Monday, March 7, 2011

Let's set up a home office 'at auction'

So many of us work from home some, or even all, of the time. If home is your office, you are spending at least 8 hours a day in that space, so it should have serious design consideration. Too often we furnish it with the least interesting items, when, if we consider the time usage, we should put our best efforts in to the decoration.

Both these photos from Living Etc magazine illustrate that wonderful combination of modern and traditional, which give these home offices real character. In the top photo, they took a 1950's metal desk and painted it a fun red. There is a wonderful Biedermeier cabinet at the entry, and the brick walls have big graphic modern art on display. I would enjoy walking in to that office in the morning to sit down to work.

The office in the bottom photo pairs a traditional desk and lamp with a modern lucite chair. Overhead hangs a fabulous looking chandelier for that added touch of drama!

So taking these ideas as a start, let's find one dramatic piece as the anchor and work around it. It might be a chandelier, a special desk, a chair, or a graphic piece of art.

Doyle New York  has an auction coming up March 9th. It's their Doyle@Home auction which is often filled with items that are great for decorating your home. If we start with a graphic piece of art for our home office, I've picked three examples. This one is Lot 33. It's by Gabriel Godard who is French and was born in 1933. This is titled 'Automne' and was painted in 1966. It's oil on canvas, measures 39.5" x 32", and has an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200.

This painting makes me happy!  It's Lot 10, was painted by Patrick Boudon (1944 - 1988),  and is acrylic on paper. It measures 24.5" x 18.75", and has an auction estimate of $300 - $500.
This painting is by Antonia van Diest (born 1948), a Dutch artist. It's oil on paper, and measures 29" x 21.5". It's Lot 20, and has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

Each of these three painting would serve as a great focal point for your home office, whether it's part of a room that is dedicated to work, or one that is multi-purpose.

A fabulous chandelier will really make a design statement in your home office. It can be serious or fun; traditional or modern.  This Italian molded glass chandelier was sold at a Christie's auction in New York for $375 off an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000. It's 25.5" tall. It has a sort of 1950's vibe, and I just love the look.
Wright in Chicago has a 'Modern Design' auction coming up March 31st. I love this iron and glass chandelier. What a statement this would be! It's 38" tall and was designed by Eric Hoglund circa 1957 in Sweden. It is Lot 384, and has an auction estimate of $3,000 - $5,000.
This pair of ceiling lights designed by Jacques Biny in France, circa 1950, has a cool masculine vibe. Use one or both over your home office desk for style and great task lighting. These are Lot 322 in the Wright auction, measure 16" in diameter, and have an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000.

Obviously we need a desk! If my office space was a bit on the small side, I would pick this desk for size and cool modern style. This is French, and is made of lacquered wood and birch. It sold at a Christie's auction in New York for $1,063 off an auction estimate of $2,500 - $3,500.

The Wright auction includes this George Nelson steel frame desk made for Herman Miller circa 1950. This is Lot 422, measures 48" wide, and has an auction estimate of $300 - $500. It's sleek, and so mid-century. Pair it with a simple lucite, or Eames style chair to complete the look.
 There are lots of traditional style desk options at auction. I am not very keen on the heavy oak desk style. Alternatively, this France tulipwood and parquetry desk is simple and chic. It sold at a Christie's auction for $625 off an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000. Pair it with a more modern chair to mix up the style a bit.
Similarly, this bamboo desk and chair have a relaxed traditional look. The light color is also nice because it wouldn't overwhelm a space. This sold at a Christie's auction for $2,125 off an estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

Finally, we need some place to put our printer and some supplies. Try a tea cart that can be moved around the room to have it where you need it while you're working , and pushed away when you're not. This cool Austrian mid-century tea cart is included in the Wright auction, Lot 372, and was designed in 1950 by Carl Aubock. It's made of beech and has an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000.

Your home office should make you happy when you sit down to work. It should also say something about you, and reflect your style. Include one or two key design statements, and the rest almost won't matter.

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