May 16, 2012
Affirming his affinity for modern and mid-century modern design, designer Tyler Goodro created Plastolux in 2007. With a razor-sharp focus on interiors, furniture, and architecture from the mid-20th century to the present, Tyler has compiled an impressive collection of arresting images and information on the blog. Currently the creative director at TiLite, an innovative wheelchair manufacturer, Tyler is also developing furniture designs and designing a series of lamps from cut and blasted wine bottles. We caught up with Tyler to see how music fits into his prolific work for this week’s Playlist. Read more
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
October 15, 2010
Where we’ve been this week….
1. Shelterpop Is AOL trying to be cool? My latest copy of Dwell a beautiful shot of Claire Danes on the back cover and it’s an ad for AOL. In my googling I found my way back to AOL’s Shelterpop. Lots of great interiors eye-candy. Where to start: An interesting home office
2. Dwell It’s an obvious link for Lifework but it’s worth reminding you to check out Dwell’s website because the latest issue is all about working from home…something we know a thing or two about! Where to start: The Live/Work issue isn’t online yet…but while you are waiting check out senior editor Aaron Britt’s interview this Herman Miller textile expert Susan Lyons.
3. Boing Boing This site is slightly overwhelming in its vastness. It reminds me of getting the New Yorker every week. You know it’s packed with great stuff but will you have time to read it? Where to start: Alleviate this problem by using the subject headings to whittle down the content. This morning I was drawn to the post on the new TED app for iPads.
4. Architizer An excellent site for architecture and design news. It’s beautifully designed, easily navigated and pic heavy – all good thing! Where to start: World’s Coolest Offices competition. I love the idea of a home office winning this competition. Send in your designs and lets see what happens.
5. Habitus Living An Australian design journal that covers some of the extraordinary residential work coming out of Australia – and the Pacific Rim. Where to start: The LIVE section collects all the great houses in one spot for you. Check out the Maximum Garden house in Singapore.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
September 10, 2010
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Slate Summer is seriously winding down. We’re heading back to our desks in droves and it’s hard to sit still after so many weeks of adventuring. I need some good reasons to return to the screen and Slate is one of them. It was founded in 1996 so in web years this online news magazine is positively ancient. The editors offer “analysis and commentary about politics, news, business, technology, and culture” with just the right dose of wit and humor. Where to start: The Wrong Stuff’s Kathryn Schulz’s interview with Barry Marshall. Then go through all her posts – being wrong was never so interesting.
2. Deadline Hollywood Vanity Fair just placed Nikki Finke, the editor and founder of the Hollywood-centric news and gossip blog, 93rd on its list of the 100 most influential people. Finke breaks stories before they hit mainstream media so the blog makes a great gossipy read over morning coffee. Nice way to ease yourself into the work day. Where to start: It’s news driven so start at the top and just dip in as it interests you.
3. Gadget Lab Wired magazine’s tech review blog. Great in-dpeth analysis from guys you trust. Where to start: A nice post on the Documents To Go app for the iPad.
4. Hatch Design Public’s blog covers good design from all angles. Where to start: Today’s home office is pretty cool.
5. Make it Right OK, os I admit it was Brad Pitt’s involvement in this New Orleans housing project that first drew me in. But it is the great architecture that kept me coming back. 200 people have now been housed and 50 homes are completed. Where to start: Check out the designs from some of the world’s best architects here.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
August 9, 2010
Mark Frauenfelder is a writer and illustrator who lives in Los Angeles. He is the man behind Boing Boing, a hugely successful blog that focuses on tech, culture and science. The blog attracts millions of visitors each month with content that jumps from stories on geodesic domes to infographics. He takes time out of his busy day to give us a quick tour of his work space.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve been working from home since 1995. I live in Los Angeles and I’m the founder of Boing Boing (a blog with 12 million page views a month) and the editor-in-chief of MAKE, a technology project magazine. I’m also an illustrator and a book author.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? I prefer a spare, clean style, but I am constantly fighting against clutter. I have an old steel desk, painted gray, which I really like.
How do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? My lifesaver is the combination of having a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M sheet-fed scanner and the Evernote application. I scan every piece of paper that comes my way — bills, press releases, receipts, user manuals, tax papers, contracts, business cards — basically anything that’s flat and fits into the hopper. The digitized files are stored in Evernote’s cloud so I can access them anywhere — on my iPad, my iPhone, any computer. Evernote OCRs the documents so I can search for anything by keyword. These two things have gone a long way in uncluttering my life!
