Anyone who has ever done home renovations knows that it takes a certain amount of imagination -- and faith! -- to envision what your new space will look like.
Especially if you're "repurposing" a room, like I just did in a client's downtown loft.
He's a busy television executive and often has staff meetings and screenings in his home.
We took what was originally his bedroom and made it into an open-concept home office, and the results were nothing less than amazing.
This loft had some spectacular features -- polished concrete floors, 14-foot ceilings and massive windows on the north and east-facing walls.
It was going to be a challenge to bring warmth and intimacy into such an open and "industrial" room.
Although this may sound strange, the first thing I did was open the space up even more by removing the suspended pseudo-walls and hanging a mirror on the entry wall. The mirror brought light into the entrance of the loft, making it feel brighter, and the open concept challenged me to separate the space in more creative ways.
Now that I'd set the open and airy stage, it was time to warm it up. I covered the polished concrete floor with a rich, masculine rug that anchored the room and provided a soft surface underfoot. Our homeowner's cat particularly loved this!
Next I brought a feeling of intimacy into the space by painting one of the walls a deep charcoal colour, and the other in a luxurious caramel colour. Further, I brought in a faux-finisher who textured the caramel wall with various shades of brown to give the effect of old leather.
It turned out simply gorgeous. With just these minor changes, the space still felt very open, but not nearly as cold and impersonal as before.
Since I knew my homeowner needed to screen tapes with his staff in the space, I had to address the dreaded television issue. I usually take care to hide TVs in people's spaces, but since here it was going to have such a starring role, I decided to showcase it. I brought in a replica antique Chinese sideboard and centred the TV on top, flanking it with two mid-century chrome lamps. The combination of old furniture and new technology took the edge off the ultramodern look. I brought in a large art deco dining table as a meeting table, and a sleek, leather office chair on casters, making it easy to move back and forth between the table, the computer area and the TV.
I created two other areas in this home office simply by creative furniture placement. An intimate meeting area consisted of two classic club chairs in black leather, centred around a modern glass bar table. Perfect for martinis and relaxing conversation.
On the other side, I placed a large, modern wall unit made of chocolate-coloured walnut to house both files in drawers and awards, photos and other personal mementos on display shelves. A long counter acts as a credenza and is the perfect spot to plug in the laptop for quick demos to clients.
Throughout the space I sprinkled hints of chrome and silver to add some sparkle and shine -- being careful, of course, to keep the space masculine, highly stylized and modern.
After all, they say image is everything in an office, and I think this one's an Academy Award winner! Interior Design consultant Candice Olson is the host of Divine Design on the W Network. You can watch the transformation of this office this Saturday and Sunday.
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