In celebration of passing a professional landmark, I decided to redo my office about five months ago.
I wanted something more upscale, and I wanted everything to be environmentally correct. I wanted all metals to be at least half recycled, wood to be from sustainable growth forests, finishes to contain no volatile organic chemicals, and fabrics to be natural.
The problem was where to get stuff that met those specifications. Most of the really neat products are not available on the retail market. They are sold only to architects and designers.
Therefore, I needed to let a design professional create my next office for me. I'd never done anything like that.
I looked around and found a company (Enviornetx in Itasca) that sold environmentally-friendly office furniture on a business-to-business basis, and they recommended a designer....
...who walked into my self-designed office of black steel and glass and screamed.
Well, she didn't actually scream. She just announced that it looked like the office of Darth Vader. "Who was your last decorator? Skeletor?" she asked.
"Well...you know...black goes with everything and one can usually find glass and metal furniture at the local office supply store, and..." At that point I gave up trying to justify myself. I told her to go to work.
She did. I've just completed my first week of working in the new office.
Actually, she really did hear me. Everything I told her about my work style and preferences is reflected in the finished design. There is a lot of wood--all from sustainable growth trees. The media cabinet had to be shipped from Ontario, but it is perfect. It's made of recycled steel finished with a textured paint that almost glows. The cockpit-like desk of rock maple from Izzydesign holds all my equipment perfectly, with the wires invisibly concealed in raceways suspended under the desk surface.
There's new art too. A "Tree of LIfe" sculpture hangs on the wall above my desk made from concrete by a local artist. Edmund Blair Leighton's 1901 painting "Accolade" hangs on another wall printed onto canvass. Two diplomas and one award were removed, and the other awards and diplomas were rearranged on the walls.
It does look good. In fact better than good. There were some rough moments, as when she announced she intended to put a carved mahogany throne in the office. "You're going to put a what, where?" I said. "I don't think a throne is quite the style point I'm trying to capture in my office." She smiled and promptly ordered a museum reproduction celtic throne from somewhere in Great Britain. Here is a photo of what it looks like:
I've got to admit the throne works. It's not my working chair (she gave my aging back an Aeron Ergonometric Chair by Herman Miller) but the throne ties together the different woods in the office, adds a touch of whimsy as well as a curved line that breaks up the otherwise linear effect of the room. It also provides a place for a third person in the room to sit in case my hypnotic client wants to bring someone along.
Mostly the designer threw stuff out. The office is much more open. The closet was fitted for a Metro storage unit and electrified so that my shredder and other small electronics fit there. There is a gorgeous new rug from Europe, a lamp from Italy and even a new set of low-profile Bose stereo speakers.
So I'm glad I did this horrendously expensive thing. The office is stylish and uncluttered. It's a neat effect with just a few well-chosen pieces and I couldn't have done it myself.
Now if I can just remember where my stapler is kept I'll be in good shape.
If you want to get a sense of what the end result of all this looks like, I've updated the photo gallery to show the new console.