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  • Gwen Callan

Making Way for Office Space: Phase 1

Updated: Nov 4, 2020


THE GOAL: Clear Space & Define Functions

We’ve all been home for a time now, during this new normal. We’ve spent the first few months with great vigor, trying to accomplish the long to-do lists that had backed up in our busy lives.


We organized our kitchens, under out sinks, our bathrooms, cleaned our closets, cleaned the garage, started a vegetable garden, worked in our yards, washed and sorted our laundry and then cleaned our laundry rooms. We’ve spent hours ordering food online, with jointly failed attempts at procuring hand sanitizers, toilet papers, napkins, and disinfectant swipes. We’ve probably been cooking more than we ever have. Many of us are working from home, learning how to effectively use virtual meetings instead of personal visits; by now, some of us have visited our doctors online.


We are learning a new lifestyle, clutching our face masks before we leave the house, making sure we have sanitizers. We’ve learned to do our own nails, and some of us, to cut and color our own hair. We’ve relearned Fifth-grade math and Tenth-grade Calculus, and have wired our homes for internet access in every room… When we fall in bed at night, we are exhausted from not just the sheer work of all of these chores, but our minds are reeling with worry and concern. We fear from Covid, and we fear for our loved ones. Have we done enough?


Hopefully we have all realized that to live this way, we need a smoothly operating home base, and that is where designers come in…..Our design criteria has changed but our design principles have not. Where once at home we used to have the luxury of rooms that functioned for only one purpose, we now need multi-functioning spaces and rooms that perhaps do not have the old “name tags.”


... Our old formal dining room is now a family study hub.

... Our old family room for TV is now a room that requires additional seating because we have more people living with us.

... Perhaps our “bedrooms” used to be for sleeping but are now also key refuges for privacy and studying.

... More are sharing bathrooms.

... And more than one cook is hanging out in the kitchen.

If Interior Design is outfitting your space to fit your needs, your needs are outstripping the outdated models we have established until now. This is important because we need to really study the flow of our houses from room to room and find solutions to allow each occupant to have a “place” to go for their various activities.

I would urge you to look at function first at this time, and perhaps write down for what you use your room. See if the space and layout of the room meets the requirements of the function. Perhaps there is a different space in your home that would be better ...?


Now might be the time to bring your desk into the living room, find an attractive storage piece that would hold your paperwork, and a stylish task light.


A good place to start is to look at the rooms you are NOT using. How can you re-purpose? During this time, people are not coming into your houses to visit, and you need the space for what you and your family actually do.

If you can limit the functions of each space in your house to one or two functions, and spread it throughout your house, you can each find a little more space to relax, work, eat, prepare food, study, be on the phone, computer, or TV, and have your house flow seamlessly.


Tip: If there are objects, or items you are not using or enjoying, put them away for a while (a labeled box in the garage or attic); an off-site storage unit. You might discover you do not miss a lot of what you have, and that you need less than you think you need. Use that free counter, tabletop, furniture top, bookshelf for what you need now.


And aesthetically, if you can limit the items you have to look at, clean, rearrange, move, walk around, you will find some joy in the open space you have cleared. This will be your starting point to the path of transforming your space to function for what you are doing today.


Stay tuned for Making Way for Office Space: Phase 2 ...


SHOP THE LOOK: Clear Space & Define Function


Shoot me a line at gwen@gwencallan.com to order any of these great pieces or other options!


This desk is a stylish addition to any small space:


And pair with one of these desk chairs which double as dining chairs.




Store your office "stuff" in one of these vessels: