I’ve been in business over 10 years now. One of my goals, or maybe not so much goals but desires, has been to have a meeting space that really represents myself and my brand. I want every bride, groom, photographer, friend, or person who comes into my space to know immediately that it is mine.

I’ve lived in Ladera Ranch for three years, and shortly after I moved here, I became aware of the section of housing that is zoned for both commercial and residential. These homes have office space attached to the house but with a completely separate entrance and zoned for business use. I always thought it would be the perfect area for my lifestyle, but the houses in this section do not come available very often.

When Jeff and I got engaged, we were originally thinking the he’d just move into my place after the wedding, because I had a townhouse in Ladera that was pretty nice, and his lease on his apartment was up in December anyway. The more we thought about it though, the more we realized that we’d prefer a fresh start, a new house that we could move into together and make our own! I drive around this area all the time and know all the listings on the market so when a new one comes up, if it’s in a section of the neighborhood I might be interested in, I try to see it right away. I found this one through another listing–this one actually wasn’t even for rent yet, but the owners were willing to do this if the right person came along. When we saw the house, we were in love at first sight, and when I saw the office, I was smitten! It didn’t seem like much at the time (pics coming), but I knew it had potential.

Over the last three days, I have had a ton of work done to the new office, and I might say, the transformation is quite dramatic! It’s NOT COMPLETE YET–it still needs real furniture, more furniture, lighting, window treatments, and a bunch of other stuff, but it’s well on it’s way.

Here is what the place looked like when I found it (these photos are from the online listing). My arrows were to tell Jaren (more about Jaren in a second) where the “AWESOME WALL” was going to go. I had already decided that I wanted one wall of the office to be a real showpiece and the focal point of the room.

(**obviously, i didn’t shoot these photos, they were on the agency site when I found the house**

Now for the good stuff. This is the angle facing the largest part of the office, in the open space I plan on using for client meetings and for workshops:


This is the opposite view, of the smaller office area that I plan on using either as a workstation or a really cool, comfy lounge and shooting space (most likely lounge and shooting space):


A closer view of the “awesome wall” wall:


Once the owners moved out, I was able to take some photos of the empty space. The carpet was an industrial nubbly brown:


Here the view from the front of the room facing towards the lounge/shooting space area in the back:


View from the stairs facing the future awesome wall:


And now (dramatic pause, please…) the (somewhat) finished product! I decided to go with white walls and black crown moldings and baseboards for a clean space with lots of contrast. I’ll be adding black and white roman shades in the next few weeks also.

The green chairs I used to love so much no longer match–if you want to buy them, email me at blog@jessicaclaire.net:

The grey loveseat, pillow, and coffee tables are Ikea (those tables were $7.99!! I will be getting real furniture at some point, but this looks cool for now:


My green wall! I can shoot here, hang out on some couches and chairs I’ll put back here, and I’ll likely add a desk at some point as well. The frames were originally brown and cracked, but I refinished them with white glossy paint:


Now for the awesome wall. So I have this friend Jaren, who is absolutely amazing at construction. He’s a construction manager for a major homebuilder full time, but takes on projects on his own from time to time. I’ve wanted him to do something for me for the longest time, but I have never had space before.

When he asked me what I wanted, I told him I wanted an entire wall that looked like this:


He told me I was smoking crack, which I clearly was. But at the end of the day, this is what I got:


Another view of the AWESOME WALL:


Jaren painstakingly constructed each of these squares precisely and meticulously. I’ve never seen anyone put as much attention into the details as I did when I watched Jaren work. He worked for three days from 7am to 2am in the hottest weather OC’s seen in a long time and barely took breaks. Before you tell me I’m a slave driver, I begged him to stop. But once he got going, he wasn’t going to leave one second before it was perfect.

Check out the detail:


If anything was even a millimeter off, the whole wall would have looked like a mess. He had to redo the first few squares so many times, it was insane.


He (along with Jeff, my fiancee and excellent helper) also installed all the moldings along the ceiling.

If anyone out there needs ANY KIND OF CONSTRUCTION DONE AT ALL, moldings, chair rails, wainscoting, seriously–anything, you should run, don’t walk, but run to send Jaren an email. He can do anything you can dream up, either while on crack or otherwise. You can reach him at jaren.nuzman@gmail.com. He is truly a carpentry artist.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little tour! I had my first new wedding client meeting here yesterday and I bought some new green shoes to match. If you are getting married in the future, I’d love for you to come over and meet with me here any time.

Next, I’ll talk about decorating the living room 🙂