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A Modern Man’s Home Office

West Coast Editor Todd Talbot shows off his breezy home work space...a multi-functional room with a view and a nod to Don Draper

Many of us are working from home these days, and that requires a space that inspires creativity and productivity—while allowing your self-expression to shine through. If possible, start with a space that has plenty of natural light and be sure to incorporate great task lighting. Consider noise and distractions when choosing your location, too—efficiency is key when you are working at home. You want to be drawn into the room and feel comfortable there. Investing time and money into the design and furnishing of this space is money well spent.

Keep it multi-purpose

Unless you have more square footage than you know what to do with, most rooms in a house have to serve multiple purposes. My office doubles as our guest room. We eliminated the queen-size bed that dominated the room previously and substituted a sleeper sofa. With little kids around, we also use this space when my wife, Rebecca, or I need a ‘night of uninterrupted sleep’ or if someone is sick. It’s a great bonus.

Get creative with furniture and storage

Standard office furniture and storage can be utilitarian and ugly. Get creative with your sourcing and you can do better! We managed to find a rustic wood and metal cabinet through the in-home design program at La-Z-Boy. It’s outfitted with power for a streamlined printer station and includes a built-in filing cabinet. Stacking a separate piece on top creates extra space for books, memorabilia and office supplies. If you need to store larger items, look for creative solutions such as wire baskets, or perhaps a vintage wooden foot locker or old school lockers.

Repurpose vintage pieces

In my office, the bar is a transformed vintage record player that belonged to my grandparents. I gutted the turn table from the central compartment and replaced it with an array of single malt scotches. Just a little Mad Men homage. The desk is a chainsaw-milled cedar slab, which was hand-sanded and outfitted with $20 legs from Ikea. Vintage gems look great alongside the room’s modern pieces, including a leather and chrome chair from CB2, La-Z-Boy couch and coffee table. Taken as a whole, this eclectic mix becomes a welcoming and tasteful combination.

Hang your art

The best art has a personal connection and a story. For years, I had this stuff packed away in bins, but now I display a few choice pieces—a reflection of the journey that brought me here. One wall showcases a stick that belonged to my boyhood idol, Wayne Gretzky. The other displays memorabilia from a cross-section of shows that I have done over the last 25 years. There’s also a line drawing of a jazz band that I picked up in New Orleans and a nautical chart of Howe Sound, which helps me determine which island I’m looking at when I stare out the window. Everything in the room has a story, even a tiny old worn pair of my very first skis.

Breathing room

I am a “list” kind of guy, and I love to spread things out when I am working. Having a simple desk gives me the ability to work on multiple projects at a time but also has the perk of looking fantastic when everything is cleared and it is the focal point of the room. There is also ample room to add three or four more chairs for creative meetings. The couch and coffee table can be secondary work spaces when I feel the need to shake it up. When I’m on the phone, I pace. I love the space to be open enough to walk around the entire room or back and forth in front of the window when I’m on an important call. And the view doesn’t hurt much either! 

-by Photos by Janis Nicolay