February 9, 2010
An ugly wall socket is the bane of many a home offices. Mine is a beige rectangle of plastic home to an angry mass of cords. And we are wireless! Sure my keyboard and mouse float around free but the monitor and laptop and phone and printer and desk lamp all need to be plugged in. Oh, and the phone charger. Neffa, a Dutch design team, have come up with an elegant solution. “The basic assumption in all [our] solutions is that the wall socket itself does not change. No new shapes, no special modifications, no unusual designs: it is about integrating the existing wall socket into the interior design in its original shape.” Clever and stylish. Via Design Milk.
February 8, 2010
Forget about a board. Why not just use the wall? One of the reasons this works so well is there’s a strict order to it. Using images that are the same size gives clarity to the chaos of disparate photographs. Via designer Shiela Vu’s Flickr pics. Below is another inspiring image from her office, this time with a board, and it also works beautifully.
Her blog is I Heart Chivalry and if you check it out today you’ll see Sheila has picked up on the Google television ad – one of the best Superbowl ads from yesterdays game. I have to admit it – I watch for the ads not the sport. I loved the e-trade ads with the babies. Cheap shot, I know, but they are funny. And, much to the horror of the people watching with us, the Dove for Men ad made me teary. Which one was your favourite?
February 5, 2010
We think of Charles Eames as a great designer but an exhibition that opened last night shows us another side to this talented man – that of photographer. Hosted by Smart Furniture in their Chattanooga, TN showroom a show of 100 photographs by Charles runs until March 4.
It was a rather cold evening last night but over 200 design enthusiasts showed up to hear Eames Demetrios talk about Charles and Ray’s design philosophy and enjoy the images. Many of the shots, which cover not just Charles’ work but also his travels and life with Ray, had never been exhibited before. I’m going to see if I can get a slideshow together of at least 20 of the images to post here. But for the moment I can tantalize you with pics of the show before the guests arrived!
Balance, Design, Products
February 5, 2010
Wow – these come around fast. I feel like I put the last list together yesterday. Having said that I’ve got way more than I need for this list. But being a terribly disciplined editor I am only going to give you five!
1. A Desert Fete This funny, sparse blog always make me smile. Jamie lives in San Diego and has been blogging since mid-2008. Reminds me of life before kids and I like that. Where to start: Her post on hanging a branch above her bed made me laugh…mostly because I’ve done the same thing but it was a date palm branch.
2. Unclutterer Not to lose focus, lets get back to workspaces and our work lives. Unclutterer of the best organizer’s sites I’ve come across. Inspiring and informative without being dull and preachy. Plus it’s well designed. Look out for an interview with the editor, Erin Doland, next week. Where to start: I like the productivity posts…but that’s just me.
3. We Love Stop-Motion I know I just tried to bring the focus back but sometimes we need a break. Some might call it procrastination but a 3 minute time out is often al that’s needed to get through the next part of the day. Where to start: Please watch Her Morning Elegance. It’s lovely.
4. Design to Inspire Edited by two women who have never met but share a great eye for interiors and a passion for design. This blog never fails to offer up new and exciting work. They recently redesigned (it needed it!) and now the cleaner palette lets all those great images shine. Where to start: Try their Flickr round-up of work spaces.
5. IKEA Hacker It’s ugly ugly ugly but the amazing ingenuity of some of the hacks are amazing. There really are some very clever ideas here. Plus it has been going since 2006 which is a lifetime in the blogging world. I like that tenacity. Where to start: The pencil holder made from those lovely wooden IKEA pencils.
February 4, 2010
The famous photograph of the Herman Miller designers and founder DJ De Pree has always intrigued me (from left top row: Robert Probst, DJ De Pree and Charles Eames. And seated, Alexander Girard, George Nelson and Ray Eames). I love the camaraderie captured. I’m sure it wasn’t always there! But for a split second a real joy was captured. I’ve always wondered who took the photograph? It’s a very interesting story. The official photographer that day was Judith Olausen (her image is above). She’s shot a lot for Herman Miller and I’ve been in email contact with her. Judith generously offered to scan the negs from the shoot. I’m excited to see these shots. I’ll post those all as soon as they come in!
According to our archivist, Linda Baron, the photographer who took the image of everyone laughing (below) is Melissa Brown. The story goes that there was a break in the shoot and they were all joking around when Melissa snapped this shot. I’m yet to track down Melissa (anyone got any leads there?)
February 4, 2010
This is the first in a series where we’ll answer your questions and respond to your requests. I can’t get you all free Eames chairs…sorry! But I can get you the screensaver that seems to be on everyone’s computer. Generous? Not really. It’s free. Just click here and you can download it for Mac or PC.
February 4, 2010
One of the joys of this job – and this blog – is getting to look at other people’s homes. It satisfies the inner voyeur in all of us and gives us a bit of visual sustenance. I’m reading Alain de Botton’s Architecture of Happiness and I really like the idea of beautiful spaces and good design being sustaining. As Botton writes ‘An ugly room can coagulate any loose suspicions as to the incompleteness of life, while a sun-lit one set with honey-coloured limestone tiles can lend support to whatever is most hopeful within us.’
