Design Inspiration Work From Home

Leanne Ford Created a Makeshift Office With This Easy Reno Swap

It works great for rentals, too.
Lydia Geisel Avatar
black modern chair with wood desk

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Leanne Ford’s new house in Los Angeles was not ready, by any means, for self-quarantine. And yet like everyone else across the U.S., the designer and her husband, Buck Mason founder Erik Allen Ford, have found themselves working with what they’ve got—literally. But if anyone can turn around a proper office when there isn’t one, it’s Ford. “Even though my space is a full-on construction site, that didn’t stop me from moving in and decorating and getting comfy,” she says. Ford shares how she transformed the bare-bones room into a productive work environment, plus a few other ideas that will get you through the workweek easier.

Update the Fixtures

The magic is in the details. Ford kicked off the transformation by replacing all of the old, scary outlets and switches with new, modern ones from Legrand, including the adorne collection, pictured, and the brand’s Ultra-Fast USB outlets that help charge her phone extra quickly. A screwdriver, pliers, wire cutter, and stripper are all the tools you need to swap out your light switches for streamlined alternatives. 

The designer gets all her equipment from Hart Tools and relies on refresher videos and resources on Legrand’s how-to site when it comes to installing wall plates, dimmers, and switches. “This process is definitely renter friendly, because the products are designed to work with your existing electrical boxes,” she says. While we often think of changing the pendants, this simple upgrade is just as effective and (bonus) way easier. 

Don’t Overthink Workspace Decor

books stacked in window nook
Photography courtesy of Legrand

Ford grabbed a fluffy area rug, a basic worktable, and two Knoll office chairs from her husband’s company’s office to create a desk setup. Rather than stock the area with a stapler, paper calendar, and pencil jar, she surrounded herself with things she actually needs and uses. Her essentials: multiple Apple products (iPad, MacBook, iPhone), a tape measure, and, most important, salt and pepper for when lunchtime involves a conference call and sitting at her desk. She filled the seating nook and basic white shelves with her collection of design books and brought in a few antique pieces sourced from the Mart Collective, an antiques store in nearby Venice. 

Embrace a Loose To-Do List

white cabinet with art and sticky notes
Photography courtesy of Legrand

You’ll find little encouragements and tasks in the form of white Sticky Notes scattered around the room. “Any thought I have about design, process, style I write down. That way, I have something to reference when it’s time to talk shop,” says Ford. The pieces of paper jog her memory, but, more than that, they’re an important reminder to get up and move around every once in a while, too. 

See more stories like this:  10 Plants That Won’t Die at Your Desk 5 Work-From-Home Habits That’ll Help Break Up the Day 28 Inspiring Small Workspaces We Found on Instagram

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.