Emily Henderson

One More Excuse to Work From Home...

Moody Mid Century Home Office

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Hey there – Ginny again! – with part two of our office project reveal for our Mulholland Dr. couple. Yesterday, I talked about how we decorated her office and today we’ve got the full reveal of his office.

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Much like the brief from his wife, the client really wanted the room to be cooler, look like it belongs in their mid-century home and feel layered. He really disliked the rug, drapery and office chair and was pretty much open to anything. He wanted to keep the Eames chair and the piano (he’s a musician) but didn’t want to have the guitars on the wall anymore. This was a great blank slate for us to work with.

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We really wanted to make this into a cool, moody den without going too ‘Man Cave’. So we started to pull together some moodboards to show him what we were thinking. He didn’t need much convincing on his space and really liked everything we suggested so next steps were to just get on with it.

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And here it is. One of the first things we hunted down for this room is the rug. We’d seen it on an inspiration image and fell in love with it. It feels masculine and graphic, playful yet sophisticated. I’m personally not drawn to brown but there is something special about this rug (to me at least). Much like the rest of the rooms in the house, one wall had the cream grasscloth wallpaper on it. We convinced him to get that removed and paint that whole room out in Blue Note from Benjamin Moore. We love how dark and rich the colour feels in here. We went tone-on-tone with the drapery and introduced a velvet texture which feels super plushy in here. These guys are the vintage velvet in slate blue from Restoration Hardware.

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We made this corner into more of a reading nook using his Eames chair and ottoman. He already had the lamp, so we added the bookshelves; a mix of black metal and wood which sits great against the dark backdrop.

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We brought in a mix of different pottery for the shelves and combined that with his music equipment and books.

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We did another Block Shop Textiles pillow in here in a more neutral tone.

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We always try to add pieces from local and/or handmade and the cute brown cacti planter is by Melanie’s boyfriend Blake Beaudette.

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We worked with Matter Maker to custom make the live edge desk. The wood is walnut and has an organic cut-out in the middle for where he sits. We designed a simple leg base and had it finished in brass. We’re doing a desk chair round-up soon because it’s really tricky to find decent looking ones that aren’t those crazy ergonomic ones.  This one from Pottery Barn ain’t cheap, but in the tan leather it’s rather good looking and comfy and works great with the concept.

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We dressed up the desk with some black, brass and wood accessories and the table lamp from Rejuvenation.

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You can appreciate here how the desk has the natural curves from the cut wood.

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The back wall was a large expanse of space, so – together with Minted and Framebridge – we curated a gallery wall with a mix of photographs and prints of sketches and paintings. We kept all the prints monochromatic but then mixed up the finish and thickness of the frames so that it felt more eclectic. We reupholstered the piano stool in a mid-century woven fabric which has the same colour tones as the rug. We added the brass standing lamp last minute, and it really pulls that corner together and gives it some three-dimensional height.

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So, there you have it. Do you think it adds a good amount of cool and moody to the room?

Here are some fun side x sides of the before and after and the get the look is below:

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1. Black Stone Object | 2. Eye Object | 3. Surfer Print | 4. Curtains | 5. Curtain Rod | 6. Black Floor Lamp | 7. Eames Lounge Chair | 8. Bookshelf | 9. Black Vase | 10. Small Ceramic Planter | 11. Blockshop Pillow | 12. Rug | 13. Table Lamp | 14. Blue Coffee Mug | 15. Leather Coaster | 16. Gold Paper Tray (similar) | 17. Letter Holder | 18. Wood Letter Opener | 19. Gold Pencil Holder | 20. Blue Ceramic Vase | 21. “Wave Noir” Print  | 22. “Sable Song” Print | 23. “Three Again” Print | 24. “Point of View” Print | 25. “Market Theatre Photo” Print | 26. “Ocean Avenue” Print | 27. “Path of Life” Print | 28. “Afternoon Calm” Print | 29. Brass Floor Lamp | 30. Paint Color | 31. Desk (similar) | 32. Office Chair

***Photography by Zeke Ruelas

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  1. This is GORGEOUS. I wish my home office got enough light for me to go this dark on the walls. I love it!

