Balance, Design, Products, Technology
August 3, 2010
“Name: Gregory Han
Location: Silver Lake, CA
Size: 6′ x 3′ Closet
Around this time last year I was happily enjoying working in a newly renovated home office I had designed and optimized for my workflow, furnished and accessorized with small space living in mind. It was a bright, cheery and ample space in an otherwise small studio apartment.
And then we moved.
I knew when we moved I was in for a drastic change in regards to my work area, since the 1 bedroom apartment we were migrating into was a space I actually photographed and toured for an Apartment Therapy Los Angeles house tour in late 2009. Our friend Alysia had used a portion of the living room as her home office, but I wanted to do something a bit different and use the closet as a work space. The option to close the door (and reminders about work) was partially the reason for this decision, but also because I prefer having distinct spaces for specific tasks, even if it meant downsizing into a much tighter fit (thankfully, there’s small window, a detail common to these 1900-1930′s units).
The biggest decision made was a stylistic one: going from bright and cheery decorated space to a darker, more sophisticated finish. I wanted just as much utility (though obviously not as much storage would be available) as the previous home office, so this required some planning and help from a contact at The Container Store, alongside hours of researching online about other closet home offices. I had several cinematic inspirations to work with, and when I saw a tech-stylized black wallpaper and purchased a wolf-shaped wall lamp, I knew I had the foundation pieces of my new work space.
The inspiration for my home office/home theater: Three of my favorite movies heavily influenced what I had envisioned for this tiny space: the Symphony No. 9 In D Minor/Ode To Joy scene in Immortal Beloved (staring up into the infinite stars, floating on top of water), the organized perfection of the residence in Tom Ford’s A Single Man, and a little of the mod-ultraviolence aesthetic of A Clockwork Orange. If anyone out there has a Kozik UltraViolence Ludwig Van Beethoven Bust they want to sell me, please contact me!
Favorite element in your space: The Graham & Brown black checker wallpaper. I first saw this geometric textured wallpaper at this year’s ICFF show, and it laid the foundation of doing something completely different. The wallpaper’s character changes throughout the day, as light hits different corners of the wallpaper’s relief; it also feels nicely on the fingers (guests are drawn to touching the Tetris like shapes).
Biggest challenge in designing my space: Installing, painting, organizing…just about anything inside such a small space is a challenge (especially during hotter days). Just getting the IKEA Besta Burs desk from my previous studio home office was a challenge, requiring removing the closet bars and diagonally angling it inside carefully, as not to rip or ruin the black paint or wallpaper.
What friends say about my space: Only a couple of friends have seen the home office in person thus far. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to designing and decorating spaces, so I’ve kept it mostly under wraps and only now decided it was “okay” enough to share. But a couple of friends noted it was “masculine” and “glamorous”, another mentioning it seemed cozy, while my fellow Unplggd contributor, Sonia, called it “S&M dungeon chic”!
Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: I’ve got three main goals moving forward: 1) to reupholster my office chair with a fabric which better complements the rest of the office; the Steelcase Leap is comfortable, but the upholstery has seen better days ; 2) repaint the white trim; 3) add a piece of artwork on my right side (it’s currently blank and crying for something).
For the rest of interview click here.
By Gregory Han.”
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
February 3, 2010
Amy Feezor is the copy director at Real Simple magazine, she is also a freelance writer and blogs at M-Dashing about home design and decor and her obsessions with photography, artisan foods, travel, art, local restaurants, etsy.com, and organizing. This freelance life happens from her Brooklyn headquarters – a corner of her studio apartment. I thought this was a particularly appropriate ‘Inspriation’ after the last post about small spaces.
How long I’ve worked from home…and where is “home”? I have two offices: one at work-work, and one nestled in a nook within my small studio apartment. This is where I blog and work on freelance projects. I’ve been writing professionally for about ten years now, and my home office expands well beyond my desk and my Mac. It’s by my bedside within notebooks I keep handy in case I think of something while I am falling asleep (a common occurrence). It’s on my couch and my coffee table [an Eames molded plywood coffee table that was a recent purchase]. It’s in my kitchen. It’s even on the subway—I find that I do a lot of writing there (it feels strangely private…I even wrote much of this stuff on the F-train). I grew up all over the South, and don’t have an official hometown, per se. So that means that home is wherever I am at the time. Home as has been Birmingham, Nashville, London, Charlotte, Austin, and now home is Brooklyn. But it’s probably not my last home; we’ll see where the next few years take me.
What an average workday involves: Thinking quickly, writing quickly, eating quickly. Quick check-ins on email, Twitter, and my daily blog. Eating quickly again. Taking three to four meetings, in person or on conference call. Trying to find quiet moments to actually think a concept through. And reminders to myself to get up and stretch every once in a while.
Technology that inspires me? My new SLR digital camera. I can’t stop taking pictures right now, and I am really interested in how photography tells a story. As a writer, it’s a new way to adjust my eyes—to challenge myself to look beyond words and learn to rely more on the visual. It’s definitely starting to influence my work. I learned film photography back in college and have a cool metal-bodied Minolta that used to be my dad’s, but this is a whole new ballgame. I am learning more about how to control it and how it controls me. And for the record, I love my little machine so much that I’d probably make out with it if I could.
How I organize my space: My physical space is pretty organized and painfully neat. There’s not much clutter (what a disappointment; aren’t creative types supposed to be messy?). But I just can’t deal. Everything has its place with me, mostly because I’m very forgetful. Being organized helps me be less so. Also, there are folders. Many, many folders. And sometimes, they’re color-coded. My digital space largely mirrors my physical space (read: lots of colorful folders). I have a big to-do list I’ve created in Excel. I deal with bills in Quicken. And I also tend to have a bit of post-it note/Internet bookmarking problem, so I’ve been trying out Evernote.
Item on my desktop that I cannot do without: My red pen. It’s my magic editing wand. My notebook (can’t go anywhere without it). And the calendar…I’m always juggling deadlines and timelines, and need to constantly reference it. I’m still a bit old-fashioned about it, though—I like to have a paper one within reach by the desk.
What inspires me: Great storytelling, whether it’s from a book, a film, a TV series, a song, or a spot-on comedy routine. How my words look in different fonts. The designers I work with. Graffiti. Independent artists and people who post their art anonymously on the street just so it will be seen. Powerful small businesses. My camera in my hands. A big blank wall. Beautiful everyday objects. The Pacific Ocean. Other writers. Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Hampstead Heath in London. People who do things instead of just talk about them. Olive oil. Anything with butter in or on it.
Most important piece of furniture in my workspace? And what I would change about my office if I could? My desk in my workspace and my coffee table in my living space—they’ve become interchangeable, in a way. Since my studio is small, I move back and forth between the two areas to brainstorm, write, and think. They work together as my writing table, my computer holder, my place-to-find-a-pen, my library, and my dinner table. If I could change something it would be more space! A place to have a printer (mine currently lives under the bed). And a cute assistant who smells nice and has large bicep muscles (does that count?).
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
February 3, 2010
This story over at Apartment Therapy’s Unplgged really hit a chord this morning. We’re so obsessed with space in home offices, but what if you simply don’t have the room? I’ve been known to retire to my bedroom with the laptop – more for peace of mind than anything else! When I shared an apartment with a friend in New York (many years ago now) I spent hours writing from my bed just like Emily in the photograph above (she is Unplgged managing editor Gregory Han’s ‘better half”). So what do you do? Gregory offers a great practical round-up of small desks (check out the cool bentwood tables from Offi and the amazing little laptop trays from Logitech.) Let me know if you’ve got a small desk to add to this list.