Name: Valerie Keinsley of Vallarina Creative / Age: 26 / Stationary Designer, Founder and Operator at Vallarina Creative / City, State: Noblesville, Indiana
How did you get started? Have you always created invitations and done graphic design? I took a really roundabout route to getting here! I majored in journalism and had a photography business for awhile after graduation. It wasn’t until I designed all the paper goods for my wedding that I realized how much I loved designing stationery! Even after that discovery, I dabbled in every sort of design – websites, branding, corporate work – until deciding to just focus on stationery. It’s been a really great move for me! I was so burnt out from years of photography and wanted a way to be creative that didn’t require so much time away from my family. I love that my shop now allows me to work more or less depending on our season, create as much or as little as I want, and help other people celebrate what matters most!
Your adorable office space is in your home. What advice can you give others for finding a quiet space in their homes and making it feel like an office? My biggest advice is to think outside the box as far as finding space to work. My office in our last home, an apartment, was a closet under the stairs. I couldn’t stand upright where my desk was, because the ceiling was too low! We took the door off and stored it in our outdoor storage, painted the closet a fun color and stuck my desk in there. It was teeny, but really important that I had a dedicated spot. I think that’s true for anyone. When you work from home, it can be so hard to turn “off” work since it’s always steps away. Having a dedicated spot to be in “work mode” is so vital! And whether you have a full room to yourself, a desk tucked in a corner or even a closet-under-the-stairs, you can make it work! And I think good organization can make any space feeling inviting and serene. Clutter is the biggest nemesis to creativity. Keep your desk area as uncluttered as possible – whether it’s an actual desk or your kitchen counter. Stick everything in bins. Pop some fresh flowers in a vase nearby. Light a candle. Those little things add up!
Can you tell us a little bit about your overall design for your office? Where did you draw inspiration from? I loved the big windows facing our backyard, and really wanted to make them the focal point. They’re higher off the ground than normal windows, so my husband built me a standing height desk so I can see out when I’m working, which I love. I kept everything white so the natural light from the windows and back door would really illuminate the space. I’m also realizing more and more how inspired I am by nature, so I’ve tried to bring that vibe to my office with lots of plants and earthy textures like natural wood. Mostly I wanted this space to be a combination of all of my favorite things – plants, light, happy photos, bright colors, inspiring art. It’s my favorite room in our house!
What is your favorite part of your office? What can other women do in their own offices to keep them motivated and positive? Everywhere I look in my office, I see something that brings me joy. Printed snapshots of my family, dried flowers from my wedding bouquet, a “K” on the wall gifted from a friend, bunting above my desk that my mama sewed for my wedding. I think that’s a really key part of what makes me excited to come in here every day! Also, I really believe in combining beauty + function. Stash those office supplies in really pretty baskets (bonus if they aren’t see-through, so it doesn’t feel cluttered.) Put your paper clips in a really lovely tray or bowl. Skip the office supply section and go hunting for containers at home decor stores (or Goodwill!) instead. Nobody says you can’t keep pens in a super cute mug from Anthropologie. Make your space somewhere you want to spend time in. If you feel less-than-thrilled about trudging into your workspace, your work is going to suffer. On the flip side, if heading into your workspace makes you want to happy dance, your work is going to thrive. I truly believe that.
Do you have any future plans for your office? Yes! The opposite corner from where I have my desk is sort of a hodge-podge right now, so it’s next on my list to tackle. Now that my son is playing independently, I want to create a little space for him in here so that we can still hang out in the same room if I need to do a little work. I’m going to paint one of the walls with chalkboard paint, so he has a place to get creative as well, and put a cute little tipi in the corner so he has a spot to read and play alongside me. I’m also hoping to print some really large candid family photos using the engineer prints from Staples (I was inspired by these awesome prints I saw on Elise Cripe’s instagram!) and hang them on another wall, along with this print that sums up my life motto.
How do you treat this space as your office and battle feeling like you should be doing something elsewhere in your house? This is the challenge of working from home; I have to work under the same roof where I also have to do laundry and dishes and cook and play and every other thing. That’s why it’s so important to me to keep my work in my office – I rarely do work anywhere else, because it helps my brain compartmentalize work and play. I also try to keep the house as tidy as possible, so I’m not tempted to procrastinate on work by doing household chores. I try and do a quick sweep of my house in the morning and toss anything that is out of place in a laundry basket – at least that way, things are contained and not all over the place and I start the day with a clean slate. I do another sweep in the evening and put things where they actually belong. This keeps me from constantly picking up all day long, which protects my time and also my sanity!
Photography by Valerie Keinsley
Website / Vallarina Creative Instagram / Valerie Keinsley Instagram / Pinterest