Jeff Carvalho edits Selectism, a men’s lifestyle blog that started up in 2007. In an interview with Wallpaper magazine Jeff talks about the beginnings of Selectism. “David Fischer of the streetwear website, Highsnobiety, wanted to build a new property focused on more transitory menswear for that individual looking for a mix of street centric fashion and traditional menswear. By March of 2008, Selectism was running full-time to fill that content void.” And fill the void it did. Selectism turned out to be one of the strongest, and certainly best designed, online men’s destination. Here Jeff shares his workspace with us.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I started working from a home office in the Summer 2007 when I began full-time work on Selectism.com (a men’s lifestyle and fashion blog) and consult work. My workspace was inside a loft which was directly across the street from Boston’s Fenway Park. 88 to 90 days out of the year, ball park traffic – both human and vehicle – ruled. In 2009, I moved outside of Harvard Square on the Cambridge side of the Charles River for a bit of relief. I haven’t left yet.
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? At the end of each day, I do my best to reorganize it back into order. There is something about bringing my workspace back to order which actually keeps me focused when I sit down first thing in the morning. It is a bit habitual. Many friends tell me that workspace clutter is how they manage their day. I’m just not one of those people. I have to be organized (on both desktops) to stay focused. I also rely heavily on email filters and labels for both task management and assignment. I use Simplenote for lists but plan on moving to something more robust like Things sooner rather than later.
When you were setting up your home office what did you keep in mind? Well to be honest, the space I am in on this side of the Charles was initially supposed to be temporary. For this reason, most of office is still in storage. Everything from books, music, ephemera, and artwork are packed away. As I need a reference piece, I’ll dig through the boxes and take only what I need, which keeps the room pretty bare – in a positive way. There are lessons learned from this office which I’ll take with me to my next space. Natural light was the most important requirement. In the loft, I only had light during the early morning. Today light flows from two sides of the room, but both indirect rather than coming from windows directly in front of my desk. Also, a desk under-mounted USB hub makes plugging in devices fast and easy. I highly recommend diy’ing your own.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you particularly enjoy? I’ve had a Herman Miller Aeron chair for over 10 years now. It has been the one constant in my workspace since 1999 when I purchased it. While other parts of my workspace turn over often (think swapping iMacs every 16 months), the Aeron has always remained. Every three months or so, I work out of our Berlin office for a few weeks and their chairs are difficult. I miss the comfort of the Aeron immediately.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? The (massive) custom amplifier on my desk. I plug a pair of Sennheiser 595 headphones into it. That’s the amplifier’s only function – a headphone amp. It serves its single purpose role better than most devices on my desk.
What would you change about your own workspace? Maybe a bigger desk and some shelving so I can pull the books and magazines out of storage.
What inspires you? Music inspires me every day as does the “hand made” movement which you can find at craft fairs like Renegade. It is inspiring to see what work people develop in this area – from printing, to accessories. It is incredibly impressive.