Photography by Keyanna Bowen
Interior designer Julia Longchamps's main job was giving a family the chance to spend time apart. Ever since the two homeowners began working from their Annapolis, Maryland home at the start of the pandemic—which happened to be at the same time their two kids were sent into their all-day orbit—their house suddenly felt too behind the times.
The owners considered a few options, including an addition that seemed like an overly expensive endeavor and a makeshift office in the guest room, which worked fine enough for one. But when Longchamps and their contractor at Freedom General Services came along, they saw potential in overhauling an entirely different problem area in their home to solve this issue, making for the possibility of a win-win renovation.
Courtesy of Julia Longchamps
"The old laundry room was a classic early '90s design. It was situated on the lower level of the home, off the kitchen, and doubled as a mudroom," she says. "My clients didn't love that they had to walk down the stairs to the opposite side of the house to do their laundry. The idea of moving the laundry room upstairs made more sense for the family."
With the laundry room relocated, Longchamps could think of this space as an office with plenty of storage. "We wanted everything in the new office to have a home and feel purposeful," she says. "For example, we wanted to conceal large office electronics like the printer, while also giving appliances that were going to stay downstairs a hiding spot."
Longchamps thinks of repurposing rooms like solving a jigsaw puzzle, and she worked closely with her clients to figure out exactly which pieces should go where. They made a list of must-haves and then removed the washer, dryer, clothes racks, and miscellaneous mudroom odds and ends from the layout. "The vinyl flooring was ripped up and we continued the same oak flooring from the kitchen into this area to make it feel like it belonged," Longchamps says. "After the flooring was updated, we installed a gorgeous flush mount for a pop of personality. Then the rest of the room was completed with custom cabinetry."
She picked a calming shade of blue-gray for the cabinets that was still bright enough to feel energizing in the midst of a busy weekday afternoon. The blue and white palette also fits into the classic coastal feel throughout the rest of the home—a must for Annapolis. The cabinets hold a vacuum, printer, papers, and office supplies, while the floating desk keeps it all from feeling too closed in. "I also love the hidden pencil drawer on the face of the desk. It's little details like those that excite me!" Longchamps adds.
This office, which Longchamps has dubbed a "cloffice" for being a closet and office, was part of a year-and-a-half project, which now gives the family a balance between separation and togetherness. Now that it's been a year since the renovation was completed, Longchamps looks back happily on the solutions they figured out as a team.
"Smaller spaces can be just as functional and efficient as large spaces," she says. "We had a plan for everything, and knowing what will live in your office prior to renovation allows it to be maximized to its fullest potential."
Get the Look
In an office, select a hue that helps you feel calm and focused, like this gray hue with a hint of blue undertone.
A touch of gold shines against the gray cabinetry.
Take a Spin
Who said a comfortable office chair has to be ugly? This stylish option from Four Hands combines an elegant silhouette with a functional swivel seat.