April 22, 2010
Not even the rain that is drenching Southern California can put a damper on my spirits today. Thanks to our awesome contractor, Billy, we beat the rain and got the framing finished before the storm hit. I have office walls! And a generous new storage space at the back of the garage. The weather over the next few days will dictate how quickly the drywall goes up.
And the first sunny day we see, Billy’s crew will be fabricating new carriage doors for the front of the garage. From there we can move onto my true passion: paint.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 20, 2010
Florida-based Petergaye S. Kisielewicz is an interior designer and founder of Yahgie Interiors. She sells her textiles and homewares range and somehow finds time to blog about everything from beautiful interiors to excellent croissants. Here she shares her home office.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I have been working from home about 2 years now and I must say it took some time getting use to. I also have a production studio, but you do not want to see that. Home is in sunny Florida. I love it because whenever I am in a design rut I drive to South Beach where I always find inspirations.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? My style is a combination of my family’s blended culture… from European to Caribbean. I would say my style is ‘urban’ because this style captures culture awareness.
As an interior designer with multiple clients how do you keep your office organized? It is very hard to keep my office organized because I am running two businesses at the same time. One program that I recognize as a must have for any interior designer to stay organized is Design Manager.
When you are designing a home office for a client what do you keep in mind? Things I keep in mind when designing a client home office are the size of the room, outlet locations, the proper use of natural light, proper window treatments to block the sun’s glare on office equipments, the overall ergonomic design of the computer desk, and office equipment.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? I must say the Eames Soft Pad Chair. I love that chair and the designers Charles and Ray Eames. The overall ergonomic design of the chair is very well thought-out.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? I cannot do without my bookshelf, but that is not a desk accessory.
What would you change about your own workspace? I would demolish one wall in my office and make the space larger but I cannot because it is a structural wall and it goes against local building codes.
What do you most love about your space? My view, I am overlooking the lake and I love it.
What inspires you? Traveling and experiencing people’s culture and their way of life, bright and bold colors, books, magazines, art, and inspirational quotes.
April 19, 2010
My husband grew up in Manhattan and our contractor, Billy Hartman, is from Queens. While I’m talking paint chips, they’re talking Mets pitching rotation. But one language we all speak turns out to be concrete. My husband and I wanted the slab in our garage scored to look like a New York City sidewalk—what Billy says is called a “city seam.” There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about the seams, as well as practical (these control joints help localize cracking). When it came to color, instead of a cold cityscape vibe, we added warmth and depth to the slab with subtle stain, which the pros achieved by sprinkling burgundy- and brick-colored powder pigments over the freshly poured concrete and smoothing it in with a trowel. I’ve been told that, much like a tattoo, you only get one chance with stain, so best leave it to the pros. And all the better if they’re in a New York state of mind.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 12, 2010
Kate Bingaman-Burt lives in Portland, Oregon, and is a professor of graphic design in the Department of Art at Portland State University. She is also the author of a new book called Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today? which documents in ink drawings all the things she bought over a three-year period. Here we talk to Kate about her workspace and the joy of color.
First tell us about your workspace. I love making piles and I love surrounding myself with work from other people that I admire. My primary workspace is in the apartment that I share with my husband and dog. I take up a big section of our first floor with my drawing table and flat files. My workspace aesthetic is pretty eclectic, but mostly bright colors, found ephemera, and work from talented friends layered on top of each other. My personal aesthetic is one of excess and also of restraint. I like to make rules that I then follow to the extreme. I mostly draw in black pen, but my installations consist of bright colors, vintage fabric, and, well, piles!
Does anyone else use your home office? I am the sole user.
How do you organize the space? Not very well. My flat files give the illusion of being organized. The piles are colorful, but in the end, they are still piles.
