Nice day at the workstation, darling?

Home working is on the increase, but an office needn't take over your living space.

ME PLC is one of the fastest growing companies in the world today. Jerry McGuire tapped into the feel-good factor of the modern day Davids who defeat the corporate Goliath. Entrepreneurial spirit, e-mail and the increasing instability of salaried staff jobs have made the home office a crucial part of the urban interior. Space is at a premium in any major city. Few of us have the luxury to convert a whole room into the home office. A work station has to be integrated into a living space.

Rhonda Drakeford and Harry Woodrow, graphic designers

Graduates of St Martin's, Rhonda Drakeford and Harry Woodrow launched Multistorey, a graphic design consultancy, from their ground floor flat in South London. Their office, shared with a surly black cat called Humphrey, is the larger of two bedrooms. "Work space had to come first, because we need a lot of desk space and floor space when we work," says Drakeford. "We've put a clothes rail rail across one wall to give us more space in our bedroom, but that doesn't get in the way."

"We don't like to work exclusively with computer graphics," says Woodrow. "We like work to be more tactile. So by the end of the day, I'm knee deep in paper, wood, glass, whatever." Yet apart from the clothes rail and the desk, the office is surprisingly minimal. Two Charles Eames chairs, part of a set of four, stand behind a home-made desk. These were not cheap, but "when you're designing on a computer, it's important to have the right chairs," says Drakeford. Behind the desk is a piece designed for the Urban Retreat Aveda salon in Harvey Nichols. Images from other projects, like the interiors department of American Retro, lie on the desk under Humphrey.

One of Harry's St Martins pieces - inspired by The Good, The Bad & the Ugly - dominates one wall of the office. The partnership, living and working together, is balanced. "Harry is the only person who can criticise me and I will listen," says Drakeford. "The only thing we do disagree on is me only being allowed to smoke in the kitchen."

Multistorey, 0171 735 1809

Charlotte Schepke, director, the Agency Contemporary Art Gallery

Charlotte Schepke found the ultimate solution for the home office in her Belsize Park apartment. Her central office is in her gallery in EC2, but she needs to work at home, too. Her flat is open plan - apart from the bedroom and bathroom - so the workstation would have to fit in with her living room/kitchen. "I think it is unhealthy to sleep and work in the same room," she says. "But I wouldn't feel comfortable with a desk in the corner of my living room. When I want to relax, I don't even want to see evidence of my working life." Already familiar with the work of designer Anand Zens, who designed the celebrated interiors of Belgo Noord and Ecco, Schepke commissioned the maverick designer to make a hidden home office. Zens built two concave cabinets into the parallel corners of her living room, flanking a central fireplace.

Built on castors, these doors - inlaid with shelf space - roll back to reveal a high-tech computer system, desk and library enclave. "This was a very special, unique commission from Anand," says Schepke. "The concept was to completely clear any clutter from the living space. Anand said he could paint the units into the scheme of the room so they would look to the naked eye like a rather strange wall. I wanted to feature them and I like the grain of the birch wood he used". They are heavy as an Egyptian sarcophagus to roll open. "I have over a hundred art books and catalogues which I didn't want to display in my living room. I particularly like the concept of closing a door on my working day and shutting it away for the night."

Anand Zens, 0171 793 9598

Anna Ryder-Richardson, TV interiors producer

Anna Ryder-Richardson, new girl on the BBC's Changing Rooms, is one of the chattering classes' favourite targets. Even on a brief holiday in Barbados, she was accosted by a discussion group round the pool, debating her choice of tangerine and lime for one changed room. "My home office is living proof that Changing Rooms isn't fixed," she says. "I really had 48 hours to redecorate, because the BBC publicity department wanted to photograph me at home." Living in an apartment behind the King's Road, Ryder-Richardson says, "I chose location over space. I've made an office space out of the smallest corner between my sitting room and kitchen. If I didn't work at home, it would be a breakfast bar. As it is, I only need my laptop, telephone and draftsman's drawing board. I've intentionally steered away from industrial style. When I moved in the walls were grey, the carpet was grey. It looked like a dreary office anyway. I laid the bleached wood floor first then painted the entire place beige. But you get so bored with beige and bleached wood." Now the kitchen/office/sitting room is a symphony of sugared almond pastel. "I don't like painting all the walls a uniform colour. So I chose aquamarine, duck egg blue and a yellowy green." She then whipped-up the gently curving desk and shelves herself. Knocking an egg-shaped window through to the kitchen lightened up the office corner, as do the aluminium blinds from Ikea. "My bar stool- style desk chair and bakelite telephone are Fifties retro from Flying Duck in Greenwich. A home office should never be too sober or humourless."

The new series of 'Changing Rooms' starts on 10 March at 8pm on BBC1

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Recruitment Resourcer

    £18000 - £22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Recruitment Resour...

    HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

    £350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    Account Manager (Junior)

    Negotiable: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Account Manager (Junior) Account ...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried