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e-Consult: The Home Office

With more and more of us working from home, it’s vital to carve out a dedicated spot to conduct business. A kitchen table may work for awhile, but it may not be the best long term solution, especially as your company grows. Whether you use a neglected corner, transform a closet into an office, or if you’re fortunate enough to have an entire room, designing an office is a task in itself! Size doesn’t always matter, it’s more important to know what to do with what you have. :)

These are some clippings Heather sent in to show the color
palette and ‘feel’ she’s after.

What do you need in an average home office? That depends on what you plan to do in there. Are you mainly on a computer or do you need to lay out papers, draft, paint, work with equipment like a letterpress, etc.? Do you meet with clients? A desk, chair, seating for clients (optional), storage, a trash bin, location for your equipment, lighting, organization items (folders, etc.) and optional things like shelving for the walls, a corkboard, etc. You want to incorporate a color scheme and patterns that will inspire productivity and make you want to actually spend time in your home office space.

With all this in mind, let’s visit with decor8 reader Heather today who submitted her office for a decor8 e-consult after reading this post last month by Vanessa De Vargas. Since the post inspired all of this, I teamed up with Vanessa and together, we whipped up a plan of action for Heather.

Homeowner specifics: View current office photos here. Heather works as an independent consultant promoting public television projects from home full-time in Tampa, Florida. She lives in a 1920s Spanish Colonial. The office was a porch, now it’s been closed in, with lots of windows and terra cotta flooring. The room has built-in shelves that are adjustable and are about 11″ deep. Her child has a craft table and chairs in the room as well, but they don’t need to stay.

Room size: 8.5′ x 11′.

Challenge: Storage! Heather’s job is a combination of writing, marketing and graphic design so she has at least three projects going on simultaneously and there are lots of boxes of print materials, mailing supplies and DVDs lingering in the office.

Heather Loves: Greens, warm browns/terra cotta and shots of turquoise/aqua. She also likes golden yellow. Her style is vintage and feminine, with a shot of whimsy. I think her current office has a little to many shots of whimsy so we need to edit this down a bit. :)

Here are some shots of Heather’s current office.

Here is what Vanessa and I came up with. Readers are also encouraged to leave their feedback in the comments section below.

Walls: Paint the walls in a deep chocolate brown and keep the contrasting white trim as is. Same with the shelves, keep them white and paint behind them in the same color. Ideas: Benjamin Moore Clinton Brown, Rockies Brown, or Bittersweet Chocolate.

Floors: The floors are fine as they are since you have a limited budget and because you love the terra cotta, let’s keep them. I’d add a textural jute rug to the center of the room to warm up the space. You want something durable and since you live in Florida, I think jute against terra cotta is a really nice ‘beachy’ look. Try the diamond-patterned natural jute rug ($199) from Pottery Barn or locate something in a similar tone elsewhere. I’d prefer that you use a natural fiber rug without a fabric border or fringe. You can also opt for the heathered chenile jute rug in natural. Opt for a 5′ x 8′. If you want a pattern vs. a natural fiber, try an animal or geometric print, it would really work. West Elm and Pottery Barn have some perfect finds for you. This moorish rug is a good one.

Some items I found for Heather’s new space.

Lighting: Unless the ceiling fan is really accomplishing something, trade it in for a pretty chandelier since I noticed them in many of the inspiration photos that you shared. Look for something in a gold tone like the 6-arm Grande Claire ($399) from Ballard Designs and don’t bother with shades, it looks cleaner without. Or if you feel like splurging, this would be lovely. Also try topping your new desk with a lamp in your accent color. The one above is from Target, but it’s a little on the expensive side so look for something like it at stores like Homegoods, ZGallerie, and eBay.

Windows: It looks like you currently have 3 sets of vinyl blinds. What do you think about removing those and adding roll up blinds in bamboo instead? The warm shades of brown will really look nice with your new wall color. Or you could go with a patterned roman shade in a brown and white geometric pattern perhaps?

Colors: We suggest going with chocolate and white with shots of turquoise and some chartreuse green if you’d like. Gold as your metal since you mentioned liking yellow. Or you can try mixing your brown with chartreuse and a watery ocean blue with energetic bursts of maize yellow in a few of your accent pieces as one of your inspiration photos uses this palette.

Organization: Clean that bookcase! If you don’t read all those books on a regular basis, weed them out and store or donate them. Make room for adding some decorative elements as a bookcase with only books drives me a little nutty. Try mixing it up with a ceramic vase in one of your accent colors, a small piece of artwork, something from a vacation that you love, etc. Keep some of the lower shelves free for magazine files in solid white or linen for a fresh, clean look. I suggest the Stockholm magazine files from the Container Store or woven storage from West Elm. This is also where you can store DVDs and promotional materials, look for pretty storage boxes or file folders with lids that you can use to store things in. The Stockholm storage boxes would work since you say your bookcase is 11″ deep. Look for things with lids because open containers give your eye more to look at in a room making it feel more cluttered. Label everything with matching labels, pay attention to the neatness of your handwriting. Try to use the same color marker for each or print out your labels.

