Balance, Design, Products
July 18, 2011
The Time’s recently included Erin Loechner’s blog, Design for Mankind in its roundup of the top 50 design blogs in the world. A nice pat on the back for a woman who has been blogging hard about design and art since 2006. In her spare time Loechner also tracks the progress of her own home renovation on HGTV.com. Here we talked to her about her workspace.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve worked from home for almost five years and have called home both Los Angeles and, now, the Midwest. I currently live in Fort Wayne, IN in a house I’m renovating with my husband.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? For my home office, I really just wanted a casual environment in which I was surrounded by things I love. One important part of our office is our bench seating for guests and/or our dogs. Our pups are a huge part of our lives and I love watching them nap throughout the day.
In terms of obstacles, I have dozens and dozens of paintings and mixed media pieces I love to display. Rather than create an expensive framed gallery wall, my husband and I crafted an art shelf to hold our favorite pieces. It’s a much more affordable solution and I love that the shelf means each piece can be displayed temporarily and switched out every few months.
Balance, Design, Products
January 24, 2011
When he’s not working as the digital guy at public relations firm GolinHarris Len Kendall is busy blogging, contributing to GOOD and getting other people to blog at the3six5 project – a daily dose of writing he runs with with co-founder Daniel Honigman.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I live and work in the lovely city of Chicago. I grew up here and am not quite sure I’ll ever leave. Some might say that’s unadventurous, but truly this city has so much to offer. I’ve worked from home to some degree ever since college. I’ve dabbled in the world of freelancing before where my home office served as my full time location for work, but now it’s a place I spend my evenings working on my personal side projects.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? My style is chaos. What you see is probably the cleanest my desk has been in months (thanks a lot for making me have to clean…). I like lots of screens, and lots of items on my desk to both distract and inspire me. In a perfect world, I’d have a few more monitors, and a much more comfortable chair. I’ve been holding out for a SAYL actually, and I think I’ll be pulling the trigger soon.
How do you keep your work space organized? I try to maintain organization by recycling, or in rare cases disposing of, items I don’t need. Some people tend to hold onto things in fear that they’ll realize later they needed them. I on the other hand like to live dangerously and play Russian roulette with my document saving decisions.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? The space I had to work with was rather small. My office is part of my living room space and I didn’t want it to overwhelm the space overall. I ended up buying a simple IKEA desk which was large enough to house my computers and also give me enough space for writing and drawing off to the side. I do have a small drawer that’s part of my work space, but I rarely use. I find that having more storage, also means unnecessary accumulation.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet right now? My first job didn’t pay well, but it did mean I got to sit in a Herman Miller Aeron chair. Ever since then, I’ve missed it.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? Part desk accessory, part peripheral, I couldn’t live without my Wacom Bamboo tablet. Sometimes I just can’t express myself words and I feel the need to doodle. The electronic pen/tablet has been an excellent, low-cost creative tool (one of Len’s sketches for GOOD‘s create a doodle project).
What would you change about your work space? I do enjoy being able to watch television (Purdue Basketball and Bears Football) while I’m cranking out some work. In a perfect world, my apartment would be laid out in a way that would allow me to be in the direct line of site of my television OR I suppose an elaborate system of mirrors could accomplish the same thing. In the meantime, I do on occasion move my “workspace” over to my couch.
What inspires you? I’ve always been driven to create things that I can go out into the world and see. Whether it’s writing, advertising, art, or other projects, the process of making something and seeing other’s reaction to it (good or bad) has inspired me to continue that behavior.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
August 24, 2010
Sonia Zjawinski is a freelance writer who covers all sorts of technology for the likes of Unplggd and Wired. She also happens to be a pet lover. Check out her writings on Pawesome to get an idea of just how keen she is on her furry friends. Here we get peek at her home office in Pacific Grove, California.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve been a freelance writer for about five years. Up until recently that meant I worked on articles for the New York Times, ReadyMade, and Unplggd from my apartment in Brooklyn, NY, but this past January my husband and I moved to Pacific Grove, CA. We converted our apartment’s second bedroom into an office space we share. I run the pet blog Pawesome out of here.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Giant Robot meets Mollusk surf shop. My husband and I have very different aesthetics that thankfully really balance each other out. His side of the office is minimal, with just the bare essentials (and the occasional surfboard leaning against the wall) while my side is a collector’s space. I like to curate little exhibitions filled with art, tchotchkes, and personal memories. We have a mix of new, old, budget, and expensive pieces in the office. My side is much more budget friendly, with both vintage and Ikea pieces.
