Our new design library and a sneak peek into our studio
When we first moved in to the studio three years ago, it felt so big and spacious. It is 1, 200 square feet, and with three people, that felt ample. This room was used 1/2 for desks, the other for storage/props and shoots. Since then we have doubled in bodies and rent the back unit to house anything unsightly because the front space became a total insane ugly mess. It was absolutely not designed. In fact it was uninspiring and embarrassing. So when Wood, Naturally reached out to us about sponsoring a project, we used it as our excuse to finally tackle our studio and install some much-needed shelving. The biggest challenge we had was dealing with storing samples for design clients – tile, fabric, catalogues, etc. The props were gone, but we needed to have a decent inventory to save us and our client sourcing time.
So, we cleared everything out and it looked like this:
We use to shoot a ton in the studio (remember these 1 credenza 3 ways shoots, and this 1 bed 4 ways?) but we now try to only create content at clients’ homes – which have way more environment and are generally just prettier. So while it seems like doubling the people would double the need for space, we are just repurposing it and figuring out the best way to use it properly for our needs.
The cement floor is really cold, especially in the winter. It’s cool and industrial but that’s not really us, and we wanted it to be prettier. We thought about painting it bright white (which would still be cold, but so pretty) but we knew that it would get destroyed within days. So we decided on carpet. We saw these FLOR tiles laid out in this post and thought how fun and warm that would be to try our own variation on it. And we weren’t wrong. We had them installed over a weekend.
With the light pink and the yellow door it seemed like such a fun place… to drop off your baby for the day while you are at work. Don’t worry – those things changed and the space became much more mature and office-y.
Meanwhile we met and worked with Chaffee from Fourth Period Woodshop to design and custom build our design library. Our needs were mostly closed storage since bins and baskets of things just aren’t that pretty to display and have out. And then we wanted drawers so that we could dedicate a drawer to each client/project(materials mostly, not files). With those requests in mind, he came back with two versions:
We much preferred the open back, and liked having the cupboards recessed. He added some pretty beveling and joints to give it some more dimension. For materials inspiration, we went to Wood, Naturally, a great resource for creative ways to use softwood lumber in and around the home, or a workspace like ours. We chose Douglas Fir – a common, classic, and affordable soft wood species. Chaffee showed us the more ‘clear’ options (no knots) and we loved how the color and natural grain looked. The grain is super simple and minimal and it worked perfectly for the look we were going for.
Six weeks later they arrived and were installed:
We were in love with them, and couldn’t wait to style them out:
WE LOVE this studio now. It’s such a happier/better place to be and one that we are proud of, not embarrassed about. It is a bit playful, but not crazy and the best part? It’s WILDLY more functional. All our desks are on the other side of the room and this side serves as the design library and meeting/conference area (this is not a full reveal, just the furniture post) so stay tuned for the whole reveal coming up early next year! Look at us just working away, filing, pinning and me just reading my novel, while everyone does their thing.
My team wanted to kill me for not telling them it was picture day, but I think they all look really good. Obviously being in the picture was optional – not everyone was there that day so stay tuned for a proper team picture post. Let’s get into that beautiful shelving unit:
It’s just so simple and pretty and full of function (and now full of fabric books, boxes of tile samples, hardware samples, sample paint pots, etc). Ginny had been begging me for a proper design library forever, I just needed some extra motivation to pull the trigger on the piece of furniture.
We used some super simple pulls that we painted rose gold after playing around with a few other colors. White looked annoying, black looked contemporary, and we could have done something leather but we didn’t have time and weren’t sure how those would hold up with the amount of use they would get. These are super streamlined and definitely go away (in a good way), which we like.
Chaffee designed it so that the shelves are modular, but in a super chic and modern way. He mitered the slats where they are inserted which gave it a really great architectural detail that we love. I don’t think that we’ll need to move them, but I love how it looks regardless. It definitely elevates this piece, and is such an easy detail if you are building your own bookcases to consider so that you can have all the shelves adjustable without having to do the traditional peg and hole method.
When you need a lot of closed storage it’s so easy for it look like a big generic cabinet, so those little details help to give the piece some variation and character. Inside it is temporarily styled out with beautiful ‘things that we need, ‘ which will quickly be filled with ‘stuff that we can’t throw away’ as we start to live and work with the piece to fill it up and organize it.
For now it’s great to have the closed space for the less than beautiful things that we don’t want to look at everyday and can cause visual chaos and clutter. And now that we have a larger design staff, we actually have someone dedicated to keeping things categorized and organized in the office and these cabinets. THANK GOD.
On to the dressers. These were designed to house mood boards and materials, per client.
We needed them to be relatively shallow so that they a.) weren’t too heavy and b.) we could put flat materials into them without it becoming this deep abyss of garbage on top of beautiful mood boards. To help with wear and tear on the bottom of the drawers we cut some thick felt to fit the size of the drawers which also helps to keep everything in place when we open and close them and quickly pull things in and out for client meetings.
That drawer was for my new house and it makes me feel VERY important as a client and as a human being.
It’s making it super easy for us to keep our clients lives organized and separated from the blog editorials and shoots. I love the joinery detailing and the beveling gives it a lot of dimension and makes such a simple piece look so high end.
We installed these simple art ledges above them so that we could display some of the mood boards of current projects we are working on, and to free up the top of the pieces to use for laying those mood boards out and brainstorming.
Mood boards – real or propped for shoots, are endlessly satisfying to look at, no? We can work on them on the big tables or on top of the dresser which really helps when we are pulling together design plans for clients.
We had that copper ladder custom made by our welder for $250 and it’s perfect to break up the space between the dressers, create a soft/sculptural piece for your eye, and to hang pretty fabrics and samples on. We installed our old sconces from the other side of the office above the dressers to round off the space and add more lighting in the winter when people are in the office past sundown.
I know that you guys are dying to know about the chairs and table. So there you go, and more on those later in the full office reveal post. But, I will say that finally investing in studio furniture has made us all feel way more proud to be at work and I honestly think we get more done sitting in and at higher end furniture. This table here is more of a conference table, and a place to layout materials – our actual desks are on the other side of the room.
We replaced the lighting with these great pendants and propped out the shelves with all our design books and catalogs – it’s a library of inspiration.
A huge thanks to Wood, Naturally for sponsoring our custom office furniture. We love the clean and modern look of Douglas Fir, and on top of that, it’s affordable and durable. The unit is perfect for housing all our materials and keeping my staff feeling proud of where they work every day.
For a look at how we styled our shelves so that they’re both functional AND pretty to look at, watch this little video:
**Thanks to Chaffee at 4th Period Woodshop for designing and building those amazing pieces and being so lovely to work with. Now that I’ve found ‘my furniture dude’ I will be customizing so much more when budget allows. And the large units are modular so if and when we move we can take them with us – which is always nice to know.
And last but not least, here are some quick source references (in case you missed them above): Flor tiles in Frost, Navy, and Flannel Blue, desks/tables, pendants, sconces, cabinets/dressers, copper accessories, white magazine holders, white wire baskets, office supplies.
***Photography by Tessa Neustadt