The remodel we’re doing in downtown Durango has a cozy workspace built into a sizable pantry. When the homeowner first described her vision for this space, I was hesitant that she’d feel like she was in a closet. In practice, it has turned out to be a logical, bright, quiet space to work on the computer and still be near the center of the household action. No irony intended, it also has plenty of shelf space for paperwork.
There is an art to incorporating a work desk into a kitchen or other non-office. I find the biggest challenges are how a built-in desk impacts both aesthetic continuity and traffic flow. Donna Peak has written a helpful piece on kitchen offices at Timber Home Living magazine online.
Peak takes on the aesthetic and traffic challenges with the following, general suggestions. Read the full article here.
- Use part of an island. I love this solution because you can hide the “office” look in the island cabinetry. Add a tall bar stool and you’re all set.
- Convert a niche. Look for the awkward or unused space and design an office into it.
- Think tall and thin. Most office spaces focus on short and wide ~ think about the design of most desks ~ while most kitchens can’t accommodate that much space. Instead, utilize tall and narrow spaces for either a stand-up desk to quickly jot off bills, or to add a tall stool for more in-depth work.
- Bridge the gap. Peak suggests examining the “dead” space between the kitchen and living room in an open concept floor plan. Add a built in or desk that aids the flow and makes that usable space.
- Use a hutch. The thought behind this solution is that you can hide all the clutter most of us have in our offices and on our desks. I support that idea, but I would counsel that you build this idea into the early stage design of your kitchen. Whether you opt for a piece of furniture that you place in the space or for built in cabinetry, without allocating space for this in your design, you risk negatively impacting traffic flow.
For those who don’t want a dedicated office space, a kitchen office is a fantastic option. Let’s be honest, most of us end up working in the kitchen anyway, right? In order to ensure a kitchen office is as functional, as it is attractive, incorporate it early in your design stages. Be sure to include plenty of electrical outlets, ergonomics for long periods of seated comfort and keep an eye out toward dual purpose aspects of the space. In other words, keep the space looking like a kitchen, with the secret that it’s an office, too.