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Last week I mentioned that I had styled a couple of rooms for the new Society6 lookbooks. They’re up now! I’ve never done anything like this before, and it was a real challenge. They asked me to pick out a couple dozen items (I was given free rein, so rest assured 100% of what’s in the lookbooks is there by my choice alone), and then I spent a weekend setting up a staged bedroom and workspace in my house. FUN!

Society6 “In Flux” bedroom lookbook
Society6 “In Flux” workspace lookbook

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Society6 has a special sale going right now to promote the In Flux collection: $10 off $75/$15 off $100/$30 off $150. The sale ends tonight (Sunday) at midnight PST, so if you’ve been wanting a bunch of stuff, now’s the time to get in there quickly.

As always, if you have any questions about the products themselves (whether they’re from my own K IS FOR BLACK shop or any of the others), please feel free to ask—I’ll give you my honest opinion about everything. Also, just for the sake of full disclosure, I was not paid to write this post (they didn’t even ask me to write a post) or to style the lookbooks, but I did get to keep the stuff I picked out and photographed.

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Society6 “In Flux” bedroom lookbook
Featuring designs by: K IS FOR BLACK; RK // Design; Nicklas Gustafsson; Kurt Rahn; Party in the Mountains; Terry Fan; Garima Dhawan; Fieldguided; Budi Satria Kahn; Beth Hoeckel; Man & Camera; Matthew Korbel-Bowers; Georgiana Paraschiv.

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Society6 “In Flux” workspace lookbook
Featuring designs by: Priscila Peress; K IS FOR BLACK; Nicklas Gustafsson; Matthew Korbel-Bowers; Bree Madden; Justin Cooper; Beth Hoeckel; Georgiana Paraschiv; Laura Moreau; Thoughtcloud; Wasted Rita; Dawn Gardner; David Olenick; Jesse Draxler; Fieldguided; Tordis Kayma; Julia Kostreva.

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Considering how much of my life is spent at work, it’s kind of funny that I’ve never done a post about what my office looks like. Whenever I’m invited by other sites to share my workspace, I feel a little bit disingenuous sending in pictures of my desks at the house and (former) apartment. I mean, truthfully: The “office” at the house has become Evan’s music studio, and we don’t even pretend to call anything at the current apartment an office, unless you’re counting the sofa, which is where I do all of my blogging. No, my work happens in an office-office, one with bad industrial carpeting and a dropped acoustic ceiling and fluorescent lights and all of the other stuff nobody is particular interested in looking at pictures of.

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Last summer, after 15 years spent working in the same spot in the same building (with most of the same awesome people), the entire art department was moved up one floor. Same building, same corner, but 20 feet higher. Aside from the joy that came from sifting through 15 years of accumulated junk and throwing away 75% of it, I decided to commit myself to turning my new workspace into a place I like to walk into every day.

I don’t have an office with walls. All of the designers in my department sit in a big, open room—that was our choice. We like to be able to talk, and we like to have tons of light. The light, of course, is the best thing about this office—it’s a landmarked building (one of the original art deco Rockefeller Center structures, completed in 1939), and that includes the enormous, steel-framed windows. Windows that open, mind you, though I don’t necessary recommend doing that on a windy day when you’re 14 flights up!

Anyway, because I work in an open room with other people (and other people’s stuff), It’s a little tricky to take pictures that show all of my space. I promise I do actually have a computer and a chair and a phone…and a very full inbox.

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I don’t think there’s any way to fight generic office blah other than with bright colors and things that make you happy every time you look at them. “Elegance” is tough to pull off in this kind of environment, and I don’t even bother trying.

Over in this corner, I have an Alexander Girard PLYprint (these were issued by Columbia Forest Products in 2009, and sadly discontinued very sooner after), a bent-plywood “Clouds” clock from my own K IS FOR BLACK shop, a bootleg Andy Warhol poster (more on that in a minute), a letter A print from Ferm Living, and a vintage bus roll that I found at Three Potato Four.

