Working Girl: Setting up a (fantasy) Office Space

The Grounds of Alexandria coffee shop

With my Art Trail, book-flogging debut out of the way, it’s been a busy time at Stylist HQ of late – and with Christmas(-in-July – when us media folk have to put our festive hats on in order to file Crimbo features in time for the big day) just around the corner, I’ve been chasing my tail somewhat in order to get ready for all the press shows that are fast filling my diary.

Back in March, I cleared out my study at home as Men were coming to replace my super-leaky, mega-rotten back window. I thought I’d use it as an opportune moment to completely empty out the room and actually finish decorating it, having only really been camping in there up to this point. I assured the boyf that I MUST be back in there within the week, two at most, so we’d have to work extra-hard to get the space sorted to minimise my camping-in-a-corner-of-the-dining-room-using-chairs-as-in-trays hell.

Yes, needless to say, four months on I’m still shoved in a corner downstairs at my makeshift workstation. Between having no free time and various technical malfunctions (my actual computer, plus issues with all the furniture I’m painstakingly customising prior to moving back in) it’s all I can do not to daydream of sacking it all off and moving into a Proper Office Space. But on my own terms, obvs. I’m thinking some sort of former industrial unit with crittall windows and exposed brickwork, like the space above (OK, technically that’s a coffee shop, but you get my drift.) I’m lucky to live in London anyway so a quick dash on the tube to one of my favourite spots (I’m thinking Clerkenwell, though this one just down the road in the City looks pretty tasty from the outside, too) would be do-able. There’s no shortage of hot desks and communal studios dotted about the capital but there’s also plenty of serviced offices too – definitely something to think about in the future, even if for the time being it’s still just a bit of a fantasy. Of course, the extra space would allow me to take on some staff (an assistant, 24/7 IT support and a Chief Coffee Maker/Biscuit Provider would do for starters) and I could actually catch up with clients in my meeting area (which currently consists of a half-metre corner of said home-study, where I’ve plonked a footstool). Here’s how it might look:

Dream Office Workspace by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

A self-contained, freestanding unit would offer loads of flexibility within a large space, so this clever Shesk freestanding shelf and desk, soon to launch at Habitat, would be a great place to start (1). I do love a pegboard and a few of these large ones in light blue, £60 from Block (2) would provide the perfect versatile display without requiring holes-in-walls – great for a rented space. I often feel I’d benefit from horse blinkers at work to stop me getting distracted – having them built into my chair (ID Trim Cap chair, price on application, Vitra) certainly seems an appealing prospect. For flexibility in an open-plan space, these chunky drawers are ideal thanks to their industrial wheels, and cound happily house all my samples and swatches. House Doctor wooden side table, £495, Bodie and Fou (4).

 

Dream Office Workspace - Communal Areas by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

Looking at the wider space generally, a splash of colour to shelf brackets on an open-backed unit would work well to zone off an open-plan space, without feeling corporate. This example – believe it or not – is actually an Ikea hack (5). In-keeping with the industrial style yet with a touch of muted pastel to soften things up, this gorgeous Eikon basic ash lamp, £200 from Furnie (6), would look striking clustered together in a group or hung low over a meeting table, for which the Scrumpy, £645 from Loaf (9), would do a grand job of providing. A chill-out zone is a must, and I’m partial to a bit of button-back as so splendidly showcased on this Ritchie two-seat sofa, a mere £499 from Made.com (7). And if you’re going to have your own little hive of industry, why not realise that childhood dream and commission your very own name in lights from Goodwin & Goodwin (8)?!

Dream Office Workspace - Desktop Accessories by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

Desktop organisation is key and pretty things certainly help achieve that visual zen. Get your secretary (ahem) to manage your diary in style with this Letterpress filecard planner, £19.50, Present & Correct (10). A splash of neon livens up any scheme – and as these sunglasses-inducing-in-a-good-way pencils also moonlight as rulers, why not get one of each? Flourescent ruler pencils, £1.25 each, Future & Found (11). Then, to show you’ve really hit the big time, nothing says success quite like some gold desktop goodies (um, OK, they’re not real gold) in the form of a handy Pencil holder, £44 from Anthropologie (12) and snazzy Paper tray, £61 from Another Country (13). And yes, they might not be as practical as an actual filing cabinet, but I doubt unpaid invoices will ever look as good elsewhere as they would in these stunning Plisse archive folders by Hay Studio, £27 each at Really Well Made (14). Finally, a little lamp to light the way will help when burning the midnight oil, especially if it has little golden feet like the Arles, £96 from In-Spaces (15).

Right, so who fancies a job? Yeah? See you there at 9am sharp on Monday. The address is In My Mind, with salary payable in whimsical notions and dreams, sigh… *goes back to finishing off DIY in real-life study in the hopes of actually sharing some After shots soon*

{Images: Opening shot of The Grounds of Alexandria coffee shop, Sydney. All other images as per the companies’ credited. This post was supported by Flexi Offices but all products and images shown were entirely my own choice}

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About Joanna Thornhill/Stylist's Own

Freelance Interior Stylist, Author, Writer and Crafter working for a range of magazine titles and commercial clients. Author of Home for Now (CICO Books 2014)

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