An Office at Home . . . Six Ways

Hey There . . .

For me, it's been the month of the home office . . . had a surge lately.  The home office should be multifunctional and I am here to say it can be a lounge as well as a work space that's inviting and not just a desk with utilitarian storage and a tangled mess of computer wires.  Paying bills, late night paperwork and computer surfing wouldn't be such a drag if your surroundings were pulled together and inviting, Home offices can be a cluttered mess of paperwork stacked on top of a desk, but finding clever ways to conceal and organize can make you feel like you've lost 10 pounds.   My home office is an extension of my living room, in colors, furniture and feel and that's the way it should be.  But the best part is the organization.  Being able to put my hands on, at any given moment, a complete list of my kid's classmates or a copy of an old tax return, a neat stash of notecards, stamps and rubber bands all in their designated place.

All these recent offices have been very different for very different personalities.  Just installed and posted, Susan Brown's "pretty," and just before that, Liz Bouleware's "function - but still pretty."  I am gearing up for another that is color filled and fun (installing in November).  Just finished my fourth office request yesterday.  During my typical Friday night wind down of a non-thought provoking movie I went through all the new pieces I discovered at High Point market.  I pulled option after option to complete design boards for my Monday meeting with a new client.  Must admit with all the new introductions, I got a bit carried away with multiple boards to give my client plenty of options, different desk types, bookcase styles and sideboards.  

In this project I have a few "must haves" on their list for the room .  While I plan to achieve that, I still want pretty and relaxed, as I am sure they do.  

On the must stay and have to have list:   a piano, new plantation shutters, not wanting curtains, 2 separate work stations - one specifically facing in the room, shelving for their book library, and a sitting area.  Not a problem.  On my must list - pretty, as it's right when you enter the house, a former living room layout for sure, which leads to dining room, vary visible and open.

I stared with the layout . . . taking all the windows and doors into consideration.  I then started pulling ideas for a "neutral" space, as that is what I was told my client's comfort zone was. . . it quickly lead to more than one option, infusing color and layering texture as I went along.  My job is to reach a bit above a comfort level for something new and not considered.  

Option No. 1

Neutral colors.  I added a wall paper in every option.  Why?  My client just added white plantation shutters on all the windows and does not want curtain panels.  Visually at eye level, there was a lack of pattern, it needs it.  Sure, paint and art would be fine, but a pattern paper would be great.  I also added wainscoting in most of the options.  I feel it would brighten this room and set off the paper.  With plantation shutters, often the flood of light is reduced and this would help keep it bright.  Pattern wall paper replaces a pattern fabric we aren't using - for interest.

A table type desk with a large work space facing in the room was on the want list.  I chose to do matching desk chairs which are upholstered (I considered comfort, seat height and the ability to use in the dining room as head chairs if the need arises.)  The space between the windows is small.  This cabinet is as well, but can house all my client's library of books.  With a floating desk, I chose a nearby floor lamp with a large shade for good light (this takes care of cord issues too).

Her desk area also faces in the room, with the same desk chair.  Behind on the largest wall is storage, made pretty and will house the printer inside and not so pretty files and work things.  Again I have drum shade lamps for more light up and down.

The sitting area is floated in the room as well with two mid century style chairs.  These, I have done before and love.  Great price point and keeps us on budget.

Piano stays where it's located now, but I plan on having it painted black, along with the new french doors leading to the dining room.  The black will ground all the neutral colors and add a little weight to the room (the nearby dining room is wood paneled and heavy, if the lightness of this room doesn't have a little weight it will seem unbalanced.

Option No. 2

This option is very similar to the first, I just added a darker paper and a different rug to show my clients just how that would appear.  I also switched out his desk in the same wood tone as the bookcase behind it.  Just a thought !

Option No. 3

I changed it up with this version.  Keeping the white wainscoting but using the first wall paper in the blue version.  I chose a closed front cabinet behind his desk and have the printer and not so pretty stuff moved over to his side.  A larger table top desk for him - an option for more work space but also in black.

In this design I have her desk facing the wall (or it can still be turned outward), and the open shelving flanking.  These shelves are wrapped in rope, texture and uniqueness rolled into one.

Rather than two chairs, this is a small apartment size sofa 75" as an option rather than 2 chairs.  An occasional side table, and I am sure I would be able to come across some sort of interesting coffee type table . .  I tend to get a room set up and shop the same day for finishing touches.

Option No. 4

This option is the same layout, however I added a curved bookcase to float slightly away from the window in the corner.  I love this piece and have yet to be able to use.  Crossing my fingers on this, as I love it so much.  With this design, it frees up a little more space directly behind his desk.  This desk has much more storage and a great style to it.  Still love this rug and it works with these colors as well.

These occasional chairs were new to market.  In a cream leather with great lines, very comfortable and the perfect choice with small kids, easy to keep clean.  Oh, did I forget to mention, kid friendly on all this, that was on the "must" list as well.

Have to admit, this is my favorite of all the looks.  Love that bookcase.

 Option No. 5

No wainscoting in this design.  The wall paper is textured, shades of grey and similar to grass cloth, but not.  Love this bookcase as well - made of metal and houses load of books in a visually interesting way.  This space is back to the neutral color palate, yet infuses a touch of orange for punch.

Same wall cabinet as in the first two options, yet in black and more industrial, true "desk chair" type seating.  

Love the play of orange and these both swivel.  Available in a ton of colors.

 Option No. 6

And lastly, a design that is probably too bright and way out of the comfort zone, but people have been know to surprise me when given a visual.   I love the touch of deco with the graphic wall paper, shelf and her desk mixed with a more traditional "his" desk.  Pattern on both wall and floor. Love.

I came across these lamps at market last week and love the Lucite.  This wall console also is new with a great circle overlay.  Upholstered off-white leather dining chairs with the right seat height and great shape, front and back.  Used this desk at Susan Brown's... it's just as pretty in person as I thought it would be.

With the mix of deco, modern rug and lacquer, why not add two button tufted swivel chairs.  The mix of all these periods appeals to me and I love the overall look.

Hum . . got a bit carried away with the different directions and all the choices.  Will be interesting to see what appeals to them in Monday's meeting.  We may take a little from this one and that one and come up with Option No. 7.

I love playing with this sort of thing - obsessed, you could say that.   With all the new things I saw at market, I couldn't wait to pick and pull.   

Stay tuned for another home office coming up this month - one that is all about color !


High Point Market . . What Caught My Eye . . .

Hi There !

Just got back from High Point Market last night.   Headed up with Bree, Mekenzie and Maggie the other day to roam building after building, hall after hall on the hunt for new and inspiring things.  Hit the jackpot on several.  With my list in hand, 12 new jobs, all different, I needed to find something unique and special for each.  Another thing I was on the hunt for were new pieces for the showroom.  We are changing the look and colors come January for something fresh and different.   Take a look at what caught our eye.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Market. All these pics are from 1 building, 1 floor . . . High Point is huge... 

photography by mekenzie france

While you are in those buildings, which is nothing short of a maze,  you lose all track of time (no windows).  I was in IHFC and asked one of the vendors - a total of 3 1/2 million square feet, 13 floors, and that's just ONE building.  If I couldn't find what I was looking for something was wrong.  

I'm beat . . . need to re-juice to get ready for the big, annual neighborhood Halloween Party Saturday night, I have a costume to make after work . . .