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While I’m Away…

I thought you’d be interested in checking out Whitney English Paper and Little Pretty Studio’s new collection of bulletin boards. Aren’t these adorable?

Thanks Whitney!

{update: This blogger wrote about her idea on how to make these in her post back in early March, so if you want to DIY a hoop for yourself — instructions here. Thanks, Jessie!}

(image from

Posted in stationery, workspace on April 22, 2008

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

Drew Barrymore In Domino

Along the lines of meeting famous people, I can’t wait to pick up the April issue of Domino magazine with Drew Barrymore on the cover (my Domino favorite cover ever). She’s another lady I’d love to hang out with for an afternoon and not only did Domino have that opportunity, but another talented lady was involved that I’m a huge fan of. Ruthie Sommers.

She recently hired on the talented interior designer Ruthie Sommers to translate her stylish vision for an office that doesn’t feel stuffy or overly serious. Domino calls it the “un-office” defined as, “A chic working environment that reflects each partner’s personality”.

I admire Drew so much, she’s one of those child actors that is in her 30’s now and still working in Hollywood despite hundreds of others that never made it past childhood roles. And she’s stylish, down-to-earth, and so very pretty. I imagine that though her life looks simply lovely on the outside, she must sometimes wonder what it would be like to be ‘normal’ like the rest of us. All I can say is that normal has it’s perks, but to have thousands of dollars to spend on designing a home and to enlist Ruthie Sommers to do it for you? I’d trade my normal title (and income) for that any day.

Tour the “un-office” of Drew Barrymore here.

P.S. Does anyone have the publishing date yet for Ruthie Sommers‘ new book L.A. House? Amazon changed the release date from this Spring to 1975? Yeah, strange. Anyone know the scoop?

(images from domino magazine and drew barrymore)

Posted in inspiration, workspace on March 17, 2008

Office by Vanessa De Vargas {+ submit yours!}

Contributed by: Vanessa De Vargas, decor8 West Coast Correspondent.

Last year I had the opportunity to work on an office for my client in Santa Monica. She works for a record label that handles many high profile rock and pop clients and since she works until the wee hours of the night she needed a space that felt like she was working from home.

So with my direction we created a space that would feel like her home office while still keeping it functional and clean. When I first met with my client mentioned her love for Anthropologie and that she loved the color robins egg blue.

I came up with a concept that incorporated vintage pieces and with a twist of modern. The sofa we found at JC Penny, (unfortunately is it sold out) and I had my upholsterer sew a red and white curtain panel from Urban Outfitters right down the center. I felt like the sofa was boring on its own and to dress it up I felt like sewing the panel would do the trick!

For the desk, I found a vintage desk and had the top redone to be made larger, added a new glass and had the entire desk lacquered in white gloss. The nitch behind her desk was a perfect place to add some custom shelving. So I had Jordan Cappellla from Jordan Cappella Collection design the floating Lucite shelves. The wallpaper goes totally interrupted with the Lucite shelves, in which you can literally see right through it.

I have included a breakdown of the items in the room, so you locate the items if you choose to purchase them. I hope you enjoy the office and I’ll post some other projects soon that will include a breakdown of the pieces for decor8 readers. – Vanessa

Sofa: JCPenney (sorry, sold out), Wall color: Behr Rhythmic Blue 510E-2, Drapes – linen fabric: Diamond foam and fabric. Fabric panel on sofa and teal pillows: Urban Outfitters (they just redesigned their site by the way.), Hanging light fixture: Patio Culture, Gold birds: eBay, Zebra rug and gold side table – Vintage, Curtain rods: IKEA.

Wallpaper: Fbw #co21 at Walnut Wallpaper, Gold lamp: eBay, Cork boards: Staples, Desk: vintage. Desk Chair: Advanced Interior Designs.

Bird cup from Nest. Lucite custom shelving: Jordan Cappella, vases and storage from IKEA.

Misc: Chinese Watercolor Paintings shown here: JCPenney.

Project contributed by: Vanessa De Vargas of Turquoise LA.

Thank you Vanessa for dropping in!

Readers: Would you like to submit a photo of your office space for decorating help by Vanessa and I? We’ll look through all submissions and take a few to work on over the next couple of months to post here on decor8 in an effort to help YOU get organized and love the office you’re in. No cubicles allowed, this is only for personal home office space because we’d like to suggest wallpaper and/or paint, flooring, soft furnishings, etc. When you submit your photos please make sure that they are clear with few shadows, shot in natural daylight (if possible). See above photos as a reference – very clear, colors are true to life.

Please send your entry to decor8blog AT with “Help My Office” in the subject line. Please indicate your favorite colors, whether you are allowed to paint/wallpaper in your space, and include any clippings from magazines that inspire you so we can get a feel of what your style is. Office space only. Only entries with images uploaded to Flickr with a link included in your email will be considered (no attachments). For the sake of sourcing products and availability, you must live in the U.S. to participate. Please indicate your budget and the items in the room that you would like to replace, add, and remove. All entries will be considered!

Thank you!

(images from vanessa de vargas)

Posted in guest bloggers, workspace on February 15, 2008


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