What impact do you think color has on a workspace? HUGE. White walls drive me insane. I make work that is BRIGHT, FUN, RIDICULOUS! My drawings are all black and white, but the rest is, well, over the top on purpose. I like using candy colors and hyperactive patterns to correlate to the craziness of consumerism. These are also pretty accessible to a lot of different viewers, too — kind of like consumerism. I am always exploring different color palettes; this decorative side of my work is really fun for me, since the other side is more concept based.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? My hot pink stapler. My cups and cups filled with pens.
Is there a piece of furniture you’d love to replace? I would love to replace the table top of my desk. It is just a piece of MDF covered with a sheet of dry-erase board. It is easy enough to replace…I just haven’t gotten around to it. I love the structure of my desk. I love sitting high, having a large surface area and a large space for storage underneath.
Is there anything you’d change about your space? I wish that I had a door. Living with your work has definite benefits, but I sometimes wish that I had a door to close. Eventually!
What or who inspires you? Big permission-givers to me have been: David Byrne, Tibor Kalman, M. Sasek, Saul Steinburg, Ray and Charles Eames, Joseph Beuys, Walls of Sound (Galaxie 500, Deerhunter — music that fills up and overwhelms and how to translate that into artwork), Fluxus, and Zine Culture to name a few. Also: yard sales, thrift stores, objects that look like a designer didn’t design them, and teaching my rad students.
What was the last thing you bought? An iced Americano from the cafe downstairs!
Photography by Anthony Georgis
April 9, 2010
Style is never far from Neale Whitaker’s side. From his beginnings as a fashion publicist in the UK, Neale has shaped a twenty year career in magazine publishing that spans continents and now sits firmly in Sydney, Australia and the worlds of food and design. In addition to an impeccable sense of personal style, Neale carries the dual role of editor-in-chief of Belle (an Australian interiors magazine) and associate publisher of ACP Magazines’ home and food titles. He spoke to us about his home office space and other obsessions.
How would you describe your home and how long have you lived there? I live with my partner David, who is a stylist and our three dogs – Otis and Oliver are Weimaraners, and Avard is an elderly Italian greyhound. We have lived in our house for almost five years. It’s a renovated late-Victorian terrace in Surry Hills, a vibrant inner-city suburb of Sydney.
Where is your home office? How would you describe the aesthetic? At the very top of the house – as far away as possible from mischievous, barking dogs. My aesthetic? Confused. The home office is a work in progress. It’s a small space so it has to be kept ruthlessly tidy.
How much time do you spend in your home office? What kind of work do you find yourself doing there? It depends on the changing demands of my life. I work full-time at the moment, so I try to keep home-office time to a minimum. It’s mostly emails – particularly to friends and family overseas – but I seem to spend far too long paying bills and generally keeping house. I’m an iTunes obsessive and I love searching for music that I have no intention of buying. I tend to research any articles I’m writing at home and I wrote my one and only book (The Accidental Foodie, Murdoch Books) there.
Does anyone else use your home office? Yes – David uses it in much the same way I do.
What item from your desktop can you not do without? Large paperclips, the biggest size. Small ones drive me nuts. Do you sense an obsessive nature?
What is your favourite piece of furniture? In the office it would be the Thomas Jacobsen desk. Elsewhere in our house it’s the bright orange Thonet dining chairs.
You’re exposed to such amazing design through your role on Belle. Is there a piece of furniture that you covet? Not as many as you might think. In my job I see many beautiful and desirable things, but the quantity diminishes the appeal. That said, I could happily share my life with the limited-edition Egg chair in chocolate brown leather.
What inspires you? Knowledge gained from past experience and the opportunity and unpredictability of the future.
