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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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Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Three Essential Tips to a Happy Workspace

Becky

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by Sayeh Pezeshki, The Office Stylist.

You’ve waited a long time and worked very hard for your own office. Whether it’s your own home office or a promotion at work, your office is something to take pride in. Messy desks, chipped furniture, over flowing letter trays, boring office supply pile-ups, and other office disasters say only one thing: “ I don’t care about my workspace.” If you don’t have the budget to get modern and stylish office furniture, what should you do? How do you tackle your office mess and make your office into a space that feels great to work in?

Here are three important tips to keep handy at all times.
  1. Straighten up your desk/office at the end of each workday.
    This seems like an obvious task, yet everyone I have helped now and in the past has told me they never do this. Take just five minutes a day to put away papers, put your pens back in your pen holder, and throw away and trash that’s sitting on your desk or other areas. Be sure to do this every day, right before you leave your office.
  2. End result: Fresh start when you come in the next day, as opposed to the messy start you’re used too.

  3. Remove all electronics from your desktop, except for your monitor and keyboard.
    For some unknown reason, I see a lot of people love to put a giant printer, shredder, and other large electronics on top of their desks. I know that it is a little easier to reach on your desk for the sheet you printed out, versus reaching below it, but this is a large disruption in your work flow. Remove all electronics except for your keyboard and monitor, and put away in printer cabinet like these from Ikea, or other furniture store.
  4. Having these items in cabinets will make your office look a lot more spacious and clear than before.

  5. Replace boring office items with modern office supplies
    You may think you’re okay with manila file folders, plastic pencil cups, and other traditional office supplies, but think again. Replace your boring, manila file folders with a set of decorative file folders made out of sturdy material that will last longer than you’re used to.
  6. Replacing little items like chewed up promotional pens, stacks of manila file folders, and plastic pen holders are a great way to make a change, without costing you an arm and a leg. Your desktop can still be professional (not boring!) while reflecting your personality.

    Clearing your desktop and removing unwanted items will make a tremendous difference in how you feel at your desk. If you were feeling overwhelmed before, clutter may have been a contributing factor. Making small changes will make a big difference in your work environment and the way that you work. If you’re happier sitting at your desk 40 + hours a week, then you’ll reflect that in your work too.

About Sayeh: Recognized as a 2010 Internet Retailer “Hot 100 company,” SortingwithStyle.com is part of a multi-platform media brand created by two time entrepreneur and TV personality Sayeh Pezeshki, “The Office Stylist,” who provides office styling services, consulting and personal shopping for private and corporate clients. For daily tips, insight and items to transform your workspace, visit www.theofficestylist.com

Images via Sorting with Style.com

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Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Trend Watch: Sawhorse Table Legs

Becky

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O.K., so these table legs from Home Depot are not all that sexy. However, ever since I admired Priscilla Locke’s studio a few weeks ago I have had them on the brain:

from The Locker

My cryptic notes on this picture source say “colombe steven via destoinsp” This means I swiped it from Desire to Inspire, but I’m not sure about the rest. Let me know if you can help me clarify!

My notes here:francesca harris sunset WS. I think I’ve decoded it – photographer name, magazine (Sunset) and WS means “Work Space”!

From Living etc.

Notes here: “cordelia de castellane ws hg” House & Garden?

from Natural Curiosities

from Living etc.

from Nate Berkus

Here are a few cuter cheap versions if you want to try the look out yourself. The yellow one is from Home Depot, and the silver ones are from Lowe’s.

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