Dwelling: Good Working Order


Home offices that make work a pleasure, not a chore

Oh, happy day. You figured it out. You work at home now.

So no more whining to the boss about your desk, your chair, your cubicle—it’s your job to make your home office work.

How? For starters, don’t be a cheapskate. Get what you need. You probably already know what that is, so create a budget like you know your office is going to make you money. You don’t have to go overboard, but you do have to make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable and productive—maybe even whistle while you work.

Here’s a look at how three local home office workers are doing just that.

Creative vision

Office of: Anne C. Staines

Title: Owner and chief marketeer of ProProse, a public relations, advertising and social marketing company

Previous home office experience: A bedroom inside her home

This space: The former pool house and one-car garage of Staines’ Arden-Arcade home. She remodeled the combined 600-square-foot space in phases to include a suite for up to four employees (at most) and a private office for her.

The basics: Beaucoup storage throughout, workstations for each employee in the larger office suite, and a roomy office with a desk of slab glass for Staines. The suite includes a bathroom and kitchen with cherry wood cabinets and granite countertops.

Enviable aspect: An outdoor kitchen that serves as Staines’ conference and meeting center. It overlooks her massive vegetable garden and mini orchard.

Creative hurdle: Cabinetry to fit oddly shaped spaces. Techline Studio of Rancho Cordova did the custom work.

Why/how it works: Lots of natural light, kitchenette tucked into a corner, walls in bright, cheery shades of blue, green and yellow, and easy escape to the backyard for breaks

Clever move: Staines’ office houses her paints, canvases, brushes and an easel. “That was one of my goals,” she says. “I wanted to have all my art supplies close at hand so I could work on paintings without having to put everything away and then get everything out again when I had the time.”

Resources: Papa Construction, (papaconstruction.com), Ikea, Techline Studio (furniturethatfits.com)

Classy and comfortable

Office of: Paulette Bruce

Title: Owner of Paulette Bruce Public Relations and Good Eats, a cooking-class company

Previous home office experience: A bedroom in her home. “I always felt cooped up,” she says. “It was dark, and I was anxious to leave—all the time. This one, I just love.”

This space: A former bedroom/game room upstairs in her Land Park home

The basics: Black-leather office chair, TV, wood dining table she bought online from Target, commercial-grade carpet, corner cabinet that was once her grandmother’s, rocking chair she got when her first son was born

Enviable aspect: The second-floor office is at treetop level, quiet and roomy.

Creative hurdle: Stripping off blue-and-white checked wallpaper

Why/how it works: Secluded, comfortable, everything within reach

Clever move: Files organized in baskets outfitted with hanging folders. Bruce found the baskets online and the racks (made for food service) at Costco.

Resources: Ballard Designs, Costco, Office Depot, Target

Form is function

Office of: Bradley Rist

Title: Regional vice president of Chicago-based DWS Investments, Deutsche Bank Group

Previous home office experience: None

This space: About 250 square feet in Rist’s downtown loft. Every piece of furniture functions. There’s zero clutter, but this executive has everything he needs to do research, make phone calls, write e-mails to business associates and communicate with the main office.

The basics: Lustrous black-leather chair, laminate-topped desk with enough room for a laptop or two, adjustable task lighting, commercial-grade carpet, no-frills bench for extra seating, and simple shelf unit for stowing stationery, books and reference materials

Enviable aspect: Corner office, with spectacular downtown views through windows that stretch (almost) from floor to ceiling

Creative hurdle: Keeping work and personal items together yet separate

Why/how it works: Open, clean, clutter-free; minimal file fixtures

Resources: Patti Williams of Design Within Reach, 1020 16th St., Sacramento; Ikea