This is the final interview in the four-part series on the editors of Remodelista – a blog full of chic design inspiration. Julie Carlson lives in Mill Valley, California with her husband and children in a house remodeled by Jerome Buttrick of Buttrick Wong Architects. She talks here about her home office in the living room (above) and working remotely with her fellow editors.
How would you describe your workspace? What is the design aesthetic? How does that impact your work? I am drawn to a modern, functional Scandinavian style and a streamlined aesthetic. I also am enamored of Bay Area design—the rustic modern architecture of Joseph Esherick, the organic shapes of potter Edith Heath, the paintings of Richard Diebenkorn. Also a lover of New England understatement. My workspace is typically my living room. My husband has appropriated the office as his own, which is fine with me as I prefer the living room, which gets much better natural light.
Does anyone else use your office? Since the living room in our home is part of a great room (which also includes the dining room and kitchen), there is a lot of flow in and around me when I am working.
How do you organize the space? Almost everything I do for Remodelista is stored and organized on my laptop, so I don’t have a huge organizational system for my workspace. I do have a lot of shelter periodicals that I peruse which I store near my chair in a large basket. I also have several systems for storing images on my laptop and for bookmarking blogs, because so much of our work revolves around finding and presenting beautiful imagery.
What impact do you think color has on a workspace? Most of the color in our home comes from seasonal flowers and branches we bring inside, as well as from art. My affinity for Scandinavian design translates into clean-lined, simple spaces with lots of white and warm woods. I like a workspace that is light and calming, without an excess of color.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? For sheer necessity, my laptop. I also love pencils; my favorites are from Cedar Pointe; they’re made of California incense cedar with a black eraser. Canoe in Portland, Oregon, offers them for $5 per dozen.
Is there a piece of furniture you’d love to replace? We are currently looking for a new dining room table. I love our current table (pictured below), but it only seats eight for dinner comfortably; we’d like one that seats at least ten.
What inspires you? The low-key modernist architecture of outer Cape Cod, where Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen, Walter Gropius, and Serge Chermayeff built vacation houses. (My first job was cleaning Saarinen’s house on Long Pond.) Also, the spectacular de Young Museum in San Francisco by Herzog & de Meuron, a trip to the furniture and home design department of Liberty of London, the deceptive simplicity of Jasper Morrison’s designs (his Glass Family drinking glasses are genius), and the Bloomsbury aesthetic.
You see so many great workspaces. Is there one that really stands out for you? I love this compact office by Brooklyn-based architects Delson or Sherman Architects.; the wrap-around built-in shelves and the built in desk and cabinetry, the window next to the desk, the Eames office chair.
How do you manage a balance between work and the rest of your life? Some days there is more balance than others, but thanks to several new technologies, we can each work remotely, which helps our editors work around the demands of family and home. Skype, Twitter, Google Docs, the iPhone, and the fact that we can all edit a post through the same online system allow us to work from Brooklyn, San Francisco, Napa and Mill Valley simultaneously. Remodelista is a truly virtual enterprise: after several years of working together, we finally converged in one place (for the first time) at a presentation for the flagship Design Within Reach store in SoHo, just last year.