We found the answers in these four inspiring spaces
Decor in the rest of your home
IF YOU WORK FROM HOME you want a space that’s functional yet doesn’t keep out of step with the decor in the rest of your home. You need storage (and lots of it!), a great filing system, a desk that’s practical and pleasing to the eye, and a comfy chair that doesn’t look clunky and corporate. While it may seem like a long wishlist, it’s something you can create in your own home quite easily.
We tracked down four stylish offce spaces to find out how the owners resolved their organisational and aesthetic needs. And while each person created their own solutions, they’ve done it within an entirely different look
from Scandi-inspired space, to faded grandeur with modern industrial and a touch of glamour in between. Read on for lots of office inspiration.
Starting point with spaces
STARTING POINT A former ginger beer factory in Sydney’s Annandale, the space had orange walls and orange lightshades. CHANGES Installed some walls, lights and ceiling fans, and painted the walls white
PRACTICALITIES Tess and Maja, the designers behind Polli (Polli.com.au), create jewellery and homewares, so when they moved
into this industrial studio they wanted to create different work zones. “The space is much more ergonomic with tall benches for standing tasks and lower tables for sitting tasks,” Tess says.
“We have ergonomic chairs and proper task lighting. These simple changes have increased efficiency and made it a much more positive work environment.”
PAPERWORK Tess and Maja use lots of ring binders. “We colour code them for their different contents,” Tess says. “We designed and printed our own stickers for the spines of the folders so they were more ‘Polli’ and easy to identify
CLEVER IDEA The central table in the office is a combination of industrial steel legs and an Laminex kitchen benchtop. “We needed the surface to be white so we could easily see the metal pieces,” Tess says, “and it needed to be durable, so a kitchen solution was perfect.”
STARTING POINT A once derelict home was revived to showcase its former glory. Previously, this room (pictured left) had been interior designer Debra Cronin’s (Debracronindesign.com) bedroom but as her business expanded she needed more space. “It’s one of the grandest rooms in the house and as I spend so much time in my office it made sense to use this room.”
NEEDS Good storage, extra space and surface area, and a place to display moodboards. “I’ll pull out a thousand samples when putting together a scheme for a client,” Debra says
CHANGES Debra left her large antique wardrobe in the room and used it to store reference materials and samples, as well as the printer and office supplies. The old wooden desk had been her former dining table, while
shelves from an old shoe factory were used to store folders. A lovely display case, originally from a museum, houses her magazine and book collection. PRACTICALITIES Because the room has so much character, Debra keeps technology items hidden in antique cupboards. Even in her living room she hides the TV and stereo.
Office for Future space
STARTING POINT The office for Futurespace is in Sydney’s CBD. “When we moved in it was pretty shabby and not in great condition, with floor-mounted power outlets everywhere,” Angela recalls. NEEDS Angela and Stephen wanted a “creative studio space that felt more like a boutique hotel than a typical office”, Angela says. “We also didn’t want the aesthetic to date too quickly.” CHANGES “We removed the power outlets and generally cleared the space, then put in new carpet, painted and wallpapered all the walls, created a meeting area and different work spaces, a kitchenette and production area. For the outdoor area we bought furniture, did some planting and bought a barbecue for our Friday night drinks and monthly team barbecues,” Angela says. PRACTICALITIES The studio needed to provide plenty of space to accommodate the company’s products, samples and reference library.
STORAGE SMARTS A library zone has been created for all the company’s samples, binders and moodboards. Bookshelves house magazines and a reference library. Display ledges are used in meeting rooms for presentations, and tambour-door storage units, which hold project files in ring binders, are placed at the end of each workstation. (Tambour doors slide and retract into the cabinet to save space.)
PAPERWORK All information related to different projects is stored in folders. Samples and materials are catalogued in a different space.
STARTING POINT The office is located in an old building in Sydney’s Pitt Street and had previously been the base for a backpacker services business.
The walls were bright blue. NEEDS “We wanted to create a high-impact, interesting space but without the spend,” Karen says. She wanted it to be quirky and functional, too, and based on the concept of a cube to play off the company’s name
CHANGES The space was virtually demolished before any changes were made. However, the existing flooring was retained due to time and cost restraints. PRACTICALITIES The office needed to not only accommodate
staff but be a space that could receive candidates for interviews. STORAGE SMARTS Karen’s aim was for a paperless office, however, as in any office space there are still filing needs
Cupboards are kept behind a wall – out of sight from clients. PAPERWORK Each desk has a filing drawer. Custom-built cupboards house stationery and other paperwork.
FURNITURE “We decided on black and white desks, with a splash of yellow, as it was practical, cheap and distinctive,” Karen says. “Furniture is a mix of replica and original. I believe it is very important to have excellent-quality chairs for staff
Natural By Design; A homewares designer and her husband decorate their apartment with a nod to nature and a generous dose of Nordic flair
Natural factors form the basis of a home’s interior
As a teenager, homewares designer Hanne Berzant loved hiking and spent all of her spare time outdoors. The colour combinations, structures and textures of nature provided her with such inspiration that, years later, these natural elements form the basis of her home’s interior.
“I guess you could say that I am deeply in love with nature,” Hanne says. “Throughout my childhood and into my adult life it has been a constant factor – a place where I find peace, inspiration and happiness.”
In 2007, Hanne and her husband Soeren, along with their three daughters, Josefine, 16, Emma, 14, and Anna-Frida, 4, moved into a luxurious 240-sq-m apartment in a leafy neighbourhood. “It was 100 per cent renovated and ready for takeover,” Hanne says of the apartment, which although newly updated, was in desperate need of a vivacious family such as this one to bring it to life. The home has beautiful whitewashed timber floors, elegant stucco ceilings and white doors and floors that feature decorative mouldings.
“The original stucco ceilings lend a great atmosphere to the home,” Hanne says. “But at the same time, they are a beautiful contrast to our collection of modern furniture and accessories.”
The interior is simply decorated with Scandinavian influences, where light, clean lines also create opportunities for darker, more unrefined contrasts. The furniture pieces are timeless and are complemented by soft furnishings and accessories that Hanne designed for By Nord, the homewares business she established with Soeren in 2008.
On a base of white, the colour palette consists of soothing greys, taupe and hits of black, reminiscent of a Nordic winter landscape. “Unconsciously, I always used nature’s colour palette in my previous work as a graphic designer, whether I was creating a magazine cover or a company’s brand identity program,” Hanne says. It’s only natural, then, that these hues would appear in her own home, too.
To add to this scheme and enhance the natural Scandinavian look she loves so much, Hanne blends a variety of materials such as fur and printed cotton with pale raw timber and only a few touches of metal.
… And Furnishing
The couple furnished every room in their home with a combination of mid-century designer “investment” pieces, as well as treasured hand-me-downs, such as an armchair and a recliner chair that Hanne inherited from her grandparents. These modern elements, with their natural materials and finishes, look right at home in the traditional apartment.
“I feel I’ve been able to create a good balance at our place,” Hanne says. And that goes for daily life as well as decor. “Finding time for everything can be challenging, but I feel that our family, home and business are all evolving well,” – which means Hanne can still squeeze in a few hours, here and there, to spend outdoors exploring nature.