Home Office Makeover: From Dull to an Emerald Gem
By Becky Harris
This fashionable mom needed a chic command central where she could run her household and keep her family's schedule organized. More important, she wanted a spot where she could spend time with her 2-year-old son, who loves to keep her company while she takes care of business. Knowing her client's keen eye for fashion and unabashed love for animal prints and emerald green, interior designer Jennifer Reynolds set out to create a home office that could double as a playroom, without looking like one. Here's how she incorporated storage solutions, spots for everyone in the family and swank style into this workspace.
My client really wanted barn doors; the challenge was how to make them superchic," Reynolds says. She found five late-19th-century panels from China's Shanxi Province at the August Avery showroom at ADAC and knew she'd found the right doors for the barn door track. She backed the open parts with seeded glass for privacy. The doors' intricate caved patterns inspired her to repeat a Greek key motif throughout the room, using geometric patterns to balance the animal prints.
Reynolds and her client have plans to transform the remaining pair of panels into a headboard in the guest room.
The room is all about layering," Reynolds says. "We also balanced important splurges with savings." Two rugs cover the floor - on the bottom, an inexpensive and easy-to-clean cut and bound broadloom carpet with a laser-cut Greek key pattern. Layered on top, a cowhide with a zebra print provides a favorite spot where a toddler can play. Reynolds tucked his toys into the baskets and lower cabinets, and put her client's items out of his reach.
The 2-year-old's favorite perch is an elegant ottoman, covered in an emerald green and blue raised-velvet leopard pattern. The customized desk has two pencil drawers that face this side for his drawing tools.
When it came time to splurge, Reynolds knew where it would count. The ottoman, desk and desk chair are all from Hickory Chair. "These are investment pieces that will become heirlooms," she says. "Plus, they are so well made, they are indestructible -- they can stand up to a 2-year-old."
The desk is tucked into the corner, opening up the view to the rest of the room and out the large windows. The desk has a customized pencil stripe detail around the edges that contrasts with its dark finish.
Reynolds saved big on the wire mesh in the built-in cabinet doors. She priced black wire for the doors and found out that component would run about $2,000. "I went to the home improvement store, picked up white wire mesh and spray painted it instead," she says. "It only cost me about $60."
The desk chair sports a subtle oversize animal-skin pattern in plush cut velvet. It has emerald piping that picks up on the other accents. The desk lamp has a handmade pattern that plays off the Greek key motif.
Faux painting is a huge part of the design, as is a mix of metallic accents. Faux-painting artist Kevin Bruce created a Venetian plaster look in emerald green on the ceiling, with an antique gold Greek key detail around the border. If you look closely, you'll see that the wall on the right has a very subtle metallic stripe. Reynolds had him pull the pewter color from the zebra drapery fabric. Finally, Bruce gave the cabinetry a gray-wash patinated look, painting the back of the cabinets as well.
The ceiling light that ties in the squares and the antique gold was a big splurge, but Reynolds scooped up the leather chair, the antique panels she used on the door, the side table, the funky green vase and the desk lamp at a sample sale at ADAC. She also scored the fashion paintings for a song at a big-box home store.
"My client's husband is a professional athlete and a big guy, and he needed a big, comfy chair," Reynolds says. "There is a spot for everyone in the family to hang out in here together."
In all of the layering, Reynolds mixed in many patterns, finding a balance between the animal prints and geometric patterns. "Everyone needs a little zigzag somewhere," she says about this petite bombe chest made with bone inlay.
While her client appreciates high fashion, she's no diva - nothing in here is too precious, and it all stands up to a toddler armed with markers and toy hammers.
Now that you've seen the finished space, here is a peek at the 12- by 12-foot room before the makeover.
See the designer's rendering