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Home Office

Monday, August 25th, 2014

California Boho Goes Pro in this Santa Monica Office

Becky

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TV production developer Ashley Stern needed to set up a Los Angeles outpost for her Paris-based company —quickly and on a limited budget. The space her real estate agent and interior designer Veerta Motiani helped her choose had plenty of pluses. It was around the corner from Santa Monica’s Main Street, it had wonderful high ceilings and industrial style, the building was new with a gorgeous lobby and roof-deck ocean views, and the price was right.

However, the long narrow space posed some design challenges. It didn’t get a great amount of natural light, the ceilings were a little too high for human scale and she wasn’t allowed to paint the walls. On top of that, Stern needed the space to serve as her office, have room for a potential intern, include a conference table space and be set up to accommodate two of her French colleagues when they were in town on business.

photo by Alen Lin

The project began with Stern’s desk. “She was nervous about this idea, but I had to tell her to just trust me, we were going to use a dining room table instead of a desk to serve as the centerpiece of the room,” Motiani says. The rustic light pine table serves primarily as Stern’s desk but can also accommodate two of her French colleagues when they are in town. Because it’s open underneath, her co-workers or her intern, or both, can join her around the table to conference and to work on their laptops. Two comfortable modern chairs serve as their desk chairs when they are in town. Turned around, as you see here, they offer another place for Stern to have one-on-one meetings.

Motiani wanted the room to reflect Stern’s bohemian style and the relaxed coastal Santa Monica/Venice Beach vibe. The rug’s deep blue chevron pattern brings in ocean color, while a woven ottoman adds a beach grass feeling. The ottoman also functions as a side table for notepads and pens during meetings and as a casual extra seat.

photo by Alen Lin

Because the room was dark and they weren’t allowed to paint the walls, Motiani found a contemporary steel chandelier that fit in with all of the industrial elements on the ceiling. She also chose a white filing cabinet and accessories near the windows to reflect the light and keep things bright. Stern literally was brought up in a [converted] barn and loves horses, so Motiani chose a white horse ceramic piece to sit atop the filing cabinet. She brought in plants to play off the glimpses of tree branches outside.

To save on the budget, Motiani found a handful of pieces in Stern’s family storage unit. The tall lamps were among their things; Motiani knew their exaggerated height would help the design stand up to the extra-high ceilings.

photo by Alen Lin

Another way Stern’s family helped the decor in a major way was through the artwork. Stern’s grandfather is noted photographer Phil Stern. He allowed Motiani and his granddaughter to cull his archives and pick out exceptional pieces for the office.This photo of James Dean in the turtleneck is one of his best-known pieces.

The glass console table can serve as a landing spot for keys and bags, a credenza or as a separate desk for an intern. A sofa serves as a more casual space to work from, where Stern can relax and get her creative juices flowing or pow-wow with a colleague. The coffee table is an upside-down metal bucket from Stern’s family storage unit. Motiani chose it because of its beautiful green-gray color. The piece adds an interesting rusty and crusty patina to the room, suitable for this more relaxed seating area.

photo by Alen Lin

“This project was a challenge — I really had to hustle to keep within the budget,” Motiani says. “We were really lucky that her family had so much great stuff they weren’t using!”

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Modern Trends in Office Space

Becky

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There’s nothing like a 3-day weekend to give you “a case of the Mondays” on a Tuesday. This got me thinking about office design, especially in the first and second tech booms. It became the opposite of the iconic cubicle culture where workers at Initech slaved away on the Y2K problem and TPS reports in Office Space. All of the sudden, offices were known for wandering masseuses, beanbag chairs and Foosball tables. Here are a few standouts from the next iteration of office design:

photos by Iwan Baan

These are Selagas Cano’s sunken glass offices in Madrid. The image of this office has stuck with me since I first saw it over on Inhabitat a year ago. It is oriented to make the most of natural light and woodsy view, though it must have a fishbowl feeling.

Over at creative agency Razorfish, they’ve banned any elements that remotely resemble the Initech cubicle culture. Instead, all workstations are flexible and impermanent, and comfortable seating for meeting and getting a change of scene are placed throughout the open office. They used a lot of modern and contemporary Vitra products to outfit the office. Read more about these offices over at Stylepark.

I’m having deja blog, as I think I’ve blogged about Airnb’s offices before, but it’s just so darn clever the way they’ve looked to their rental listings for design inspiration. Below, one is based upon a SoHo apartment and another is based on a Mushroom Cabin in Aptos, California. It’s a great excuse to bring in a wide range of design styles that will spark conversation and attract new recruits in the ultra-competitive startup arena. Go on the complete tour over at Business Insider.

My favorite is still Roger Sterling’s black and white mid-century modern office in the Time Life Building on Mad Men, fictionally designed by his super-stylish wife Jane.

photo property of AMC

What kind of office space works best for you? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Around the Web This Week: 5 Links That Lifted Us

Becky

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1. A Makeover That Gives Me Hope: I just love how this office on Apartment Therapy went from frumpy to super chic. With just a few moves it was completely transformed from ’80s ucko to something that looks kinda like a kate spade photoshoot set styled by Mrs. Lilien. Plus, we sell that super-chic Ghost Chair.

image via Apartment Therapy

2. Interviews with Architects: Love this! Thank you so much to the awesome ArchDaily for the tipoff about this, it’s really fun the way it’s been put together. My favorite cliche question? “Less or More?” I was shocked that the more won out over less in a landslide victory!:

Between February and August of this year, Luca Farinelli met with some 20 architects, critics, and historians and presented them with an identical sequence of questions, recording each meeting on video. Conversations with Emilio Ambasz, Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, Bjarke Ingels, and Thom Mayne can be found in Log 23.

3. Be Aware of the Upcoming Venice Beach Modern Home Tour: If you live in Venice Beach, or if like me, you’re a Californication fan who is annoyed that they never seem to shoot there this season, head to this tour coming up on February 18 of 9 fabulous homes. We hope to share more about this tour in the future.

4. Speaking of quintessential L.A.: I hate to say “I’m swooning” due to overuse, but literally, this Sofia Coppola-directed ad for Marni at H&M gave me goosebumps. I’m not sure if it was the commercial (I love her eye), Bryan Ferry taking me back to the thought of some 8th grade crush, or being able to score some Marni somewhere outside of Jeffrey, at a reasonable price. Thank you for the tipoff, Refinery 29.

http://youtu.be/9wK-CgE8mdI

5. Oh just click on this. You won’t be sorry.

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Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Flickr Faves on Friday: Karen’s Cheerful Studio Space

Becky

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Thanks so much to Karen M. Anderson for sharing some peeks into her studio with us in our Fresh New Spaces Group. It’s so full of color, well-organized and happily eclectic. Here’s a look:

Thank you for reminding me how much I love turquoise and red together Karen!

Like what you see? Check out Karen’s goods in her Etsy shop.

Have a favorite spot at home you’d like to share with everyone? Please post it in Fresh New Spaces!

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Friday, February 25th, 2011

Flickr Faves on Fridays: Mondrian Shelves

Becky

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For this week’s Flickr fave of the week, I am loving these floating shelves from Jeremy Levine Design. I’m also digging the way they used the stacking shelves on the left side. Thanks for adding it to our Fresh New Spaces Group!

By the way, this was an addition and remodel to a residence. The house was built around three trees and includes: grey water recycling, storm water capture, recycled coal fly ash concrete, solar energy, recycled lumber, passive cooling, thermal rock wall, and mobile shade panels.

Office of floating shelves

Photographer: Tom Fowlkes

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