On the Interior

How local interior designers stay inspired and productive from their home-based workspaces.
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home office

Not all home offices are filled with leather-bound books or drowning in a menagerie of materials—at least not for these Sacramento-area interior designers. Sometimes they’re as simple as an organized tabletop. Other times, they’re mini havens of inspiration. From provisional to permanent, here’s a glance into their work-from-home (WFH) setups to give you ideas on how to add functionality and personality to your own. Plus, we take a peek into the workspaces of some Sacramento professionals who’ve moved their operations home.

Rebecca Plumb, Studio Plumb

WFH setup: Recently converted the original formal living room into Studio Plumb headquarters

rebecca plumb home office

“I brought in a huge conference table that a few people can work around and that I can spread projects out on. I also have a traditional desk setup with an extra monitor to maximize my productivity. My daughter loves to build forts under the conference table, and both her and the dog enjoy dragging toys in to ‘redecorate.’”

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Claire Fishburn Jones, Etch & Ivy

WFH setup: Recently redecorated her home office

claire fishburn jones home office

“I created a sanctuary—a place where I feel relaxed and inspired. I find myself wanting to go into my office, because I enjoy the vibe so much. I have all of my favorite things in here: design books and magazines, art, pictures of my family, plants and my favorite candles. It’s similar to a lot of client spaces that I do—clean lines, colorful and lots of personality.”

Kerrie Kelly, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

Kerrie Kelly home office
Photo by Nick Franco.

WFH setup: Has been working from her home office for two years

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Photo by Nick Franco.

“The ‘everything has its place’ and ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach allows for my nights and weekends to be filled with friends and family activity. For example, the secretary desk that I work from can go from full-blown ‘KKDL Central’ to a makeshift bar in a snap!”

color pallet
Photo by Nick Franco.

Elizabeth Akopyan, Design Shop Interiors

elizabeth design shop interiors

WFH setup: Temporary and tranquil

“I am definitely an introvert, which helps me be more self-sufficient and super focused. What I love about working from home is the serenity and peace it gives me. I love to have my windows open, looking out to my neighborhood. I make it very Zen with lit candles, incense sticks, calm music and a cup of tea.”

exteriors

desk

Kristine Renee, Design Alchemy

WFH setup: Temporary and transitional—from the couch to the kitchen table.

kristine renee home office

“My vibe is ‘make it work.’  I clear some space and set up. I have a tray with all of my paperwork and samples that comes out when it’s time to get in the zone. At the end of the day, the tray and materials are put away, and the space is reset and accessorized for the evening.”

Lori Brazier, House of Brazier

WFH setup: Her permanent office is detached from her main home

lori brazer home office

“I designed it to be functional for all of my work and necessary storage and also a fun, inspiring and creative place to design. I have two desks for workspace, as well as a coffee table. I also put in a sofa, because it feels more inviting, and sometimes I’d rather be a bit more comfortable than sitting at a desk. It gives me options.”

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Laura Neuman, PepperJack Interiors

PepperJack Interiors

WFH setup: Has always worked from home (since launching in 2003)

pepper jack home office

“Interior design is full of papers, books, samples and more paper. So I can never have enough horizontal space to spread out, think and do my best work.  Like many others in creative fields, the IKEA filing and bookcases are my go-to storage pieces. I also fashioned an IKEA kitchen island into my office workbench.”

My Home Office

With social distancing in place, small business owners and employees have had to scramble, shifting to an online business model virtually overnight. Dining rooms, couches and kitchens have all been reimagined as workplaces—and many of them come with built-in co-workers: four-legged friends, kids, spouses and an invisible new hire who keeps making a mess. For those who have been forging a digital path, there have been more challenges, like being unable to turn off work and missing their usual teams, as well as a few perks, like sleeping in and spending extra time with loved ones. Here’s how Sacramentans are faring in their home offices during COVID-19, plus a peek at what those workspaces actually look like.
-Luna Anona 

Ryan Lundquist

Owner/Appraiser, Lundquist Appraisal Company

ryan lundquist home office

Best thing about working from home: Five years ago, I built a home office after we moved to a different house. Previously I had an office in a bedroom, but this space is totally separate from the main house, and it makes a huge difference because there is a sense of peace and no kids yelling in the other room while playing Call of Duty. 

Worst thing about working from home: Its not always easy to turn work off when my office is right there. Also, while I like not having a commute, sometimes having a few minutes to detox after a long day would be nice rather than jumping straight into family life.  

Biggest surprise about working from home: Ive had a home office in one form or another for 17 years now, so there arent too many surprises, but sometimes neighbors dont always understand that Im actually working even though Im home. 

When I’m not working during the quarantine, I’m: Probably scrolling Twitter too much, taking my dog Ollie for a walk, running so my pants still fit when this is all over, and doing as much woodworking in the garage as possible. 

Go-to lunch during the pandemic: I never plan lunch and just sort of grab whatever is easiest at the moment. Today it was a piece of fruit and some lunch meat.  

