What was the space like when you found it?
The space was large and open, with concrete and cheap carpet squares for flooring. It had potential, but it was so depressing at first sight! You definitely have to be open to the possibilities when you’re looking at a space for an office or buying a home that needs a significant remodel. Sometimes the ugliest places end up being the most beautiful spaces. The cheesiness of that sentence makes me nauseous, yet I’m keeping it there, because it’s true. When you are pushed creatively to take a space from nothing to something, your best ideas manifest themselves. Often when you start with a space that “isn’t that bad,” you end up putting a coat of paint on it, adding a few design elements and then calling it a day. It doesn't really push your creative boundaries, the way that a real fixer upper does.
What was your vision/intention for this new space?
First and foremost, in any renovation project, the space needs to be functional and meet your needs. For our headquarters, we needed to divide up the 1,600 sq ft space into five key zones:
1. Work area for staff
2. Conference room
3. Furnishings selection area
4. Construction materials and finishes selection area (tile, countertops, plumbing)
5. Warehouse space for accepting shipments and storing items
What was your process of selections for the space?
Once we knew what we needed to do to make this a functional space that met our needs, we started space planning for the different zones. There was A LOT of planning in this phase! We had many meetings with the general contractor to determine what was and wasn’t possible. Sometimes limitations also force you to become more creative. Don’t look at limitations as insurmountable obstacles, but instead, a way to come up with a solution that in more times than not, provides a better outcome.
Once the functional layout was determined, we were able to focus on the fun part, the design and overall aesthetics of the space. What colors did we want to use? What art work would we hang? How did we want the space to feel when clients walked in?
We wanted the space to be inviting. Although it is a place of business and needed to function as an office, it also needed to provide a comfortable and welcoming space for our clients and guests.
We decided the best way to deliver that feeling would be to use materials, finishes and furnishings that we would specify for a home and not use the more traditional commercial specifications. For example, our green conference room is set up like a dining room complete with a dining table, chairs and chandelier. The pink gallery wall is similar to what you would find in a home's entry or hallway. The dark cabinetry and island also add depth and richness to the space much like a home's kitchen.
There are splashes of color and art pieces throughout that make an impact in an otherwise white space.
We selected a porcelain, faux wood tile for the flooring. It is a great neutral and will work with any color we decide to throw in the mix. More importantly, it is made for wear and tear. We have deliveries coming every day, vendor visits and client meetings and the floor handles all of this traffic exceptionally well.
What is your favorite piece or design element?
The cabinetry is definitely my favorite part of the studio. A lot of love and time went in to making sure everything was to our specifications. It took longer than we expected, but we are so happy with the result. I love the soft black cabinets with the gold trim and hardware. We couldn’t find the perfect gold, so the cabinet maker had to take the cabinet trim to an automotive body shop to get the gold we needed. I also love the traditional walnut island and marble countertop. It’s a stunning anchor for the room.
Advice for creating your dream office?
Save your pennies, it is expensive to build out an office! From electricians, to plumbers, to cabinetry, to flooring and appliances, everything is pricey.
Think of function before design. An office that doesn’t work for your business is just a pretty room. Talk with your staff, get their opinions as well. They may have some great ideas that you have not considered. Play around with layouts until you land on the perfect one.
Know what makes you happy! Hopefully you will be in the space for a long time, so make selections that are timeless, not trendy.
Thanks for taking the time to sip this weeks Tuesday Tea at the office.