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? Honestly, I never feel like the office is organized, but I have a few pieces that help keep the chaos in check. One is my Ikea Helmer drawer unit. Its six drawers are nice and small so I can easily divide items up to make it easier to find them later. The other is my Poketo planner. I’ve used programs like Google Calendar and iCal, but I get too distracted when I’m on the computer to remember to plug in appointments and to do lists. It’s much easier for me to take this little datebook to bed and plan things out for the following day, week, month. Plus it has all these extra sections in it for organizing ideas and finances. When I’m at the computer, as I mentioned before, I get distracted very easily so I’ve found the Instapaper plugin for FireFox (also available for Safari) to be really helpful to keep track of sites, blog posts, and products that have peaked my interest. It’s the equivalent of folding a dog ear in a magazine, but in this case, all your folded pages are on one site.
When you were designing your home office what did you keep in mind? If I can’t spend my days outside, I want to at least feel like I am. We have these beautiful windows that overlook the giant ferns growing in our yard, so we decided to create an office layout that allowed our desks to be as close to that as possible, while not creating too big of a glare on our glossy screens. [Bruce's desk is below]
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? My husband’s Herman Miller Embody chair. While I love my little vintage blue chair, it does not do a body good.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? Apple’s Magic Mouse. It boggles my mind how Apple was able to build a multifunctional mouse within such a basic form factor.
What would you change about your own workspace? I’d love to figure out a visually appealing way to hide all the cables, wires and modems/routers on our floors. Until we own though, I don’t want to invest anymore in the space.
What do you most love about your space? Having my best friend working across from me.
What inspires you? All of the amazing work I learn about by reading the web. When I see other people being creative, it motivates me to produce great work.
Balance, Design, Technology
August 4, 2010
I truly think you don’t get to know somebody until you get to peek at the music they listen to on a regular basis. That’s why I was more than excited that Lifework editor (and Australian native) Cerentha Harris agreed to do this week’s Playlist. I am really digging her list (and NOT just because she’s my boss) (honest!)—especially because it’s introduced me to some goodness from Down Under like Missy Higgins, You Am I and Tex Perkins. Take a listen (and thanks, Cerentha!).
What do you listen to while you work? Music carries me through the mornings. All my blog writing and editing happens between 9am and 2pm. There’s a lot to pack in so I have to be careful with my time. I’ve found I work better when there’s music playing. If I’m trying to write I need something that’s not too distracting. If I’m researching, I’m happy to listen to something loud and crazy. Anything to keep me engaged and stop me from wandering. There is definitely a tendency when working at home to wander. The view from my office is distracting, I’ve tried working outside but it’s just too bright.
How do you listen? I am a serious Mac fan. I edit this blog using a 13-inch MacBook Pro, but when I’m at my desk I plug the laptop into a big screen. I love having two screens going at once. I keep my email open on one and then blog on the other screen. The Apple monitor was too pricey so I went with a 24-inch Dell with an attached speaker—nothing high-tech, really, but the music sounds just fine to me. We’ve got a Bose Lifestyle home theatre system, which stores all our CDs and plays the radio and is wired to play all over the house. I listen to that sometimes too.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Pandora. Either that or I listen to music that I’ve got stored on iTunes. Most of that is stuff my husband has bought on Amazon. He is the music person in the family and I get the majority of my new music from him.
Does music influence your work? It definitely influences my mood. I enjoy the time at my desk more when there’s a good song playing.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? I’d love to say something clever and smart—some jazz icon that will deeply impress everyone, but that’s just not true. I think instead it’s a Ben Lee song, or maybe Missy Higgins. An Australian, with some soul, talented, perhaps a little earnest at times, edging towards something interesting and laced with a good dose of irony!
