Home offices: how to add work space to your home

One in seven of us have ditched the commute and work from home. But not all have space for a study, so take inspiration from these Londoners who have adapted their homes creatively to include a dedicated home working area.
More Londoners are giving up the expensive and frustrating daily commute to work to go it alone at home, with new research revealing about one in seven — or 14.6 per cent — of the capital’s workforce has taken this route.
The rise in the trend in London over the past decade is the highest in the UK, a Trades Union Congress poll shows. Home working requires a workspace. Even if you can’t dedicate a whole room to it, there are solutions for you to carve out your own zone. Architect Claire Sa, director at De Rosee Sa, chose this option when remodelling a flat in Notting Hill.
She says: “Having a formal study is not always possible, so we decided to have a little niche ‘kitchen cupboard’ office space.” The office has been built into a large floor-to-ceiling cabinet, with doors that complement the kitchen décor. The desk is made with Carrara marble to match the worktops, with a removable panel to hide plug sockets and cables.
Shelves and drawers have been placed above head height and built from painted MDF. Sa adds: “We put the desk at counter height just to make it feel less formal.”
Window seat: Barbara Genda created an office on a landing

An office on the landing
All sorts of unused corners can be converted into a home office. Barbara Genda, founder of Barbara Genda Bespoke Furniture, created a workspace with plenty of storage on a half-landing of a house in Chelsea.
“Our client had been working on the kitchen table because she could not think where to put a little study,” she says. But the landing was wide enough and the perfect place for it. Bespoke floor-to-ceiling shelves and cupboards, built from lacquered MDF, have been installed on either side of the landing.
Genda designed an oak table, stained to match the wood floor and with a leather top, to avoid a look that was “too built-in”. The cost of a similar project would be about £4,000 plus VAT for the shelves and £800 plus VAT for the table.
A wide hallway can also make a good office. Interior designer Ben Bambrough, managing director of bB Design House, worked on a Battersea home where a 6ft-wide hall between the living room and kitchen has been given a “floating” timber desk.
Pendant lights hang above the desk, which has a depth of about 2ft. The look is stunning, and a translucent polycarbonate chair makes the space feel even larger. “Now that everything is wireless, I think that the general culture is moving towards a work pod rather than a traditional study,” says Bambrough.
Garden office: Abigail Porter designed a steel framed room clad in cedar panels for a writer who needed a separate place to work. Image: Andy Stagg 

Inspired by nature
If you prefer total quiet and privacy outdoors, you can create a garden office without applying for planning permission — as long as it is not plumbed, not in a conservation area and not a listed building. Office Sian created an award-winning home office in a Hackney garden.
After demolishing an asbestos-ridden outbuilding, the architects built what might appear, at first glance, to be a shed. However, this oak-framed building has everything a modern office needs — shelving built into the frame, fully retractable doors and a roof light.
The project was completed within three weeks. Creating a similar shed/office hybrid would cost between £18,000 and £24,000.

Another intelligent solution to the garden office was created by architect Abigail Porter, director of Ashton Porter, for a writer in Grange Park, north London.
Porter designed a steel-framed room clad in cedar panels, with a built-in desk and shelves. The project cost about £30,000. Porter says: “The timber works nicely in the garden and the window by the desk gives a perfect panorama of the back of the house.”
Most people create a home office because they need one, not as an investment. Paul Lintott, associate director of estate agents John D Wood, says: “A buyer could easily put up a home office in the garden, so they are unlikely to pay much more for a property with one already constructed.”

Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty and Facebook