Work from home with style and substance
Never before has the concept of creating an efficient space to work from home been so important to so many, not only for professional productivity, but for the adaptability of family life as well. With more and more people adjusting to the new normal of working remotely, the couch has quickly become a virtual seat at a conference room table and kitchens have transformed into remote classrooms. Now more than ever, there’s a desire to maximize the function of our everyday spaces and design them in a way that creates a customized sense of balance, calm, and comfort in our homes.
Design wish list
When the homeowners of this open-concept basement first reached out for design help, they had one simple request, “We want to want to be in the space!” They dreamed of transforming their under-utilized lower level into a place where they could efficiently run their business from home, put their feet up and relax at the end of the day, and gather together with their children. They struggled envisioning how their dark, windowless space could become a bright and airy retreat, brimming with beauty and practicality.
“Now more than ever, there’s a desire to maximize the function of our everyday spaces and design them in a way that creates a customized sense of balance, calm, and comfort in our homes.”
I was happy to be their fresh set of eyes, and my first design goal was to establish a functional layout that took all of their desired uses into consideration. A dedicated office area was at the top of their wish list, followed by a zone for lounging, and a dining table that could double as a homework station and meeting space. By working with as much of their existing furniture as possible, I simply rearranged the layout and introduced various rugs to define and visually separate each of the zones within the open space.
“Various table and floor lamps were added to achieve layers of light that washed the space with warmth, and the walls and ceiling were wrapped with a crisp white paint hue to help reflect as much light as possible.”
Layers of light
Since there was no natural light, creating a fresh and welcoming atmosphere meant introducing additional artificial lighting sources to balance the existing grid of pot lights. Various table and floor lamps were added to achieve layers of light that washed the space with warmth, and the walls and ceiling were wrapped with a crisp white paint hue to help reflect as much light as possible. A vintage hutch painted with Linen White Chalked Paint from Rustoleum was repositioned behind the desk to provide storage and display, and blends seamlessly into the wall colour, which maintains a low-contrast, subtle atmosphere.
The lack of natural light also meant it wasn’t possible to introduce living foliage, so a selection of faux plants were added to bring an element of nature indoors along with warm, organic woods, and textured fabrics. To give the office a subtle sense of privacy from the rest of the space, a simple grouping of macrame plant hangers were hung from the ceiling to create a lush curtain of green, while still keeping the space open and airy.
Bring the world home
Finally, I took cues from the homeowners’ two favourite vacation spots (Jamaica and NYC) to create a customized staycation style where tropical vibes meet big-city chic. The peel-and-stick palm wall mural by Wallsauce was the perfect way to add a huge dose of WOW to the space, and a collection of one-of-a-kind Jenn Fenton cigar box purses were displayed on modern lucite floating shelves alongside a nod to the Big Apple itself.
By defining various zones within the space, incorporating fresh colours and finishes, and adding a personalized decor touch, this renovated basement has become a space that the homeowners not only WANT to be in – they never want to leave.
Photos: Larry Arnal
PALM MURAL Wallsauce SOFA, COFFEE TABLES, FLOOR LAMP Structube AREA RUGS, BAR COUNTER, SIDE TABLE, FAUX PLANTS Ikea MACRAME PLANT HANGERS, ACCESSORIES Hue La La PAINT Hutch: Linen White Chalk Paint; Walls: Zinsser Interior Eggshell, Perma White; Rust-Oleum CHAIR HomeSense
A self-proclaimed DIY ninja, Leigh-Ann believes that great design has little to do with how much money you spend, but rather how creative you can be with your budget. As an expert on CityTV’s Cityline, Leigh-Ann embraces every opportunity to spark creativity and instill confidence in others who strive to “do it yourself.” For more information, visit huelala.com Twitter.com @leighannallaire