styling a desk in an awkward space

desk before

today i’d like to share a fun styling project that i’ve been working on with laura over at avery street designs. you know, one of those proper design posts with lots of before and afters, resources and such. it’s a pretty exciting one that i can’t wait to share it with you! and don’t worry, i know you want to know where you can buy some of these goodies…they are listed at the bottom.

so here’s a bit of background, laura and i were neighbors 3 years ago, but she put her house on the market and it sold. we shortly followed suit. laura recently found me again on instagram (by the way, you need to visit her feed…it’s beau-ti-ful!), noticed i had a blog…she had a blog…both bloggety blogs were about interior design, photography, random tidbits of our lives…she suggested a collaboration and i said, “well you know, i have this little desk” and that’s how the magic began.

see, i have this catwalk that leads to nowhere. it’s just sort of an odd space. about 8 months ago, i found a campaign style desk that i thought would work perfectly in the nook…well, let’s be honest, i didn’t find it, my design goddess emily henderson found it for me with her “trolling craigslist…chicago” blog post. and btw, i gots it for a better deal then the $300 price tag it was listed for…always have to wheel and deal.

over the course of the last 8 months, this desk has seen about 6 different lamps (at least), a globe or two, countless vases, stacks of books, brass boxes, candles, artwork and other decorative pieces. but nothing where i’ve said, “you nailed it sista!” i style it, look at the arrangement for a couple weeks, move a couple things and repeated the process. since i finally styled the front room, i figured, you got this girl…but 8 months later, i knew i needed some help.

desk restyle option 2

desk restyle option 1

let me elaborate, you see, it’s a tricky little spot. the adjacent wall has a collage of family photos and it’s a tight fit between the wall and the railing. you don’t want too much in fear it will fight with the wall hangings, but you don’t add enough and it looks sparse. also, since this is on a catwalk, the lamp had to be on the inside wall or you could see up into the shade which became a hard rule i learned on round 1 of styling this puppy…no bulb should be seen from the foyer.

before angled shot

since our schedules are crazy busy and family time is precious, we decided to give this a go over email…electronic restyle so to speak. i photographed the desk and all of it’s orphaned items (i’m a flea market junkie and have collected a lot of small vases and random boxes). below is a glimpse of some of the items which have found a temporary home on the desk. along with a few styled options that have stuck around longer then others.

all the little items i could choose from for the restyleall the little items i could choose from for the restyle

desk restyle option 3

i knew the white lamp was too small, but i had become married to it…it was so cute. i had purchased it from west elm back in february, and it had finally arrived after being backordered for over 4 months…come hell or high water this lamp was staying. but looking at it in the pictures, i thought i had to hang something above it…a large mirror maybe? would it fight with the photos on the adjacent wall? was that the right thing to do? finally, i came to grips with it, the lamp couldn’t stay, it was just too small. that dark vase, although a very pretty vase, was so not right. the artwork by beth hoeckel is so amazing, right, but not perfect in the space. it needed help…it needed a little avery street design makeover…enter laura.

i sent her a few photos of what i was working with…she worked on it thru the night, and delivered perfection to my inbox. be sure to read her behind the scenes on her styling process over at avery street design blog.

so here it is, the big reveal! it’s so ridiculously good! i swear, every time i walk upstairs i suffer from the triple “s”…i stop for a couple seconds, stare and smile! thank you so much laura! i could not have done this without you…now for those to credenzas and dresser, right??? hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink…

after shot of catwalk desk restyleafter shot of desk restyle

now let’s get a bit closer, shall we?

after shot of the desk that avery street design and i worked on after shot of the desk that avery street design and i worked on

and how bout even closer

the desk restyle

book stack with artwork, vessel and flowers

feather catch all and book stack


elephant artwork – by john murphy
gold leaf vase
flowers (no long available) (ya, they are silk…laura actually asked for fresh pink peonies, but i couldn’t get to the store in time)
beyond the trend
domino: the book of decorating
creative walls book
stairs vintage popup book (yes, i said popup book)
feather catch all tray
gold dipped white bowl – nate berkus for target, no longer available
branch lamp, west elm, no longer available
diptyque tubereuse candle
campaign style vintage desk – craigslist
parker flush mount ceiling lamp
white monkey statue, z-gallerie, no longer available


  1. laura irion June 13, 2014

    kyla, thanks so much for letting me in on this fun project!! it looks great & your pictures are beautiful! i’m all in for those dressers anytime…. 🙂 xo!

  2. kyla June 15, 2014

    woohoo! it looks like more collaborations are to come! i can’t wait…this was soooo much fun lady!

  3. […] styling a desk in an awkward space […]

  4. […] remember that west elm lamp that you were married to during the desk restyle, find a home for that too because it’s really […]

  5. […] dresser: i love all things campaign style. if you don’t believe me, check out the desk restyle here. […]

  6. URL August 13, 2014

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  7. […] dear friend Laura over at Avery Street Design and i have collaborated before. Well, we decided to do it again, but this time Grace from The Big Reveal and Summer from Simple […]


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