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.

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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.

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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

In rearranging our loft to make way for little Carter, I may have given up the Apartment 34 Studio space, but I definitely still needed somewhere to work! We also still needed a spot for guests to stay. And I dreamt about how nice it would be to have a little quiet retreat to escape to…So to the upstairs I went. What was once our bedroom has now been transformed from this….

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To THIS!

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The first thing I did after our bed headed downstairs was paint the walls white! The lofted room only has 7ft ceilings so I needed to do something to make the space feel as expansive as possible. I’ve been a sucker for Benjamin Moore White 01 paint for quite some time. It’s the perfect soft white. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for you!

While the upstairs feels much bigger now, actual square footage is still very limited so I had to hunt out as many space-saving solutions as I could. The first score was my adorable mid-century inspired desk. It’s just big enough to hold my computer and that’s all I really need. Sure, I loved all my gorgeous office accessories, but really, when is the last time you used a stapler – even if it is an acrylic one?!

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I also wanted to create a little reading nook for the few spare minutes of relaxation I can grab between naps, so a set of picture rail shelves now serve as my magazine rack + place to display personal photos. I love how I can swap out titles to completely change the look. Two black and white botanic art prints from Buddy Editions, framed beautifully by Simply Framed add a nice contrast to the neutral color palette. They really ground the space. Carter also likes to come up and hang out with mama while she may or may not be catching up on email!

All in all, I’m really pleased with how this room turned out. It’s mult-functional, it maximizes every available square inch and just feels inviting. Now the husband often has to go looking for me because I’m tucked away up here!

If you missed the rest of the loft makeover, check it out right HERE.

 

home office resources: west elm floor lamp // west elm mid-century mini desk // gold speckled cowhide rug // american leather sleeper sofa // jessie balck throw pillows // simply framed custom frames // buddy edition art prints // gap bag as basket // pottery barn kids activity gym // heath ceramics bud vase // diptyque candle

 

 

original photography for apartment 34 by aubrie pick

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