So yeah, the Andy Warhol poster! Hah. If you read Scandinavian design blogs and frequent Swedish real estate websites, then you know that these Warhol posters—part of a series of reprints from a 1968 exhibit at Moderna Museet—are apparently issued to all Swedes along with their birth certificates. In the US, however, it’s next to impossible to get your mitts on one! I had dreams of buying one when I was in Stockholm, but the closest I was able to get to Moderna Museet was taking a longing photo from a window in a building next door.

So I decided to be a loser jerk and make my own. The real thing wouldn’t have fit in this spot anyway, and since the sentiment is pretty much the most perfect thing to be on a book cover designer’s wall, it had to happen. I knew what font they used for the poster, so…OK I’M ASHAMED. A little. But it’s not like I’m going to sell them (and no, I won’t send you the digital file), and if I ever do have the opportunity to buy a real, full-size one from Moderna Museet, I definitely will. Then I’ll hang that one in in my house, and keep the bootleg miniature at work.

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This part of my desk is usually completely covered with book cover comps, but I had to move them all out of frame since they’re for titles that haven’t been approved yet. The work you see there is what became the hand-lettering for this book (just approved yesterday, yay!). My vintage Snoopy came from Three Potato Four, and the snake mug…

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I LOVE MY SNAKE MUG!!! If you’re a fan of Craig Ferguson (and you should be), then you know Craigy is never without his trusty rattlesnake mug. I bought mine on eBay, and it’s identical to Craig’s—with the exception of the gold tooth, of course, which is a Late Late Show props department customization. (Weirdly enough, the snake mug sold by the CBS store is clearly not the same one Craig uses, which confuses me—but I’ll drop this subject now since I suspect it’s not very interesting to anyone but me…)

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Photo by Ali Goldstein/NBC

In case you ever wondered if 30 Rock was filmed on location, the answer is YES, unquestionably! Every time they showed Liz Lemon’s office, I had to smile at the 1930s radiator covers—the same ones are in every office throughout all of the old Rockefeller Center buildings. Same old windows, too.

I put those raindrops on my filing cabinet a few years ago, and they still make me happy. They’re just cut out of white paper with adhesive on the back, nothing fancy. The chair is an Arne Jacobsen Series 7 in a discontinued, terrifying shade of acid green that I love. I found it in the hallway in a storage pile during a company-wide office cleanout years ago, and I grabbed it. It still belongs to the company, of course, but I like having it in my area. The cute raindrop pillow and the triangle wall stickers are from Ferm Living.

I suspect I may be the only person working here with their own rug. It’s the same Nate Burkus Arrowhead rug (discontinued, alas) that I have in my dressing room, but in a smaller size. I would’ve gone bigger, but then my rolling chair would be getting caught on it. Office carpet is almost always a depressing thing, so it’s nice to have a tiny corner of happy floor covering to take the edge off. The bird hanging in the window is an Icelandic Krummi (raven) coat hanger designed by Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir.

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen a lot of pictures of this view! My window overlooks 6th Avenue, and I’ve been documenting what I see out there during every season for the past 16 years. Here’s a compilation of some from 2013…

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BOOKS! I can’t keep every book I’ve designed, obviously, but I hang on to the ones that are in series—multiple titles by the same author—since I often need to refer back to them later. (If you’re interested in seeing some of the covers I’ve worked on, I have a portfolio site.) Speaking of which, I have strict rules about books at this point. I don’t take ANYTHING home with me from work unless I really, really want to read it. I’ve already read most of what I worked on when it was in the manuscript stage, and if I start taking home every book that catches my eye (and there really are books EVERYWHERE when you work at a publishing company—it’s amazing), there will be no more room for people or dogs in my house. I cracked down about 10 years ago, and I’m glad. I love love love books, and (contrary to the Warhol quote) I really do love to read a whole lot, but there are limits.

And on that note, it’s FRIDAY, and I’m outta here! Have a great weekend!

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Something happened with the light this weekend. Despite the three feet of snow still piled up along the side streets in the City of Newburgh, it suddenly feels like spring is coming. The weather was beautiful yesterday, and the daylight pouring into the second floor of our house made want to do nothing but wander from room to room.