    (However, I don’t trust anyone who reads and proudly displays a James Frey book.)

    1. HA. Thought the same, about James Frey–I’m going to tell myself it’s just a prop. Great office plan tho, just manly enough, I love it.

          1. James Frey lied about whether his book was fiction or non-fiction. Ayn Rand popularized a toxic philosophy that millions of people have embraced, that places self interest above all else, almost making it a moral imperative. the idea being…if I’m smart and work hard, I alone should reap the benefits of this. She brainwashed people with the notion that Capitalism and altruism are incompatible. It clearly has shaped politics and society in this country, which is why we find ourselves in a place where millions of people believe healthcare is a privilege not a social good, and why college costs what it does. Anyone that would proudly display her books as part of a carefully staged vignette is not someone I care to know.

  2. I love this. I think you did a great job. I especially like the tone on tone drapes with the wall color. And I’m very much looking forward to the round up on cool office chairs because we are getting ready to do a few upgrades to our office soon.

    1. Also curious about this? It’s a beautiful space, but for a musician’s work room.. how do all those instruments and speakers fit into the space

    2. Hey! The guitars are now in the closet that you don’t see from the photos. He specifically didn’t want them up on show anymore despite us really really wanting to feature them. Sometimes you have to go with the request of the client and this time we did. I hope that helps xXx

  3. Wow, love the makeover so much! Such a transformation! I especially love the dark wall and how beautifully it integrates with the wood accents and the green plant.

  4. Aesthetically it looks loads nicer, buuut… where’s the storage now? Where did the guitars go? And is he missing his speakers on his desk?… it doesn’t look like there is any way to get power to that desk now…

    Is the TV still above the piano?

    Love the tone on tone curtains and wall colour, and I am pleasantly surprised by how good the blueish walls look with the black Eames lounger… not a colour combination I would have thought of :)

    1. I also would be extremely annoyed to not have access to a power outlet to charge stuff when working at my desk. I agree that the floating desk looks nice but seems highly unfunctional for a working office…

    2. I had the EXACT same question. He no longer has a computer (or any of the power cords that go along with it…). The room IS beautiful, but seems to be unattainable because you can’t use any of the things that you would typically use in an office….

      1. I agree. How is the lamp on the desk even plugged in? I know sometimes there are outlets in the floor, but I doubt they cut the rug to go through. It’s a striking room, but it is not realistic.

    3. Hey! There’s a large double closet in the room which we didn’t shoot. He uses that for storage now. There is power from the corner of the room behind where the tree is. We did hide it for the photos though to make them feel cleaner. The TV is for sure still above the piano. Hope that helps, thanks for your comment xXx

      1. Thank you for taking the time to reply :)
        I know getting beautiful pictures vs. getting a realistic picture of the practicalities is not always easy … and I like to see both!
        A photo of the closet would have been interesting. (I had a feeling there was a corner of the room you didn’t show us!)
        Thanks for sharing!

  5. I feel like I can finally convince my boyfriend to color on color for our drapery in our bedroom. This room looks amazing. Seeing Ginny’s work is such a treat.

  6. This room is really beautiful, but I’m a little disappointed in these last two office posts. Where is all of his sound equipment? Do neither of them have a printer or any cords? Where do they keep their files? Is there a glare on the computer screens from the windows? The biggest challenge for me with home offices is storage and all of the very functional things that need to be in the room. It would be great to see a home office that addresses typical home office concerns.

    1. The wife’s office had a storage credenza. It sounds like they are an actress and a musician, so maybe they don’t have the same filing needs as other home offices? (Although I assume they still need storage for bills, taxes, etc….) Let’s be honest, offices will look different styled for photos vs. real life, but I too would appreciate some real-life solutions.

      1. This room is lovely but I also had the same thoughts as others about power cords to the desk lamp and computer. Like Erica says, I understand the difference between styled for photos vs. real life, but I also think design shouldn’t sacrifice practicality.

