One of my greatest gifts is helping people – especially women create more space in their lives. This past week I had the pleasure of working with three amazing women – all at different stages in their lives, to claim a space for their desk and their passion. A desk is never just a desk is it? It’s a space to create, work and express ourselves. Below is the first of a series of case studies that I hope you will find informative and inspiring. Today I am featuring Jane – a Gen X Journalist who lives in a garden apartment one bedroom in Brooklyn Heights.
The Gen X Journalist
Jane* lives in Brooklyn Heights and is a journalist for the NY Times. When she called me, she said “I’m retiring and I’ll be working freelance from home. I need help setting up my home office.” When I arrived I was surprised to see a hip Gen Xer far from retirement age. Jane is simply “retiring” from a traditional work model – claiming space for the way she really wants to live – a new variation of the old theme of having it all.
The Goal: Create A Home Office
I started by having Jane sit at different spots throughout her apartment to determine which spot had the best energy – the kitchen table, a desk in the bedroom and a little alcove between the kitchen and the back yard. We ruled out the alcove immediately – too busy, too cluttered, too much going on – besides, Molly, her Wheaton Terrier had already claimed the space. The kitchen table offered a lot of space but then where would she eat or entertain? We ruled it out even though Jane had her heart set on putting up a whimsical chalkboard with all her assignments.
We settled on the bedroom. It has great light, is very spacious and has a calm, creative energy that supports Jane in writing her column and composing her music – another passion of hers. There are two closets, one for clothing and one for storage that contains out of season clothing, boxes of old journals and other memorabilia. The clothing closet is next to the desk and the storage closet is on the other side of the room. We decided to swap out the storage and clothes closets and use one half of the storage closet for as a discreet extension of her home office.
By tucking a bookcase into the closet, Jane will be able to neatly store her office supplies, notebooks, reference books and music “stuff”. She can also put her printer/scanner on top of the bookcase for easy access. The closet door can be closed when she is not working to keep the space neat and prevent the “office” from taking up too much space in the bedroom.
|Potter Barn Swivel Desk Chair|
Using my iPad, we researched desk chairs that fit the room’s aesthetic and Jane’s sensibility. Jane wanted to keep this affordable, under $200.
After ruling out the options at this price point, and with just a little bit of encouragement, Jane decided on a chair she’s had her eye on for years – an antique schoolhouse inspired swivel chair that matches her desk perfectly. It made her very happy and happiness promotes creativity!
We created a space for Jane that supports her work as a journalist, her passion for composing and fits in with her overall style and aesthetic. Now that the question of “where to set up the home office” has been resolved, Jane can go ahead and purchase that iMac she’s been wanting.
*Names and some details have been changed.
Does your home office support your work and creativity? If not, what are the challenges you are having? Post a comment below. I will personally respond to your post!