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Urban Loft Home Office

Designer Kenneth Brown transforms a bare room into a hip office.

Before: Bare and Boring
Designer Kenneth Brown says a home office doesn't have to look boring and business-like. Instead, it should be a reflection of the entire home. Read on to learn how Kenneth gives this bare room a business mind with a hip attitude.

After: Welcoming Home Office
Kenneth's challenge with this home office is to make the industrial space feel warm and welcoming while making it functional as a dedicated home office. Along with a new layout and a bigger desk, natural materials and vintage pieces come into play to create an industrial home office with plenty of personalization.

antique desk lamp — Downtown
cable for suspended shelving
(Y0001CR, Y0010, Y01CR, Y02CR) — C.R. Laurence
cork floors and wall covering — Linoleum City, Inc.
desk hardware
(LH-1670) — Liz’s Antique Hardware
desk and alcove storage — Ken Johansson Fine Furniture
glass shelves — National Glass
Lucite chair — Bamboo Colony
chair in gray flannel — Room Service
wall paint
Powder Blue — 2863) — Sherwin Williams

Here's how Kenneth creates the look:

  • A built-in desk covered with wood-grain white laminate lines the perimeter of the low wall giving the homeowner much more storage and writing space. Chrome and leather door pulls bring a sophisticated touch to the contemporary look of the laminate.
  • The ultra-white walls are painted smoky blue, which is a serious but not stuffy color for this sleek home office.

  • The homeowner is skeptical at first but Kenneth convinces him that a cork floor and wall treatment is the perfect raw material to complement the other industrial elements like exposed ductwork and concrete flooring. Cork is a natural, inexpensive material that's soft underfoot. The cork is even carried onto the baseboard for a completely seamless design. If you like this material and decide to install it in your own home, Kenneth says to create the seamless look by staggering each tile so the lines don't match up.
  • In the open space above the desk, Kenneth installs glass shelves with a wire cable system, which creates more storage and display space. The transparent quality also helps to preserve the openness of the loft.
  • A piece of personal artwork showcasing items chewed on by the homeowner's puppy softens the serious side of the room. Each piece is showcased in a shadow box with captions that include fake Latin names describing the object.
  • A vintage lamp from the 1940s is incorporated into the room for a touch of intense color and interesting history. The green resin base is a striking element against the predominantly blue and white room. The existing hardware is replaced with a contemporary nickel fixture and the glass shade is removed in favor of a rectangular shade. Here are a few tips from Kenneth when working with lamps, new and old:
    • Always rewire vintage lamps because the existing hardware can be a fire hazard.
    • To choose a new shade, look to the base for shape and style direction (a round shade with a round base, a square shade with a square base, etc.) In the home office, Kenneth chooses a rectangular shade for the square green resin base because it helps to extend the size of the lamp making it a more dominant feature in the room.
    • Choose round-shaped lamps and shades to soften the feeling in a room and go with angular bases and shades to strengthen it.


    • Antiques from Downtown
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