Today I want to introduce you to my latest project and my newest client ...she is a small business owner who works out of her home and was in desperate need of her own office space. She and her family have recently moved into a beautiful brand new home with a bright and sunny office space on the main floor. The original plan was for her and her husband to share the office space and they set it up accordingly, with his desk on one side of the room, and hers on the other. Her husband has an office downtown but loves working from home. He is a Financial Analyst and works crazy hours, many of which are spent on the phone talking with clients and colleagues. It quickly became evident that this set-up was not going to work ... my client is an interior designer who needs a calm, quiet space to work in. Has anyone guessed who this new client is yet? It's me!
Here I am standing in front of the pretty desk space I created for myself. I splurged on a beautiful desk from Article and then hung a black shelf above it to display some of my favourite items. On paper, this space had everything I needed to work in, with the exception of one important thing - peace and quiet! For the last few months, I have been struggling to find a place to work in our new home. I would bounce from the kitchen table to the dining room to my bedroom, in search of a space to work. It was frustrating and unproductive to say the least. Working at the kitchen counter is like trying to work out of Grand Central Station!
It was a problem I was having trouble solving and then the solution came to me clear as a bell. We have four bedrooms upstairs, the principal bedroom and then one for each of the kids. Our oldest son who is 17 spends the majority of his time at home in the basement. His computer is down there, along with his weight bench and a place to watch TV. When we first moved in, he asked if he could have his room down there but we were like "no, you have a bedroom upstairs with the rest of us". My parents were visiting back in the late Fall and his wish was temporarily granted as we put them upstairs and let him sleep downstairs on the sectional in the media room. During the extended holiday period (thanks again covid) when the kids were home for over 3 weeks, I was getting desperate for a place to work out of and then it hit me...if we converted the media room in the basement into a bedroom for Kallum, I could take over his bedroom as my home office! I was a bit resistant to the idea at first, but Kallum was on board 100% and my husband agreed that it was the perfect solution. We actually got busy moving his stuff downstairs that same day! I had the idea first thing in the morning and by that evening I had an empty room to work with and a clean blank slate! Don't mind the terrible iphone photo!
We moved a desk and chair upstairs so I could have a space to work from temporarily while I designed my new office.
Over the past few months I have been dreaming and scheming up my perfect workspace and I wanted to share the plans with you. I have approached my office project just like I would any other client project and I thought it would be helpful to share the phases of the design process with you using my own space as an example.
Phase 1 - Project Initiation
Just like a good novel or movie, design projects have a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning is considered the initiation phase. In this phase I am meeting clients and the space that they want to transform. Often there is a problem that needs to be solved, or some questions that need answering. As I have already shared with you, the problem I was tackling was a lack of dedicated office space, and the solution was to convert our media room in the basement into a bedroom for Kallum.
Designer Tip - Use the rooms in your home how they make sense for your family, don't worry about their "intended purpose". In our previous home, our formal living room was also my home office!
The other things I like to address in Phase 1 as I am getting to know my clients, are function and style. How do they currently use or want to use the space? What styles and color palettes are they drawn to?
I then work with my clients to determine the scope of work for the project which is just a fancy way of saying, what do they need me to do? In the case of my home office project, it was to design, furnish and style a home office space. My wish list was for storage, a desk to work on, and a sofa to stretch out on. As a bonus, I wanted to be able to turn this space into a guestroom when we have out-of-town guests, instead of displacing one of our kids when the grandparents are visiting.
Phase 2 - Designing and Planning
Once I have determined all of the important information I need in step 1 - scope of work, style preferences, functionality and budget, then it's time for the fun stuff - planning and design.
When I am designing a room, I always start with the large important furniture items first, I refer to these as the foundation items, and fill everything in around that. In the case of my home office space, I had a blank slate to work with which was awesome BUT I had a tight budget I had to stick to...less awesome! After measuring out the space to see what dimensions I had to play with, I decided to purchase a small sofa bed, a new desk, an office chair, two bookcases and a rug. Another designer trick to share, use painters tape to mark out the dimensions of a furniture piece you are considering for purchase. I did this for the sofa bed and desk I was wanting to buy.
The sofa bed was an easy choice thanks to my limited budget....IKEA must be Swedish for "stretching a dollar". We have had several IKEA sofas in our time and honestly, we quite love them! They are comfortable, easy to clean (hello removable/washable slipcovers) and stylish.
The most important part of my process is to create a moodboard collage of the items I want to purchase for a room. It helps to see the items I am selecting side by side to help make sure things look good together. Here is the collage I created for the foundation pieces for my office:
Once I have the foundation pieces decided upon, I like to add in the decorative layers, which is what really makes a room look pulled together and stylish. Think throw pillows, curtains, wall art and all of those fun and pretty elements! Again, I like to add those things into the collage so that I get a complete picture of what the room will look like. Here is how my collage looks when the styling items are added in:
You can see that I kept things quite neutral but added in some blue accents to bring in some color.
Phase 3 - Installation and Styling
The last, and in my opinion most fun, stage of the design process is the installation and styling. With client projects, I like to have all of the furniture pieces and styling items arrive on the same day - this is rather tricky right now with all of the supply chain issues facing the industry right now! With regards to my home office space, I have all the big items in place now and plan on tackling the styling in the next few days. Once I get all the styling items in place, I will do a room reveal and share it here on the blog, so stay tuned!
Thanks so much for reading and if you are looking for help with your decorating project, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We now have a virtual one-hour consultation option for clients near and far, for more info drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.