Saturday, February 18, 2012

Its Reveal Time: A Home Office

Style at Home March 2012,  Photo: Donna Griffith

This home office was part of a whole home renovation project I designed and project managed back in 2008-09 for my sister-in-law Kara.  It seems like an eternity ago since the construction was completed and she moved in, but its taken a couple of years to turn it into a 'home' with furnishings and artwork. While the entire home, including a gorgeous rooftop deck, were photographed by Style at Home Magazine last year for upcoming issues, I was so thrilled to open up the current issue and see her home office featured in the Organizing Workspaces story "Hard at Work". 

The office occupies one of the 3 bedrooms in a multi-level, mid-town condo and was chosen as the office over the other spare bedroom for its eastern exposure with bright  morning sunlight - she's an early bird! I added a new frosted glass panel door to the room so when she has out of town guests (frequent occurance) she can close the office door for privacy and sunlight can still filter into the hallway.

Style at Home March 2012, Photo: Donna Griffith

The antique ash barnboard floors and hide carpet are a nod to Kara's past, having grown-up on a farm she has a strong affection for all things country - a photo of her childhood prize winning pig has a special place on her desktop, complete with ribbon!  I prefer modern furniture or contemporary spaces when paired with a little bit of rustic or 'country' element, and this room does just that.  The random width floor boards were finished on site and received a low sheen clear coat to showcase the wood's natural character with all its knots, nail holes and bug tracks.  With a wall of shelving fitted with woven storage boxes, a full height filing cabinet and double closet with essential organizers (not seen in photos) so the office provides loads of storage and an expansive work surface for the high volume of paper work that's handled here. 

Its no co-incidence the office is filled with lots of orange accents, its one of the corporate colours of the company Kara works for so she's has been using orange for work related accessories for over 10 years.  Its a colour I've always associated with her  - she always has something on her or in her bag that's orange.

Thank you Margot, Jessica, Donna and the rest of the Style at Home team for your beautiful work on this feature!  I am a devoted fan of the magazine and I'm honoured that you chose to include this space on your pages.

: )

A few more After Photos..

Below are a few more after photos not from the magazine shoot but from my portfolio files that give you a glimpses of some other details in the office.

On the wall opposite the desk, a row of modern wall clocks have their orange hands set to the various time zones of family and friends around the world, including one for Kara's Muskoka cottage, permanently set to 'bar's open'.   She's a whiz at board games, this metal ledge holds letters from a vintage family scrabble set which spell out the city name for each clock.

One of my favorite items in the room is Kara's very first childhood desk - it occupies a special place in the corner beside her 'adult desk' and I've used it to stack magazines and hold book bags.   I love the visual tale of these two desks side by side,,,its a testament to the power of learning and dreaming big.  They truly represent the past and present of this successful woman's journey of accomplishments.

Artwork by:  Alanna Cavanagh

I have admired the whimsical illustrations of Toronto artist Alanna Cavanagh for some time, so I was really excited when one day Kara sent me photos of several pieces she had brought home from a gallery to try and decide which to buy and where it could go.  I thought their vintage inspired take on typography and fashion were a perfect fit for her office.  I loved each one of them, and so did Kara which made the decision easy - she kept them all.  That was a couple of years ago, and today I can tell you she loves these pieces as much now (if not more) as the day she brought them home.   

I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of this home on the pages of Style at Home coming up soon!!


  1. May I ask a question? Why is your post about "Painting Ikea Cabinets" now unavailable? There are links to it in many places, including CREED, but in every case Google tells me it does not exist. It is also gone from your archive, as far as I can tell.

  2. Hi Gordon,
    I actually just took that post off-line yesterday. I wrote it almost 2 years ago but am constantly inundated with questions by email and phone in reference to it. Most queries are requests for help and advice with installing their kitchens far beyond the process I was writing about and its simply not possible for me to respond to all. This wasn't the intent of the post, nor the essence of this blog. As the number of links across the internet increases, so do the queries - so I need to give it a 'break'. I'm considering re-posting an updated entry in the near future. ~ Carol

  3. Carol,
    love it. looks perfectly styled and what a great spot to work from.

  4. Congratulations on being featured in Style At Home! I love Kara's office - including so many fun & personal touches throughout the room really makes it special and unique. The Scrabble tiles under the clocks is a sweet touch :-)

  5. Carol
    You did a great job on the office! The pops of orange and the cow hide warm up the space and I really like that you incorporated personal touches like the sweet little desk. I also can't get enough of Alanna Cavanagh's prints-so fun and whimsical.

  6. What a wonderful office...adore the cowhide rug and the Hermes blanket...fabulous!! Wish we'd seen this image earlier - did a post last Thursday on our love of these...

  7. Carol, question on the desk in this photo. Is that a Lack floating shelf mounted to the wall? Or did you reuse a panel from the PAX wardrobe, mounted sideways? Curious which piece that is. Thanks!

  8. Dan,,yes that is a lack floating shelf above the desk. ~ C

  9. Thanks Carol,looks fantastic! And the desk itself? Also Lack?

  10. Hi! I found your website through link for an article on 'painting Ikea cabinets' which I understand is no longer on your site - but I just wanted to say I've been clicking through your posts for the better part of an hour, getting inspired with all of the lovely designs - so thank you for the inspiration on a dreary rainy day. and include my two cents for bringing back the article on painting ikea cabinets as well - i'm considering doing it my own self, and as i'm not a professional, would love advice and tips to avoid any amateur mistakes! lovely lovely rooms! thank you!

  11. Thank you yoyomoma! The article is quite dated now and some of the products I refer to are no longer available. Unfortunately the post had been copied and posted all over the internet (without my permission) and outside the context of this blog it was prompting too many inquiries here and via email regarding anything and everything to do with diy Ikea Kitchen projects. It was getting a bit crazy. Also please note the article was not about painting the cabinets yourself,,,it was about the process of how to get them professionally painted. ~ Carol

  12. One of the best blog posts I've read! Thanks a ton for sharing this!
    Office remodeling contractors in new York


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