I don’t really take many pictures of the house anymore unless I’m working on a specific project, but after eight years, those projects are fewer and farther between—especially since the remaining ones are expensive and daunting, but not necessarily interesting to look at (like replacing our exterior window casings or buying a new boiler…snore + $$$ = no fun). I still love my house, though, and it still makes me happy to share it. So maybe it’s OK to just take some pictures without them being about a renovation project!

Here’s a walk through the oft-neglected second floor of the house, taken while admiring the almost-spring light.

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My fiddle-leaf fig tree is still alive! Miracles. The print is from Fieldguided—I bought it ages ago but just got around to framing it last month.

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Ah, it’s the rarely-seen east wall of the bedroom! I’m still unsure about the Heywood-Wakefield dresser. HAH. I’ve been thinking about either painting it (don’t bother with the hate mail, H-W protectionists, I already know) or getting rid of it since pretty much the day I bought it, but it’s kind of grown on me? I don’t know. It’s not hurting anyone, so it can stay for now. I promise not to paint it. Really. It is an amazingly well-built piece of furniture, I’ll say that much.

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I love you, Tom Dixon Offcut Bench. This is one of the best things I’ve ever bought. It really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated—the fluorescent orange is nearly blinding. I got a good deal on it because it was a floor model and it’s a little banged-up.

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The guest bedroom gets such nice light. It’s in the middle of the house, directly above the dining room. It’s a little shadowy, but the sun that comes in the huge window is beautifully filtered. It’s such a nice place to be. I wish we had more guests. (Sadface.)

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Frames. Everywhere. Always. I’ve been making a big effort lately to get artwork I’ve collected over the years out of storage and into frames, and, hopefully, onto the wall. It never ends! One of these days I need to sit down and make a master list of frame sizes, what I want matted, and what I can frame myself versus having to send to a shop. It’s overwhelming.

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And finally, the studio. I never get tired of this white floor—it’s the best room. It looks bright and clean even at midnight, and even when there are guitars and amps and cables all over the place. Yes, that section of molding is still missing. And yes, that’s OK—it’s good enough.

Brooklyn work space

I realized last night (upon receiving lease renewal forms) that it’s already been 10 months since we rented “the new apartment” in Brooklyn. Whaaaat?! I don’t really understand how it’s been almost a year already, but geez—I guess I should take some more pictures of it. A little while back I showed you one side of the main room, now here’s another side. This room contains the kitchen, dining room, living room and office, all compressed into a surprisingly spacious-feeling 220 square feet.

When I was planning out this room, one thing I knew I wanted was a nice work surface. I don’t like compact desks. I considered a few possibilities, and eventually arrived at a combination of two VIKA LERBERG trestles ($10 each) and a VIKA FURUSKOG table top (regularly $60, but I found it for 50% off), both from IKEA. That’s a 60×30″ work surface for $50—not bad! The table is actually deep enough that Evan and I can both sit and work opposite each other at the same time if we need to.* Plus, if we slide the iMac to the end of the desk (or put it on the floor), the table is big enough to seat 4 people—really nice if we have friends over for dinner.**

*This has never happened. But it could!
**This has also never happened. I blame the lure of the roof deck.

Brooklyn work space

The IKEA PS cabinet holds everything…and then some. I was sad to have to give up the awesome fauxdenza from our old apartment (it’s since been relocated to a closet at the house—more about that in another post!) because of space, but this guy really does an amazing job of storing way more stuff than it seems like it would be able to. All of our office supplies, tools, dog stuff, papers, and other things are in there, with room to spare. Our PS cabinet has been with us since 2003—almost a decade now. It’s an IKEA classic at this point, and I really think it’s one of their all-time best products.

Funny how much the (not) “new” apartment is starting to look like the old one, isn’t it? I even hung all of the artwork in the exact same arrangement. I still don’t think this place has the same kind of friendliness the old apartment did, but I am warming up to it! We definitely have a lot more visitors in DUMBO than we did in Washington Heights, that’s for sure, and I do love being able to open my home to people from out of town. It’s not big enough for overnight guests, but for hanging out for hours on end petting dogs and drinking coffee, it’s perfect! Every time friends or family come over, it really does start to feel a little more like it’s ours.

