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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Project Manager

    Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album