Remote worker wins room makeover that transformed home office

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Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Kristi Pies’ office has been somewhere in her Hawarden, Iowa, home.

First, it was a corner of the basement. Then, it was a spare upstairs bedroom where she shared space with storage.

So when she drew the winning card in Montgomery’s 135th anniversary room makeover giveaway, the office became the clear opportunity for a top-to-bottom transformation.

“I had been in the Sioux Falls store maybe six months prior just looking for living room furniture, and it was the first time I’d ever been there,” Pies explained. “As I was walking out, a salesperson asked if I wanted to enter the giveaway, and I said, ‘Sure,’ not really thinking anything would become of it.”

She’d forgotten all about it until receiving a postcard saying she was one of 135 finalists and inviting her back to the store for a celebration and the drawing to determine the winner. In celebration of its 135th anniversary, Montgomery’s gave away room makeovers at each of its four stores, with budgets of $13,500 each.

“Montgomery’s wasn’t like any of the other furniture stores in town I had visited,” Pies said. “I was honestly a little overwhelmed at first. But we walked around and got ideas about what we’d do if we won, and they talked with me about the kind of furniture I liked.”

Her husband had a hunch she should attend the event – and he turned out to be right. Montgomery’s connected Pies with director of sales Nita Flagtwet and designer Aimee Bridgeman to begin the Montgomery’s room makeover.

“We decided to work on the office since I’m there eight to 10 hours a day,” Pies said. “I ended up going to the store and walking around while they helped me pick out different things I liked.”

With a budget of $13,500, she easily could address “the whole office,” she said. “They helped me put together the room by doing a floor plan and giving me ideas of ways to set it up.”

A piece of art Pies saw at Montgomery’s served as a focal point and inspiration in the space.

“I was super excited when Kristi won because she’s so nice and her office was just a spare room and we got to make it functional and pretty,” Flagtwet said.

The home office before the makeover

“Who doesn’t want to sit in a space all day when you’re surrounded by beautiful things? We get to do that at Montgomery’s every day, and now we had the chance to do that for Kristi.”

The artwork “is fun and a little whimsical, and the fun and the color was really good for what we were trying to achieve in the space,” she continued.

The home office after the makeover

A new desk big enough for multiple monitors and a copper-infused antimicrobial chair were designed to support the many hours Pies spends there as a marketing project manager.

“The chair has a lot of options for adjusting, including bringing the seat forward and back, which is very important for people doing remote work,” Flagtwet said.

The Montgomery’s team helped Pies select a buffet to serve as a working credenza behind her and place for her printer.

Bookshelves now provide new space to display everything from family heirlooms to her framed winning card from Montgomery’s.

A new floor lamp complements the natural light coming into the room, and an accent chair for guests features cowhide, playing off the featured artwork.

“The layout of the room makes a lot of sense, and I like Kristi’s vision of having the desk floating in the room,” Flagtwet said. “A lot of times people face the wall, and this allows for a great view and more free-flowing space. I feel like we met all her needs as far as equipment and made it really cozy.”

Pies agreed.

“It’s been great,” she said. “I spend too much time here now! And Montgomery’s was so helpful in putting it all together, from picking colors to choosing a rug. I have ideas but needed help putting them all together.”

And you don’t have to be a big winner to take advantage of that expert assistance: Montgomery’s offers this kind of free design work to all customers.

For Pies, there even was an unexpected bonus: Her anniversary makeover budget left room for some new outdoor furniture, creating an ideal setting for when she steps away from the home office.

“We added maintenance-free chairs you can leave outside year-round, and we love them,” she said. “We’ve already used them a lot.”