For home makeovers on Queer Eye, my designs can range anywhere from rustic, to minimal, to full of color. But when it came to re-doing a space in my own home – my office – I knew I wanted to keep things neutral (while still bringing in plenty of dramatic moments). The finished space was just published in the March issue of House Beautiful, (go run and grab your copy or subscribe here) but I wanted to give you an even more in-depth look at how the room came together, and all the details that make this work space work for Dewey and me.
This room started as a petite, plain white box with not much going for it (except a really great view). So together with my Creative Director, Brady Tolbert, who helped design the space and oversaw the project, started with just that- orienting the space towards the windows, with a desk in the middle, storage behind, and a small, secondary seating area in the corner. The small footprint also meant pieces could not be too large or heavy, and nothing could be so bold that it would overpower.
To make it all work, we restricted the color palette to simple shades of black, white, tan and warm brown tones, while adding interest through strong linear pieces, graphic elements and accessories. The furniture pieces are all clean lined and light in feel, save for a mid-century credenza (more on where we found that below) that anchors the space, and brings in lots of warmth. With a few finishing touches – adding in a plush rug, some energetic art and pieces from some of our favorite Southern California makers- the room that needed a lot of work is now an ideal place to actually work!
Itching to see how it all turned out? Keep scrolling for the breakdown of all the essential elements of the space, as well as the product we used to bring plenty of style (and drama) to this small space.
If you’d like to see some of our other inspiring design projects, be sure to check out My Parents’ Home Makeover: How it All Came Together, Black & Bold: The Full Home Tour and Modern Boho: The Full Home Tour
Underfoot, a striped wool rug from Nordic Knots is graphic, yet understated, and connects with the other linear elements in the space. The shag style is also super plush, bringing in some serious softness.
A streamlined, black metal desk from Lulu and Georgia provides plenty of workspace, and a shelf on one side for extra storage. We chose an open desk without a front panel so the piece wouldn’t feel too visually heavy in such a small space and also allow us to stretch out our legs and have someone sit on the other side of the desk for impromptu meetings.
For a desk chair that’s both comfortable and stylish, we went with a leather armchair from Jayson Home with a curved back. It provides essential support (definitely needed when spending long hours looking at floor plans), while the minimal iron frame makes it easy to move.
This large, graphic piece is from my art line for Leftbank and was natural choice for the room. The angular lines break up the strong vertical and horizontals from the rug and desk, while not competing too much with the view. You can shop all my art over here in our shopping section.
Want to see a little more of my home office space?
PUSH PLAY for a BTS video tour of how it came together and some of my tips.
The vintage Danish cabinet not only brings a lot of warmth to the space, it brings tons of storage, with handy internal file drawers for keeping paperwork and mail organized. Brady found this one after scouring craigslist and it could not be more perfect for the space. It is from a local LA vendor Saassaan, who stocks and carries a huge assortment of vintage pieces and is constantly updating his stock. If you are local to LA, definitely check him out!
If you’re looking for a similar vintage credenza online, try searching for the following terms:
- Milo Baughman, Kofod Larsen, Paul McCobb, Hans Wegner
- Danish, Scandinavian, Nordic
- credenza, hutch or sideboard
Artwork and Accessories
To accessorize the top of the piece, we added a minimal gold lamp from Schoolhouse that brings some gold over to that side of the room, artist’s blocks (that also function as bookends) from Jayson Home and a cool sculptural vase from local LA Artist Atomic Threshold (who also sells vintage furniture). The original artwork above the credenza is by another California native artist, Skye Schuchman. He sells prints of some of his pieces as well as the originals.
A simple stool from Schoolhouse (in the same caramel colored leather as the desk chair) provides versatile seating on the other side of the desk (and a spot for me put my feet up from time to time, or an employee to stop by for a quick meeting).
We chose accessories in elevated materials – a brass letter tray, marble storage container, and ceramic pencil cup – to bring some interest to everyday objects. The desk lamp has a mid-century feel, and ties together the brass and black elements while not taking up any extra space or real estate on the surface of the desk.
To soften the room as well as provide some privacy on the wall of windows, we added white, linen draperies from IKEA. These ones are only $60 per pair, and by mounting the rod at the ceiling and all the way to each wall, it helped create a more custom look and also helped emphasis the height of the room.
For a spot to curl up with a book, or just enjoy the view, we added a handsome leather sling chair from Foreman Bros, a local LA furniture designer. They hand make every single piece themselves and have a huge variety of pieces. We didn’t have a ton of space in the corner, and adding something more chunky would have visually closed of the space, so this chair was the perfect solution. We love the simple lines and rich color of the leather, which contrasts nicely with the aluminum floor lamp from Schoolhouse.
And there you have it! An office space with a minimal color palette, but no shortage of unique pieces, graphic touches, and lots of exciting design elements. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, and be sure to head to your local bookstore or news stand to grab a copy of the March issue of House Beautiful. A huge thanks to Joanna Saltz, Hadley Keller and Amandad Sims from the House Beautiful team for including me, Melissa Batchelor Warnke for the beautiful write up, Tessa Neustadt for the gorgeous photography and my Creative Director Brady Tolbert for spearheading this design.