Awesome Offices

There have been tons of bloggers advocating the idea that creative environments help boost creativity in people. If the mere sight of the Apple logo is enough to set our minds on a lateral thinking path as they would have you believe, imagine what an entire office – filled with poignant primers of how creative you are – could do for you, the employee, as you go about your daily toil. Are we really such products of our environment?

Well hey I’d like to think so! (Even if it’s just because I’d love to work in one of these incredible offices!) Problem is..some of these are so creative, you wonder if anyone can stop finding creative uses for their time at work.

Below: It was such a thrill to get an inside look into the offices at Etsy on Laughing Squid – many thanks to Scott Beale for posting these. Which kind sympathetic soul knitted wool warmers for the air conditioning vents?!

Below: Pixar’s offices house many toys and paintings from their animations and has surreal living room/offices which look like ice-fishing cabins/greenhouse garages. Images via The Roxor, Best House Interior,

Below: It’s a circus at Ogilvy & Mather’s Guangzhou office. Images via The Cool Hunter.

Below: Just the way I like them – some functional yet unconventional creative agency offices featured on This Ain’t No Disco (it’s where we work).

Finnish communications agency Trust Creative Society adopted an open floor plan that resembles a cosy restaurant – complete with kitchen and dining area – rather than the traditional office layout. It really looks like they’re working in a cafe – round the clock refreshments and perfect for discussions.

American communications agency Big Giant has a professional yet homely vibe with warm wood textures, carpets and sofas. Toy-adorned shelves in the rest areas encourage play and brainstorming.

Below: Of course, couldn’t do a post about creative work spaces without including a mention of Google’s notoriously smashing offices. Images via The Concept Times and here.

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Dreamy Four Poster Beds

As it opens onto a balcony overlooking the waterway, we foresee our bedroom becoming an extension of our living room. In order to delineate the space between bed and living room, I thought it might be interesting to explore the four-poster bed option.

Below: A whimsical take on the traditional four poster bed, hand-forged by sculptor, Shawn Lovell.

Below: A another version by Turkish designer, Asli Tunca.

Below: A cosy fairytale bed at Jolly Days Luxury Camping.

Below: Tree of life motif veil four poster bed via Apartment Therapy.

Below: A simple yet effective four poster bed featured on Apartment Therapy.

Below: A luxurious tent bed fit for a king at a Botswana Safari house.

Below: A beautiful Indonesian dark wood bed via house to home.

Creating a Mood Board

It’s easy to go overboard with things you like.

Making a mood board is a good exercise especially when testing out ideas for a hypothetical space (or wedding/event/product/website/whatever you’re designing). Even if you don’t like to be overly controlled, a mood board enables you to find, collect and edit your thoughts; adding better clarity and context to your decorating decisions. The last thing you want is to come home to disagreeing furniture staging their own gun fight at the O.K. Corral.

Some general practices for building a mood board include:

1. Make it Editable – if you’re making a physical board, using pin-boards or masking tape – that way you can add, remove or rearrange things as you progress. Electronic mood boards are a good option as they’re easy to edit and great for saving online inspirations.

2. Maintain some Proportion – not an absolute rule but if it’s going to look large in your room it should be larger on your mood board.

3. Arrange the Space – try to arrange your mood board as you would place them in your room i.e. ceiling fans appear at the top of your mood board, carpets below, curtains next to window fixtures etc.

4. Layer – layering textures such as wood grains for tables and furniture fabrics over wall paint swatches can help add depth and a better feel for how these items will look in your home.

5. Keep an Eye on it – put your mood board within easy reach – you want to keep checking back to see if you’re still hot about that fuchsia wall or if you’ve new ideas that would look great in the space  – it could be at your desk, or if it’s an e-mood board, your computer desktop, screen saver or blog.     

6. Keep Collecting – whenever you come across something you like whether it’s a colour swatch, fabric sample, magazine cut out, online image or a sketch you’ve done – keep it. If it doesn’t already fit in, you can keep it in a clear folder for future reference or reuse if you change your mind. Take note of shop names/locations if you think you might need to go back there and buy the items.