Photograph by Steve Baccon, courtesy of Belle Magazine
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 8, 2010
The New York Times just ran a great workspace story in their home section. The Times asked interior designer Kimberly Hall to transform a living room into a place where novelist Emily Raboteau could work. Hall had a tight $2,000 budget. The results are pictured above. Make sure you go to the NYT’s site and scroll your mouse over the image…they’ve packed it with information. It’s a really nice way to do the classic makeover story.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 8, 2010
Interior designer Kelly Brown made two big moves a few years ago – she left Los Angeles for Richmond, Virginia and left her job to work for herself. 12 months later she says those were two of the best decisions she’s ever made. Here Kelly shares her story and her beautifully designed home office. Look out for more on home office design from Kelly next week.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I established Kelly Brown Interiors in Richmond, VA a little over a year ago with the intention of working from home. It’s hard to believe my office has come this far within just a year! Prior to moving to Richmond, VA I was living in Los Angeles working for a high-end residential designer. After moving to Richmond, I decided to take my BFA of Fine Arts in Interior Design degree plus 8 years of professional design practice and branch out on my own. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Describe your style? It’s a mix of modern and traditional, high and low. I never want a client walking into a room I’ve designed and define it as a particular decade or time period.
As an interior designer with multiple clients how do you keep your office organized? There are 4 things that keep me organized at all times.
1) I swear by these clear plastic see-through string envelopes. Every project I start immediately gets one of these with a label identifying the job. I keep fabric memos, finish samples, paint swatches and tearsheets of furniture selections in them. They’re within arms reach on my desk and when I need to leave the office I can quickly grab the project envelopes I need for the day, whether I’m headed to the client’s house or the design center.
2) My iPhone. Need I say more!
3) The MoblieMe “Cloud”.
4) And even with all of the clever gadgets and great software out there I still covet my…Franklin Covey Planner. I never leave my office without it.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? And what is a desk accessory you can’t do without? Hands down, the furniture piece I covet most is my Humanscale Liberty Chair. And it’s not technically a desk accessory but, I reach for it everyday and without it I can’t do my job. It’s my trusty Stanley MaxSteel 25′ Tape Measure.
What would you change about your own workspace? More storage! Sometimes the physical constraints of a room limit how much storage you can get out of a particular space. As my interior design business grows, so does my vendor library of catalogs, binders and fabric samples (they eat up lots of space!). I have room to expand for about another year. After that I’m going to need to start looking for a commercial office space! That’s my next business goal.
What do you most love about your space? The paint color (Mythic Paint‘s Heather Heights #197-2), the incredible southern sunlight that bathes the room just so and beyond that the view of a 100 year old gumball tree out my 2nd story window.
What inspires you? It’s always changing with the little nuances of everyday life but if I had to narrow it down to right now: Dwell Magazine, (the now defunct) Domino Magazine (I have every single issue, stored safely in the orange magazine holders – within arms reach), 1stdibs.com, lonnymag.com, Kelly Wearstler and Darryl Carter (Both for very different reasons: the first for her daring use of color and the latter for his restrained use of color). The city of Richmond and all the creative energy it harbors inspires me on a daily basis. It’s the juxtaposition of young and old – hipster, slightly disheveled college students set against a backdrop of the disciplined vernacular of turn-of-the-century buildings. That always gets me. And right now, this very minute – the changing of the seasons. The bursts of intense yellow and vibrant magenta. The buds of lime green swaying in the wind and creamy white petals scattered on the ground.
Balance, Design, Products
April 6, 2010
Last week we ran an interview with Francesca Connolly, one of the four women behind Remodelista. This week we hear from Sarah Lonsdale. Sarah, who lives in the Napa Valley with her husband and two children, is the daughter of an architect and has lived through five renovations and two ground-up constructions. She is also the author of Japanese Design. She brings all that design nouse, plus a good dose of warm minimalism, white interiors and Belgian linen, to her Remodelista posts.
How would you describe your workspace? What is the design aesthetic? I love my desk (pictured above) which is a wooden top that I had for years when I lived in Japan placed atop some recently acquired French metal industrial trestles. As much as I consider myself a minimalist and have a house that is fairly clutter free and simple, my desk is usually piled high with magazines and papers. My first job was in a production company in Japan where the way to demonstrate creativity was to have a desk with piles of interesting stuff and images and I don’t think I have ever stopped working that way. Once a week, I go through everything and clear it up then the piles begin again.
Does anyone else use your office? I’m afraid I am quite territorial. My husband works from home a lot and we each have our separate offices and respect each other’s space and it seems to work well.
