DC real estate agent Dina Paxenos called me first in 2013 to organize her home office in the Petworth neighborhood. Compared to many of my projects, Dina’s office didn’t look “that bad,” but she felt cluttered and wanted a clean slate. The rest of her row house felt like her, with beautiful art and mid century details. The office felt heavy though.
At first glance I could tell her office was the victim of many noble attempts to get organized. The evidence: disjointed systems and containers taking up too much space on every surface. Realizing that their contents were mostly trash and not grouped well, we were able to pare down the open shelving enough to remove it all together! Her two filing cabinets also underwent a major purge, and now she has just one! You can barely see it under her desk, but one of her favorite suggestions that she reminds me of every visit was the addition of a small Eames table under the desk that her printer now sits on.
Dina has me back every January to refresh her files for the new year and to review the rest of her systems. She got to the “after” shots a couple of years ago and has maintained the order ever since, but we only photographed the office a few weeks ago!
This may surprise you; she actually spends very little time in her office since its makeover, preferring to work at her large kitchen island. So many clients sound a little guilty when they admit that they forgo the square footage reserved for a spacious home office in favor of the kitchen or dining room. This is normal! More and more, home offices are the mothership, so we create satellite systems that flow in and out of the office. Offices commonly store archives and supplies, while allowing the more active papers to stay close to where they land elsewhere in the house - and will be actually used.