A Creative Couple's Working-From-Home Hacks

HGTV Dream Home designer Brian Patrick Flynn shares tips for how he and his husband Hollis make their own home work when working from home — from office advice to finding workout space to DIY projects that will clear your head.

May 26, 2020

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Shaded Spot Outside

As more and more people are working from home, they find themselves conducting meetings via video chats. Liven things up for yourself and your colleagues by setting up outside with a natural backdrop. This will make the monotonous routine feel fresh and new for yourself and your coworkers.

Change Up Your Chairs

An excellent way to shake things up inside your home without spending a dime is to switch out pieces in unique ways. To add a quirky, collected look to the dining room, Brian gathered different chairs from around the house to create a mismatched look around the table which he currently dedicates for working on his designs.

A Breath of Fresh Air

In between video conferences and working on construction and floor plans, Brian sets up the covered outdoor area below his bedroom as a place to work in some cardio. Smartphone apps and timers are set up in a small tripod while tutorials can be streamed on Brian's laptop.

Keep It Contained

Homeowners adapting to working out from home may easily find that just a few key gym supplies quickly clutter up a space. Keep your gym equipment neatly contained in a vessel that's easy to move around from room to room.

Covered Area

If you're working from home and find yourself uninspired to do your daily workouts from the same spot you sit in all day long checking email, consider even the smallest of covered outdoor spaces for working in some exercise.

Tree Canopy

Since not all homeowners have covered outdoor spaces, sometimes any exterior space with tree canopy is an excellent spot to work in some exercise. This exposed deck gets harsh light most of the day, but between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. it gets a break in sunlight thanks to nearby tree canopy.

Studio With a View

The best view on Brian's property is from his main deck. Since this is the spot that makes him happiest, he chose it as the location for his makeshift art studio. Trees along the side double as a privacy barrier between the deck and the house next door.

Collapsible Easel

When space is at a premium and you're in need of a place to get creative and artistic, collapsible items can work wonders. Brian gave his sunny deck a brand-new purpose as a place to experiment with paint thanks to an easel that collapses down to 14 inches and fits inside a bag for easy storage.

Transform With a Tarp

The biggest factor in safely transforming the dining table to an art studio is this tarp. It's thick enough to keep dripped paint from seeping onto the table and also sturdy enough to easily fold up and store away when not in use.

Room to Spread Out

If your interior space doesn't allow you enough room for creative projects, consider taking them outside. Brian claims that the two or three hours he spends outside working on art or putting together mood boards easily gives him a fresh perspective and helps eliminate developing a case of the blahs.

Pack and Play

Brian created an efficient system for transforming his dining deck to an outdoor art studio with stackable storage boxes, a handled basket for supplies, an easel that collapses for easy storage, a foldable tarp to protect the table top and an antique stool that can tuck into a closet for easy keeping. All it takes is about three minutes to transform it from a dining space to an art studio or from an art studio back to a dining space.

Makeshift Gallery

Looking for something to cheer you up after so many days stuck inside doing the same old thing? As you create one-of-a-kind works of art, try regrouping them in different ways to change up their looks. Before Brian decides which room to hang each of his abstract works in, he lines them up along his deck railing to see which pieces pair best together.

Spread It Out

When Hollis, a costume designer, has large scale sewing projects, he needs plenty of space to spread his supplies out. He turned the entire bunk room of his and Brian's vacation home into a full-fledged work room for sewing.

Use What You've Got

With many people working from home indefinitely and a level of uncertainty, it can be a daunting task to consider buying new home office furniture. Why not just work with what you've got?

Creative Corner

This unused corner in the bunk room was reworked as a sewing station by pairing a folding utility table with an antique dining chair. When life returns to normal and the space is no longer needed for sewing and cutting, the table can be folded up and stored in a closet.

Make a Mess

If your work entails lots of supplies and tools which are certain to create a mess day after day, it's best to try and contain it all in a corner or a seldom used space which won't make the rest of the house feel disheveled. All of Hollis's sewing needs are kept on the folding table and off of the permanent furniture in the bunk room.

Hanging Space

When you're going to be working from home for an unknown amount of time, it's best to make every square inch of space work for you. Hollis took advantage of all vertical space in the bunk room by utilizing the ladders as a space to hang fabric samples before starting sewing projects.

Lightweight Printer

Although many documents can now be signed through e-signatures, it's still likely you'll have documents which need to truly be printed. Make it easier by keeping a lightweight or a travel printer on hand. Brian keeps his within arm's reach by simply placing it on an old dining chair tucked just beside the dining table. This makes his work day more efficient.

Pressure Wash Outdoor Furniture

Looking for instant gratification and a way to freshen up your outdoor spaces? Clean up your patio furniture with a pressure washer set to the rinse option. If set too high, it could potentially harm painted or stained finishes on wood or metal.

Add Bistro Lights

Prolong the longevity of any outdoor space by adding bistro lights. This shaded pergola deck is now excellent for hanging out after dark thanks to two 50-light strands attached with stainless steel cable clips.

Deep Cleaning

Breathe new life into baseboards and casings by thoroughly wiping them with hot water and vinegar using a sponge. Once complete, your trim will look like it was freshly painted.

Take It Outside

Break up your daily routine by doing some of your indoor activities outside. Instead of settling in after dinner, Brian and Hollis watch TV outside as the sun sets in their cozy pajamas and sweats.

Update House Numbers

Freshen up the front of your house or your mailbox with a new set of house numbers. Although small in stature, they can make a big difference in your home's curb appeal.

Like a Kid Again

Sometimes the best way to beat the blues is to do something that makes you feel like a kid again. The encouraging banner was made with simple crafting felt in an arrangement of bold colors in a fun message.

Shop This Look