Now more than ever, a home office is a must-have. Whether you have a designated office space in your home or a makeshift spot in a room with a different purpose, it’s key that the space works for you. Here are some of our local favorites.
Little Offices Everywhere
When Jamie Merida Interiors helped a McLean-based client relocate from a large traditional house into a sleek luxury condominium, the firm wanted to ensure the homeowner’s transition went smoothly—not just personally, but also professionally.
“Our client is a DC-area developer and bachelor,” says Merida, who worked on the project with lead designer Denise Perkins. “He was looking for a balanced, clean environment that would optimize working from home in a way that worked with his lifestyle. He wanted sleek and streamlined workspaces, with not a lot of clutter, that served his needs.”
Merida gave the homeowner not one, but three at-home work options. The main one is a designated office, with a built-in desk, drawered storage, and display shelves. It is designed to look like furniture, what Merida calls “a modern take on the French Directoire style.”
“The homeowner also curates art and objects, so we integrated those into the design scheme,” says Merida of the sophisticated, masculine space. This approach is carried through to the bedroom, where a custom-designed walnut headboard has built-in display shelves, as well as a pair of nightstands: one serving as a chest of drawers, and one functioning as a desk for using a laptop as needed. The main living room area also has an elegant glass-topped desk, which doubles as a sofa table, to serve the same purpose.
A Family Affair
Interior designer Shoshanna Shapiro of Sho + Co kept the whole family in mind when designing this office in a newly built home in Fairfax.
“Both the husband and wife have worked from home since COVID,” says Shapiro. “But they also have a school-age daughter, so we wanted to create a space where all three of them could work at the same time.”
The office’s main desk is custom-crafted and finished in the same blue paint as the built-ins for visual continuity. Though the desk is sleek in form and tipped in chic brass feet, it has a practical combination of cupboard, drawered, and open storage, as well as a pull-out work surface on the desk-chair side.
Behind the floating desk, a custom built-in wall features lower drawers and cupboards, with X-moldings, for hiding unsightly items like filing cabinets and office printers. It also has two integrated workstations on either side; shiplap detailing defines these while enhancing the unit’s overall aesthetic appeal.
“It’s not a huge space, so we incorporated the double workstations within the built-in and centered the main desk to face the window, so all three family members could maneuver around with plenty of space,” says Shapiro.
Brass library lights provide ambient lighting, and sunshine spills in through a large window across from the desk.
“It’s become one of their favorite rooms in the house,” she says. “And it has served them very well during the pandemic.”
Interior designer Mariella Cruzado of Splendor in Styling worked on this custom Vienna home from inception with architect Studio Z Design, builder R.J. Miller Custom Homes, and the C|S Design Studio. One of Cruzado’s favorite spaces was the home office connected to the formal living room via a shared two-sided fireplace.
“This room was designed exclusively for the husband,” she says, referencing the cosmopolitan couple who had the home built. “He has a full-time job running his company and has offices nearby, but he wanted to have the flexibility of working from home when possible. He also hosts informal business meetings that spill over into social time at the house.”
To achieve what she calls a “masculine, elegant, and empowering” office, Cruzado designed walnut bookshelves backed in antiqued mirror on the fireplace wall, as well as walnut paneling throughout the room. The walls above the paneling are wrapped in black sisal to break up the wood and add another texture.
“For impact, I matched the polished marble desk, with its stunning steel base, to the existing black marble fireplace,” says Cruzado. An intimate seating area for two was also created in front of the fireplace; the armchairs can face the desk for a meeting but also be brought together for cozy cocktails.
The lighting was done by C|S Design Studio, with fixtures including a pair of sconces in the bay window behind the desk, an overhead chandelier, and a lamp on a chest of drawers.
Andrea Maaseide knew the McLean home office she was tasked with creating had to be versatile. “The husband wanted a space to work, but also a place for the family to lounge, read, and practice their musical instruments,” says Maaseide of the space she designed for a married couple with two teenage daughters.
By first paneling the room and then adding a wall of custom built-ins finished in a rich gray paint, Maaseide made the space feel cozier, despite its vaulted ceiling. A central chandelier also draws the eye down.
“The lighting is very layered,” says Maaseide. “There are library-style lights on the upper edge of the built-ins to highlight the objects displayed on the bookshelves, as well as a lamp for the husband’s desk.”
A pair of wall-mounted sconces also adds ambient lighting and spatial definition to the sitting area across from the desk. It is furnished with four plush armchairs on swivels set around a custom-made ottoman with an emerald-green mohair top.
“This nook is a great way for the family to connect with each other without technology getting in the way,” says Maaseide. The parents can also entertain another couple there with cocktails.
With a rug underfoot, Roman blinds on the windows, and abstract art on the wall, this chic seating area transcends the idea of a home office.
No stone was left unturned in the redesign of this Arlington kitchen for a busy family with four school-age girls. In addition to the usual food-prep features, interior designer Lori Anderson Wier of Anderson Wier Studio reserved a niche tucked next to a walk-in pantry to serve as a home office.
“The space was intended as the family’s command center with places to sort and organize papers, post reminders, and keep track of all the things that pile up week after week,” says Wier. “Although it can be used as a professional workspace, its primary function has to do more with the day-to-day running of the household.”
Working with cabinetmaker Cornerstone Kitchen & Bath, Wier created a floating drawered desk as a work surface; it’s finished in the same honed Virginia “Mist” granite that matches the kind used in the main kitchen, millwork, paint finishes, and cabinetry hardware.
“To the left of the desk area, we included a section of vertical cubbies, where each family member has a slot for keeping track of homework assignments, permission slips, sports schedules, birthday invitations, etc.,” says Wier. “The inside of the door also includes a whiteboard for use as needed.”
A large linen-covered pinboard is also mounted on the back of the desk wall, holding the girls’ artwork. The whole space is task-lit by a clean-lined wall-mounted sconce with a flexible arm.