January 25, 2012
Yesterday I came across Caroline Clifton-Mogg’s new book A Space of My Own on Remodelista’s revamped site (which is certainly an improvement but will take a bit of getting used to!) Clifton-Mogg is a British journalist and has put together a beautiful book that explores the idea of home workspace as sanctuary. “The important thing is that it is known to all as very much your space and feels private; somewhere specifically designed to cater to you and what you are doing,” writes Clifton-Mogg. As I write this at my kitchen table with our home office desk piled with kid’s drawings I wonder if I’ll ever have a work space in this house to call my own! And I also wonder how many of us manage to carve this kind of precious space out for ourselves?
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 30, 2010
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.
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.
Balance, Design, Products
March 30, 2010
The editorial team at Remodelista.com (l to r) : Julie Carlson, Francesca Connolly, Sarah Lonsdale, Janet Hall. (Pic via FIXR)
Francesca Connolly works from her brownstone in Brooklyn Heights that she shares with her husband and three children. She is the east coast member of the four-woman team that edits Remodelista – the go-to site for sophisticated renovators. Look out for our interviews with the rest of the Remodelista team over the next few weeks.
Connolly and her husband restored their down-at-the-heels brownstone with the help of architect Steven Harris. She is well acquainted with the burgeoning design scene in Brooklyn; she admires local lighting designer David Weeks and shops at local stores such as Layla. And she works on Remodelista from her dining table. No home office for this award-winning blogger.
How would you describe your workspace? How does it impact your work? I work at the dining room table. The space is light bright, uncluttered, and centrally located.
Does anyone else use your office? Everyone uses everything. I have no privacy.
You see so many great workspaces. Is there one that really stands out for you? Architects always have the best offices. They typically use inexpensive materials to create genius storage and work areas. Steven Harris Architects has a great office on the street level in Tribeca with floor to ceiling windows. They use the front of the space as a gallery for art exhibits making the space multi-functional, and engaging the local community.
How do you organize the space? I constantly try to eliminate clutter. I’m not super organized, but I know where everything is.
What impact do you think color has on a workspace? I prefer a white space as a backdrop for all the designs and colors I am looking at all day.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? A lamp and a notepad. Even though everything is done on the computer, I still scribble notes to myself.
Is there a piece of furniture you’d love to replace? I can’t genuinely say I have a need for it, but there is this steel base and oak top table (below) from Ochre that is on my wish list.
What inspires you? I have a background in textiles, so I am a bit of a fabric connoisseur. Because we live in Brooklyn, I have an affinity for a bit of urban glamour (a sequined pillow from Liberty of London, for instance). I like streamline upholstered furniture but can’t resist covering pieces in subtle florals, stripes, or velvets.
How do you manage a balance between work and the rest of your life? Working at home allows me to be in in easy contact with my family. I love being around for all the constant coming and going of children. It helps that having grown up in close quarters with two brothers, I have a great ability to tune things out when necessary.