Ask An Expert: Brittany Watson Jepsen

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Workspace Furniture

Q: Writers are interesting characters. You give them a space and they’re practically immobilized. So, it’s no mistake that they need a comfortable office space to get their mojo going. I’d love to surprise my roommate with something inspiring, but I’m not sure where to start. Is there any cool vintage furniture that would create a calm and inspiring space where he could place a cup of coffee to help burn the midnight oil and crank out those great, long-winded masterpieces? -Kavie-

A: Yes there is! I love this question! And you’re such a great friend and roommate to want to do this. I find that my favorite work environments are a combination of 3 things: 1) a clean palette 2) furniture that tells a story 3) accessibility to supplies

Rooms for Writers
Images: (Left) Pinterest, (Right) Pinterest

  1. Creating a clean palette to your workspace

    As a fellow writer, I find that sometimes you just need a clean environment to work from. I’m not always dutiful in maintaining a clean workspace, but every few days I do a great attempt to have a clean canvas so that the ideas can come flooding out. Notice these two pictures above, one has tons of cords on the ground and the other is totally bare. Although sometimes you can’t avoid cords, there are more furniture options now to hide them so select furniture that can accommodate that. I believe it’s the small details that make you feel restful.

  2. Furniture that tells a story in your workspace

    My favorite offices and studio spaces contain furniture that tells stories. What does that mean? Vintage/antique furniture! Though Ikea is inevitable, invest in a few key antique pieces that will help ground the space. Even better, buy it from a seller who knows the history of the pieces and get the full scoop. Personally, I love knowing the stories behind the piece and it helps me to appreciate it and be inspired by it. I’m certain this will help your roommate create his masterpiece!

  3. Accessibility of supplies

    Of course, an effective studio is a handy studio. I find that having things in reach is a must. Make it obvious with open shelving like the picture on the right. Have a place to hold his favorite books and reference materials. It will not only provide wonderful décor, but ease.

Hopefully, these three things will help you create that inspiring space for your aspiring writer friend. Good luck, Kavie!

Coffee Table Ideas

Q: As summer is approaching, I would like to switch things up around the house. I am trying to ditch the ottoman, but the coffee tables I’ve been looking at aren’t exactly speaking to me. I am wondering if you can give me any ideas or suggestions for a coffee table that is affordable and summer-y. Thanks in advance! -Priscilla-

A: Hi Priscilla! When I think of a “summer-y coffee table” I’m immediately thinking of something that’s light and airy where there’s room to breathe. Here are some of my suggestions:
Summer-y Coffee Table
Images: Joss and Main, Pinterest, Pinterest, Zincdoor

  1. Glass! Glass will immediately make the room feel bigger and allow the full room to be seen.
  2. Simplicity. This basic wood/metal coffee table will allow the objects placed on it to take center stage. You don’t always need a showpiece.
  3. Interesting shapes. This piece creates beautiful negative space with the arrangement of the metal geometric shapes. It’s both a statement piece, yet also subtle enough not to be distracting.
  4. Lucite. Set on its own, this Lucite coffee table is worth talking about, and like glass, makes the room feel larger.

I hope that helps choose the right coffee table for a more summery feel!

Thanks for the questions! If you have additional comments, I’d love to hear them!

Studio Furniture

Q: I recently moved into a small studio and am on a tight budget for furniture, but want something other than my bed to sit on. Any suggestions on less expensive furniture that can help spruce up my place? Thanks so much, Brittany!

A: I know your pain! I recently moved from a small apartment in Copenhagen where space was definitely an issue. The key to a small studio space is space efficiency, pieces that serve dual functions, and the ability to move them frequently.

  1. Space efficiency in a studio apartment

    You can create more space in your small studio by thinking vertically. Go up and not wide! It might seem like an obvious answer, but Ikea is probably the best source. Ikea was created with both economy and space efficiency in mind. The picture above, is a small apartment in Stockholm. Notice the shelving on the top part of the wall from Ikea, that helps create more space underneath.

Studio Space Vertically
Image: Apartment Therapy

  1. Pieces that serve dual functions

    Another way to maximize space is to use furniture pieces that serve two functions. One great way to create rooms within a studio space is the use of bookshelves as room dividers. Check on Craigslist for great bookshelves. Again, Ikea is also your friend. This will help to make the space feel larger.

Bookshelf divider
Image: Pinterest

  1. Furniture that moves

    Since your studio serves as many rooms in just one space, you’ll want the option to move your furniture around depending on what it’s being used for. Furniture on casters will become your friend. You’ll also want to choose furniture that is lightweight and easily stackable. Additionally, hooks on the wall will be helpful fore putting things away.

Image: Pinterest

This Week's Ask an Expert: Daniel Germani

This week Daniel Germani will be answering questions about home renovations. Ask him any question you have about getting the best bang for your buck when it comes to doing a room or house renovation. Ask away by clicking here!
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Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter who just returned to America after 2 1/2 years in wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is "a creative mess is better than tidy idleness" and she lives each day accordingly. During graduate school for interior design she spent one summer working for designers Jonathan Adler and Celerie Kemble and another summer studying textile design at the Danish Design School. She created her blog, The House That Lars Built, as a way to keep her designing and crafting. She currently runs her blog and her etsy shop, where she sells her home accessories and paper flowers.