All the Comforts of Home

How the well-designed home office makes it easy to get to work
Eichler owners Andrews Jenkins, a film director and music producer, hangs out playing guitar (above) in the home office he shares with wife Morgan.

 

Working from home was less than a pleasure for one young couple who were striving to succeed in Hollywood.

Morgan Jenkins, a film editor and director, recalls what it was like for herself and husband Andrews, a film director and music producer, when they shared a tidy bungalow in hip Santa Monica. Their upstairs home office was so hot and stuffy that Andrews preferred to work on the kitchen table, filling it with paperwork and gear.

 “We couldn’t use the kitchen [for kitchen things],” Morgan says. “We didn’t have a dining table. We sat on the couch to eat.”

Today the Jenkins, who moved to an Eichler in the not-quite-so-hip city of Orange, share a home office where he writes scripts and she edits digital video while working on her latest documentary, ‘Glam Gods,’ about a heavy metal cover band “that takes itself very seriously,” Morgan says, “like a real-life ‘Spinal Tap.’”

Their desks are side-by-side, the office is neatly arranged just off the atrium, and original Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin album art decorates the walls.

“When you start working from the couch or the kitchen,” Morgan says, “it doesn’t feel productive. But when you’re in your office and you’re working, you can really get stuff done.”

Their Eichler is particularly conducive to a home office, she says. “I can be across the house and we can see each other, and there’s a really amazing view through the house to the backyard. It’s relaxing and peaceful working there, and it really helps you feel creative.”

“Being able to work from home is really nice,” she says.

Nationwide, according to federal data, more than 20 million people work from home, more than five million of them full-time. It’s safe to say that not all of them do so as comfortably as the Jenkins—not even those who are fortunate enough to live in light-filled, open-plan modern homes.

A film editor and director, Morgan (shown together
with Andrews) says the office arrangement is “relaxing and peaceful working there, and it really helps you feel creative.”
Nichole and Bob Springer use their Eichler home office as a ‘test kitchen’ for the modern furnishings they design for their Spot On Square modern furniture firm.

Barbara Eandi, who lives in an Eichler in Castro Valley, says many modern home offices lack panache.

“Even though the office is almost a public room by virtue of its location off the atrium,” she says of the most common Eichler office location, “it seems to be almost an afterthought in most houses I have seen.”

The challenges of establishing an efficient, beautiful office are many—and they are magnified when that office is in the home. As Nicole Springer, who runs Spot On Square, a modern furniture firm, from her Eichler in Orange, says, “Our house is only 2,000 square feet, and we have to manage both our family and our business here.”

Besides the need to maximize the use of space, the designer of an office in a modern home needs to worry about storage, wiring, and clutter. Since the office is part of the home, it should blend aesthetically with the living areas.

The Springers use their home as a sort of test kitchen for the modern furnishings they design. They have prototypes of furnishings throughout the house, and often redesign pieces based on how well they function.