December 18, 2009
Unplugged by designer Frederic Terral
No wonder Jim Collins is so successful. Collins, author of Built to Last and How the Mighty Fall, told the HBR Editors’ Blog that he blocks four hours every day for thinking—and he unplugs from all technology to make sure he’s not interrupted. He calls these blocks of time “white space” and recommends everyone create some every day. Does anyone out there do this? If so, in what ways? We’d love to hear from you.
Balance, Design, Products
December 18, 2009
Writer Heather John often finds herself working from the couch – at least until her garage gets converted into an office.
Heather John, who works from her home in California, has the enviable job of writing about wine and spirits for Bon Appetit magazine. She also blogs about food, fashion and design. I asked Heather about her plans to set up a new home office in her garage. Look out for more posts from Heather in the coming weeks as her renovation takes shape.
Give us an idea of the overall design? We’re adding French doors to let in more light, built-in bookshelves for my “library” of fashion, design, food, wine/spirits books as well as an area for wine/spirits tastings. The fantasy is to set up shop with a George Nelson table and an Eames Aluminum Chair (in light blue or tan, a girl can dream!), and mix in some antique rugs I “liberated” from my parents. I’m also OBSESSED with paint, specifically Farrow & Ball. I’d love to paint the walls in Dix Blue and then do something dramatic with the bookcases, either somber with Down Pipe (the color of lead pipes), or outrageous like Incarnadine—a crimson red similar to the paint David Hicks used at Baron Court in the 1970s.
Farrow & Ball Blue ‘Night’ was chosen for the dining room walls – more blue is planned for the workspace.
Keeping a workspace tidy is key. What will you do for storage? I’ve asked my husband to check out what kind of desktop storage is on offer at Muji while he’s in New York this week. I’d also like an industrial looking file cabinet. There are some affordable options at CB2. And some not-so-affordable options at Rehab on Beverly, specifically some vintage steel basket lockers recycled from factories and schools. Guess which ones I’m angling for?
What’s the desktop accessory you can’t do without? X-Acto Electric Pencil sharpener. I hate mechanical pencils, and nothing beats a freshly sharpened No 2!
What has the transition to home been like? I’ve been working in an office for the past 10 years, the first half of which were spent at the Los Angeles Times, and the second half at Bon Appetit Magazine. Transitioning to home has been more challenging than I would have imagined, mainly due to distractions—namely a 17-month-old toddler! Also, psychologically there’s something strange waking up in your work environment. This is ultimately why we decided to convert the garage instead of a spare room inside the home—that way I’m leaving the house and going to a dedicated work space, even if it is a few feet up the driveway from my kitchen door.
Wine tastings will move from the kitchen to the garage once the renovation has taken place.
December 18, 2009
The Manhattan Beach home Grant Kirkpatrick shares with his wife and two children.
The Los Angeles Times recently ran a short piece on the growth of home offices. Apparently walk-in closets and spa-like bathrooms are out – work spaces are in. The story focuses on Southern California so you’ll notice lots of open airy spaces like the one above. Manhattan Beach architect Grant Kirkpatrick shares this home with his wife Shaya and their children. He designed over-sized folding doors to open the room up to their front courtyard.
December 17, 2009
Above: Herman Miller’s current logo. Scroll down to see Irving Harper’s hand-drawn original as it appeared in 1947.
Welcome to Lifework.
This is where we at Herman Miller will explore all the issues that arise around working from home. It’s that intersection between life and work that happens in all our houses. For some of us it’s a couple of hours each week on the couch with our laptop, for others it’s a garage converted to a home office where we run a business. But for all of us it’s about balancing work and life.
Because we’re Herman Miller you’re going to find a lot of great design. We’ll be looking at how people have set up their workspaces. We’ll look at new technology that makes working at home so much easier and we’ll tackle all those practical issues that arise every day. How to deal with a barking dog that interrupts an important work call? What office chair is just right? What do I do with all those files? How does it feel to transition to working alone after being in a big office?
As the editor I invite all of you to let us know how you work from home. This is a conversation. And I really look forward to hearing from you.
The Herman Miller logo designed by Irving Harper, who worked in George Nelson‘s office. It first appeared as a freehand drawing in the advertisement below. You can hear George Nelson talk about developing the trademark on Discovering Design.