Herman Miller Lifework blog

If you’d like to see a few more photos of this side of the apartment (as well as some new pictures of the office at the house!) and read a little interview with me about work spaces, head over to the Herman Miller blog. I’m so honored to have been asked to contribute to their Lifework blog! I think it’s obvious to anyone who’s seen any part of my house or apartment that I have a considerable number of Herman Miller products in my life, so this was a lot of fun to do. (Thanks for inviting me, Amy!)

It’s taken me a long time to accept the fact that I don’t really like desks. At least not small ones that are designated for tasks that don’t involve spreading out—I need space. Because of my aversion to small desks, I’ve spent an awful lot of time over the last few years camped out on the sofa with my laptop doing freelance work at 2AM, and honestly, my body isn’t happy about it. I need to be sitting at a table in order to work (and sit) properly for any length of time, and that table needs to be spacious.

That said, you know what’s not spacious? The new apartment. The entire thing corner to corner is about 450sf, and that’s including a bedroom the approximate length and width of a Sucrets tin. The kitchen and living space are one open room, though, which does open up the possibility of having a decently-sized, multi-purpose table in the room—for working, eating, cooking, sewing and whatever else requires a flat surface.


Photo: Nina Broberg for Livet Hemma

I’ve been keeping this table idea in the back of my mind for a while now. It comes from IKEA’s Livet Hemma (Life At Home) blog, which, in case you’ve never seen it, is a trove of photos and project ideas that involve stuff from IKEA used in very un-showroom-like ways. To make this table, they just used a pair of inexpensive VIKA LERBERG trestles and some simple spruce planks for the top. I love the “runner” they created by painting the center boards! The great thing about the LERBERG trestles is that they’re less than 16″ deep, so it’s possible to make a shallower table with them to suit the amount space you have—and, of course, you can cut your planks to whatever length you’d like.


Photo: Corkellis House, interior design by Kathryn Tyler + Linea Studio

I definitely don’t have enough space for a setup like this, but I do like how much storage the base components provide. The top is supported by four VIKA ALEX units from IKEA—two with doors, and two with drawers. The depth is at least 22″, so it’s probably not an option to use even one of these drawer units in the new place (did I mention it’s tiny?), but I can still dream.

Speaking of dreaming, take a look at the entire house that this room is at part of. It’s one of those rare places I could move into fully furnished and not want to change anything.


Photos: House Tour: The Dickensons, Apartment Therapy (via sfgirlbybay)

OK, now we’re really getting somewhere. The second I saw this Victorian house tour, I knew I’d be needing some neon pink table legs in my future. I love the way this looks. Once again, the support for this table comes from IKEA—four VIKA FURUSUND legs—and the top appears to just be a simple piece of butcherblock countertop (NUMERAR, perhaps?). The legs are solid, unfinished pine, making them perfectly suited for painting. They’re really just asking to be neon pink, right?

I keep picturing a smaller-scale version of this table in the apartment, surrounded by the dowel-leg side shells currently in the “old” apartment kitchen (I have two more stashed in the basement at the house), and it just seems perfect. Enough space to have Daniel and Max over for dinner, even!

Yeah, this is my own big fat work table! It’s in the room at the house that Evan is now using as a studio, and it’s awesome. The top comes from my father’s huge old drafting table (the original legs are in storage, don’t worry!), and the legs are—you guessed it—VIKA MOLIDEN trestles from IKEA. You can see some more detailed photos of the top and the cool drawer handles in this old post. It’s a special table, this one.

More than any aspect of the new apartment (yes, even more than the roof deck), the possibility of having a big space to spread out and work is exciting me the most. I’m sure I’ll still spend plenty of time planted on the sofa with my laptop, yes, but for the long hauls, it’s going to be great to sit like a normal person. A normal person with dogs on my lap, of course.

p.s. Please vote for Manhattan Nest in the 2012 Homies Awards over at Apartment Therapy. You need to log in to vote, but it’s worth it. Daniel truly deserves to win this.