Having grown up in the midst of the movement to protect intellectual property, I found that one of the most jarring things about architecture school was the fact that we were encouraged to look at other people’s work and pull from it. After spending the last few years of high school having to submit every paper to an anti-plagiarism website, it was so strange to be told to actually copy someone else’s work. Of course, it took me a little while to really understand what my professors were encouraging us to do. They wanted us to find inspiration in the places around us. They were asking us to go out, discover good design, analyze it and interpret it; translate it into our own personal design language and transform it into something innovative. Most designers work this way — seeking to find amazing spaces in their lives and pulling pieces from their memories together to create beautiful places of their own. I once had someone ashamedly tell me that she could only design rooms if she copied them out of magazines — real designers do that too! We find inspiration in each other as much as we do in ourselves.
Speaking of inspiration, I often find myself watching HGTV and drooling over images I see of Candice Olson’s or Sarah Richardson’s design offices. All of those organized bins of finish samples and the design boards make my heart jump. Sometimes when I’m at work, I think about what I would want my office to look like if I had my own business. After pulling some ideas from other designer’s offices and some sample spaces I’ve seen at Ikea, I decided to just draw something up for fun. As a potential space, I chose an office down the hall from the architect I work for that will be vacant soon. It’s a fairly small, narrow space but it has 2 windows and hardwood floors.
In terms of the floor plan, I wanted to incorporate a white Ikea drafting table that I already own on the end wall with shelves, a bulletin board, and hanging storage above. A graphic print office chair will bring in some extra color and pattern. On either side of the drafting table, I would place a file cabinet and some bin storage for larger drafting supplies. In the middle of the room, a large open workspace with storage underneath provides extra space for putting together finish boards or meeting with clients. A capiz shell fixture above brings in a bit of texture as do long, soft curtains on both the windows. A large bookcase (with square divisions) with bins adds additional storage for finish samples. Finally, to allow for adequate space for foot traffic, a wall of fabric covered panels for pin-up will create visual interest while allowing me to easily see and coordinate design elements.
Here’s a rough perspective facing the wall with the drafting table. Soft blue tones on the walls paired with warm neutral woods, clean white surfaces, and gray fabric on the pin-up walls and in the curtains create a calm feeling in the space. Pops of turquoise in the accessories and on the graphic print office chair add an element of fun without overwhelming the room. Display shelves on the walls with framed artwork add finished elements and present the opportunity to display schematic sketches and project photographs to potential clients. With the furniture in this configuration, the more cluttered areas (drafting table & pin-up wall) would be conveniently hidden from view from the hallway.
Oh it’s fun to dream…maybe one day it’ll be a reality.