I have worked from home since long before it became a public health requirement, so while it’s nothing new for me, I know first hand how important it is to have a functional and aesthetically pleasing place to work. The couch or the bed just really don’t cut it when you’re doing 9-5 without leaving the house. I’ve had many a home-office iteration over the years. You can see examples here, here and here. With no end to our WFH life in sight, I am so excited to finally share my completed home office with you. I hope it offers some inspiration for your own space.

Thankfully, long before the pandemic took over our lives, I’d planned to create the ultimate work-from-home space as part of our backyard makeover, building a little free-standing structure in the back corner. Just don’t call it a She-Shed! The pandemic put the brakes on finishing up the design for a few months, but now all the pieces have finally come together and I couldn’t feel luckier to have this little escape.

We worked with California-based Modern Spaces and Sheds to create the pre-fab structure for the office. Even though the building is only a 10’x10′ space,  I’m so happy to have all of the natural light – it makes the room feel much larger than it is. A slightly sloping ceiling also gives the illusion of more space.

But what really took the office design to the next level was working with California Closets. If you’ve followed my renovation journey you know California Closets has been my go-to to both optimize storage in This Old Victorian and also get the gorgeous design I crave (you can see my dream closet here and my pantry here).

Since I was finally moving out of the corner of our guest room, I knew I wanted to put an expansive built-in desk into this office in order to optimize the shed’s footprint, but also to help elevate the feel. I was going for elegant, cool, sophistication and I couldn’t be happier with the final result.

Over the course of the summer, I worked with my California Closets designer remotely and was able to finalize all of our choices online. Thank goodness for Zoom. She understood my vision immediately and was able to bring it to life. I love the mix of light wood with dramatic black accents. The black glass desktop adds a bit of sexiness.

The upper shelf was also one of my must-haves and California Closets made it work. I knew the shelf would be my major decorating moment – allowing me to display pieces that inspire and add major personality to the space. The shelf is also quite useful, as it features built-in LED lights, allowing me to skip the expense of wiring the shed for overhead lighting.

Let’s dig into some of the details. A moodboard is always a requirement in my world. I typically swap mine out seasonally. A simple, yet elegant leather tray from Bloomist’s new WFH Pro Gift Collection corrals note pads, pens, and other office-y odds and ends. On the shelf above, I get to display some of my treasured pieces including the Matin Lamp from Hay Design, ceramics from Simone Bodmer-Turner, Frama and CPH 101, and framed art prints. I’m a sucker for leaning art.

One of my first design decisions for the office was the floor. I knew from the get-go that I wanted herringbone floors – and this beautiful concrete tile from Clé makes me oh so happy. It also is extremely durable. Radiant heat makes sure the space is always toasty. Luna certainly approves!

My office space also serves multiple functions. I have enough space to roll out my yoga mat and do my Zoom classes. I also created my own private corner for self-care work including meditation and all my woo-woo ceremonies. I find daily or weekly rituals help ground me during this extremely chaotic time. Having an inviting set-up helps keep me motivated to invest the time to just sit and be still. If you know, you know.

Anyone else still collect print magazines?? I just love having something physical to thumb through for inspiration. Having my collections – Elle Decoration and Living Etc are favorites – right at my fingertips is also a great way to take a mental break during the day. The two sets of floating drawers give me just enough closed storage to hide away less than pretty office supplies and organize files without accumulating too much crap. This year is all about minimizing the clutter.

A finishing touch for any workspace is something living! As we spend so much time at home now, houseplants are an amazing way to bring the outside in. They’re good for your mental health and also for your physical health too as they help cleanse the air in your space. I worked with Leon and George, an awesome plant delivery service, to pick the ideal plant for my office – in this case, a Silver Evergreen. The Vayu planter from Light and Ladder is a truly stunning vessel. Love their designs!

I know I am incredibly lucky to have a space of my own to get through these tough times. If you can’t build a shed in your own backyard, there are tips and tricks for upgrading your own home office space – even if it’s just tucked into the corner of the living room. Here are a few of my favorites.

