Last year, the folks at Create Teacher Residency, reached out for help designing their office. They are located in an open concept trailer and I'm sure you all can remember what those school trailers look like inside... white walls, fluorescent overhead lighting, a bathroom and neutral, boring carpeting. In Create's case, they also had a kitchenette that doubled as the entrance to the space.
Their challenge was the space needed to be many things: an office for the staff during the day, a training facility for their mindfulness trainings, a large group gathering for their larger trainings & fundraising events. Since they are a non-profit, they are wanted to make sure they got the most out of the space they could.
It can be very overwhelming on where to start in open concept spaces but if you take the three tips below, you can quickly plot out a plan to turn that space into a multifunctional one.
Write down all the functions or uses you want out of the space.
In Create's case, the entrance to the trailer is through the kitchenette. We wanted to make a flow in the trailer that allowed multiple meetings happen at one time. The challenge with multiple things going on is sound. They had tried adding thick curtains in the middle of the space to divide it in half but that wasn't really working. They also desperately needed storage, as many of their trainings rely on material that was stacked in piles on the tables they had received.
My solution was to divide the back half of the space being the casual, retreat area & the front half into the working space since it was closest to the door, & communal areas such as kitchenette and bathroom. Breaking it this way allows coworkers not to feel intrusive if they walk about doing regular tasks. We also took one of the bathrooms and turned it into a partial storage closet since they hardly used it. Lastly, we wanted to ensure the entrance felt like a reception area so when guests arrived they didn't feel as if they were barging in.
Use furniture & textiles to break up spaces when walls aren't available.
Our first step in tackling the space, was to install all the storage furniture. This not only helped us establish spaces within the trailer, it also cleaned up many of the materials they had taking up valuable space.
We then added furniture that allowed for less formal types of gathering, such as a couch, rug & coffee table. We then layered in movable room dividers & taller plants to further define those areas.
Plan complimentary color schemes to bring it all together.
When planning the color scheme in the space, I had existing office furniture, carpet, walls and cabinets to work with. I used the Create logo, that is black font with green leaves, as my inspiration to pull it all together through black, creme, green & natural tones.
On the office side, I kept it a little more modern through patterns & color. In the kitchenette, a Swiss cross wall decal as back splash, along with black removable chalk labels on cabinets. Since this is the first impression of the space, I also added a magnetic board above the sink to tack inspirational quotes to. I also rejuvenated an existing ecru file cabinet by chalk painting it hunter green with a moroccan pattern on the drawers to bring life back to it.
On the retreat side, we utilized existing tapestries to add a bit of color and softness to the room. The couch was a free find in our color scheme, so I added a jute rug & cream pillows to tie back to the front. Finally, I added gauzy creme curtains on black rods to all windows, and loads of plants across the space to bring the last bit of cozy to the space.
Since COVID hit, they haven't had a chance to use the space, but when they are ready to use it, it'll be there for them!