I found this loveseat on your area craigslist. Is this the kind of thing you might like? I have no idea how cats treat leather, though...but this is the kind of thing that I think would make the office cozy and more upscale.
Folks, I boarded and worked at (taught lessons, trainer's assistant, etc.) this facility, and it is one of the best places I've ever ridden. That huge outdoor arena (that's the infield of an old track) holds so many awesome riding memories for me. The OP is also one of the classiest people I know....she's kind without being a pushover, and she's ALL about the horses. If anyone deserves to have a great barn office, it's her. I hope that this make-over is fabulous for you HPilot! You deserve it! Let us know how it turns out!
I thought the room looked a little dark. So depending on what you can find in wood for seating, i would paint it out in a light color. If you wanted to do benches, add colorful cushions on top.I also might think about painting out the fireplace. If you google images, some of them lookreally smart. You might even try to find an old barn beam and add as a mantle. Nice largecheery horse picture over top of the fireplace.I like the wood on the walls, and wouldnt touch that at all. You would be surprised how you can accent with color. The room looks quite large, it would be nice to find a harvest table also.Add some used wing back chairs, if you get micro suede, cats claws do not penetrate that material... its sure is a lovely room
OK, I realize you didn't ask for decorating advice, but everyone seems to be giving you some. I really like the space. I like the wood walls and the brick fireplace. I like the suggestion you have on the floor, which is probably a very pretty floor. I would have a seating area around a rug/carpet of some kind. Two or three love seats, a coffee table, with an area rug. Then have one or two arm chairs with side table at other parts of the room. Then, if there is room, a table with chairs as a place to sit and discuss or plan. I like the one pictured in the CL ad - that kind of thing anyway. I don't think it has to be leather. In our experience, cats do prefer to scratch leather, but with a little special attention and instruction to the cat the first few days, it should be fine. Cats do love to lay on leather - I'm not sure why. This is outside the request for suggestion, but replacing those light fixtures with ceiling fans might look nice. I think the room is too nice for outdoor furniture, though I like the idea of outdoor furniture in some indoor spaces.
I'd check out a patio furniture store - now that "outside living space" is such a big thing, there are some excellent outdoor furniture options - some that are designed to have a more upholstered look and have removable covers that you can wash or replace/change and are made of durable materials to handle weather conditions.
OP what an awesome space! I also think it is really admirable that you want to update on a budget. So often I see gorgeous barns where more money was sunk into the people amenities than the horse amenities.
From a limitless budget standpoint, I think leather wingback chairs would be gorgeous in that space. However, I think dark indoor/outdoor furniture with neutral cushions would be a great choice.
Framed classic photos, nice lighting, and cleanliness convey "class" to me more than a $2,000 couch. At the end of the day it is a barn so you shouldn't feel pressured to spend more on furniture than you can stand to lose if it gets destroyed or broken.
It should be a space that makes you smile while allowing you to make phone calls, file papers, and have meetings. Gorgeous is useless if you don't have the space you need to comfortably work.
Please post your updated pictures when you are done!
Impressive that someone can ask for opinions about a chair, and have her entire business model critiqued. Only on COTH.
You just said it.......cleaniness convey "class". I will post pictures when I am through. May be awhile though! I am being frugal AND picky at the same time.
I think I would do something like the big old narrow cabinet turned into a seating thing, and along that line, I was thinking of sturdy wooden benches, a decon's bench, old wooden chairs (like a rocker, a windsor) whatever wooden things you can find in barn sales, craig's list. An old trunk for a coffee table is great. Old wooden stools which can be sat upon or feet propped up in front of the fire. Once I found old wooden crates filled with enamels and paints under of all things, and old coal pile, in a basement. Dug them out, some of them were old wooden milk crates, reinforced on the corners with metal, I washed them and scrubbed them with a brush, and they came out clean and nice. Used them for boots, foot stools, seats, for years.
The decons' benches can get an old cushion, too.