Try to work where this is maximum natural light. As we head into the winter months, natural light is going to help boost your mood and your energy levels.

Surround yourself with beautiful things that you love, art, objét, or a stack of books and magazines. A little bit of inspiration can go a long way.

Add plants!

Invest in a few pretty pieces that help keep your workspace organized and pulled together. It’ll help you feel more pulled together too – even if you haven’t taken the time to shower (it me!).

 

photography by aubrie pick, florals by marigold SF

Do you ever have problems finishing things? Taking a project over that last 10 percent to consider it complete? Yeah, me too. Hence, why instead of finishing off my master bedroom and bath design (that still continue to languish more than a year after renovations), I’m distracted by other little problem spots in the house that have been bugging me. Like wanting to redo my home office. Again. Since I’m usually chained to it ought to be pretty dang good, don’t you think??

My current inspiration – the wrap around desk.

There are three reasons I really love this look. First, it’s beautifully minimal and when done right (yes, there are plenty of really wrong examples), a well-made wrap around desk can serve as a beautiful focal point of space – rather than just a utilitarian, functional thing taking up space in the corner.

Secondly, I strongly believe that not having drawers makes you keep less stuff. Easier said, than actually put into practice of course, but that lack of storage certainly gives you the incentive.

Finally, the corner desk gives you much more surface area. I realize that kinda subverts the less stuff goal, but if you’re constantly editing images on a massive desktop, or are constantly surrounded by books, magazines and other sourcing material as I typically am, then a place to spread out can be rather helpful. I’ve also come to realize I no longer need a fancy acrylic stapler or that cute little bowl of paperclips. And if you float your corner desk you can actually give the appearance of taking up less space.

There are few other key components necessary to complete this look. A stellar desk chair (I will be prepared for the comments about the lack of ergonomics, I’m ok with that), a scatter of your favorite ceramics, a really good task light and some framed art for that must-have visual inspiration.

I’m lucky that I have the perfect little corner for this type of set up in my office. Now let’s see if I actually see this idea to the finish line.

Would you like to see that??

for the Idea to Steal archive, CLICK HERE.

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If you’re looking for inspiration to clean out some clutter this season, look no further than the home and studio of British fashion designer Anna Valentine. Bright white and decidedly minimal, the space had me with its flood of natural light and herringbone floors, but the subtle attention to detail is what makes this home exceptional.

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The space has an airy, calming atmosphere thanks to the monochromatic color palette and use of organic materials throughout; an oversized wooden kitchen table, marble counters and tumbled stone floors, worn leather furniture and a ceramics collection all add texture and interest.The space also houses Valentine’s design studio – where her clothes feels like an intentional part of the decor. I also love the juxtaposition of antiques (acquired during Anna’s travels through France) that live harmoniously with design classics like the Eames Molded Plywood Chair. This is proof positive that designing a home is indeed a treasure hunt.

As I sit and stare at a still hardly furnished home, I take solace in the proof that a curated space that showcases slowly acquired treasures can feel warm and inviting rather than sparse. Patience will pay off (I hope!).

 

For our entire home tour archive, CLICK HERE

styling: Luanne Toms / photography Elsa Young for Elle Decoration

When Mondays come barreling in all frantic and intense, wouldn’t it be nice to retreat to a brilliant all-white office? There’s something about a clean slate – both figuratively and quite literally – that can help organize your thoughts. This bright white workspace is the physical manifestation of a fresh start.

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Like in your closet, a little minimalism in your workspace can go a long way. A pared-down desk, bright white – well everything – and pale floors combine to create a calming, distraction-free environment. While I typically love my shelfies, this office exemplifies how closed storage can help keep the clutter at bay – both in the room and in your mind.