When you were setting up your home office what did you keep in mind? I like a bright workplace, so I chose to work next to a window.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? I’ve always wanted an Aeron chair, and I’m getting close to treating myself to one. But even more, I’d like an Eames lounger with matching ottoman to take naps.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? My 19-inch Mac display. It’s connected to my MacBook pro.
What would you change about your own workspace? I’d love to figure out a way to hide all the ugly cables all over the place.
What do you most love about your space? I don’t have to commute to work. It would kill me to have to drive on the LA freeways every day.
What inspires you? When I go to Maker Faire, a DIY festival that attracts 80,000 people, and I see all the incredible creations people have made in the basements and garages. I also like visiting artists’ websites every day.
As editor of Boing Boing so many interesting things come across your desk. What’s the strangest work environment you’ve come across? This capsule office by Selgas Cano (photographer by Iwan Baan) is strange and attractive!
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
August 5, 2010
Anne-Maree Sargeant is a blogger, journalist and communications consultant who works with leading creatives and design brands on a broad range of marketing related projects, as well as working as Editor at Large for BELLE magazine. Her varied career includes interior design for Bates Smart, DEGW, Wolff Olins, and establishing and running the iconic Space Furniture for 10 years. At Space Anne-Maree worked closely with brands which included B&B Italia, Knoll, Poltrona Frau, EDRA, Cassina, Kartell, where she worked alongside the best interior designers and architects in Australia on landmark projects including the Sydney Opera House and Parliament House. Anne-Maree now resides between three beaches in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, where we caught up in her eclectic home office.
How long have you lived in your home and who do you live with? A long time – more 15 years than 10! I live with 1 man, 1 dog and 3 goldfish
Where is your home office? It used to be the smallest room in the house but as the business grew the dining room morphed into the office & back again – although as the Mac’s increase in size, the office dominates the dining aspect. We don’t live a ‘formal dining’ lifestyle so it all works!
How much time do you spend in your home office? What kind of work do you find yourself doing there? PLENTY of TIME! Mostly computer based work.
What does an average day consist of? Coffee, papers, walk the dog to the park at the end of the street & check the ocean – its currently migration season – spotting a pod of dolphins & whales is a sweet start to the day. Then I hit the desk. Plan the day’s blogging, research, then wind down a ‘to do list’ that sparks an extended bout of juggling & keeping many balls in the air at the same time. Never a dull moment!
What item in your workspace can’t you do without? Anything with an Apple on it.
How would you describe the aesthetic? ‘Eclectic maximalism’. It’s always evolving.
You’re exposed to so much great design through your work. How do you select the pieces that live with you? It’s either love or lust at first sight, a golden find that’s too good to leave behind or occasionally client gifted.
What piece of furniture do you love? And what would you like to replace? My daybed – if only 1 piece of furniture I could live on this. I don’t feel the need to replace anything, but I’d add a turntable.
Is there a piece of furniture that you covet? The sofa my boyfriend of mine found on the street – think Andy Warhol’s factory sofa. Also a fluorescent pink work lamp stylist Jason Grant found at a hardware emporium and a vintage Murano chandelier. red. I visited the Island of Murano last year and love has now become lust.
Favourite desktop item? My goldfish (are they an item?)
What inspires you? Originality and anything I haven’t seen before, my dog chasing butterflies & the cuckoo clock striking 12 – makes me smile EVERY time!!
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
July 29, 2010
Seattle-based Chris Pirillo calls himself a technologist. He is certainly at home in the online world. His work includes gigs as a television host, magazine columnist, blogger, author, and entrepreneur. He is the founder and publisher of LockerGnome.com, a technology website and content publishing company. He launched The Chris Pirillo Show online audio broadcast for tech enthusiasts from around the world. He also has two very cute dogs (see below). Here we get a tour of his real-life world.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve been working from home most of my adult life. It all began with the Lockergnome newsletter - wherein I shared tips, tricks, and hints with fellow geeks. That has now grown into a blogging network where we have people regularly writing about a wide array of subjects.
While I’m addicted to gadgets and technology in general, my passion lies in bringing people together and helping them realize their goals and dreams. This happens in places such as my blog, our social community, my live video stream, and our newly-launched questions and answers service.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Simple. Clean. Black or silver whenever possible. I don’t do frou-frou! I want my environment to be comfortable, but I also remain well-organized. I tend not to keep my my workspace cluttered with unnecessary items. If you look at my home office, you’ll notice that most of the things on or around my desk flow together nicely. This makes it easier for me to do what ”must be done” and not have to worry about searching for whatever it is I might need.
