It’s hard to feel at home in an office that isn’t… in your home. I’ve gotta wonder who these people are who design office furnishings and equipment. Black, white, silver and stained wood veneer seem to be the only shades in the palette. That’s why I worship anyone who can paint outside that box. Designer Nancy Powell, who with her daughter Bethany Brower make up the design firm Powell Brower Interiors, recently sent me pictures of an office they designed for two independent financial planners in Warrenton, Virginia—where they shopped residential retail rather than big-box commercial for this charming space. Here’s Nancy to explain:
“A commercial office space doesn’t have to be any less cozy than your own home,” is what we said when recruited by two entrepreneurs looking to decorate their new financial planning business. Their vision was to make it “beach-professional.” Their vibe included spa-like colors and soothing tones. Their color scheme was teal, aqua, gray and purple—the colors that make up their logo. With opening day only six weeks away, we knew we were up for the challenge.
Due to a fast-track timeline, we had to source non-custom furnishings, but we did manage to squeeze in a few unique features that were handmade locally. A custom barn door in the restroom (to hide a nonworking shower), an L-shaped desktop for the printing station and a cabinet to house the beverage center:
To set the tone, we selected Benjamin Moore’s “Windswept,” which proved to be a beautiful contrast to the contractor-white molding and trim. Within the beachy-professional vibe, our clients wanted to include a blend of traditional and contemporary lines to appeal to the wide spectrum of clients they host in their office.
This new office space juxtaposes youth and confidence in a small southern town steeped in tradition. Light tones, earthy materials, greenery, contemporary art and colorful carpets greet the customers when they come in to discuss their financial futures. The soothing palette puts people at ease as soon as they walk in the door.
The office manager greets clients in the simple, yet stylish reception room.
Rounding the corner to the rest of the offices, there is a gallery wall of the partner’s families to help clients know that family is first, and that they have their best interests in mind.
Some of the retailers we used on this job were Bassett furniture (dining/ conference table), West Elm (upholstered and leather chairs), RugsUSA, Cymax Stores (desks), Craigslist, and Home Goods. All these sources have quick delivery, while custom pieces often take 10-12+ weeks.
Our clients felt that the decor helped land them several new clients right off the bat, while helping them feel at home, while easing in to this new chapter of their careers.
When designing an office space, you don’t have to use cold, standard office-grade materials. Take the time to reflect individual personalities and convey your message through your design. Walking through a welcoming door to a place that has touches of home makes people instantly feel at ease.
Warm wood tones
Layer in rugs and curtains
Pictures to personalize the space