The pops of warm camel brown (all the way down to the camera strap) keep the room from feeling clinical. Hits of black scattered here and there (from the chair legs, to the tea pot and desk lamp) feel modern and cool. And the Serge Mouille wall sconce is perfect. No matter where you put one, they always are. The greenery softens everything with a few organic lines. But this feels like a space where you can breathe. And think. It’s certainly everything I need to clear my mind and get down to business.

And what’s more, this super cool look can in fact be obtained. That chic white desk, the conference table, those sleek storage cabinets on adorable white wheels – you can get it all at the Finnish Design Shop. Yes – this is a Scandi space. Of course that’s why it’s so picture perfect.

For more home office inspiration, CLICK HERE.

 

Styling and Photography by Riikka Kantinkoski

Oh Mondays. As much we dread you, you do present the chance for a fresh start. Every Monday is the opportunity to grab a new week by the horns and make the most of it. But how? There are some strategies that can help you be productive and get the most out of your workday.

apt34_5 ways to be productiveStart your day with something creative. It can be very easy to feel like you need to dive into your to-do list first thing. Or open your inbox. But that can dictate your entire day. Suddenly, you’re no longer proactively attacking projects but instead reacting to the demands of others. Instead, carve out an hour at the start of your day to work on a creative idea, make progress on a larger project or work towards a deadline.

Have a to-do list, but with no more than 3 MUST-do’s. It’s always a good idea to have your priorities written down, but then you can cut that list down even more. A massive t0-do list can actually be a bit paralyzing. Instead, write down the 2-3 things you must accomplish today. Even better – write them down the night before – that way they’re off your mind, helping you sleep better. You’d be amazed at the sense of accomplish you feel once you’ve checked those 2-3 critical things off your list. Everything else after that is an added bonus.

Don’t let email take over. Your inbox can quickly turn into a death spiral. If you’re obsessed with getting it to zero or feel like every message requires an immediate response it’s nearly impossible to get into a flow. Instead of jumping at every ping, instead carve out certain times of day to check and respond to email. It could be 15 minutes every hour or maybe once in the morning, once after lunch, once before you end your day. Whatever your plan – have one. Otherwise your inbox ends up running your life.

Just say no to social media. Similarly, social media is a black hole that will drain your energy and steal your time. So just don’t do it. There’s no need to be on Facebook during the day. Instagram, while great is really just a distraction. And don’t even get me started on Snapchat. But people’s stories last for 24 hours so you can wait until the evening to indulge. If you really want to get work done, staying off social networks is your best bet.

Give yourself space to explore (but not procrastinate.) Structure your day to allow for a little discovery. Perhaps after you’ve worked on your big project, done your first round of email checking and have completed one (or even two!) of the key items on your to-do list, give yourself a little time for inspiration. The key word here is a little. Set a timer for 15, maybe 20 minutes, and use that time to check out Pinterest, look through a magazine, peruse other blogs. Whatever it is that helps you feel inspired. But when that time goes off, it’s time to get back to the task at hand. No rabbit holes.

Practice these techniques for a few days and you’ll be amazed at what you get done!

For more work related tips & tricks and behind the scenes of the business of blogging, CLICK HERE.

image via domino

Mondays are never easy to face, but it’s always better when you have a inspiring space to work. Now that we’re getting settled, I’m turning my sights on my home office. I guess I should call it my home office to-be since the space is completely empty currently. I’m typing this sentence from my couch on my teeny tiny laptop. And this just cannot go on any longer!

I’m definitely suffering from home office envy.

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There are a few key things I’m coveting for my new work space. I’ve got a major crush on trestle desks at the moment. Inspired by architects drafting tables, they’re utilitarian but chic at the same time. Keeping a desk drawer free also forces you to keep clutter to minimum. Because no one really needs staplers or paperclips anymore!

I’m also loving the look of warm woods mixed with monochromatic accents. It feels timeless. There’s been a bit of an acrylic, gold and white glut in home offices of late – bouquet of peonies included of course. I’m in the mood to take more understated approach with classic pieces that I’ll love right now, five years from now and even twenty years from now.