Blue, Lucinda Williams
For Today I Am a Boy, Antony and the Johnsons
Wish You Well, Bernard Fanning
Heart Skipped a Beat, The xx
Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois, Sufjan Stevens (the entire Illinoise is incredible)
Kiss Me on the Bus, The Replacements
The Sound of White, Missy Higgins (my daughter’s favourite song)
Rise Up, Ben Lee
Christobel, Joan As Police Woman
You Can’t Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man, Okkervil River
Ahead of the Curve, Monsters of Folk
Heavy Heart, You Am I
100 Days, 100 Nights, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Sex, The Necks
Miss You Love, Silverchair
Oh My God, Whatever, Etc., Ryan Adams
Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
Shape Shifter, Local Natives
Horchata, Vampire Weekend
She’s a Friend of Mine, Tex Perkins (and also You’re Too Beautiful)
Straight to Hell, Lily Allen
Deathly, Aimee Mann
Me and You, She and Him
Black Sand (Album Version), Jenny Lewis
California Stars, Billy Bragg and Wilco
Throw Your Arms Around Me, Hunters & Collectors
Images: Cerentha Harris
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
July 7, 2010
Kristina Klarin is a color fanatic—and it’s evident in the cheery work she churns out from her studio in Milan (see her current collection of chunky wooden necklaces here and her decorative mushroom collection here). She took some time just before vacation to tell us a little about music and how it inspires her.
Do you listen to music while you work? It varies with the task that I was working on. If I’m working on something new or doing research on trends or colors, I usually don’t listen to the music because I don’t want to be distracted. I prefer to switch on TV in the other room just to have some working companion, so usually while I was writing down my ideas, Mrs. Fletcher was successfully solving homicides in the other room of our apartment.
How do you listen? I use the headphones to listen to my iPod.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I use Deezer a lot and also Jamendo when I have more time. I like the site because it gives independent musicians the opportunity to publish, share, and promote their music as well as the opportunity for us to enjoy them.
Does music influence your work? I really like to match the music with what I’m working on. I put on the music once I get the initial ideas of color palettes and materials, etc. For example, there was Vivaldi for my spring necklace collection and Maria Pradera for the summer ones. In addition, I go on YouTube to listen and watch music videos that have similar themes with my collection. Music helps me to construct a better working environment, stay focused on my plans, and inspire me with new idea.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Well, recommendations sometimes come from magazines, sometimes come from friends, and sometimes comes from my husband. Because I’m interested in traditional textiles and costumes from all over the world, I find very interesting music while doing research on these elements. That traditional music from different countries often has influence on my musical taste.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? I really like a large variety of music, and it would be very difficult to actually pick out one song or musician that represents everything!
Sebastian, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
The Ship Song, Nick Cave
Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?, Moby
Hope There’s Someone, Antony & the Johnsons
La Chanson des Vieux Amants, Jacques Brel
Le Banquet, Yann Tiersen
Gnossienne No.1, Erik Satie
Postcards from Italy, Beirut
Blue Tears, Black Heart Procession
Space Oddity, David Bowie
Images: Kristina Klarin
Balance, Design, Products
July 2, 2010
For the past three years Oklahoma-based art director Kelly Beall has been juggling her day job and her passion for blogging about design. You can read her musings at Design Crush. Here she shares her home office with us.
How long have you blogged from home…and where is ‘home’? Design Crush began in June 2007, but I didn’t start blogging from my current home until I purchased it in July of 2008. I live in a 3 bed, 2 bath ranch style home with one entire bedroom devoted to my artsy side. It really is a dream come true. I blog from this refurbed red desk that I got at a hotel sale five years ago. I’m in the process of finding the perfect desk chair since my old one recently broke. For now this straight back will do and better my posture at the same time!
What does an average work day involve? I’m sort of meticulous about my blogging schedule. I have a day job as well as Design Crush, so I have to time manage extremely well. My weekdays start around 6am and I get into the office by 7:30. I spend roughly an hour perusing my reader and following up on emails. Then I’ll plan what posts I want to put up that day, write and code everything, and schedule them to drop throughout the next eight hours. After work, say three nights out of the week, I’ll research posts and do anything extraneous that’s hanging out.
I just got the new Mac mouse and it’s amazing. It has definitely changed the way I work. Is there any form of technology that really helps you with your work? It sounds cliche, but definitely my MacBook Pro. Without a doubt the versatility it allows is astounding. I lug it everywhere with me. This past January I spoke at the Alt Summit in Salt Lake City and thanks to my laptop was able to live tweet a lot of the information that was being passed on through the different panels. It helps to break down any barriers that might exist as far as internet access and getting content out to my readers.
