Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home Office Design 101 - Function

"Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright 

Home Offices are first and foremost functional spaces. I believe they can be more than just function, and we'll be talking about that in the next post. However, without function, a home office really does fall flat. Let’s cover a few basics that you need to have in place for a functional home office. I’ll be using examples from a client home office project to walk us through the needs and some possible solutions.

The Project:

My client used a small corner of this music room/library as a home office.
The problems:
  1. Not nearly enough work space. 
  2. Storage was inadequate and hard to access.
  3. Room located just off of the foyer in a very public area of the home.
  4. Inadequate lighting.
  5. Confusing purpose of the room (for more on the changes to the music room, see this post).
My client, an empty-nester, had 2 childrens' rooms turned guest rooms in the home. She has frequent guests, but rarely used both guest rooms at once. We decided that saving a guest room for 2 nights per year while she suffered with an inadequate home office for 365 days just didn't make sense. We moved the home office into the smaller of the bedrooms. What about the guests? We placed the furniture against the walls so that a queen air mattress could be used in the center of the room to easily accommodate extra guests.

Functional Needs in a Home Office
Let's break down some of the functional needs in a home office and look at the solutions we found for this particular space.
Functional Need 1: Adequately-sized area with some privacy

Functional Need 2: Adequate work space with comfortable and supportive seating
Functional Need 3: Adequate storage space
We included a generously sized desk that can accomodate multiple functions at once. An attractive filing cabinet is next to the desk for often used papers and supplies. Infrequently used items are stored in the closet.

Functional Need 4: Good Lighting
 This room has wonderful daylight with 3 large windows. Unfortunately, the night lighting was poor with no overhead fixture to provide lighting. We had to create specific lighting zones to suit the functions. At the desk, we installed an over-sized swing arm lamp. It adjusts in 3 places, so can easily be directed toward the task as needed. We also added a floor lamp with 5 different settings at the reading area.

And finally, if you are fortunate to have a large home office, it's nice to create areas for functions other than a desk and some filing cabinets.  This might include a hobby or craft area, or a reading nook.

A reading nook should include a comfortable chair, with extra back support, if needed, a table for drinks and books, and good lighting. 

The next post will look at adding on to the functionality of a home office with how it looks and feels. 
Stay tuned.
Other posts in the Home Office Series.

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration

Monday, October 11, 2010

Home Offices Deserve Good Design, too!

Home Offices are more important than ever before. Between home-based businesses and telecommuting, nearly 60 million Americans work from home at least part time. With additional office and general computer use apart from work, the need for a functional home office is very evident. However, the reality  is that often home offices are not truly functional, and are very rarely beautiful. Why don't more people believe they should have a space that is functional, comfortable, looks great and inspires them?

Home offices are very under served by Interior Design magazines and books. They are not thought of as one of the beautiful rooms of a home like master suites and formal living rooms. Home offices are functional afterthoughts, hidden away like the garage or laundry room - necessary, but ugly. Many people “make do” with either the location and space or the furniture for their offices, using hand-me-down furniture or spaces that aren’t really comfortable or don’t support the functions to be accomplished.

This seems so counter-intuitive to me when we spend so much time in our home offices. I would venture a guess that the home office logs more hours than all rooms except the bedroom. Of course, if you work from home, the home office may well be the most used room in your house. So you deserve to have function, comfort and beauty. Hence the beginning of a Beautiful Habitat Home Office Series, where I’ll be covering tips and topics to improve your home office with examples from some recent home office makeovers.
 I scoured months worth of multiple home decor magazines to find only a few home office images to share with you to jump start theHome Office Series. I hope you'll fis some inspiration in them for your own functional and beautiful home office space.
Luxe Magazine, Winter 2010, Designed by Clodagh Design.

 Luxe Magazine, Winter 2010. Designed by Kevin Spearman, Bellacasa Design Associates, Inc.

Have specific home office questions or issues? Send your questions to me and I'll add them to the list of topics to cover in the series.

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

23rd Ave Sculpture in Denver

I have recently started working with a new client in the Sloans Lake area of Denver. It's an adorable 1939 home that you will hear much more about in the coming weeks. While driving to client meetings, I pass an eye-catching sculpture studio. After a meeting with my client last week I decided to stop in and check it out. I was not disappointed!

Welcome to the 23rd Avenue Sculpture Studio and Gallery at 3500 W. 23rd Ave, Denver, Colorado . 

The studio is owned by Dennis West and features his work, along with several other artists that work out of the studio. They are rough looking group of metal workers, but were more than happy to show me around the studio and explain the various pieces and artists. Below is just a sample of the various treasures that I found while wandering.Customers are welcome to purchase anything in the outdoor or indoor galleries, or the artists will happily do commissions and custom work.

 A great outdoor bar area. There are also outdoor seating and fire pits available. John "Wild" Mann, one of the artists, also informed me that they would take my basic outdoor metal bench and spice it up with some custom accents. I intend to take him up on that offer next summer!
They also offer metal sculpture classes and monthly wine tastings at the studio through Toast Wine and Spirits.

Many of the pieces are made from reclaimed pieces of metal - great for art and the environment!

Dennis makes custom gates and railings for indoor and outdoor use.

 Copper Sculptures

They have little pieces...

 ...and large pieces

 A hand-forged iron music stand.

 A mobile - yes, it rotates in the wind.

Custom Door hardware
I love supporting local art. Of course, I couldn't leave without selecting a few hand-made creations of my own. I picked these two sculptures, which have a base built to go in flower pots. These are perfect for me - the lazy gardener. I haven't planted flowers in those pots in 2 years. Now I don't need to - I have sculptures!

So check out the 23rd Ave Sculpture Studio in Denver and support these local artists.

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration


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