I’ve long been a fan of picture rail shelves. They offer a unique way to create a moodboard of sorts. You can mix art, magazine tears and your favorite objet. I’d just have to keep myself from rearranging on a daily basis. I’m not sure that’d be great for my productivity.

Finally, you can add a shot of individual personality to your work space with your office chair selection. I prefer a-typical office chairs. Vintage pieces, old dining chairs, a funky side chair. This is where I really want to spend time treasure hunting. You just want to ensure that you select a chair that is high enough to give you proper posture and comfortable enough for you to sit for long periods at a time. Trust me, I made the mistake of prioritizing aesthetics over proper alignment in the past and paid the price.

Now that I’ve got a vision for my new office, I’m off to pull this space together! If you have any favorite sources for great office pieces please send them my way. Of course I’ll be sharing what I find in my search.

Find reams and reams of home office inspiration right here.

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With holiday season steamrolling its way into town, it can all get a little overwhelming. The decorating, the gift buying, the entertaining – all the stuff involved can really start to pile up. That’s why I’m making a point to create a calm, quiet respite somewhere in our house this season! In this case – it’s my desk. I revealed my mini office back when Carter was born. While I still miss the Apartment 34 studio, this little corner has continued to be my {tiny} happy place.

To help maintain my holiday sanity, I decided a few early gifts for myself were in order. I love the ultra modern pieces that the Moma Store carries. Their HAY Collection has such cool, minimal accessories. A sleek tray and a couple beautiful new notebooks are all I need to keep my seasonal to-do’s straight. And I let out a blissful sigh of minimalist relief every time I plop down at my desk. I’m all for making the festive season merry and bright, but sometimes this mama just needs a break. And you thought babies were the only ones who can get overstimulated!

If I had a touch more space, I would gladly add any one of these beautiful elements to my home office.

apartment34desk

GET YOUR SHOP ON

1. Hourglass Colorplay
2. Cube Clock
3. Muji Pencils
4. Pencil Holder
5. Stendig Calendar 
6. Hand
7. Tivoli Radio
8. Lamp
9. Porcelain Mug

Thankfully, I now have my shopping list for the new house is ready to go!

This post is in partnership with MOMA. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open.

It’s back to school again! Sure, our school days may be a thing of the distant past, but Mondays {ugh!} are basically the “back to school” equivalent so we feel your pain. You don’t really wanna end the stress-free life of the weekend summer, but hey, it’s the start of a new beginning and that can always be a good thing. Once you get over that dreadful first day, the first couple of weeks of school are actually really fun – getting organized with new classes, meeting new friends, weeding out pesky professors {all of which get you one step closer to that diploma!}. To help you get into the swing of things, here are some backpack essentials you’ll want to have in class to kick this semester in the a-s-s.

img13oback-to-school-essentials

Get Your Shop On:

> 1. Backpack
> 2. Folio
> 3. Coffee Traveler
> 4. Planner
> 5. iPhone Case
> 6. Pencil Pouch
> 7. “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” Book
> 8. Flash Drive 
> 9. Pens
> 10. Clipboard

As we think about easy ways to refresh our homes without diving into a complete decor overhaul, a simple swap of accessories immediately comes to mind! One of our favorite rooms in the home is the office. It’s a personal space for the entrepreneur in the house to spread their wings. It’s also the place that is usually piled with messy paperwork, a couple of cups of old coffee and frankly, just always covered in “un-fun” stuff. Oh, but how that little corner of the world can be flipped upside down with a few gorgeous, streamlined desk accessories. As the glimmer of a new season begins to peek around the corner, we can’t help but start thinking about getting back down to business. Good looking business of course!

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office-accessories

Get Your Shop On:

> 1. Trash Bin
> 2. Tape Dispenser
> 3. Notepads
> 4. Elastic Ball
> 5. Lamp
> 6. Scissors

We, like you, need all of these desktop pretties asap. We can see it now…a clean desk! What a life that would be…

image via Coco Lapine Design

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