Current Furniture: I know this may sound harsh but Vanessa and I both agree that you should get rid of it all because none of it really works in this space, nothing is really ‘helping’ you out. And all these little tables and storage cabinets make the room feel smaller than it really is. I think the black weighs the room down and the corner piece is not only taking up the space, but it’s blocking your beautiful windows and the sunlight. I’d love to see you put in a desk that runs along the same wall that your computer cabinet is currently on and over it, some art and an inspiration board (like this) where you can pin up some of the things you currently keep on the interior doors of your cabinet. For a desk, opt for something in a medium wood or white that has visible legs vs. a solid ‘box’ bottom without legs because it will give the room a lighter feel. I can’t tell how high your windows are from the floor but I can predict that you couldn’t put a desk across that wall, so why not try a wall-to-wall window seat painted in white with box window-seat cushions in your favorite print. You could have the benches with either storage beneath (with doors) or they could lift up and you could put things inside. Swap out the black leather task chair for something a little more interesting, maybe a vintage find like this cane chair with a chartreuse seat.

Hope this helped you Heather! I have a few more offices from readers to show you in addition to this one so stay tuned for more office inspiration during the month of April here on decor8.

(images linked above to sources)

Posted in workspace on March 31, 2008
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A Few Must Haves for Spring

Here are a few must haves for sprucing up ones nest for Spring! It’s obvious to me that geometric prints are huge again this season. I have zero problem with this, in fact I’m thrilled to pieces to see that you can scoop up affordable rugs with that high end showroom look we all crave without the massive price tag.


Here’s a few of my favorites this week: The petal rug in yellow from West Elm, a fish umbrella stand sold at Pieces that I found in the April issue of Domino magazine, the Bridget mirror from Pottery Barn (because it reminds me of this one below), and of course everything in a room can’t be brand new so a fab vintage chair from Turquoise LA is another must.


I see the Bridget mirror against a dark brown wall much like the one Petit Collage has in her living room. She found her mirror in South America so the Bridget a nice find if you’re looking for something along these lines. I heart this living room so much. I love her collections, you can view more of her home here.


And have you seen some of the new rugs at Pottery Barn? PB is surprising me lately. Love these geometric prints and their selection of awning stripes would be great for giving the bedroom or eating area a boost. I imagine a black and white one against a black painted hardwood floor with crisp white walls and lots of Scandinavian inspired furnishings. Yum.

(images from west elm, turquoise, pottery barn, and pieces)

Posted in flooring, walls on March 31, 2008

Designers Guild *New* Fabrics + Wallpapers

Do you recall this amazing home? It’s the posh pad of senior stylist Liza Giles who works for Designers Guild in London and features loads of prints and patterns from the DG wallpaper and fabric collection which inspired lots of decor8 readers. That’s why I’m once again pointing you over to Designers Guild… Because most of us are huge fans.


This time around, I’d like to highlight their new global website (it’s so much cleaner and easier to navigate now) and the slew of new papers and textiles they’ve added. And they’ve added a new feature called a Scrapbook where you can save your favorites and purchase bed linens, towels, cushions and throws, rugs and paint online in the UK and Europe (there’s a US site too). I’m really excited about the paint option for my new apartment in Germany so I just ordered the free paint color cards.


Psst: Good news for Germany. Designers Guild just opened their first German showroom located at Ottostrasse 5 in Munich. Yay!

(images from designers guild)

Posted in textiles, walls on March 31, 2008

Got a Passion for Purple?

PointClickHome just posted a slideshow with lots of purple finds, including some of their favorite paint colors by Benjamin Moore. They didn’t highlight Passion Plum 2073-30 but I have to add that to the list because it’s a deep hue that is so rich and delicious…

I really like this cane coat stand from Red Egg – the materials and design anyway. I can’t say I like it in this color because it’s a bit too Golden Girls for me — I’d paint it bright red, crisp white, tulip yellow, or black. I’d also love to reupholster that chair in perhaps that Duralee animal print and paint the frame white. Or reupholster it in some red and white geometric print and lacquer the frame in black. I know, I know, the whole point of this post is to highlight purple finds but I can’t help myself since I love to alter things, editing is in my blood. The Tokyo Dahlia wallpaper is lovely, it’s from the Oriental Garden collection over at Designers Guild.

To learn more about the color Purple and to view rooms in this sassy hue, here are a few decor8 links to inspire you:

Color of the Month: PURPLE
Lavender Love from The Washington Post
Poppin’ Purple

(images from pointclickhome)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips on March 31, 2008

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