How do you organize your space? My physical space is organized according to inspiration. I want anything within my line of sight to have an indirect influence on what I’m doing at any given moment. So my desk faces my inspiration board and the window directly next to it looks out onto the back yard. My home magazines are immediately within reach to the right and a large amount of my art supplies are stored within boxes are the shelves to the left. I’m also really old school as far as planning goes, paper all the way.
What item from your desktop can you not do without? My speakers (not shown). I listen to music all day, every day. It plays a big part in determining my mood for the day and can really heavily influence my design on a good day. I live on blip.fm.
What is your favorite piece of office furniture? It’s actually the Chiasso Studio chair I currently have at work. I’m hoping to replace the current one in my home studio with the very same. It’s so comfortable!
What inspires you? The easier question would have been what doesn’t? I’ll just stick with the biggies to spare you: mid-century modern architecture and design, great logos and books.
June 28, 2010
Christin Fonn is immersed in the world of Norwegian design – not as a designer but as a student – she is writing her master’s thesis on the topic and also remodelling her apartment. In her spare moments she works on her design blog Fine Ting og Sjokolade.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? My home is in Oslo, the capital of Norway. We bought our apartment last year, and have been remodeling since. The room we are planning to use as a home office is not finished yet, so for the last six months I have been sitting at the kitchen table writing my master thesis in art history. I’m writing about the Norwegian design community, at home and abroad, in the Scandinavian Design years, around 1955.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? I try to mix new and old, and think its important that some of the things we surround ourselves with have a history. I especially love objects from the 50s and 60s, and combine them with a modern, simple interior. White walls are a good base for teak furniture, and all my old tinboxes and enamelobjects from the Norwegian producers Cathrineholm and Emalox.
How do you keep your work space organized? A lot of binders are the clue for keeping my table clean. I work with newspaper articles from the fifties, and the copies have a tendency to cover my entire work space. To keep track of my thoughts Ive hung a large piece of paper on the kitchen wall. On the paper I’ve written down the main structure of my thesis, and I constantly add new information to it. Seeing my thoughts written down like this, help me see new connections and what is really important.
You are remodeling your apartment right now will you have a space for a home office? We have just started with the last room, which will become a combined office and guest bedroom. It’s quite a puzzle deciding how to decorate it, and we still havent made any definite choices. Time will show…
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? I want many, many meters of bookshelves, so I can keep everything organised. The dream is to own twenty meters of Nisse Strinnings String-selves (www.string.se).
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? Post it-notes for practical reasons, and my Moomin-mug because it makes me happy.
What would you change about your own workspace? At the moment it is of course to have the workspace somewhere else than in the kitchen, which is not very practical in the long run. Books and paper all over the place while trying to cook dinner is not a good thing..
What do you most love about your space? The large table where I can spread out all my notes, paperclippings and books. And in moments when my head feels like it’s filled with cotton, and it’s impossible to write anything at all, the view!
What inspires you? My friends, beautiful blogs, magazines, books, art-exhibitions, riding the tram and citywalks with music in my ears.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
June 18, 2010
Where we’ve been this week:
1. Forbes.com Join the “world’s business leaders” and dive into Forbes’ magazines online presence. Where to start: A great story on classic chair design that includes the Aeron.
2. Wallpaper magazine This magazine’s online site is a well edited world of design. Where to start: New office space. Great place for home office inspiration.
3. Shelterrific A blog launched by founder Angela Matusik in 2006 covers design and interiors. Where to start: Miniature Eames.
4. Designsponge Grace Bonney imbues her crafty, stylish design blog with an upbeat vibe that makes it a joy to visit. Where to start: The awesome library of sneak peeks.
5. Bloesem A design blog with a decidedly feminine touch. Where to start: Stephanie Rammeloo’s amazing home (and home office) in Amsterdam.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
June 15, 2010
When asked why she blogs web designer Vered Carmel quoted Seth Godin: “What I found interesting is that more than half of all bloggers are doing it for themselves. (Always a good reason to do something). In other words, it’s not for commercial gain or to find a large audience of strangers. Instead, it’s a form of self-expression, a chance to be creative or share some ideas.” And, as she says, that sums up Vered’s approach to her writing. Here she shares her home office and her love of design.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? Ever since I can remember I wanted to be self-employed and work from home. To me this was the perfect combination of freedom, creativity and self expression while earning a living. First and foremost I define myself as a designer. I specialize in web design and as an autodidact have established some good programming skills throughout the years. This precious knowledge has come in handy when I discovered how much I love writing and as my passion for design and architecture took over I was eager to share this passion with the world and that is how Busyboo got started.
