Home office retreat

A transformed garage creates space for work and family
Lisa Taggart

Home life and work life had become far too intermixed for architect Linda Brettler. "I had an office room upstairs in our house," she says. "But once the kids started multiplying, it became impossible to work there."

The solution? Brettler transformed the family's two-car garage/poolhouse into her workspace. Working on a budget of $25,000, she removed one of the garage walls to create an outdoor dining area just beyond her office door, as well as a small storage area. She replaced the "ugly, giant" garage doors with a picture window facing the small yard. Cork floors brighten what was previously a concrete slab in the 272-square-foot space; orange- and green-stained custom cabinets create work zones.

Now the morning commute ― just across the yard ― is exactly the right distance. In the evenings, as Brettler designs residential projects at her desk in one corner, her four young sons keep her company at a glass pedestal table beside the window in another part of the office. Working together in this thoughtfully designed space makes the home-and-work juggling act a success.

DESIGN: Linda Brettler Architect, Los Angeles (323/935-3999)

Leaf decor. To block an unattractive view, Brettler drew inspiration from a son's preschool art project. Autumn leaves pressed between sheets of self-adhesive paper are sandwiched in panes of glass that are anchored by
a Douglas fir frame.
Homework table. Brettler designed this pedestal table as a low-cost alternative to ones she saw in stores. Seven-year-old Charlie, above, is often joined by brothers Marten, Arlo, and Ellis.
 
Style underfoot. "I wanted to do something fun with the floor, so I bought colored cork in 12- by 24-inch tiles. The idea is to look woven and asymmetric," says Brettler. She added polyurethane on top for shine and durability.Fall color. Double-sided cabinets, which provide access from each work zone, have an orange and green palette that was improvised after a disappointing first try with a lighter stain. Partially screening the table is confetti glass embedded with shards that pick up the room's autumnal hues.


Photos: Art Gray