Lindy Hobbs

lindy hobbs home office

Co-Owner, P2O Hot Pilates & Fitness

Best thing about working from home: Sleeping until my body tells me to wake up.  

Worst thing about working from home: I miss my P2O Hot Pilates & Fitness “family” so much! I’m used to connecting with an amazing community of people, in person, daily. It’s very different to be outside of that routine.  

Biggest surprise about working from home: We have had to quickly implement a live virtual studio. I am surprised at how awesome the virtual classes really are. Even though I don’t get to see everyone in person, I am still able to connect with familiar faces, faces of past members who have moved to all areas of the country, and new faces. I still feel like I am able to coach not just to the group, but individually.  

When I’m not working during the quarantine, I’m: Creating my own personal look book: Polaroids of outfits on the back of my closet door so that I never again say, “I have nothing to wear!”  

Go-to lunch during the pandemic: Egg and cauliflower wrap, kale, slice of vegan cheese, Beyond Burger, egg fried in coconut oil, pink Himalayan salt.  

Sonya Bradley

sonya bradley home office

Chief Marketing Officer, Visit Sacramento   

Best thing about working from home: Playing my music a little louder.  

Worst thing about working from home: I’m not around the greatest work team that anyone could ever ask for.  

Biggest surprise about working from home: It’s more tiring than I thought it would be.  

When I’m not working during the quarantine, I’m: Getting through a few more books a little faster—and a lot more People magazine.  

Go-to lunch during the pandemic: It’s simple, so it’s mostly still a salad, but with a few more tasty morsels.  

Susan Stewart

susan stewart home office

Owner, Strapping Store in Oak Park  

Best thing about working from home: I actually love working with my wife. She has been banished to the house for work as well, and both of us work really well together. We don’t normally get to spend a ton of time together because of our busy schedules, so it’s been nice spending time with her. (Although she shushes me a lot because she has been on way too many Zoom conference calls.)  

Worst thing about working from home: I never stop working. I seem to roll out of bed and start working and forget sometimes to stop. We are basically re-imagining our business by putting everything online for customers, so there is always something to do.  

Biggest surprise about working from home: I thought I would be distracted and lazy, but I’m working a lot. Here’s a dumb thing: I realized my cats have an actual schedule, and I know now when all of their nap and play times are.  

When I’m not working during the quarantine, I’m: Trying to get a little sunshine. I’m a big golf nerd, so I try to hit golf balls in the backyard. (I have a net.) I also love video games, so when I give myself the time, I love to play games.  

Go-to lunch during the pandemic: I’m just a big child that loves a PB&J. I’ve been eating a lot of mixed nuts—I like to pretend that I’m a ’50s businessman with a bowl of mixed nuts and a drink in a fancy glass while I work on the computer. I’m a total dork.  

Traci Nystrom

traci nystrom

Parks and Recreation Director, City of West Sacramento  

Best thing about working from home: The commute! And my home office is dogfriendly.  

Worst thing about working from home: 1. I’m the janitor. 2. I miss the companionship of my colleagues.  

Biggest surprise about working from home: Seeing neighbors walk by that I never knew existed!  

When I’m not working during the quarantine, I’m: Binge-watching Tiger King, teaching/taking yoga classes online, walking my dog during daylight hours, and finding lots of new house projects for my husband to take on. I just ordered a Peloton and I can’t wait to start using it!  

Go-to lunch during the pandemic: Leftovers from whatever my husband made the night before, or I order takeout from local restaurants.  

Aubrey Aquino

aubrey aquino home office

Host, ABC10’s Your California Life  

Best thing about working from home: Being with my family, especially my boys, all day. 

Worst thing about working from home: Being with my family, especially my boys, all day. 
Biggest surprise about working from home: It has been an easier transition than I expected!  

When I’m not working during the quarantine, I’m: Walking around the neighborhood, doing live workouts on Zoom, schooling my kids and binge-watching my favorite shows and movies.  

Go-to lunch during the pandemic: Yesterday’s leftovers or tomato soup and a grilled cheese.  

Ivy Griffin

ivy griffin home office

Director/Owner, Thrive Therapy and Counseling 

Best thing about working from home: Sleeping in later—and comfy pants!  

Worst thing about working from home: When my cat freaks out every time I close the door, or cries and bats at the door during serious moments in my sessions.  

Biggest surprise about working from home: It’s felt more natural than I expected, and I’ve gotten to be a “fly on the wall” and learn more about my husband’s work.  

When I’m not working during the quarantine, I’m: Going for two walks a day, sitting in my backyard reading (currently reading “There There” by Tommy Orange), Zooming and having a beer with friends, watching season three of Ozark, or debating with my husband about how many carbs I’m bringing into the house and what steps to take to sanitize our groceries.  

Go-to lunch during the pandemic: Trader Joe’s premade salads or a frozen Amy’s meal. 

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