Balance, Design, Products, Technology
May 21, 2010
Where we’ve been this week:
1. This Ain’t No Disco An amazing site if you’re looking for office inspiration. They focus on creative agencies and while we probably wont be putting a slide into my home office anytime soon there’s enough other good stuff here to keep the home office worker happy. Where to start: Leo Burnett offices in Sydney – check out that view of the Harbor Bridge!
2. Trendir Modern House Design OK, I know this isn’t the most beautiful site out there. I guess the Google ads are a necessary evil. But editor and interior designer Lillian Pikus has a good eye for content and you’ll find a lot great houses here. Where to start: Peter Frazier’s amazing little home office.
3. OK DO It’s so nice to come across a site with a new (and beautiful) design. OK DO is a socially-minded design think tank run by designer/writer Anni Puolakka and designer/researcher Jenna Sutela. It’s hard to describe – you just need to go there! Where to start: The home office of Berlin-based architect Markus Miessen.
4. Contemporist A go-to spot for architects and designers, the site was started in 2007 by Erin and Dave (I’ve emailed to find out their mysterious last names). They highlight new product and contemporary architecture. Where to start: A gorgeous shelf system by Ontwerpduo.
5. Cooper Hewitt Design Blog This slightly nerdy blog (you have to remember that Cooper Hewitt is part of the Smithsonian) is totally engaging. Great clean images and fascinating stories that take the world of design and place it firmly in a greater context of politics and the environment. Where to start: The post on Eames‘ ‘Power of Ten’ film.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
March 8, 2010
A self-confessed neat freak and organizing fanatic Benita Larsson lives in “a little gray 1930′s house” with her husband, young son and two cats. They’ve lived their for 11 years and “while haven’t made any major structural changes we have made our mark on every nook and cranny.” And when she’s not blogging about her house at Chez Larsson or selling her punch art from her online store, Benita works in the marketing department of a Swedish chain of stores where she is the visual merchandiser in charge of marketing campaign themes and window displays.
How long have you worked from home…and where is ‘home’? Home is in a Stockholm suburb in Sweden. I started working from home one day a week a year ago. Fridays are good days in many ways!
What does an average work day involve? I blog and the work I do is mostly unpaid and blog related; I help readers out with projects, I take photos and edit them for blog posts, I answer interview questions, prepare photo requests and occasionally invoice ads.
Is there any form of technology that really inspires you and helps you in your work? About a week ago I got a Wacom Bamboo tablet and I’m dying to learn how to use it properly. If it works the way I hope, it will help me out enormously when sketching. Now all I need are a few more hours in the day to sit down and learn…
How do you organize your space? I try to keep everything as organized and clutter free as possible. My desk space is really small so anything lying about will disturb my arm movement. Everything has a designated spot and if I want to add anything something else must go. As for virtual space I just try to keep bookmarks organized and to a minimum and photos and documents in named folders. I keep my files backed up online but also got an external hard drive recently and transferred a lot of photo folders that I don’t use daily to it. That freed up a lot of space and made the lap top less cluttered.
What item from your desktop can you not do without? I can’t live without my laptop. It’s sick but I’m constantly at it. I think I need to take a lap top free weekend but I fear I’d die in the process. Ok, that determines it. I HAVE to take a laptop-free weekend. On a low tech note I love the four slots we have built in our home office unit. There’s one for my husband Martin, one for our son Wille, one for me and one for bills to be paid. It’s what keeps the desk top clutter free. Any piece of paper lying about goes into the owners slot and that person knows where to look for it when it’s missing from plain view.
What inspires you? Other creative people; bloggers, crafters, photographers, Martin and Wille.
Balance, Design, Products
January 22, 2010
Stephanie Congdon Barnes is the other half of 3191 Miles Apart. We ran an interview with her friend and blogging partner MAV on Wednesday. Interestingly, Stephanie recently moved out of her home office to a space down the street which she shares with her husband. We talked about the transition and how work still spills into her home.
How long have you worked from home? Can you tell us a bit about your work? I have worked from home off and on since the birth of my daughter ten years ago in different capacities. About four years ago I opened an online shop of my handmade goods and set up a studio workspace in a spare bedroom. Eventually, I gave up that space so my son could have his own room, and then, this past fall, I moved full-time to sharing a workspace out of the home with my husband, who is an architect. I still do quite a bit of work from home, but no longer have a dedicated workspace there.
I start my workday after I cook breakfast, pack lunches and get my kids to school. Sometimes, my husband Jack and I walk together up to our workspace (it’s about seven blocks from our home), sometimes we arrive separately. I spend part of my workday working with Jack on architecture projects and the rest of the time working on items for my shop and other projects like 3191 or our blog Shelter. I also use this time to make post office runs, look for supplies and source materials, take photos, volunteer at school and take care of household errands like grocery shopping.
We usually walk home for lunch together each day. I leave in the early afternoon to collect my kids from school and take them to activities or relax with them at home. After dinner and family time, my kids go to bed, and most nights I will work for anywhere from 2-5 more hours either catching up on email or doing the hand-sewing on my shop items. I bring home both my laptop and a basket of handwork each day.
How big is your work space? Our workspace is about 200 square feet and is housed in a great old historic building that used to be the telephone exchange. We each have a large work table, and we share some plywood cubicle shelves that my husband built. There’s a vintage round Herman Miller table for working together or meeting with clients.
Is there any form of technology that really inspires you? Oh, I am not very tech-savvy. I do love my ipod and having all my music available to me digitally on my computer. Listening to music is a constant in my day.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? Well, as an artist I don’t have the typical office-workers desk! I love my Clover leather thimble more than anything.
Do you have any tips for organizing a home work space? From my experience, I would recommend having a space with a door that closes, so you can leave your work behind. Keeping my home and work lives separate was very difficult for me. It is much easier for my family when I can leave (most) of my work behind.
Other than that, I rely on baskets to keep stuff somewhat organized and uncluttered. I also store away everything that I am not currently using (excess fabric, books and supplies) completely out of site. Having a clear space to work in really helps me keep calm and less frazzled.
What do you wish you could change about the space? And what do you most love about it? We could use a little more space to stretch out in our office as well as more shelving for storage. I love the high ceilings, huge windows and natural light. I also love my neighborhood and the connections I am able to make with the people that live and work nearby.