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Dreaming up a beautiful home office

Annsley McAleer, of Annsley Interiors, created a “cheery and comfortable” children’s work space at a home in West Newton.

Ben Gebo

Annsley McAleer, of Annsley Interiors, created a “cheery and comfortable” children’s work space at a home in West Newton.

Like many people, I work from home. These days, virtually all houses include some type of workspace. It’s great to be able to wear yoga pants on conference calls, to take mini breaks to do the laundry, and to click away on the keyboard in the frenzy of a deadline while my 2-year-old naps. But mentally leaving home mode and entering work mode can be difficult. The key is to create a personalized space that inspires you to work. Read on to learn how local design professionals approached the schemes of three very different home offices.

Student study space

A room off of the kitchen in this West Newton home is carved out as a study area for the homeowners’ school-age children. Built-in cabinetry ensures that materials are organized and the desk surface was crafted out of a Caesarstone top. “Being a children’s work space we wanted it to be cheery and comfortable to promote them going in there to work,” says interior designer Annsley McAleer, of Boston’s Annsley Interiors, who created the scheme for the room. “But we didn’t want it to be so crazy it was overstimulating.” For lively textural appeal, the ceiling was sheathed with a Phillip Jeffries grass cloth wall covering. The ceiling is high, so the patterned element doesn’t make the room feel confining. Since the walls and built-ins are white, bursts of color were introduced with the blue and green China Seas fabric on the roman shades and armchair; the lightweight blue Lucite chairs are by Kartell. “Workspaces are so personal,” says McAleer. “Right off the bat you need to understand how it’s going to be used and what’s important to the person who will be using, right down to the things they want to have on their desks every day.”

Tranquil and spare

Eck MacNeely Architects designed this Block Island office to meet the homeowner’s goal of a vintage feel.

Warren Jagger

Eck MacNeely Architects designed this Block Island office to meet the homeowner’s goal of a vintage feel.

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“No one wants to work in a basement dungeon. Home workspaces should be just as nice as the rest of the house,” says Jeremiah Eck of Boston’s Eck MacNeely Architects. In this residence on Rhode Island’s Block Island, the office is located on the home’s lower level. The 10-by-12-foot room has a bank of windows that overlook a verdant yard. “There’s good natural light and a nice view,” says Eck of the serene, pared-down room. The walls and ceiling are clad with white vertical wood paneling. To stand out in contrast to the white wood, Eck called for the windows to be painted black. For ventilation, the top of the windows crank out and the bottoms open, which gives access to great breezes. The concrete floor — selected for durability and its unconventional appeal — is painted with shades of green that recall the landscape. The homeowner sought a vintage feel for the room, and old school maps hang on one wall, while an antique phone is affixed to the opposite one. A vintage desk and cabinet were found at the Brimfield Antiques Fair.

Room for two

“The office space should feel like the rest of your house,” says Phoebe Lovejoy Russell of Lovejoy Designs, who designed this room for a husband and wife in Weston.

Michael J Lee

“The office space should feel like the rest of your house,” says Phoebe Lovejoy Russell of Lovejoy Designs, who designed this room for a husband and wife in Weston.

Both the husband and wife wanted a space from which to work at their Weston house, so interior designer Phoebe Lovejoy Russell of Lovejoy Designs found two pickled oak desks and sited them facing each other. Desk chairs, upholstered with striped Malabar fabric, are on casters. “People want the functionality of traditional office chairs, but they hate the plastic tops,” says Russell. “It was great that we could customize this comfortable chair with fabric and nail heads.” A tall cabinet stores books and work materials. “You can see from the kitchen, through the living room all the way into this room,” says Russell. “So we wanted something decorative — not an eyesore, that was also functional.” The pickled oak piece has a glass cabinet door on top; the bottom cabinet door is solid and shelves inside are adjustable. “The office space should feel like the rest of your house,” says Russell who points out that with today’s technology, less space is necessary for storing files. “You don’t need file cabinets much anymore, that opens up a lot of creative options.”

Jaci Conry can be reached at jaci@jaciconry.com
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