If there’s anything that’s become clear in this era of increased working from home, it’s that organization is key. Of course, no one better understands the meeting of form and function than a designer tasked with outfitting their own studio. Such was the case for California-based Jeffrey Alan Marks, who recently completed a reno on the office space where he works with a small team on interior design projects, product lines (like lighting for Progress and window treatments for The Shade Store), and fabric (for Kravet). Whether you’re looking to upgrade your home office or heading back to the not-home office and eager to spruce it up a bit, Marks’s space is full of savvy tips.
“It was important to show the clients what I do here,” says Marks of the space. What he does, exactly—or what he’s best known for—is creating modern, comfortable spaces inspired by the landscape of his hometown, Malibu. His former office was “yellow, brick, and dark greens,” which didn’t reflect the airy, organic quality of his interiors, so he needed the change. But, he points out, “I was on a budget.” So here’s how he got the job done.
A unifying color scheme
For any small space, but especially an office, where you’ll have everything from electronic devices to samples out at any given moment, a clear color scheme will provide a calming backdrop to counter any chaotic clutter. “I kept my main choices pretty light and airy,” says Marks. Crisp white walls keep the space bright and touches of his trademark “Maliblue” (the name Progress gave to the light aqua tone he uses often in his work) add interest without making things too saturated.
To add some texture within the neutral scheme, Marks brought in cane (in the Jeanneret desk chairs) and rattan on baskets and pendant lights.
Marks is an avid paddleboarder, so, while the board in his office might seem like a cheeky California design accent, it’s actually useful. Plus, both that and the surfboard are covered in one of his fabric designs, meaning they double as oversized swatches. Even the bike is painted in Maliblue.
Storage you don’t have to hide
As for the fabric and materials samples that don’t fit on a surfboard, Marks still gave them an artful treatment. One wall is completely lined with Maliblue-painted shelves housing pillows and accessories arranged in photogenic vignettes as well as a series of boxes and baskets for smaller samples, tear sheets, paperwork, and more. Though these bins and boxes hide clutter, everything (even the baskets, thanks to cute gift tags) is clearly identified, making it easy to find samples—without having to root around in multiple bins. “I wanted to be able to see my samples, grab them, and take them to my desk easily,” says the designer.
“I’ve always loved flowers in my office, and especially on my desk,” says Marks—but, he admits that having something that dies within days isn’t the most strategic in a space you might be in and out of. “So I went for these succulents, which will last longer but bring in that green,” he explains.
Paired with the industrial work table and natural accents, these are the perfect nod to Marks’s surroundings, where natural beauty meets urban landscape. “We’re just three blocks from the beach in Santa Monica,” says Marks. “And I liked that aspect that one side looks out to the beach and the other onto the main street. So I wanted to reference both of those.”
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