I am excited to have fellow designer, Kelly Finley, back for her regular “Breathing Room” series where she discusses space planning and design. However, I am even more excited to officially say congratulations to Kelly and her husband on the birth of their beautiful daughter! This month, Kelly uses one of her recent projects to explain some of the spacial concepts she introduced in her first column …..
For the next installment discussing space planning, I thought it would be helpful to look at one of my actual projects to begin to understand how the space planning process works. So before we get into the nitty-gritty of space planning, i.e. the mechanics and tools needed to properly plan a space, let’s discuss an office space that had a few space challenges.
In this project, my client bought a townhouse that was previously used as the model for potential buyers. The developer turned one of the bedrooms into a gym with a full wall of mirrors. My client didn’t need a gym or a wall full of mirrors (or at least that’s what she said J) but she did need a home office. Interestingly, the mirrored wall was the least of our concerns as the desk placement turned out to be more of an issue when designing the space. (We decided it would be too costly to remove the mirrors and fix the dry wall so we came up with a plan to cover it.)
As you can see from the before pictures, the mirrored wall was the only wall without any obstructions or openings. The wall with windows was the longest one in the room but the view was of the street in the townhouse community plus there were restrictions because we needed to be concerned with leaving enough space for the entry into the room. The other walls were either too short because of the closet or door openings.
The only direction I received from my client was that she needed as much desk space as possible. After touring the rest of the house, I noticed a comfy antique chair that previously belonged to her grandfather that I thought would be great in the space. With this information in hand, I drafted several space plans to show her the different options available.
For the first option, I went with a typical (legal) office setup. I placed a regular size desk in the middle of the room but created space for a custom built-in along the back wall that would provide extra work space as well as much needed storage. Additionally, this option would allow us to block the majority of the mirrored wall while benefiting from the mirrors effect of making the space look larger. We decided not to go with this option because I was concerned about the walkway into the bathroom with the desk in the middle of the room and the chair in the corner.
In the second option, I moved the desk to the window wall and kept the built-in. This option would keep the center of the room open and therefore give more space for the chair and the walkway. However, I thought the room looked awkward. Plus the likelihood of her using the built-in cabinets while sitting at the desk was slim and therefore her overall desk space was limited.
The third option included an L-shaped desk in the corner of the room while converting the closet to storage space. This option was essentially a variation of the second option but created a better flow and was more visually appealing.
My client went for the third option which satisfied her need for desk space and my need to ensure that there was adequate flow around the room. We initially planned to create a custom desk to make sure to maximize the workspace but we found a desk that was the right size (not quite as large as the initial design but still sufficient) as well as being modern. After this discover, the space came together beautifully and my client has been happily working in her new space.
I’ll be back next month to discuss the most common methods and tools used to properly plan a space. Be sure to send any questions to Courtney and I’ll try to work them into a future post.
Thank you Kelly! It is always so interesting to see where different designers go with a space especially when it’s so different from what you originally envisioned. You can find more of Kelly’s work on her blog, Joy of Design.