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A Closet Case for Making Home Office Space PDF Print E-mail
Written by ROSE BENNETT GILBERT, Creators Syndicate   
Thursday, 07 April 2011 06:28


Step into my portal: An open, shelf-lined entry separates a busy family room from quiet workspace.

Q: I need a home office, but our house is pretty much used up — we have four bedrooms and three teenagers.

After reconsidering the way we use every room, I am thinking about converting the deep closet in our front hall into a tiny office. Does this make any sense?

A: Of course. It's your home and you are smart to make it serve the needs of your personal lifestyle. As long as that closet is big enough for a desk, a chair and a good working light, I say to station a rack out in the hall for guests' coats and move right in.

The sliver of an office, which we show here, should offer ample inspiration. It's part of a family room but cleverly set apart by a deep portal — author Frank Shirley defines a portal as "the yield sign of room separation." A portal is open without a door, but it clearly marks a transition between areas and activities.

In his helpful book, "New Rooms for Old Houses" (the Taunton Press), Shirley writes: "Portals add drama to the experience of passing between rooms." Here, the deep portal is accented with display shelves recessed into the wall, and beyond there sits a small but presumably productive home office.

Q: If we turn the adjacent bedroom into a master bath, what should we do about the floors? They are oak — all the floors in our house are oak — and we are worried that the water will ruin them.

A: Stop worrying and click on, the informative site of the American Hardwood Manufacturers Association. Under "Styles and Trends," you can read an article entitled "Wood-Loving Pros No Longer Fear Wet Sites." The article features professional interior designers telling why and how they specify hardwood floors, countertops and furniture for potentially wet sites like baths and kitchens.

Why? Because wood is warm both to the eye and the psyche. How? Usually protected by several coats of polyurethane, it is preferably clear so the wood grains can show through. Many of today's hardwood floors come already surfaced in protective coatings that virtually shrug off splashes and spills. Still, wood and water are natural enemies: Puddles left standing will damage any wood surface. Just be quick to wipe up significant water spills, and you can live happily ever after with oak floors in your bath.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 April 2011 06:42