As a textile designer of her recognizable florals, buffalo checks, and punchy geometrics you might think that Caitlin Wilson’s home office would be as bright and bold as her patterns. But when Caitlin moved to Portland, Oregon she was immediately inspired by her new surroundings to create a more subdued workspace. “We found a newly remodeled home to rent with a generous sized bonus room overlooking the backyard that was perfect for an office space. The black wood windows beaming the new northwestern light were just what I needed to open my mind to a fresh new aesthetic. I find that I need solitude in my workspace to be able to focus on fresh new designs and ideas for my line of textiles, rugs, and wallpaper. Since this is a home office, I really focused on creating a space that I could retreat to and feel inspiration. “
Having a large enough space for an office in your home is a definite luxury, but what do you do when your business grows and you’re housing product and people all under the same roof? Caitlin Wilson Design has rapidly grown since it’s launch of fabric and pillows in 2011. And after moving 3 different times in the 4 years and expanding into rugs, wallpaper, and accessories- she’s become a pro at organizing and storing with style.
It’s important to organize your products and materials efficiently and beautifully when your studio doubles as your warehouse. Gold spray paint does the trick to give a utilitarian piece a touch of sophistication and a bit of glam. We spray painted a variety of items including the IKEA metal and wood shelving units and the metal rolling baskets used for packaging. I like to mix office pieces and home furniture where I can so it feels cohesive and comfortable.
A task lamp is always a good idea. They hardly take up any space and can be extremely helpful on tedious design projects during the winter months when gets dark in the early evening in the studio.
Although the office is one very large room, we separated the space into two workspaces. One area is for cutting and storing fabrics samples and the other is for desks and packaging. Using an IKEA basket system, we created one large storage wall. It was the best use of space to fill an entire wall and also makes a statement visually. We created a message board with one of our chalkboard props that we use for photo shoots since we don’t really have any closets. With all of our products and photo shoot props it can get really tight, so if we want to keep it we have to creative!
Accesorizing an office space is one of the best ways to give it style and personality without sacrificing functionality. It’s just as easy to use a pretty bowl or basket to store small items that you need readily available (and it saves you from taking up precious drawer space!)
My antique inspired rug collection was designed and developed in this space so naturally, we put Persian rugs under our feet wherever we can. They’re pretty and plush- so we can’t help but take our shoes off and get cozy at the end of a long day.
The wallpaper is an instant office update. In our wet bar area, we put up some of our Navy Spotted paper to give a boring space some personality. My rule of thumb on wallpapered accent walls is to use a paper with a white or neutral background. This allows it to look cohesive with the rest of the space because it ties in with the wall color.
Fresh flowers are an easy way to bring life and color into the office. Try to bring in flowers that will last for a while- and will add a fresh natural scent rather than air fresheners. You can never go wrong with peonies!
Every office needs some good baskets for storage and display. Look for the perfect sizes to store samples, paint decks, yarns, and products. We also keep project materials in stackable baskets so we can easily store them or take them on the go.
When I first started my business in 2011, I was the one packing and shipping the products so I know how monotonous it can be. I strategically placed the packing center to be right near a window so you can feel light and energy during the daily grind. I love how a wooden piece of furniture in an office can add some charm to an otherwise normal white working space so this inexpensive industrial console did the trick. I incorporated stylized chairs like this Bamboo Chippendale chair (Ballard Designs) in the areas where we aren’t sitting for too long to give it some visual interest. They are great for meeting spaces and sense I don’t sit really at all- this is usually just my perching place.
A barn door is a perfect feature for a home office because it can hide your piles and messes during client meetings and also beautifully display products for photo shoots.
Caitlin Wilson Gold Dot fabric by the yard
Caitlin Wilson Navy Buffalo Check fabric by the yard
Caitlin Wilson Lilac Buffalo Check fabric by the yard
There are undoubtedly some definite pros to having your workspace in your home. As a mother of three, I find that it is invaluable to be able to pop in throughout the day and check on projects and answer questions. It is separate enough that I never feel like it’s invading my personal space and yet I am able to stay current on our projects. It really is the best of both worlds.