Interior designer Josh Hildreth says he has never loved his home more than he does now. During the pandemic, the man behind Josh Hildreth Interiors and DMG Interiors (which recently opened a location in Falls Church) began working from his home full time. Here, Hildreth gives us a peek inside his work-from-home space and talks about the importance of design and more. See highlights from our conversation below.
Walk us through a typical day at home right now and throughout the pandemic.
I have never loved our home more than I do now! We are on a small lot in DC, but sit high off the street and at different elevations than our neighbors. We have treehouse-like views. The architecture is 1891 farmhouse meets 1970s Hugh Newel Jacobsen. Work days begin with coffee in the sunroom or out on the back patio, almost always accompanied by our dog, Cotton, and shelter kitties, Ranger and Tonto. Work in the season of this pandemic involves a short trek up to the third floor or what we call the “garrett.” I was fortunate to have a large, unused open room where I am able to work in a socially distanced way with our Architect Robert Cox and Senior Designer Melanie Hansen while we waited for our new office in Virginia to be finished.
What has the change to at-home work been like for you?
I have really enjoyed the at-home work, but it has required upgrading the internet, investing in ergonomic work furniture and improving our storage capabilities so that I can store more material samples to reduce trips to the design center. I like being able to step outside into the garden and talk to clients and sometimes pull up weeds popping up in the garden while we chat. On nice days, we are able to have socially distanced meetings in the garden which has been a boon to mental health. It is also nice to be able to use the different rooms in our home to give more variety to our work environment. The sunroom is great for small meetings, the library is wonderful for design research and the kitchen is the place I like to lay everything out for presentations because of the beautiful light and ample surface space.
Describe the theme or feeling of your home office space.
The theme for our home office is functional, comfortable and safe. Our space is studio-like in feel with skylights above and windows that provide generous sunlight. Underfoot, I chose to use a much-loved antique oushak rug that is alive with warm red tones with touches of saffron, slate blue and nicotine colors. To preserve and maintain the rug, I ordered clear-glass chair mats from Vitrazza. For office chairs, I chose the incredibly comfortable Trinectic task chairs from Boss Design UK.
How does your at-home work space atmosphere influence your workdays?
A lesson learned from more observation has been following the sunlight. The library and the sunroom are wonderful places to meet or work in the mornings thanks to the light and both happen to be not far from the coffee pot. We have a large farm table in our garden that has become an ideal place to meet outside with sales representatives or to work on a pretty day. I find that working at home I move around a bit more than I did at the office, which improves concentration and keeps the mind fresh. Dog walks have also become an ideal time to combine a break and to return phone calls.
Where did the design inspiration for your home office space come from?
I was fortunate to have some great things I already owned that were not being used. The rug came from a former home and had been rolled up in storage, a quartersawn oak dining table became a desk and furniture from our Reston office was recycled. What was most important to me was finding a safe way for our team to have a way of working together in person when being virtual was not ideal. The layout was driven by function, but beauty was not forgotten and shows up in what is my very favorite of all rugs that we have ever owned.
Is there a big significance to any of the products you have on your home desk or in the home office space?
I like to keep recent design magazines with bent corner pages and design books that have inspired me close at hand. This is true also of fabrics and other design materials.
Are there other rooms in your house that have served as a haven for mental escape right now?
The sunroom is my favorite room to go to when I need to mentally detox. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball Orangery, which brings instant happiness into a room. It is a deep, orangey yolk color that I swear looks good with everything as a wall color. The furniture is very comfortable and the room really has the feeling of being in the trees. Five minutes of quiet in this room is like a meditation for me.
Do you have any quick tips or words of wisdom for those trying to redesign their work-from-home space?
Think about work spaces as more than just one space. I find it good to have a home base, but be willing to move around. Sunlight is good for the soul and make sure that you embrace it! Make sure that your primary work chair is comfortable. The right chair is very important. Also, I like a big screen when I work. Monitor arms are a great way to provide more desk surface space and consider two screens to avoid having to go back and forth.
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