How do you organize the space? My office is basically my desk and some shelves where I file papers in simple wooden file holders from Ikea. I also use large, natural grass baskets for storing magazines; they look good and can be easily moved around.
What impact do you think color has on a workspace? I spend my day looking at so many images daily, that great light is essential. I love an all-white space mixed with natural tones, grey stone colors and textures such as rough beige linen. That said, I would like to paint one wall of an otherwise white space this Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe grey (pictured above).
What desk accessory can’t you do without? My original 1227 Anglepoise “salvaged” from my father’s office. I also love Muji gel ink pen (pictured below) which I stock up on whenever I am in New York or London.
Is there a piece of furniture you’d love to replace? There is nothing I would like to replace however I love coming across a great find whether it be a chair in a garage sale or a piece of vintage furniture in a shop (which is how I found my current desk chair and the trestles). Those are the times I find myself adding pieces to the home.
What inspires you? We moved from the city to the Napa Valley over three years ago and being surrounded by such great natural beauty is pretty compelling. Being able to get on my bike and cycle on a country lane and see the seasons change is very poetic. I am a forager and invariably haul a branch or some fallen lemons ( or whatever is in season) back home to display. It’s a creative outlet in a way.
You see so many great workspaces. Is there one that really stands out for you? I have been thinking about this Japanese house recently by architects, Takaharu and Yui Tezuka and how for me an office really only needs a desk, some bookshelves and good natural light. An office along the lines of this bedroom (with shelving instead of bunks and a window to the ground) would work perfectly for me.
How do you manage a balance between work and the rest of your life? Since I work at home on the computer all day it is very tempting to be online the whole time. Multi-tasking is great but I am making an effort to close my computer when my children return from school even if it is only for 30 minutes so I can give them my undivided attention. The nature of this work is endless so being able to close the computer and do others things is really healthy.
April 5, 2010
OK, I know this isn’t a bulletin board but it’s an inspiring space. Lifehacker just posted an interview with the Office Stylist blogger, Sayeh Pezeshki. This is her own home office. So neat and tidy! Makes me want to do a major spring clean.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 5, 2010
You worked for many years as a stylist. Tell us about the transition from that work to gardening. You now run a business called Little Saplings that teaches children how to garden. After 20 years, and a baby, working as a stylist did not do it for me anymore. Little Saplings and working in the garden were a natural transition for me. I wanted a less superficial life and a career composed of more sustaining projects. I always loved working with kids and teaching was my first love!
When you’re not in the garden where are you working? In my car! My bedroom, the home office (which is a converted garage in the backyard). Everywhere. I try to catch as much of every moment as I can.
How do you organize your workspace? Once again this has to be on the fly! In my car I carry a gardening kit with me, a few kits actually. And I have my office in our studio/garage. I also write all my jobs out on a chalk-board door and have files on each client.
What inspires you? I think pure color inspires me. Growing up in South Africa surrounded by so much natural beauty definitely influences me. As well as seeing the kids taking things in and the enthusiasm with which they do.
What piece of technology or tools most helps you in your work? In the garden it’s my Felco pruners and my knee-high shovel. And in the office it’s my new labeling machine. It’s a huge help sorting things out. And my little Apple computer – it’s the brains of it all.
If you could change your home workspace what would you do? I have a vision of my workspace having big clear glass-sliding doors onto the garden and half of the workspace would be set up for propagation – high table tops with perfect lighting. As well as storage under tables in mesh shelves. A little modern/ Victorian greenhouse effect! On the other half there would be a desk and beautiful rug and storage, lots of bookshelves. I could go on and on!
What and who inspires you? The Bioneers and so many people who have been keynote speakers there. Kenny Ausubel, my little boy of course, the Venice Learning Garden, Christa Tippet – on NPR- interviews of importance! Cooking shows-I love KCRW’s Good Food and also anything with Jamie Oliver in it.
Photo credit: Larry Hirshowitz