Panache January 2011 : Page 48

Office, sweet office Tips for designing a great home work space. By Celestina Blok As more employers continue to embrace the idea of flex-ible work weeks and virtual offices, many of us are dis-covering the luxury of working from home. But keeping the home office from becoming a cramped and cluttered mess can be a chal-lenge. Here, four area interior designers offer tips for creating a home office that’s both functional and comfortable, establishing an environment that’s great for getting the job done. Functionality “We’re seeing a big trend of people working from home, even if it’s just a couple days a week,” said Catherine Harvey, interior design instructor at the new Art Institute of Fort Worth. “It’s sav-ing on gas and commuting time, and because everything is so digital, companies are allowing their workforce to do that.” An interior designer herself, Harvey teaches a wide variety of design classes including drafting, introduction to interior design, and history of architecture, interiors and furniture. She says deter-mining how the space will be used should be the top priority when outlining layout and furnishings, but all too often, many people skip this important step. “If you’re going to get real work done, you have to consider being able to close yourself off in some way,” Harvey said. “A lot of offices now have big doors that open into their foyer or living room. The biggest mistake is keeping it so open that you’re dis-tracted, or you don’t have a place to talk on the phone. We talk a lot about how to create those boundaries while making it a space that’s still functional.” From Thomasville’s Fredericksburg home office line. Working in a home office should be enticing, says Deborah Reed of Deborah Reed Interior Design in Fort Worth. The office should be well-planned, keeping efficiency and functionality top of mind so the homeowner can feel confident about accomplish-ing their required tasks, she says. Questions to consider when planning include: How many peo-ple are using the office and for what purposes? What is their aver-age time per day spent in the space? “Someone who only uses the work space to write checks and check e-mails is going to have different needs than someone oper-ating a home-based business,” Reed said. “These needs change over time, but sitting down and really thinking through a family’s processes, and designing to fit those processes, lifts a huge burde-n. It means everybody can find what they need, when they need it.” Reed recommends planning for a work space big enough to spread out projects, whether it’s sorting income tax records or a child’s homework assignment. Additionally, dedicating space for www.panachemagazine.com This combination home office and den was designed for a couple to share. Courtesy of Deborah Reed Interior Design. 48 PANACHE January 2011