How do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? Everything is easily accessible, and typically organized by function – even on my computer systems. I keep a minimal amount of applications running on any given screen, and my Mac OS X dock has very few icons in it other than what might be running at the time. If I’m not using something, I usually shelve it – or give it away to friends or my community supporters. Can’t really do that with software, mind you.
When you were setting up your home office what did you keep in mind? “Accessibility” was number one on my list, with comfort being a very close second. When you spend as many hours every day in that chair as I do, you need to have important items within reach. Why waste time having to hunt things down or get up to fetch them constantly? Now, if only I could figure out a way to have a coffee barista over in the corner, I’d have it made.
People look at my desk and want to know where I picked it up – all the way down to the types of lights I used in my hutch. What’s interesting is that I never planned to accommodate those lights when I first assembled the desk. They just… fit.
What’s even more interesting is just how many people have done their best to emulate my entire work environment and live video feed “look and feel” for their own rooms: check here – and that’s not even the full list! And yes, people ALWAYS ask about my chair.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? Honestly, if I need something, I figure out a way to get ahold of it – even if it means having to sell something I’m not using as much anymore. I even have a video game arcade cabinet in here… if that counts as furniture?
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? I’d have to say that would be my USB hub. I am a USB accessory junkie, and I cannot begin to imagine where I’d be without my hub to keep everything connected!
What would you change about your own workspace? Hardwood floors. Right now, I’m rolling over carpet… and I much prefer a surface which doesn’t demand constant vacuuming.
What do you most love about your space? It’s perfect for me in the way I’ve set it up. In a traditional office environment, you never come close to what you need, what you want, how you want it to be - no matter how much you rearrange things or add items. It’s always just an office created by someone else for you to use. For me, my space is ME – through and through.
What inspires you? Oh, there are many things that keep me going… good design, good people, good coffee. Well, coffee doesn’t inspire me as much as it helps me get ready to be inspired.
Below is a Lego version of Chris’s office.
July 12, 2010
Seven men. That’s who began this design collective. They are based in Chicago and are all artists of one kind or another. I was really impressed with the Post Family story (check out Family Values). There’s something compelling about a group of creative people figuring out a way to work together. It was their design blog that caught my eye and drove me to contact them to see how we could fold the Post Family into Lifework. The idea is simple, really. I asked them to imagine your ideal home workspace and express it in some kind of visual way. A nice broad brief that has thrown up some truly inspiring work. Over the next week I will post work from Alex Fuller, Davey Sommers, David Sieren, Rod Hunting and Sam Rosen. Look out for Alex’s piece later today.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
June 16, 2010
You will probably do one of three things after reading this interview with Lisa Jones from Portland, OR’s Pigeon Toe Ceramics:
1. Immediately download the eclectic picks from her playlist.
2. Wish the plant sitting in your office was potted in one of her handmade creations.
3. Finally get yourself tuned into Morning Becomes Eclectic (it’s our third mention in a row—get there already!)
Do you listen to music while you work? This is always changing depending on what the studio mood is, but I always tend to return to a few artists, they feel like old friends…The Magnetic Fields, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear. I’ve had Janelle Monae’s album on repeat a lot lately.
How do you listen? We have an iPod docking station in the studio along with a radio so we get our daily dose of NPR.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I have four assistants, and when we’re not making up playlists off each other’s iPods, we’ve got my iPhone plugged in and playing Pandora. It’s like having a built-in DJ in my studio, and I really like the surprise of not knowing what is coming next. It also introduces me to a lot of new music, since I don’t have a lot of free time to read music blogs or scour Pitchfork.
Does music influence your work? Very much so. I tend to gravitate toward music that has a low-fi, natural, spontaneous quality to it, and I think that directly correlates to my aesthetic, which has an understated, homegrown, rustic imperfection to it that provides a nice contrast to my modern design bents. New collections or designs often spring from a feeling I get from a color or a sound—it’s crucial to my whole sensibility. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you just have to blast Queen or Lady Gaga and bust out some work; but for the most part, I use music to create a more meditative work atmosphere.
Where do you find music recommendations? My employees are always great about bringing in new music to the studio; I also have a few friends whose taste I trust that will suggest artists. (Word of mouth is the best kind of advertising.) Morning Becomes Eclectic and our local public radio station’s weekend music program In House also introduces me to a lot of new bands.