        My house isn’t as polished as Emily and Ginny’s amazing style, of course, but I’m really happy with how my two-person home office area turned out because it looks clean while still offering cords, docking stations, monitors, etc. https://projectpalermo.com/2016/10/09/two-person-desk-and-gallery-wall/

          1. Hey guys! They really didn’t have a lot of “office stuff” that needed hiding away. She has the large credenza in her office that hides all their media equipment for the house as well as a printer. He has a large double closet for all this equipment when he’s not using it. I think next time we’ll shoot even a plain shot of things like that so it gives you guys more context. They also didn’t really want it too feel like a typical office, more so cute rooms for them to work and hang out in. Hope this helps! xXx

            Also thanks for sharing your office Marti, looks super cute. xXx

  7. As someone whose husband is afflicted with the guitar collecting bug, I’d also love to know where they went and how they are now being stored/displayed! Please!!!!

    1. We had this same problem. Solution: renovate your basement and build a big walk-in closet for all the guitars. (Mine had SEVENTEEN at last count.) Hang a few on the wall. Perhaps not the cheapest or easiest solution, but it’s the only one that worked for us.

      (I don’t mean to suggest that we renovated the basement JUST for guitar storage, but it was a definite perk!)

  8. Hallelujah for a graphic rug!!! I’m so tired of Kilims and persians. (They are still beautiful, but if I see one more on the ‘gram I might explode.)

    Bummed to see it was 3 grand though ;(

  9. Love it! I love white rooms, but this is so refreshing to see something other than white on walls. Absolutely love this makeover!

    1. Thank you! He already had the piano bench and it was vintage mid-century. Not sure where he got it from but it did feel more so like a normal bench than one that was specific to the piano. Maybe check heights but you could totally just use a vintage bench xXx

  10. I really love this transformation! Looks cozy and I really like the dark blue (despite not really liking the colour blue). The brass and wood look great against the dark background.

    I have 2 of those desk chairs and I really like them (Though I scored mine brand new with the tags on at an auction for $40 each). I also have an original Herman Miller executive soft pad chair (which is incredibly comfortable) and the chairs from Pottery Barn are a good alternative.

  11. It looks lovely. I like the color. Not a fan of the chair because the sitting position is too slouched [bad for the back] and it doesn’t allow enough changing of position. It does look pretty. I also like the tone-on-tone walls and drapes. Someday though, some designer is going to do an office that is actually functional and ergonomic so I can get ideas for a space when things like speakers, a large monitor [I am a programmer and while I can work on a laptop, my eyes prefer a large screen], external hard drive for backups, router, printer/scanner, etc. Today is not that day.

  12. Can you please identify the source for the black and white rug that wasn’t selected for the makeover? The final result is gorgeous, as always!

  13. I LOVE this makeover! I never knew I needed a moody room in my life but now I want one. I second some of the other commenters – I’d love a post about how to style a home office so it looks great but is also functional (computer cords, storage, etc).

  14. So glad you did a close-up of the desk surface! That wood is gorgeous! While mid-century is not my jam, I love the dark blue walls and tone on tone velvet draperies. And the Pottery Barn desk chair. I’m a sucker for anything Pottery Barn and have to be careful to have my apartment not look like a Pottery Barn showroom

  15. Echoing other commenters here: Where did all the guitars and gear go?? I’m assuming that as a musician, he needs those in his office.

  16. Absolutely beautiful. I wonder though, at that price for a chair, it does make a lot more sense to go ergonomic, it is so much better for health and wellness and there are some gorgeous options out there. Something from Herman Miller for example, or perhaps Knoll. For another 100-300, he could have a chair that looks identical and can be COM that is also better on the body.

    I love this office though, very masculine, moody and elegant.

  17. gorgeous but WOW so pricey! I would love to see a lower budget version of this. I mean that rug is definitely amazing, but there’s no way.

    1. It’s comfortable but it’s firm. I have an original Herman Miller executive soft pad chair which the Nash chair is based on and the HM hands down wins for comfort but the Nash is a really nice alternative

  18. Oof, this is dreamy! I LOVE the paint color and the desk. This mirrors our office a bit, we both have laptops, and just pull the power cord when we need it. And storage stuff is in the closet along with our wireless printer. I do wish there was some more personal prints in the gallery wall – he had some pretty cool prints before, assuming they went elsewhere.

