When thinking of creating a home office, you're probably looking for a place that will allow for quiet concentration, provide creative inspiration, or maybe even seclude you from the outside world. What you're not often thinking of are the kids. But, for one young Baltimore family, that was top of mind in the home office of their historic 1915 brownstone.
"They have three small boys all under the age of seven," says designer Saudah Saleem (who can relate—she's a mother to five). "They're extremely busy at work, so they wanted this to be an office, but also a place they could spend time with the kids."
The first step to making that a reality? "We didn't want anything that was too precious or breakable," emphasizes the designer. So, Saleem looked to indestructible materials, like performance fabrics (on the chaise and patterned curtains) and a machine-washable rug from Ruggable.
Still, the room looks grown up, thanks to a deep green hue on the walls "that just kind of envelopes you as you walk in," says Saleem, as well as the preservation of traditional elements, like the wainscoting and original glass doors.
"I tried to maintain the traditional feel but bring in elements that fit a contemporary family," explains the designer.
A contemporary family that knows contemporary workspaces, too: That handsome desk actually converts to a standing desk, and incorporates USB ports in its drawers. Coupled with the rich materials, bold patterns, and the eclectic mix of art and objects—which Saleem sourced online largely from throughout Africa—though, the space feels anything but corporate.
"The clients wanted a space where they could work and unwind, but also one that sparks thought and reflection on visionary ideas and includes representation of the African Diaspora," says Saleem. Driving that point home is a pillow from Don't Sleep Interiors bearing a quote by James Baldwin.
It might come as little surprise, then, that the family now uses the office for much more than work and family time: "It's the first room you see when you walk in the house, so when they entertain, they'll often do drinks in there," the designer shares. The design, which Saleem summarizes as "stylish, accessible, and functional," effectively set the tone for the entire home.
"It's really become just a sort of sanctuary," Saleem says of the space. "They're in there all the time." No better proof of a successful design than that!
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