25 creative home offices
For $1,000, including materials and labor, her designer removed the closet pole and added an upper covered storage area, a floating middle shelf, and a work surface with an almost-hidden drawer. Says Menuck, "I hardly ever close the doors."
Design Paris Renfroe Design (651/233-0063).
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Perforated steel siding from a metal-supply shop lines the wall behind the desk; Stavropoulos clips his plans to it when he’s working. Sold by the sheet, it can be cut to any size.
A “shadowless” translucent skylight illuminates the work area, so supplemental daytime lighting isn’t necessary.
“The first time I saw it, it was very close to falling down, but I thought it was fantastic,” says architect Geoffrey Holton. “It was like a little piece of history on a typical suburban lot.”
Builders stabilized the tower and added flashing to make it waterproof. They restored the windows and added a ring of transomlike windows at the base of the tower. After finishing the interior, the old ranch water tower is now a cozy home office.
The solution? Working on a budget of $25,000, Brettler transformed the family's two-car garage/poolhouse into her workspace.
Design Linda Brettler Architects, Los Angeles (323/935-3999)
Cover the door with self-healing vinyl board cover (available from art and drafting supply stores). The closer you can get the board cover to the exact size of your door, the better.
Stencil a basic measuring system onto the board cover, and you'll never need to hunt down a measuring stick.
Time: Four hours plus drying time
Cost: About $175
Large openable skylights that double as windows fill the area with natural light making it perfect for detail work. Sconces just above the work surface add even more illumination.
More: Creative attic ideas
"It's small, but we’ve all found a different use for it when guests aren’t visiting," says Maltzman, a fifth-grade teacher. He uses it as a quiet getaway where he can grade papers.
Steal this idea: Create a family message center using a montage of cork tiles and magnetic white boards
Her secret? This tiny home office, housed in a converted potting shed in her Santa Cruz, California, backyard. Here she can steal away from her domestic responsibilities to write, study, and pursue breaking news stories for the Associated Press. "Being detached from the house is key."
More: Eco-savvy garage
More: In plain sight
Design Carleen Cafferty, NWSID, Interior Design, Seattle (206/768-2565); Karla Arnold, Through the Garden Gate, Seattle (206/972-8166)
Design Rik Adams, Mohler Architects, Seattle (206/709-3070)
It puts inevitable clutter out of sight.
Design David Coleman Architecture, Seattle (206/443-5626)
"There isn't a distinction between life and work now," says Lee Riddell. She and her husband Ed work side by side in a studio lined with books. A long horizontal window in front of their desk frames a stunning swath of nature.
Design: Will Bruder Architects, Ltd., Phoenix (602/324-6000)