Home Feature: Home Office

Celestina Blok

Office, sweet office Tips for designing a great home work space.<br /> <br /> As more employers continue to embrace the idea of flexible work weeks and virtual offices, many of us are discovering the luxury of working from home. But keeping the home office from becoming a cramped and cluttered mess can be a challenge.<br /> Here, four area interior designers offer tips for creating a home office that’s both functional and comfortable, establishing an environment that’s great for getting the job done.<br /> <br /> Functionality<br /> <br /> “We’re seeing a big trend of people working from home, even if it’s just a couple days a week,” said Catherine Harvey, interior design instructor at the new Art Institute of Fort Worth. “It’s saving on gas and commuting time, and because everything is so digital, companies are allowing their workforce to do that.”<br /> <br /> An interior designer herself, Harvey teaches a wide variety of design classes including drafting, introduction to interior design, and history of architecture, interiors and furniture. She says determining how the space will be used should be the top priority when outlining layout and furnishings, but all too often, many people skip this important step.<br /> <br /> “If you’re going to get real work done, you have to consider being able to close yourself off in some way,” Harvey said. “A lot of offices now have big doors that open into their foyer or living room. The biggest mistake is keeping it so open that you’re distracted, or you don’t have a place to talk on the phone. We talk a lot about how to create those boundaries while making it a space that’s still functional.”<br /> <br /> Working in a home office should be enticing, says Deborah Reed of Deborah Reed Interior Design in Fort Worth. The office should be well-planned, keeping efficiency and functionality top of mind so the homeowner can feel confident about accomplishing their required tasks, she says.<br /> <br /> Questions to consider when planning include: How many people are using the office and for what purposes? What is their average time per day spent in the space?<br /> <br /> “Someone who only uses the work space to write checks and check e-mails is going to have different needs than someone operating a home-based business,” Reed said. “These needs change over time, but sitting down and really thinking through a family’s processes, and designing to fit those processes, lifts a huge burden.It means everybody can find what they need, when they need it.”<br /> <br /> Reed recommends planning for a work space big enough to spread out projects, whether it’s sorting income tax records or a child’s homework assignment. Additionally, dedicating space for Each family member’s mail and paperwork should be a priority.<br /> <br /> Storage<br /> <br /> “Less cluttered means less stressful,” said Bonnie Pressley, owner of Decorating Den Interiors in Fort Worth. “It needs to be comfy and neatly arranged. The key word is storage…storage should be able to be stored, not put on display. You can put some neat books on shelves; you just don’t want the piles of paper and folders.”<br /> <br /> Pressley advises against using wide open, floor-to-ceiling shelving for work supplies and files.Kay Crinkelmeyer of Designs by K in Southlake agrees.<br /> <br /> “There’s no place [to] stick things you want to keep, but don’t necessarily want to display,” Crinkelmeyer said. “There has to be cabinets so you can hide things.” Determining filing needs is also Crucial to a tidy office. Reed suggests planning for 25 percent more storage space than needed, in order to account for on-going accumulation and office supplies.Harvey adds that utilizing space above the desk is important.<br /> <br /> “Storage sounds so basic, but we really talk to the client about their filing needs, their book needs, and how much desk surface is needed,” Harvey said. “We like to plan for storage above the head. You have to think ‘up’ in an office because you’ll run out of room if you think from only the desk down.”<br /> <br /> Furniture<br /> <br /> From detailed and antiqued to sleek and contemporary, office furnishings now vary greatly in style. While the desk seems to remain the primary focus of home office purchases, all of our designers agree that the chair is equally as important, if not more so.<br /> <br /> “The first and most common Mistake people make is buying a $70 office chair from a big box or office supply store, and then wonder why their back hurts,” Reed said. “People tend to buy furniture and storage pieces one at a time and it looks like a mess. You should buy good quality furniture to begin with. It will last longer, be more functional and consequently more pleasing, even if you have to do it over time.”<br /> <br /> Harvey agrees that an ergonomic chair, or one that’s comfortable and good for the body, is important, especially for individuals who may sit for long hours.<br /> <br /> “You want to make sure you’re not harming your back or your hips,” she said.<br /> <br /> Crinkelmeyer recommends adding a second chair in the office for family members or guests who may visit.<br /> <br /> “People say to me all the time, ‘Can you put a comfortable chair in here because my Wife comes in here and sits with me while I work’ or ‘My kids come in here and do their homework,’” she said. “Comfortable seating is something people are asking for.”<br /> <br /> Regarding the desk, Crinkelmeyer says many people focus on the size of the desk rather than how it will fit in the room.Allowing enough space for proper chair movement and storage is key when desk shopping.For desks with built-in drawers or filing cabinets, Pres-Sley recommends choosing a piece that’s elevated with short legs (as shown above).<br /> <br /> “Otherwise the desk looks heavier, especially in a smaller room,” she said.<br /> <br /> If the office is part of another functioning space in the home, the existing furniture should dictate the look, says Reed. Coordinating styles and similar quality should be carried across all furniture in the area.<br /> <br /> “But if the home office is a dedicated room, I will often Make it a bit different than the rest of the house,” Reed said.“In a loud and energetic kidfilled home, I would try to make the home office quieter and a refuge. In a quiet home, I would try to make the home office a little more quirky and fun.”<br /> <br /> Decor<br /> <br /> From art collections to photos of family, all of our designers recommend personalizing an office by displaying keepsakes and treasured mementos.<br /> Pressley says the office is always a good place for items that don’t necessarily go in other rooms, such as diplomas, travel memorabilia and awards. Crinkelmeyer likes punches of color, especially on the walls, and says home offices have typically been too dark or drab. Wallmounted televisions are another hot trend, especially for business people who like to check The stock market ticker at a glance.<br /> <br /> “I also like gooseneck lamps with light shades,” Crinkelmeyer said. “We’re also seeing more people ask for chandeliers, especially women.”<br /> <br /> One way to instantly clutter a room and deter the eye from Decor is to allow for a dangerous nest of wiring and cords.<br /> <br /> “One electrical outlet was not designed to carry two electrical strips and the spaghetti of accompanying wires,” Reed said. “Not only is it a hassle to deal with, it’s a fire hazard.”<br /> <br /> Harvey says planning ahead for all wiring needs will help prevent an electrical eyesore.<br /> <br /> “Make sure you have the proper cable, phone and TV cords all running to the right spot in the room,” she said.<br /> <br /> Additionally, plants and fresh floral can be the final touch that helps liven up a dark and dreary home office space.<br /> <br /> “I have a client who allocates $10 to $15 for fresh flowers each week that go on her home office desk,” Reed said. “Plants are soothing and pretty, and add softness to what can be a space with a lot of hard edges.”

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