All is Love, Karen O and the Kids
Tennessee, The Silver Jews
Home, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Still Crazy After All These Years , Paul Simon
The Greatest, Cat Power
Shelter from the Storm, Bob Dylan
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel
Jesus, etc., Wilco
I Feel It All, Feist
From, Dr. Dog
Sons & Daughters, The Decemberists
Parenthesis, The Blow
Images: Lisa Jones and Alicia Carrier
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
June 4, 2010
Designer Susan Stewart takes us through the Los Angeles home office that she shares with her husband.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve worked from home since I left the fashion industry in 2001. We live in the Hollywood Hills near Laurel Canyon. My husband Jon works in the music industry doing A&R and as a marketing consultant and we share an office that had been converted from a 2 car garage and is attached to our mid-century post and beam home. I used to work in the house until I had Jonah, our almost 2 year old son. When it got too distracting to work with Jonah around, I re-did the converted office and moved in with Jon. His half of the space I painted black and hung his rock artwork and guitars on the walls. My half of the space is white. I haven’t gotten around to hanging anything up, but I kind of like it like that.
I run an interior design firm designing for both residential and commercial spaces, plus I publish a design blog called Design*ByProxy. Design*ByProxy was initially the name of a service I started through Susan Stewart Design. It gives clients an affordable option to get a room professionally designed by me. The client pays a flat rate per room and all the design is done thru the internet/email. They answer a questionnaire, measure their own space, send me digital pictures of their room and describe the design direction. I then provide a furniture floor plan, concept board that includes paint colors or wallpaper, furniture selection, window treatment idea and provide a shopping list with links of where the client can purchase the items.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? I’m hired by clients to help them realize their own aesthetic and ideals ranging in styles from Classic to Modern, all with a West Coast vibe (easy not fussy). When you look at Design*ByProxy blog, you really get to see what my aesthetic is: design that innovates and inspires by embracing simplicity, luxury and humor. A signature look of mine utilizes a mix of vintage and modern pieces.
As an interior designer with multiple clients how do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? I have big white binders for each client that holds all the paperwork (quotes, floor plans, swatches, invoices) divided into the rooms I’m designing. I keep them in a cabinet. I also have a “My Clients” folder in My Documents with sub-folders for each one. I work on 2 computers, a Mac and PC because some of the programs I use are only available on one platform. I use AutoCAD for Plan Drawings and Studio Designer for ordering on my PC. Then I use ArchiCAD and Google Sketch Up, both for 3D rendering on my Mac. I use Illustrator and Photoshop on both.
When you are designing a home office what do you keep in mind? Feng Shui and storage. I’m not a Feng Shui expert by any means, but I think in the office it is important to incorporate it’s principles as much as you can while keeping a visually pleasing design. I can always feel a space immediately that has bad feng shui.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you love? Yes, my Eames Aluminum Group Management Chair. Years ago I had a flea market find that looked cool, but ended up staining the muscles in my neck and was told by the chiropractor I needed a better chair to sit at while working on the computer. I ended up splurging on my dream chair (I was a student at the time).
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? It’s not really a “desk accessory” but a “desktop” accessory. I use GoToMyPc.com and it’s really great. It’s a remote control software service that enables my assistant to access my computer from hers through the internet. She can log onto my computer remotely and do the proposals, orders and invoicing without having to be at my office.
What would you change about your own workspace? I love my husband, but it would be great to not have to share the space. I only say that because he talks A LOT….not to me, but on the phone to his clients. It can be a bit distracting.
What do you most love about your space? The view from my desk of our Japanese pine tree and pond in our courtyard and my husband’s company.
What inspires you? Nature, colors, art, architecture, people.
Balance, Design, Technology
May 26, 2010
5 years ago brand identity designer David Airey took the plunge and went freelance (the view below is from his Edinburgh, Scotland studio). This month he marked his 5th anniversary with 15 pieces of advice for those thinking of shifting gears and working from home. While the tips are certainly slanted to designers, there is lots of pertinent general advice so I thought I’d share the post in it’s entirety.
“This month brought with it my five-year anniversary as a self-employed graphic designer, so I’m taking the opportunity to offer 15 pieces of advice to those thinking of “going it alone.
1. Look at the big picture Creating a modern business plan will help you think through the hard issues.
2. Tell your friends and family about your self-employment You never know what contacts they might have. Those close to you will want to help.
3. You will lose potential clients because your pricing is too high But also because it’s too low. Whether you like it or not, the rates you set will immediately give others a perception about the quality of your design work.
4. Don’t stress about pricing Design pricing is something independent graphic designers struggle with at some point. The best way to learn is through experience, and remember, you can always negotiate your price down from your initial quote, but never up, so if in doubt aim high.
5. You will make mistakes We all do. Learn from them, and move on.