Wherein We Get All Professional… And Stuff

watsontownYesterday Serge and I drove into the town nearest our little farmhouse and signed a year lease on OUR NEW OFFICE.

Yup.

We officially have an office in town. Not just in town. On High Street, the main street that runs down the historic little town of Bellefonte, the town about ten minutes away from our farmhouse. And the office isn’t just on High Street, but a few doors down from the YMCA (our go-to for gym/childcare/swimming lessons/gymnastic lessons) and a block from our favorite park in the world not to mention across the street from the best little coffee shop around.

We are thrilled. Not only because we are embarking on the next part of our careers as freelance writers but because this will be amazing for our relationship. After nearly two years of being around each other 24/7 we have come to realize that separation is imperative for a healthy marriage.

In other words, GET OUT OF MY FACE. I need a chance to miss you, yo!

We have recently decided that one more kid is in the cards for us, fingers crossed, and so we really need to get it together as far as organization, scheduling and so forth. Any parent knows the key to easier, more productive days is having a schedule that the kids everyone can count on. Not only does knowing what to expect each day  make Violet and Henry  happier but they do things with less arguing.

We’re really trying to dial in on a plan that has Violet in pre-school during the morning hours while Henry goes to a neighbor’s house to play with the kids she babysits so we can write. Serge writes at the office in the mornings and I write during the afternoon… Or something to that effect. By having somewhere to go for work and quiet time we’re more traditionally structured, busy with our own things during the day and can meet back up in the evening. As it is now, the afternoon has just been chaos with us trying to write in little spurts, stumbling all over each other and our kids.

Because we’re tripping all over each other here at home and never have a quiet moment to ourselves, we’ve been mulling over the idea of leasing office space for a while now but never came across anything within our rock bottom price range. Until this week. We happened to see a for rent sign in town and I called the number on the spot. The man renting it said his maintenance guy was just around the corner and could show us the space right then. It’s in the basement of an old building, nothing fancy. But that’s what I like about it. It reminds me of so many of the hip, urban spaces I spent time in while living in Brooklyn. Stone and brick walls, metal and wood columns. Concrete floor even! But I like that.

I asked the man leasing the place if the lease price he gave me was the best he could do. He chuckled and said he could probably go lower. When he threw out the next number I nearly wet my pants. If I told you the number you would too. Basically, he’s a big business man who runs a company and happens to own a couple buildings, including this one, so he isn’t looking to put the squeeze on someone desirous of renting out a space that would probably go empty otherwise. So, yesterday we signed the lease and the keys were handed over.

We’re in!

We’ve been scouring secondhand shops for rugs and couches and chairs and lamps and funky artwork. The goal is to create a kind of urban loft space feel with a retro, eclectic twist. It’s a large space with three separate rooms and a bathroom. It’s got this quaint little entrance right of High Street. I took some initial photos just to show you the kind of raw space we’re dealing with here. Remember, we’re renting this baby for a song.

The brick lining the stairs that lead to our office door (our office door!) are engraved with the name Watsontown. A little research reveals that Watsontown is a nearly 100-year-old brick company here in Central Pennsylvania. And so we’ve dubbed our office Watsontown.

And thus begins a new era in the great Bielanko family adventure. We are buzzing with excitement. I’ve always wanted a work space to call my own. A place to stay organized, a place where sticky, curious fingers don’t wander… I cannot wait to get started on decorating.

Check out the “before” photos below. Got any hot ideas for us as we begin to decorate the place? The landlord says we can pretty much do whatever we want to the walls and the floor. Yay!

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  • Bellefonte 1 of 15
    Bellefonte
    Welcome to historic Bellefonte, home of the Jerry Sandusky trial!
  • Looking Down High Street 2 of 15
    Looking Down High Street
    This is standing in front of Watsontown looking down High Street. Our favorite park is down there at the bottom of the street where a river runs through town.
  • Another View 3 of 15
    Another View
    The main drag of Bellefonte.
  • Petrikin Hall 4 of 15
    Petrikin Hall
    This is the building next to our office. It was built more than a hundred years ago to accommodate the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. If you look closely at the top center of the building you can still see the WCTU. Their goal? To create a "sober and pure world by abstinence, purity and evangelical Christianity." I'm going to do my damnedest to single-handedly abolish that notion.
  • Sidewalk 5 of 15
    Sidewalk
    Now you're standing in front of Petrikin Hall, looking up the sidewalk to the entrance of Watsontown.
  • Watsontown 6 of 15
    Watsontown
    The front of our office.
  • Welcome to Watsontown 7 of 15
    Welcome to Watsontown
    Those bricks to the right are all engraved with "Watsontown." That's where I'm going to plant a bunch of ivy and flowers come spring!
  • My Office 8 of 15
    My Office
    When you first walk in you'll be standing in my office area.
  • A Closer Look 9 of 15
    A Closer Look
    I snapped this photo after moving the desk to where I want it to be permanently. I hope to cover the entire floor with interesting rugs and have funky artwork all over the wall, which I can paint if I want.
  • Stone Wall 10 of 15
    Stone Wall
    Here's the old stone wall that I love. I want to find something cool to do with this.
  • Main Lounging Area 11 of 15
    Main Lounging Area
    If you continue past my office you'll find yourself in the main lounging area. We hope to put rugs, funky couches and chairs and lamps here to create a cozy, living room vibe.
  • Serge’s Office 12 of 15
    Serge's Office
    Toward the back of the space is a small, stone and brick-lined office that Serge immediately claimed as his own.
  • Inside Looking Out 13 of 15
    Inside Looking Out
    It's almost like a tiny recording studio. If we're both there at the same time we'll be a full room apart.
  • Back to Front 14 of 15
    Back to Front
    This is standing at the back of the space looking toward the door that leads back to my office and the front door.
  • Exit 15 of 15
    Exit
    Thanks for stopping by!

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