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Spotlight: Office built-in cabinetry

When function meets beauty with the use of built-in cabinetry

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When function meets beauty with the use of built-in cabinetry

Photos: Royal Interior Design

Office spaces can often be required to fulfill many functions, especially when they are located at the front of people’s homes, or as an open concept in a condo space. The primary goal of the office is to obviously be a place to conduct work of some sort. Practically speaking, it needs to be somewhat private with doors, and needs an area to read, work, be on a computer, as well as provide storage solutions.

But what about the rest of the often high demands? To be suitable for multiple family members to use, to have ample storage for paperwork, books and all kinds of things we accumulate over the years, or family members and more than one person working together at once? From homework to home office or casual bill payments, offices serve many roles, and our job is to ensure we check every single requirement and more by adding some much needed pizzaz, interest, warmth and depth, and make it inviting and luxurious enough to be often be seen as soon as you walk in the door.

For these clients, our perfect solution started with our state-of-the-art custom built-in cabinetry. We love designing statement pieces that are aesthetically pleasing to the eyes but also offer loads of function. In this case, we went full-blown wall to wall, floor to ceiling with a bold black colour to create an impressive focal point. We added lovely accent trim details in the closed doors to make it interesting, as the doors needed to be solid to hide a lot of clutter.

We broke it up with different sections, some open shelving in the middle to keep it a little light and airy, and a few glass doors to add variety to the unit and to be kept for pretty accents. All the functionality lies below with ample filing cabinets and drawers. This unit provides impact to the room, depth, and lots of storage.

To continue with our functional yet beautiful elements, we have accent chairs that are perfect for the kids to do some reading and homework. They are deep and comfortable, neutral and accented with cowhide pillows.

We framed all the windows with satin textured earth tone panels as high as the ceilings to accentuate the height of the room and also soften the multi windows and add some elegance. A nice neutral soft rug and a soft muted, but textured, world map wallpaper really adds to the den vibe.

The design palette of the space is all earth tones, soft colours contrasted by deep colours and interesting textures and patterns. And let’s not forget the show-stopping unique dark copper light fixture that adorns the entire space. Combining luxurious and elegant items with functional and practical necessities, all wrapped in a cohesive and peaceful decor, make it perfectly suited to entice and welcome a good day’s or evening’s work!

Catherine Horber is the principal of Royal Interior Design Ltd., a firm dedicated to creating distinctive and personal lifestyle-based interiors, designed to enhance how you live with understated, yet elegant and affordable luxury.


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Have a consistent routine at your home office

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Have a consistent routine at your home office

by Lisa Rogers

Working from home has lots of advantages – the office commute is about 30 seconds, you can stick a load of laundry in between conference calls, and you can wear PJs for most of the day. The downside is you’re too close to it to get away, you don’t want to be doing laundry all day, and PJs are really a fashion crime.

Whether you work for yourself, or for a company that allows for some work from home, you still need a proper office. To start with, plan by making a list of everything you need in order to work well — natural light, tons of storage space, miles of counter top for spreading stuff around.

Where you work is important — preferably a dedicated office space in the guest bedroom, a main floor den, or the basement. This also depends on the kind of work you do – clients dropping in need a place to sit. Laptops and Wifi make it easy to move your office around, even to the back deck.

Include space for printer, phone, and resource materials. Rarely used items can be stored in the basement or a closet.


You’ll be sitting in this for six to eight hours a day, so get one that adjusts to your specific ergonomics. As pretty as leather is, refrain from buying it because you need something breathable.


Standard desks are 29 inches high, but 27 inches high is actually ergonomically better for where your arms and hands are while using a laptop. If the desk isn’t adjustable, raise your chair a little. You also need enough work space to spread out papers; if one desk won’t do it, add a second.

A writing desk is preferable to those clunky mid-century office desks – much lighter and easier to move around.

Place your desk so you have a view of the room, and of the outdoors. Remember to place it so that light falls over your shoulder.


Drawers in the desk – or in stackable containers on top – are good for having stationery, paper clips, pens, pencils, staplers close at hand. Wall mounted storage minimizes physical and visual clutter.

Wherever you keep your files – on computer, external hard drive, or in file folders – make a habit of culling regularly. If you haven’t used something in a year, toss it. (Except taxes – those you need to keep for seven years.)


Natural light is best, especially since windows also provide good ventilation. But if that’s not possible, bump up the overhead and task lighting, like a reading lamp. If there’s no room on the desk, have it wall mounted.


If your home office is visible from the rest of the main floor, try to tie it in decoratively, so that it blends in style, colour, and theme.

Don’t be afraid of colour, or at least adding colourful accessories. I love white space, but I still like to add colour through accessories – a Navajo blanket, or beautiful pillows on a chair. Incorporate colour as well into stationery, magazine racks, storage containers and so on. Colour affects the way you feel – orange is considered a colour that stimulates creativity, green is restful, blue is calming and yellow makes you happy.

This isn’t the corporate office, it’s your home, so get creative in making it yours, and making a place you look forward to working in. Incorporate art, lamps and accessories that convey your personality. Use what you have – turn a vase into a pen holder, wicker baskets for scrap paper, the dining sideboard for printer, phone and other supplies.


When you work alone, getting down to work can sometimes be hard – far easier to check out the fridge, stare into space, or run the vacuum through the main floor. Most successful people say that having a consistent routine, one that triggers the brain to get into think mode, is the only way to get things accomplished.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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