Here are a few great resources to help you get started (plus a few extras):

Olioboard – specially for interior design; strong community and some retail links

Mydeco – specially for interior design; great access to unique furniture, good community and retail links

Flickr – the defacto place for pictorial inspiration and great for collecting images

Pinterest – another great source of images and ideas

And here are just a few awesome boards created by some very talented people.

Below: The inspiration board in Drew Barrymore’s office which was designed by Ruthie Sommers as featured in Domino Mag.

Below: Stylish mummy, Nicole Balch from Making it Lovely frequently features inspiration boards on her gorgeous blog. Here’s one she uses as an electronic work of art.

Below: A beautiful colour story board created by interior design student, Kylie Sarley, on her blog Bandelle.

Below: An attic office mood board by bmoreguy using olioboard.

Sliding Barn Doors

These have been around for awhile, but the moment I really fell in love with them was when I saw them in Elle Decor’s feature on Meg Ryan’s Beach House.

Since then I’ve been noticing them everywhere – houses and apartments alike.

Below: Apartment Therapy kindly featured this instructional post from House Tweaking.

Below: This salvaged door propped in front of the pantry adds a lot of character and adds an interesting focal point for the kitchen. Image via myhomeideas.

Below: A heart-stopping bright red sliding door by architect Barbara Bestor.

Below: A country kitchen by Hutker Architects via Attic Mag.

DIY Chairs and Makeovers

Among many amazing transformations, this chair makeover was featured on Apartment Therapy. For guidance, CasaSugar provides a basic rundown of how to change the covering, the DIY network shows how to replace the entire webbing, and ReadyMade shows how to replace the foam and fabric with adhesive spray and a staple gun.

This lovely Toddler Bench was made from shelving by Destri on The Mother Huddle. I’d probably add an extra interchangeable washable cover over the top.

Jarring Lights

I grew up in a commune with a good culture of recycling, and a correspondingly robust love of wine, Perrier, (bread) and jam. Sunny days were made for walks to the glass recycling bank with my step father, paper bags of clonking bottles in tow.

Rainy days however, were reserved for craft projects.

If you’ve ever admired the way light passes through glass, you’d understand the fascination everyone’s been having with mason jar lights and wine bottle chandeliers. The future of glass vessels has never been so bright!

Mason Jar pendant lights featured on Laura Fenton’s Blog, Jug Lights by tbDsf on Etsy

Jar of Flashing lights from Instructables; Jar Light by Greg Hatton via Remodelista;

Mason Jar Chandelier and Christmas Lights from Treasure Again on Etsy

Sun-powered fairy lamp from Comparestoreprices, you can see a homemade version at Kootoyoo. lithium cell versions by Evil Mad Scientist

Wine Glass Cluster Chandeliers: a usable glass holder design via Remodelista, and a freestyle version using clear clips by Gitta Gschwendtner.

Wine bottle chandelier from Pottery Barn

Glass Lamp Terrarium via Design East from the glass design studio of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.

Bjorn Stillefors, Jorgen Pudeck & Gunnar Cedervall

Bjorn Stillefors, Jorgen Pudeck & Gunnar Cedervall

A Less Costly Way to Furnish

While visiting relatives over the Chinese New Year season, an uncle introduced me to a shoe cabinet he had made over the school holidays. It was ordinary – simple, practical. But it it reminded me of the buzz of handling a jigsaw, slicing planks and piecing together stage props for the local drama club.

But like everything in Singapore, creating stuff on your own is just so costly. I was shocked to hear that even chipboard could cost $30 a plank! Sounds completely over priced to me. I’m convinced I can find better.

These found-object inspired projects and ikea hacks were so darn good-looking and do-able I just had to repost them.

Branch Coat Rack featured in Ferm :

Nakashima-esq Table on Casa Sugar :

Haldane Martin inspired pendant lamp by Ashley :

Bike Rack by Jules

Kitchen Butcher Block Hack for Bathroom Sinks by Jules

Another kitchen island turned Sink Pedestal by Jules :

Ikea Wardrobe Door Room Dividers by thedesignguy :