Name: Nick Keppol
Size/Room: 125 Sq Ft of office space + built-in closet
Years lived in: 3 months (rent)
Brooklyn-based master typographer Nick Keppol shows us how form truly follows function in his beautiful home office that’s bursting with modern details. Terrariums that add an organic detail, library stacks of creative reads, and enough Herman Miller gear that’ll bring a tear to your eye – everything screams style (or perhaps even slightly obsessive on the curation front, depending on who you ask). Now, jump on in and indulge with us as we take a look at one fine, style-packed home office.
My style: Organized, Functional and Modern
The inspiration for my home office: Form follows function. I knew what I needed from my space functionally and tailored its design to my needs. In my previous apartment, my “office” was the corner of my bedroom where an IKEA Jerker desk functioned as my art table, dining table, and computer desk for years. Having to clean up my desk every time I switched its function from art table to computer workstation, became a speed bump in the creative process. After a while, I noticed I was avoiding the setup and breakdown almost entirely and was barely sketching anymore. Not good when pencil sketching and hand lettering is essential to my workflow.
When designing my first home office I knew I wanted to be able to have room to spread out. It was important for me to have a dedicated art table where I could leave things I am working on and a separate area for my digital workstation. This allows me to stay focused on the task at hand and return to the other station exactly where I left off. I had originally planned on building a L shaped desk until I came across a great deal on a, basically new, Herman Miller Airia Desk on Craig’s List. This had been my dream desk since its release but far over my budget for a desk. But at over 60% off retail I jumped on it. This was the first real furniture purchase for the office and it influenced the overall (walnut and white) aesthetic a great deal.
Favorite element in your space: The magnetic strips above the desk I use to hold sketches, inspiration and even supplies has been very helpful. However I’d have to say the double desks because they drastically improved productivity. It’s hard to imagine working any other way now.
Biggest challenge in designing my space: Creating a sophisticated design aesthetic with a few statement pieces on a modest budget in a small space while remaining flexible enough to still work for me when I eventually move out.
What friends say about my space: I haven’t had many friends over yet to see the space yet but the most common comment online has been “Where did you get the desk?” Although I’m sure most of your readers are familiar with the Airia Desk.
Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: I’ll probably add walnut tops to the IKEA EFFEKTIV units and maybe matte red/black vinyl or plastic, al la Eames Storage Unit, on the inside top shelf to hide all the screw/shelf holes (Photoshoped out in the pictures).
Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: The terrariums. They are so easy to make and add a nice organic feeling to the space. The earthiness of the plants and walnut contrast well with the boxy white pieces.
Biggest indulgence with respect to my space: Having a real home office is a big indulgence for me. For furniture the Embody chair was my biggest indulgence . Before this, I had been using a $29 Office Depot Chair I used until the wheels literally fell off. I am lucky enough to have an Aeron at my day job so over time the benefits of a high quality ergonomic task chair became obvious, especially after I came home to my OD chair. The Aeron seemed like the way to go until I saw the Embody. For me, the softer fabric seat of the Embody and easier adjustable levers and knobs made it more suitable for the home office. I try and buy high end furniture used but these chairs are really hard to come by second hand, especially if you want specific options. If I wanted one I needed to buy new. I waited for the Herman Miller sale and bought from a site with free shipping and no tax. It’s pretty easily justified when you account for its 15 year warranty backed by a reputable company offering some of the best ergonomics technology available to date. It works out to be less than a quarter a day for the next 15 years. I think it’s worth it.
Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: Have a place and purpose for everything and hide as much as you can. Plan for a “catch all” drawer or cabinet, it’s inevitable — embrace it. If you’re designing a tight space it can be helpful to make a scale blueprint of the room and your furniture to get a basic idea. Especially if you are buying furniture. You can do this pretty easy in Photoshop or Illustrator. It’s easier than moving furniture around, but of course, some things you just need to be in the room to see.
Dream source for stuff: If money wasn’t an option? For office furniture, anything from the Herman Miller catalog. For tech gear a shopping spree at B&H. For pens and drafting pencils I love JetPens.
By Anthony Nguyen
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.