Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reader Request: Please Help Design My New Office

I have something fun to share with you today. I worked on an e-design project many months ago and it dawned on me this weekend that I never wrote about it here on Design Evolution.

I received an email from Michele, a high school Chemistry and Forensic Science teacher from Richmond, VA, who was recently appointed the Science Department Chair. Her position comes with a perk, her very own office. The only problem - this was the state of her new office. It's a long, narrow space with a wall of cabinets that was being used for storage.

office space before

Michele reached out to me to help her turn this awkward space into a place where she could escape for some quiet time to think or work and also have a place where the other teachers can come & have a cup of coffee and talk. To give me a foundation to work from she explained that though her home decorating style is more Pottery Barn but she wanted something totally different for her office. She was allowed to paint the space, her school colors are blue and orange, and most importantly she was paying for this project out of her own pocket and therefore had a very limited budget.

I cracked my knuckles (bad habit - I know) and got to work. Michele mentioned she would liked a fun modern space with a style influenced by West Elm and Ikea. Inspired by her career as a Chemistry teacher, I decided a mix of modern and vintage with science classroom themed accessories would create a more interesting space. I prepared an this initial mood board for Michele so she could see the direction I was heading and to make sure she was on board with my ideas.

office inspiration

She loved it, phew! I moved ahead with a more detailed design for the office. I decided to incorporate the school colors without it becoming blue and orange overload. Blue & orange are color compliments so it was easy to create a color scheme that looked great. I chose a soft gray for the walls (Benjamin Moore Classic Gray) with white trim. I shopped Michele's local craigslist, Ikea, Urban Outfitters, etsy, and encouraged her to reuse as much as possible to stay within her $500 budget. I created three mood boards - one for paint, art and textiles; one for the desk area; and one for the guest and relaxation areas to help Michele envision the overall design.

paint art and textiles room edesign

desk area office edesign


I created this google document with more detailed descriptions about the room plan, diy projects, and shopping information. To make shopping even easier for Michele I created a Pinterest board for her shopping list, some people are more visual than others so if a long list feels too overwhelming a visual board may make shopping easier.

And lastly, I whipped up a few quick sketches so Michele could see the furniture layout that I thought would work best in her office space.

floorplan office edesign


So what do you think of this science inspired office design on a budget? Do you have a room design that would like help with? If so I would love to help. Shoot me an email me to verdugo.designevolution AT gmail DOT com.

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  1. I'm lovin the beakers as flower vase. You gave great advice!


  2. Lovely. I was a teacher for 7 years and never had an office that felt this cozy and put together! I would love to see pics. of the finished space...