In addition, for the last 10 years my partner and I have been developing Shine, evolving from a web design studio to a company offering online marketing solutions for global high-tech companies – during all of this time we’ve been working from home. You will find us tucked away with our dogs in a quiet neighborhood, surrounded by green fields, oak trees and the sound of birds chirping in the background, since as much as I love the city I’ve always preferred to live and work with the countryside at my doorstep.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? I would define my style as eclectic since I am inspired from pretty much everything; whether it’s the Japanese style with its modern minimalism or the romantic touch of an English style landscape design.
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? In general I am a very organized person, and you can see it in my workplace as well, where almost everything I need is within reach. The only thing I struggle with is trying to cover the vast amount of design information out there, going over thousands of bookmarks that continue to grow rapidly every day. It’s amazing, just when you think you’ve got it under control new ones start to pop up.
When you were setting up your home office what do you keep in mind? I was guided by the thought that this will be the place where I will be spending most of my time so I better make it my own. It’s cozy yet practical with lots of books, music, magazines and notes everywhere. It’s my second favorite place at home, the first being my garden where I can relax every morning and start off my day with a positive approach to life and a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you wish you had? Well, it’s kind of ironic, but I would love the Aeron chair.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? My graphics tablet and my 60GB Creative Zen Media Player.
What would you change about your own workspace? I remember I saw on the BBC Homefront TV show where Diarmuid Gavin designed a beautiful garden pavilion with a large open space, spreading out to its natural surroundings and blurring the boundaries between inside and outside – and I thought to myself this to me would be the perfect workspace.
What do you most love about your space? I love that I am surrounded by things that make me happy; the fact that I can lift my head and gaze at my favorite books, design magazines, photographs and the greenery outside my window or take a break and go outside to play with my dog Mikey, a beautiful blue eyed Siberian Husky.
What inspires you? People. Nature. Spirit. Form. Rediscovering the power of simple design.
June 8, 2010
“When it comes down to spyware, viruses, and phishing scams, any personal computer can become a target to take your information, sell it, and make your digital life a living nightmare. To make sure you’re in the know, we’ve adapted Giz’s excellent roundup of computer myths and emphasized a few more of our own.
TOP 5 COMPUTER SECURITY, DEBUNKED:
1. Macs can’t get viruses. Oh yes, they can. Buffer exploits, trojans, and other malicious codes can put your computer on lock down. While the PC share is still running high at 90%, the more popular Mac computers get, the more likely they’ll become a target in the future. So proceed with caution, don’t click random links, and avoid software piracy.
2. My e-mail inbox is spam-free. If you think you’ve never received a single spam address, you’ve either never publicly used it for e-mail or have your spam filter turned off. Make sure it’s on. Otherwise, you’re just asking for a flurry of phishing e-mails to come into your mailbox.
3. We’re getting better at virus protection. One would think that with more complex software systems that we’d be improving on all fronts, especially security. Wrong. The more the complex the system, the easier it is to poke holes it in, or – in McAfee‘s case, mistakenly identify a critical system process as a virus and screw everything up. Antivirus software is good, but one must be educated catch it when it trips up.
4. Phishing only happens to other people. Someone trying to steal my social security number and Facebook password? In a million years! This kind of mentality is fresh meat for identity thieves and will get you into a lot of trouble. Ever get a random Facebook App invite from friends you rarely ever hear from? Chances are they’ve fallen victim to malware and are now virtual zombies in your Facebook friends pool. Again, don’t click any links that even hint at something fishy.
5. My hard drive is safe. Again and again, we’ve spoken to people, even CEOs of companies, who fail do to the simple act of backing up their data. Back up your data. Not only will this make your life much less of a nightmare when any of the above were to occur, but the average hard drive life is barely ten years – though many of us here have seen them as short as two. Always make sure you’ve got your important stuff on in at least two places.
Got a computer security tip to share? Let us know in the comments!
[Adapted from Gizmodo]
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.