Blogger Joy Cho of Oh Joy has made a name for herself with her unflinchingly bold and playful aesthetic. She’s translated her signature style to numerous Target collaborations (each as colorful as the last), a series of photobooks, a tile collection, and three books. Her latest venture? A recently completed office, situated in the heart of Los Angeles and full of whimsical touches sure to brighten any workday.
“Our previous space was less than half the size and basically one big open, communal room. I loved the ability to easily communicate and brainstorm with [my team] in that arrangement, but it got to be difficult when I had lots of phone calls of meetings and needed privacy,” explains Cho, whose new workplace now includes a separate executive office. “When we moved into our new space, I had planned to sit together with my team again until they all confronted me with an intervention. They were like, ‘Joy, you need your own office!’ I joked that they kicked me out, but it really was the best decision as it allows separation when I need it—but also, I am still very easily accessible.”
The 4,300-square-foot studio expertly walks that line between personal and professional. Created by designer Sarah Sherman Samuel, the space feels homey and familiar—due in part to pieces from Cho’s numerous collabs showcased in the office—yet still organized and conducive to a work environment. In Cho’s executive office, for example, there’s a sitting area perfect for more informal meetings; but for privacy’s sake, a closed door really does make all the difference.
The makeover is an incremental one: Having started with the executive office, they most recently completed the main part of Oh Joy HQ where most of the team resides. It encompasses both functional choices (a variety of workstations and tons of storage) and fun decorative ones (how cute are those paper “raindrops”?) for an overall cheery work environment.
“I love the wall mural that Sarah custom designed,” says Cho of her favorite part of the newly made-over team space. “It’s a fun way to add pattern and color to the space, but I also love how it goes from the wall to the sides of the desk, creating a really fun visual effect.”
We spoke to Cho and Sherman Samuel to get the scoop on creating an office fit for a designer.
What was your top priority for the new office?
Oh Joy is colorful and fun, but I also wanted it to feel sophisticated and adult. The challenge was how to marry both [Sherman Samuel’s] style and my style together in a space I would work in and flourish in every day.
Did you bring any elements from your previous office into the new space?
Cho: I still have my same white desk from our very first office. Otherwise, everything else has been updated as I didn’t have the space previously to have any other art or furniture in our last office.
Can you walk us through the design process?
Sarah Sherman Samuel: Typically with clients, I first go through an extensive Q&A to nail down their personal style, but with Joy and her brand being so iconic, we could jump right in. Initially I create a mood board that includes some furniture and art selects as well as a mix of inspirational images, a proposed color palette, and installation/DIY ideas. I believe that spaces should really reflect their inhabitants, so meeting a few times and sharing part of the process with a client is important.
What was your biggest design inspiration for the space?
Joy herself and the Oh Joy brand served as the biggest inspiration. We wanted the space to reflect her personal style as well as the aesthetic of her company. The floor tile was the one item I knew was going to go into the space, so I used that as a solid jumping off point.
In what ways does the office reflect that signature Oh Joy style?
Cho: Sarah really helped to marry two parts of me together—my personal aesthetic and my brand’s aesthetic—into a space that is fun, welcoming, and serves as a great representation of my brand when we have clients visit. Oh Joy product is woven throughout along with our custom tile that covers the floors. I also keep some of our “best of” products on my display shelf to remember all of the fun things we’ve created over the years.
How did you settle on a color palette?
It started with the floor tile, which has different shades of blue. I knew I wanted to bring in some warmth with pink and gold, and the Oh Joy products mixed in created the multi-colored palette. Keeping the walls and some of the furniture white gave all the pops of color room to breathe.
Were there any challenges?
Mixing patterns can be tough, so finding a rug and wallpaper combination that also worked with the patterned floor tile was one of the more difficult tasks.
Do you have a favorite part of the office?
I love the art wall behind me. We work with a lot of art and artists for Oh Joy for our many shoots. I wanted the art in my office to reflect the works of people I know in real life. So it’s a mix of a few of my friends as well as a big painting that my oldest daughter, Ruby, made with a local artist, Kim West, when she was three.
This story was originally published on January 6, 2018. It has been updated with new information.
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