Working Woman’s Retreat

Everyone has a room in their home that’s ignored. It’s the place you put junk—the old coffee table, the baby chest that’s been outgrown, the piece you crimped on as a newlywed. In my home, that room is my office. Even when we renovated our ranch years ago, I excluded it, saying, “I just don’t want to spend money there. Only I go in there.”

  • Category
    Homes
  • Written by
    Linda Grasso

Everyone has a room in their home that’s ignored. It’s the place you put junk—the old coffee table, the baby chest that’s been outgrown, the piece you crimped on as a newlywed. In my home, that room is my office. Even when we renovated our ranch years ago, I excluded it, saying, “I just don’t want to spend money there. Only I go in there.”

That was all fine and good, until I started my new job as editor of Ventura Blvd. Suddenly the lovely writer’s desk I’d bought in Santa Barbara became an unsightly mess that hampered my effectiveness. It could accommodate my desktop but little else. Junk was piled everywhere in boxes, baskets— any container I could find. Plus, sunlight poured through the windows, dappling my computer screen. It was time.
Cut to Margo Lea, a petite, friendly local interior designer with a keen ability to take on a girl with expensive tastes but a firm budget. My instructions were simple. First, everything had to be from the Valley. Second, I advised, “I want an office that’s organized but that’s also comfy, soothing and pretty.”

“Ahhh, a working woman’s retreat…” Margo quipped. I knew I was in good hands. “I wanted to create something stylish and functional,” she explains. “I also wanted to respect the existing traditional style of Linda’s home, while bringing something a little more modern to it.”
The designer’s first tasks were to select paint (Restoration Hardware) and custom-design the desk. Next, blinds were added to complement the desk’s wood stain tone.

Then, the shop. We zeroed in on the wing chair and console. Margo says, “Both offer a little modern twist as well as elegance and interesting detail, such as the inlay on the console.” The blue and green side tables add a punch of color and tie-in with the wall hue. 
For art, Margot selected two traditional, botanical prints with modern framing. “They add sparkle, and the see-through glass offers an unexpected peek at the sea-foam-green walls.”

We also bought inexpensive frames for family photos hung over the desk, for a personal touch. And we softened the look of my rudimentary—but necessary—bulletin board by backing it with pretty paper from Paper Source.
Finally, accessories. To add desktop storage as well as texture and beauty, we selected the charming watch clock and the ample leather basket for papers.

Two months later, my office feels more like a retreat than some place I have to go. It feels finished yet still casual, like me.
Margo’s pleased too. “The exciting part of the challenge was to find all the pieces here in the Valley. It really was fun to shop locally and easy to find beautiful pieces. Sometimes restrictions can turn into a blessing.”

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