With that in mind I came across Jennifer Ramos’ Made by Girl’s home office – which looked perfectly great to me (I’ve also got the Obama ‘Hope’ poster that got artist Shepard Fairey into so much trouble. Although it’s not framed yet…but that’s another story). Jennifer is making the space over. I’ve emailed her to see if we can include the new office in our ‘Inspiration’ series but I couldn’t resist posting the ‘old’ office. (The walls are done in ‘Mercer’ by Ralph Lauren Paints)
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
February 3, 2010
Amy Feezor is the copy director at Real Simple magazine, she is also a freelance writer and blogs at M-Dashing about home design and decor and her obsessions with photography, artisan foods, travel, art, local restaurants, etsy.com, and organizing. This freelance life happens from her Brooklyn headquarters – a corner of her studio apartment. I thought this was a particularly appropriate ‘Inspriation’ after the last post about small spaces.
How long I’ve worked from home…and where is “home”? I have two offices: one at work-work, and one nestled in a nook within my small studio apartment. This is where I blog and work on freelance projects. I’ve been writing professionally for about ten years now, and my home office expands well beyond my desk and my Mac. It’s by my bedside within notebooks I keep handy in case I think of something while I am falling asleep (a common occurrence). It’s on my couch and my coffee table [an Eames molded plywood coffee table that was a recent purchase]. It’s in my kitchen. It’s even on the subway—I find that I do a lot of writing there (it feels strangely private…I even wrote much of this stuff on the F-train). I grew up all over the South, and don’t have an official hometown, per se. So that means that home is wherever I am at the time. Home as has been Birmingham, Nashville, London, Charlotte, Austin, and now home is Brooklyn. But it’s probably not my last home; we’ll see where the next few years take me.
What an average workday involves: Thinking quickly, writing quickly, eating quickly. Quick check-ins on email, Twitter, and my daily blog. Eating quickly again. Taking three to four meetings, in person or on conference call. Trying to find quiet moments to actually think a concept through. And reminders to myself to get up and stretch every once in a while.
Technology that inspires me? My new SLR digital camera. I can’t stop taking pictures right now, and I am really interested in how photography tells a story. As a writer, it’s a new way to adjust my eyes—to challenge myself to look beyond words and learn to rely more on the visual. It’s definitely starting to influence my work. I learned film photography back in college and have a cool metal-bodied Minolta that used to be my dad’s, but this is a whole new ballgame. I am learning more about how to control it and how it controls me. And for the record, I love my little machine so much that I’d probably make out with it if I could.
How I organize my space: My physical space is pretty organized and painfully neat. There’s not much clutter (what a disappointment; aren’t creative types supposed to be messy?). But I just can’t deal. Everything has its place with me, mostly because I’m very forgetful. Being organized helps me be less so. Also, there are folders. Many, many folders. And sometimes, they’re color-coded. My digital space largely mirrors my physical space (read: lots of colorful folders). I have a big to-do list I’ve created in Excel. I deal with bills in Quicken. And I also tend to have a bit of post-it note/Internet bookmarking problem, so I’ve been trying out Evernote.
Item on my desktop that I cannot do without: My red pen. It’s my magic editing wand. My notebook (can’t go anywhere without it). And the calendar…I’m always juggling deadlines and timelines, and need to constantly reference it. I’m still a bit old-fashioned about it, though—I like to have a paper one within reach by the desk.
What inspires me: Great storytelling, whether it’s from a book, a film, a TV series, a song, or a spot-on comedy routine. How my words look in different fonts. The designers I work with. Graffiti. Independent artists and people who post their art anonymously on the street just so it will be seen. Powerful small businesses. My camera in my hands. A big blank wall. Beautiful everyday objects. The Pacific Ocean. Other writers. Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Hampstead Heath in London. People who do things instead of just talk about them. Olive oil. Anything with butter in or on it.
Most important piece of furniture in my workspace? And what I would change about my office if I could? My desk in my workspace and my coffee table in my living space—they’ve become interchangeable, in a way. Since my studio is small, I move back and forth between the two areas to brainstorm, write, and think. They work together as my writing table, my computer holder, my place-to-find-a-pen, my library, and my dinner table. If I could change something it would be more space! A place to have a printer (mine currently lives under the bed). And a cute assistant who smells nice and has large bicep muscles (does that count?).
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
February 3, 2010
This story over at Apartment Therapy’s Unplgged really hit a chord this morning. We’re so obsessed with space in home offices, but what if you simply don’t have the room? I’ve been known to retire to my bedroom with the laptop – more for peace of mind than anything else! When I shared an apartment with a friend in New York (many years ago now) I spent hours writing from my bed just like Emily in the photograph above (she is Unplgged managing editor Gregory Han’s ‘better half”). So what do you do? Gregory offers a great practical round-up of small desks (check out the cool bentwood tables from Offi and the amazing little laptop trays from Logitech.) Let me know if you’ve got a small desk to add to this list.