Solo Act: seeking solitude at the office

There’s been a big brew ha ha about open office layouts of late. Claims of lowered productivity, less collaboration, more distraction. The exact opposite of what the experts claimed would happen a few years back.

Cole and Sons . Woods and Stars wall covering. Just a little bit of calm.

I don’t mind an open office environment. My very first job at an architectural firm I sat in the wide open with all the other employees. I loved it. Between opening and reading the mail and listening to the conversations around the office, I might have been the second most well informed person in the company next to the Founder. Pretty good if you ask me.

Later, I had an office and then I didn’t. The rising cost of real estate forced the shift. Having gotten used to the private space I thought I would hate being on a floor with no walls and 250 people. I didn’t. I liked it quite a lot. I even found the weekly battles of the genre of music that would be played RATHER amusing. As far as my experience went – I did in fact collaborate more – and that was pretty cool. When the economy tanked and we had to give that floor back, I never felt so lonely as I did returning to a private office.

Wayfair . Wrought Studio Sease Lounge Chair $233.99

So hype or not, the cost of real estate is going to continue to rise, so finding ways to whittle down that SF is probably here to stay. One pretty great residual benefit of the open office is the specialty spaces that come along with them. A huddle room, how cozy. A phone booth, a Mother’s Room, a Meditation Space, a cafe with snacks, and wi-fi simply everywhere you can drag your device. As a writer I sometimes just need a change of scenery to spark the creativity, and our conference rooms are often booked, so I have been charged with designing a little space to take a call or a brief breather. Comfortable but not so comfortable you wouldn’t want to leave.

All Modern . Swan Swivel $339.99

I feel generally good about what’s been selected but am a little uncertain about the chair. The chair will make or break the space. Advice welcome.

All Modern . Alberto Swivel Wingback $349.99

Happy Sunday.

72 Hour Challenge: Part II

Top: The Inside Headboard only comes in Queen so we’ll need to have it custom made, but it will look beautiful mounted to the wall in front of this Article Basi Walnut Bed frame.

Undoubtedly the living room is a big deal in any home. That’s where you curl up on the sofa with a good book and a glass of wine, argue about what you are going to watch on TV – Tree House Masters or Hallmark Channel, sometimes I do that – judge away if you must, entertain friends, have long talks, and generally…well…live. As much as I appreciate that the living room can be the heart of the home, I long for my own bedroom when I am between flips. I dream about my bed, I imagine how lonely it is in that freezing cold storage box, and feel a little less than whole.

For me that poor cold bed is my everything in that room. Sure I love my closets, but they have doors, so they are practically different rooms entirely. It’s my perfect Prana Mattress, my feather stuffed pillows, my layers and layers of blankets that create a coziness I sink into. It’s a bit ironic since I suffer from such serious sleep issues. A post for another time.

I want to make sure that the master bed gets the special attention it deserves. The whole room that is, not just the bed. It’s a big room too so making it inviting without stuffing it with furniture, keeping a minimal aesthetic in keeping with the modernist look, is the challenge.

A king size bed will help with the scale of the room, a large low dresser, a bench at the end of the bed for taking your shoes off at the end of a long day – all important elements. Add black out curtains (a non-negotiable), some great bedside tables, and maybe a comfy chair. For me, no TV in the bedroom, but that decision I will leave up to the owner.

72 Hour Challenge

Above: Left Top: Anthropologie . Linen Haverhill Chair $595.50. Top Middle: Ballard Designs . Antelope Hand Tufted Rug in Grey 9 x 12 $899. Top Right: Shop Candelabra . Boyd Delux Credenza $4797 Bottom Left: CB2 . Forte Channeled Leather Extra Large Sofa $2379.15 and Bottom Right: Etsy Mid-century Side Tables – Pair $250.

I love a good challenge. It’s decidely easier to spend someone else’s money than my own. Though, admittedly I am pretty good at spending that too. This gives me the perfect distraction from my own renovation project and its associated budgetary challenges – you don’t even want to know how far over budget and how extensive the scope creep has been – you just don’t.

Left: Mineral Ice by Benjamin Moore will be the main color palette for the common areas and the living room. Right: Rejuvenation . Poplin Floor Lamp $423.

Look #1: Drum roll – $12,317.30. This includes significant discounts from West Elm, Ballard Designs, CB2. January is a big sale month.

West Elm . Andes Sectional $3582.90

Look #2: West Elm Sectional as posted above. Top Left: Target Warwick Wood Ratan Side Table $85.49 Top Right: World Market . Natural Basket Weave Jute Rug 9 x 12 $314.50 Bottom Left: Article Mara Walnut Coffee Table $299. Bottom Right: Etsy . Sideboard in Walnut $1897.45

Total for Look #2: $6264.83 Note that it does not include 2 side chairs or any lamps in this look – and they will be needed.

Now I don’t want you to think that I am being irresponsible with the recommendations I am putting forth for this young professional – on the contrary, I conducted an extensive search of some of my very favorite places – West Elm, The Inside, Etsy, Verellen, Shop Candelabra, World Marketplace, Rejuvination, and more. I went back to some tride and true Ben Moore colors, and picked a few new, and I will visit Home Goods for lamps and accessories, because well, they are simply the best for inexpensive, transitional lamps (remember, that’s a modern twist on traditional), and they knock off high end accessories faster than I can make my way down to NYC to get lured into buying the original. Thank the Lordy- Lord for Home Goods. Sometimes I think it’s too good to true, and then I pinch myself, and there it is…devine design, but not by Candice Olson – I love you unsung HG Knock-off Division heros.

Top Left: West Elm . Leigh Coffee Table $488.60 Right Top: West Elm . Flourish Rug 9 x 12 $1279.30. Middle: Shop Candelabra Boyd Delux Credenza $4797. Bottom Left: Target Single Drawer Hafley Side Table $62.99 Right Bottom: Ikea . Veda Arm Chair $199.

Look #3: Total $10,088.88 no lamps included in this look

So, back to the challenge: A condo that closes next week. A major move from DC to Boston, a series of subs lined up to execute the work – a tiny bit of demo, open a wall here, let the light in there, refinish the floors in a walnut stain – I approve even though the decision was made before I arrived on the scene, and paint. Then – a totally clean slate. Music to my ears. No Grandmother’s sofa to work into the mix (excuse me all you Grandma’s out there – I love you – truly I do, it just makes it so much easier when you can start fresh). To be clear, I would have taken that sofa and had it reupholstered for more money than you would have approved – so don’t you see…it’s just better this way.

Additional pieces I love and which could all work with any of the looks. Top Left: West Elm . Retro Tripod Coffee Table $209. Top Right: Etsy Walnut Credenza and West Elm . Kidney Bean Coffee Table $365.

Every room needs furniture. Two beds, a living room, and presumedly a dining area – though that is not part of my scope (hey you – you know who you are – the guy this challenge was posed for in the first place – I’ve got three dining tables if you need one.

I am well trained by my sister Jo-Jo to provide 3 options. She likes options, and a full design presentation. She provides the budget and I provide three schemes that fall within the same, and she picks. I will say, she typically picks items from all three options, but that’s her right – she’s paying.

I’m pretty excited about what I have selected and do hope that Jake will be too. It’s a lovely way to begin one’s life in a new town – don’t you think?