From the October/November 2021 Issue  

Work Flow

Writer Meg Fox

With the surge in the number of people working remotely, the home office has never worked harder. These highly coveted workspaces have also spurred a renewed emphasis on their design and how well they function, motivate or inspire. We share three spaces that have earned their keep in unique, personal, high-style ways.

Dark and Handsome


“The office was a fun project because it gave me the opportunity to incorporate a darker color into the house,” which is otherwise light and bright, the wife says.

Built-ins house a motorized television that disappears when not in use. Chevron-patterned drapes add a finishing touch to the gentlemen’s club feel.

Inspiration for the husband’s office started with the Colts Neck, New Jersey, home’s original architectural blueprint, which is framed and displayed in the center of custom built-ins. “He wanted a very masculine and contemporary space,” interior designer Yelena Gerts says. The designer consulted with the owners on the office and other main living areas of the home (see “Everyday Elegance,” Design NJ, December 2019/January 2020, page 75). To offset the light and bright areas of the rest of the home and give the office a modern gentleman’s vibe, the owners chose a saturated charcoal/blue-black paint scheme, says Gerts, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and principal of House of Style & Design in Holmdel, New Jersey. The crisp white geometric ceiling treatment — built by George O’Reilly of George O’Reilly Carpentry in Jackson, New Jersey — also commands attention. “We didn’t have a sketch for the ceiling,” the wife notes. “George would build small examples for me and then we just came up with the design.”

Another of her favorite features is a motorized television lift that can be raised and lowered in the cabinet without detracting from the overall design. “I don’t like how TVs look on the wall,” and the lift mechanism “gave me the wall space to display the architectural drawing of the house,” she says. A printing company replicated the drawing on black paper with white ink — a color combo that “fit so well” in the room, she says. Though the office was designed with her husband in mind, “I’m finding myself working in there more than he does,” the wife says. So do their children, who favor it as a quiet study zone. “I’m so happy with how the room turned out.”

SOURCES interior design, collaboration by the homeowner, House of Style & Design in Holmdel and George O’Reilly Carpentry in Jackson; all millwork, George O’Reilly Carpentry; table and chairs, RH; chandelier, Williams-Sonoma Inc.; chevron-patterned window treatment fabric, Brunschwig & Fils; paint, “Baby Seal Black” by Benjamin Moore.

It Takes Two


“The white lacquered worktable was chosen to complement the color and materials of the custom wall unit,” designer Lori Levine says.

This office resides in an elegant circa-1901 Victorian home in Morris County, New Jersey. The space served as the formal living room before the interior was reconfigured into an open floor plan to accommodate today’s more contemporary lifestyle, says interior designer Lori Levine, an associate member of the American Society of Interior Designers and principal of Lori Levine Interiors in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Having worked on other areas of the home, Levine had a good feel for her clients’ aesthetic. “One of the homeowners is in the tech field, so I knew that clean and uncluttered would resonate with him,” she says. In addition, “I like to mix old with new while still honoring the history of the home.”

Before working from home was the norm, “my clients had jobs that required both of them to have a home office,” Levine says. A double-sided, non-traditional partners desk was created so they would have the option to use either side separately or together. The desk lifts hydraulically and can be programmed for individual height preferences. One side has a treadmill for those long Zoom meetings; the other has a chair that can be adjusted based on the height of the desk.

A custom wall unit allows for plenty of storage while the open center showcases personal items. “The owners have an extensive contemporary art collection,” Levine says. “The piece we displayed over the fireplace draws you into the room and is a wonderful juxtaposition to the existing traditional fireplace.”

SOURCES interior design, Lori Levine Interiors in Basking Ridge; custom wall unit and hydraulic desk, Dean Zisa of Sage Design Studio in Chester; worktable, Roberta Schilling Collection (T); leather chairs, GJ Styles (T); hydraulic desk chair, Knoll; artwork, homeowners.

T= To the trade

Dressed for Success


“We wanted the dark hue of the cabinetry to extend around the room so we painted all millwork the same color,” designer Alma Russo says. The addition of a large-scale dimensional butterfly design above the desk anchors the homeowners’  collection of butterfly prints hung together for impact.

Mary and Art Guerrera’s home office in the Navesink section of Middletown Township, New Jersey, is visible right off the front entry. As a result, it had to be beautiful, functional and related to the coastal feel in the rest of the house (see “Blue Streak,” Design NJ, December 2020/January 2021, page 48), says Alma Russo, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and principal of AR Interiors in Holmdel, New Jersey.

The space is showcased behind transitional three-panel glass doors that welcome sunlight and views. Cerused oak guest chairs with their “shutter” backs are also inviting and airy, Russo says. Other design elements deliver the handsome, cozy feel the homeowners wanted: Regent stripe gray flannel wallpaper from Ralph Lauren that mimics men’s suiting, a plaid window treatment and saturated dark gray built-in cabinetry.

A challenging soffit became a design opportunity. “We created a tray ceiling based on the one soffit and wrapped it in crown molding, which became a lovely architectural element,” Russo says. Built-ins were designed for maximum efficiency with ample storage and open shelving to showcase accessories.

SOURCE interior design, AR Interiors LLC in Holmdel; custom built-ins, Viscon Builders LLC in Little Silver; cabinetry, Yorktowne Cabinetry; library sconces, Visual Comfort; Regent stripe gray flannel wallpaper, Ralph Lauren Home; window treatment fabric, Duralee.