Struggling to find a space for a home office? Here are some clever ways to create a work area in your house
“My home office is a very interactive space that accommodates all aspects of work and family life,” says interior designer Nicolette Watson-Blair of Don’t Design. But this wasn’t always the case. When her workspace started to take over the family living room, Nicolette knew it was time to make a plan. With no possibility of expanding the ground floor of her three-bedroom cluster home in Jo’burg, the only option was to go up.
Accessed by a metal spiral staircase, the open-plan workspace includes an office and a meeting area as well as an informal living area. Nicolette, with the help of her sister and business partner, Marjorie Davidson, gave the space an unusual industrial edge with high-tension wire balustrades, exposed sliding cabinet tracks and a raw-steel staircase.
Floor-to-ceiling stacking doors ensure views of the neighbouring golf course and tree-lined perimeter. “We love how the space is bathed in light and fresh air when the doors are wide open,” says Nicolette.
“Not only do I love crafting, I run a playschool from home so my paperwork, wool, paint and stationery are always dotted around the house,” says Michelle Bumberry of Durban. To solve this problem she decided to use her guest room as a home office. On one side of the room, a single bed ensures there’s space for guests while a trestle table (a door on trestle legs from Builders Warehouse and painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) provides a spacious surface for crafting and admin.
A series of files covered in duck-egg blue, stone and white gift wrap was the impetus for the room’s cool colour scheme. Pretty touches like a clay protea that Michelle made herself and clever storage ideas such as jars to house balls of wool and crates, which fit on the cross bars of the table, ensure that the room is both inviting and organised.
Cleared for landing
“The landing at the top of our staircase was just a wasted space, so it was the perfect spot for a home office and homework area for my son,” says owner Liezl Alder. She called in Leigh Went from Belong Interiors in Durban to help create a work space that would be stylish and sophisticated as there’s no door to close it off from view.
“The wallpaper, Allison by Thibaut from St Leger & Viney, was the starting point for a tranquil blue and white colour scheme,” says Leigh. The long narrow desk ensures that there’s enough room for Liezl to sit next to her son and help with homework.
“The blue ceramic stools make the perfect perch and also enhance the decor,” adds Leigh. The finishing touch is the framed feature on the Alders’ house in Garden and Home.
The white stuff
An all-white palette makes Tim and Donna Tanner’s home office a tranquil space for settling down to work. “This was originally a bathroom,” says Donna, a Durban interior designer, “but when we renovated the house we decided it would be the ideal spot for an office.”
A wall in the stairwell was removed to create an open landing and the small window was replaced by a set of tall French doors which frame a view of the garden and swimming pool. The monochrome space is far from bland, as Donna has cleverly mixed contemporary pieces like the glass trestle table with more classic items like the wicker peacock chair. Boxes, file holders and a set of floating shelves provide enough storage space to ensure that the room is always clean and uncluttered – essential in a space which is in full view.
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