  19. Of course the room is beautiful. If only 99% of America (let alone the rest of the world) had $11,679 to spend on a rug, lounge chair, desk, and office chair…

  20. I just have to tell you; the market theatre print? I took a look at it on the website and it the sign looked so familiar. I followed a hunch, and sure enough, that’s the Pike Place Market Theatre in Seattle. I did a show there ten years ago!!! Such a small world. (Love the design of this room, by the way…)

  21. This office is super gorgeous. It’s much more masculine than I would ever do myself, but it looks very cool and high end. I would really love to see a more pulled back photo of the room.

    Like the other commenters, I am interested in hearing what the client did with his guitars and computer speakers. You said he didn’t want them hanging on the wall anymore, but I assume they had to go somewhere.

  22. What about the piano? How did you style it? Hopefully there’s more people in the world that will never, ever give up a piano and need help styling it. Thanks!

    1. We kept it super simple, just a vase on one side with a stack of books on the other with a basket on top with remotes in. Didn’t want to pile a bunch of stuff on there and risk damaging it. Ack my bad we should have got a shot of that… next time! xxx

  23. This office looks awesome! My favorite part is the tonal walls and curtains. The ready made curtains and rod look so good. Give us more work from home/ home office love!!!

  24. I love this room and all of your work but this is the first time I’ve felt like in making the visual improvement (and it is a huge improvement to look at!) you sort of removed the soul. The original music posters, movie posters, and instruments showed off the personality of the owner. These prints, while lovely, seem to have no tie to the owner except that the aesthetics work with the room. And like everyone else has said, how is this room practical for a musician? Where is room to play? Where are the cords for the computer that will likely be needed for sound mixing and songwriting?

    1. That’s sad to hear. The client really didn’t want it to scream “i’m a musician” and wanted a fresh change to the room. The guitars now live in a closet in the room (we did’t shoot that angle but a good note for next time we do shoot) Cords were all hidden for the sake of they styled out shot. But maybe next time we’ll do real vs styled. Sometimes tricky when we only have a certain amount of time to shoot – and we’d all prefer to get the beauties :) Hope that helps xXx

  25. WOW – you and your team did an amazing job! I also am looking forward to the office chair roundup. My husband likes to file and store paperwork, so the only thing I would need to add to his office was a super cool file cabinet. Thanks again!

  26. I think it’s disrespectful to leave your readers’ comments unanswered, especially if they’re asking questions on a similar topic. There’s obviously a subject here that was not addressed by the design nor the blog post, and it wouldn’t hurt to leave a little comment from the designer/blogger to help us understand how the room functions. Otherwise, this is really nothing but a post for magazine/editorial and not ‘real life, practical.’ Don’t get me wrong, the design is awesome! Love the paint and the vignette by the Eames chair, but — where did the table lamp cable go? Where are printers? Where are the guitars? Where is real life? :)

    1. Hi Olivia, just sitting down now to look over comments… sometimes hard when juggling clients and other work tasks. But don’t worry, I have answers! :)

      1. Hey, I just want to wade in and say, I really appreciate that you share your work on this blog and LOVE it when you answer questions… but totally understand that it won’t be your #1 priority :) … after all we are not paying clients :)

    2. Dang – this just got posted and people have jobs and the team is really good at answering questions. What pressure to answer so quickly!

      I find it amusing that everyone wants to know where the guitars went. Such a mystery!

  27. Yes, please do a desk chair round up! I’m having such a hard time finding a good looking chair, that’s also comfortable to sit in for 6-8 hours a day. Can’t wait to see what you find!

  28. I would love to see your design ideas for a bookshelf which has to hold more than a dozen books (which also aren’t bigger design books and don’t have light spines). Any chance that might happen some day?

  29. I know this is a crazy long shot, but I’m in love with the wood floors in this house. Any chance you know the wood type/stain? maybe walnut?

    Looking to replace the floors in my house and would love them to look like these!

  30. I totally have a similar large clothespin holding two polaroids, sitting on a shelf above my desk – Thank you for verifying my design choices! Haha :)