A Small Change Sparks In-Depth Makeover
My client runs a small tax accounting practice in a downtown high-rise building. He was interested in making some changes in his office, but he wasn’t ready to commit to an overhaul. So our first project was very simple: I replaced a few mis-matched bookcases with built-ins shelves that would fill the alcove and provide a "landing space" for pulled files. The result of this small project is more shelf space and a more cohesive look across the entire wall -- and a happy client!
The office had very basic pieces of mismatching fake wood-grain furniture. All supplies were stored in open shelving, and tables served as the only work surfaces, so everything in the office was visible and the place was chock-full of dark furniture that filled every inch of space.
Reorganization: From Vision to Reality
My client sought a calmer, more upscale workspace. To achieve this, I brought in new furniture that felt smaller and lighter, enclosing much of the supplies behind doors, and visually separating the working and visitor areas. This would create a more inviting entrance area with less visual chaos. I differentiated the “guest” and “work” areas with different finishes to provide visual separation.
Consolidation and Definition: Keeping Like Things Together
I found shallow desks with overhead hutches and enclosed storage so computers and cables could be out of sight and supplies could be better organized at each desk. I organized the shared equipment such as the printers, microwave, and refrigerator in a deep bookcase that matches the desks and helps define the staff area. To make the fake-wood refrigerator blend in with the other (mostly white) components I painted the door with a special paint, and modified the bookcase to make it fit. Adjacent to the public area I placed a sideboard that holds general supplies mostly behind doors, and which serves as a common workspace for mailing and package assembly.
Placing Items Where They Are Most Useful – and Making Them Attractive at the Same Time
Next we tackled my client’s private office. We filled his built-in bookcase with reference books (instead of doodads) from the new guest area. To clean up the bookcase, I painted the lowest (counter-height) shelf a complementary near-black color, and painted and installed thin plywood boards to cover the egg-crate foam used as sound insulation. To create a sideboard effect under the window, I added matching bookcases and organized supplies and reference manuals. To enclose his printer and other equipment and to tame and hide the multitude of cords, I brought in a new, counter-height storage piece that matches his desk and offers additional work space.