thrifted finds, and passed-down hardcovers give the space a personal, family vibe. It’s certainly a great spot to read a fairy tale and maybe even feel like you’re living in one.

Comments (3)

  • Carla Saldana says:

    Hi! Can you explain a little more about using IKEA frames with your Semihandmade DIY fronts?
    Are there other frames that can be used with these fronts? I would love to create a more custom look but a little worried about planning.

    • SHM SemiStories says:

      Hi Carla, Semihandmade doors are designed to fit IKEA frames only. Some designers/homeowners choose to build trim and/or custom shelves around the IKEA frames for a more custom look. If you have more questions, you can email us at and someone from our customer service will be happy to help!

  • Hi! What paint color is this? It’s stunning!

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