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The Home Office

Annie and I attended a presentation at the library in Norwalk, CT shortly before moving to Colorado. As the morning progressed I realized that almost all of the 300 or so attendees were self-employed, as are we.

The Great Recession has created a challenging course for many capable, talented individuals, who are hitting the street with new businesses, mostly one-person shops. This is a gigantic shift towards a different way of living. These new businesses need a place to call “home” and that place may very well be “at home” in the Home Office.

The big difference between getting up and going to work “at the office” and getting up and being “in the office” is that somewhere in your home life a desk, storage, and information handling devices need a place to land. Creating space for the unique needs of a work environment is often about taking existing square footage in your house, or condo, or town home, and installing a desk. Sometimes though a more radical, architectural solution is required.

In this small New England house, the owners both had local businesses that needed room to bloom: she a yoga studio and he a bakery and coffee shop. They wanted a lot from their small house … including bedrooms for returning young adults (back from college), a master suite, and large first floor living areas. The obvious solution was to go up!

Catoonah Stairs_2424We engineered a roof-lifting full-length dormer on the attic level utilizing the existing fairly steep stairs, accessed through the guest room. By doing so, we created ample room for the new home office as well as a small comfortable sitting area with TV. We built the desk and built-in bookcases from standard (hand-selected) lumberyard knotty pine, sanded, stained and varnished.

The windows, which echo those in the master suite’s design, are Marvin awning units. Because this area is up under the roof, careful ventilation and air conditioning was necessary to remove the hot air that accumulates in attic areas. The grille, just above the desk, and its sister unit across the room are high return ducts taking the warmer air at the ceiling level and recirculating it back to be cooled and delivered at floor level.

The lighting is Lightolier low voltage – crisp and clear for general illumination and desk luminescence.

Sitting high above the surrounding landscape, this home office is a great place to muse, read, or sit and watch a movie … maybe even get a bit of work done.

Read more about this full house renovation at The Little Red House.

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