The following post includes some gifted items
This has been a really, really, really long time coming but apparently only a prolonged case of social isolation was enough to get me to pull myself together, order the standing desk converter and get my home office ship-shape. Just in time for this freelancer to have no work and therefore no use for it. But it looks great and really, isn’t that the point. No, Robyn, no it is not the point. The point is it’s both a visual feast and *gasps* functional. It has a proper chair. It has a proper desk. It has a lamp that is useful. And 19 taxidermied budgies. Well, you gotta have balance. Join me as I walk you through the greatest home office makeover of all time. In South East London. In 2020. Probably.
What I was after
I’m assuming you know what my old home office are was like but if by some miracle you don’t, picture this: a charming vintage school desk I got off eBay for a fiver and a load of books. That’s it. Oh and a Bush radio with no power cable. Not exactly the hub of a future world leader (interesting spoiler to where this is all going). When I jacked in my part time job, I knew I had to make the space somewhere I wanted to be otherwise I’d have to be surgically removed from the sofa. I knew I needed it to be colourful and cosy and tactile and really inspiring which is no mean feat when office furniture tends to hit the boring end of the spectrum. But because I’m a BLOODY TROOPER, I persisted and this is what I came up with. Strap in.
Lumber supporting loveliness
For the last two years I’ve perched on a partially upholstered GPlan chair which has resulted in two things. 1. profound guilt that I never got my arse in gear enough to order a glue gun and finish the damn thing off. 2. the rapid disintegration of the lower portion of my spine. So when Flokk got in touch and asked if I wanted to design my own desk chair, I was chuffed to bloody bits. I got to personalise the incredibly versatile, ergonomic and stylish HÅG Capisco, a piece of office furniture that actually goes with the rest of the decor. After many, many hours hand-wringing over which material – I went for a lovely, heavily textured cerise that popped against the kitchen green and contrasted with the monochrome theme in the lounge. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a triumph.
The desk situation
My quirky little school desk was lovely to look at but I really wanted to make sure I was moving about more throughout the day now I no longer had to run the occasional gauntlet to the rancid university loos. Thus my desire for a standing desk converter was realised. It does the job of getting me up and out of my seat without looking completely demented against a predominantly vintage backdrop. It took some time to track one down that wasn’t deeply clinical but I played a blinder on eBay and found this bamboo one that matches the desk pretty perfectly. It’s stylish, simple, not too expensive and came in a few days. There’s everything you’d expect on there and more, clever cut outs to stand your phone, notches for laptop leads, stands for headphones and even bloody pen holders. And the real Brucey Bonus is that I’m pretty sure I can paint it if I change the decor up – an absolute result all round.
Some seriously sexy storage
Jamie has moaned at me, daily, about the lack of storage for all my paperwork. It’s jammed into every drawer in the house and there’s no telling what’s where. I’m really committed to trying to choose furniture that will grow with us, that’s not dictated by trends and that we won’t want to switch up in a few years – that’s why the majority of our big bits are vintage. Pre-owned furniture guarantees an injection of personality and a nice dose of visual storytelling. Top of my love list are tambour cabinets, they make me think of writers in the 1940s, drinking gin gimlets and crying into their notebooks. I’ve wanted one of my own for years but they always cost a million pounds and tend to be enormous (both vast overestimates). Then I stumbled across Lovely and Co on eBay and this tiny little cabinet they were clearing out of their own home (are they mad). Before I knew it, the deal was done, the goods delivered and I’m yet to put a paper in her. Sorry Jamie.
Zoning off the space
My home office is a bit of a no man’s land, stuck in an ocean of laminate flooring, a weird bolt on to the living room. I knew I wanted to make it more cohesive and a space of its own so I didn’t just float off at the slightest hint of a distraction. But how, short of an electric fence, I hear you ask? ‘Rug, that’s how’ I bellow in response. Yes, rug. But not just any rug, a really clever rug. A rectangular rug might have looked ok, albeit pretty blocky, but this lozenge shaped Balico beauty from Made.com softens all the straight edges, cocooning you. It may be share the silhouette of a sanitary towel but in situ it frames the area perfectly, helping it to both connect to and differentiate itself from its surroundings through clever use of colour and texture. The corduroy-esque indentations and softness of the rug juxtapose against the right angles in the books and furniture while the splashes of pink and green nod to the decor around it. It’s all about building tension and I’m the queen of tension (read tension as shouting).
Little added extras
You thought I was done, didn’t you. Well all the practical bits are but my office is a place for ideas and enthusiasm and wonder. It’s where I write so it needs to make me feel energetic thus me filling it full of stuff to engage my senses. Candles are a must. I have one on the go most of the time and it’s always something punchy to remind me I’m in work mode. I alternate between this Polkra Ondine number and a WXY Pitch one. Then there’s lighting. I had a really boring Ikea lamp that I never bothered to switch on because I hated it. But actually, this bit of the house is the most lacking in light as it’s right in the middle so it was a situation that needed sorting out. Luckily for me my old colleagues were very generous with my leaving gift and I put the whopping Heal’s voucher towards this mega Paul Smith Anglepoise. I now switch it on and off in excess of 300 times a day I dig it so much. Seriously thought, it’s a great visual signal for working and not working which is useful in helping you turn your brain off. Finally, the budgies. So they may seem bananas but bear with me. I’m a woman who grew up on a farm. The outdoors in important to me so having a workspace that was nowhere near a window was a problem. But I’m nothing if not resourceful so I filled my bookshelves with a variety of flora and fauna, including, but not limited to 19 taxidermied budgies, two stoats and a small figurine of a goat. Problem solved.
So there you have it – the maximalist approach to creating a workspace that’s as practical as it is a unadulterated pleasure palace. Yes, you’re right, I have excelled myself. Better take a six month sabbatical to celebrate…