compact, modern office by CDK Architects

Tips for Creating a Functional Home Office

In these unprecedented times of uncertainty, one thing we all can be certain of is that the way in which we work may never be quite the same. As more and more people have already been working from home in recent years, the trend is definitely shifting in favor of a home office environment over a community style “central” office location. Add with the threat that COVID-19 has quickly presented suddenly working remotely from home has even become the norm for many who never thought their profession would go in that direction. But, as most of us have found out, it’s important that a home office can provide an environment that encourages communication, function and efficiency.  

Here are some ideas for creating a functional and inviting home office space that provides everything you need to conduct “business as usual.”

Find a True Designated Place

Rather than just creating a makeshift spot for working, truly determine a good location within your home that will promote a productive work environment. That means the space should have ample light as well as a quiet location within your home for being able to easily concentrate on the tasks at hand. Shy away from being too close to the kitchen or great room where you may be tempted to turn on the TV, or join the action if others are at home. 

corner desk
Photo courtesy of Savoir Faire Home –

And, don’t be afraid to use a small nook or mud room desk to create a place to work. A home office doesn’t need to be a grand or large space with a fancy desk and towering bookcases. With the small size of laptops and most printers, you can easily carve out a functional office space just about anywhere.

file tote
Photo courtesy of fresh

Consider using file boxes that you can take out of a closet instead of a filing cabinet that takes up more space. Some great locations include a larger mud room, a second-floor loft area, a formal dining room that never gets used, or even an oversized walk-in closet.

small office spot
Photo courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design, Chas Metivier, photographer.

Have the Essentials

If you already have a home office in place, then be sure your existing desk and chair provide the space and comfort you need to complete your tasks. If you’re looking to buy new furniture for a home office, be sure to list all of the items you will need to have on your desk before your go furniture shopping. You may fall in love with a sleek table style desk, but if you are constantly needing to look at files and other documents, then choosing a desk without drawers will leave you overloaded with paperwork that no doubt will end up piled on your desk. A comfortable chair is a must. You will spend countless hours sitting in it and although it can be tempting to select a chair that’s super stylish, make sure it as comfortable as it is attractive.

sleek home office desk
Photo courtesy of Callahan Interiors –, Dustin Halleck, photographer

Don’t Skimp on Style

A home office can often be solely designed for function, but consider making the space a reflection of your style and taste and it will become a place you want to spend time in. Paint the walls a color you love, choose artwork and decorative pieces that make you happy and will inspire you.

sunny home office
Photo courtesy of

Arrange the desk so you have plenty of natural light to encourage a happy mood, but also have lamps and overhead lighting so you can adjust the light. Have a throw over the back of your chair in the winter and open a window for a fresh breeze in the Spring. The beauty of a home office is that you have the liberty to add comfort and coziness to the space as well as enjoy a lovely breeze when the weather permits thanks to operable windows. Most office buildings lack the ability to get fresh air, so it’s a huge bonus. 

chic home office details
Photo courtesy of

Also, a home office allows you to decorate with items you may cherish where many may not want to leave a beloved photo or painting in their office in a public building. It also allows you to keep you plant watered, so adding some greenery can boost your mood all year long. And, because it’s your own personal space, go ahead and choose fun notebooks, colorful pens and paperclips. Why not make your space happy and fun? 

chic home office
Photo courtesy of

Stay Organized

Right from the start, organize the space to include all of your basic office needs. Paper, a stapler, a phone, high speed internet with wifi, a surge protector, a printer, scanner or fax machine may also help you with your work. What you don’t want to do is have to search the house for a pen or notepad when having a conference call. Make sure the pens, paper, stapler and other items you need stay in the space and don’t travel to other spaces in your home.

Photo courtesy of – design by CDK Architects

Create Structure

When you physically drive to an office typically you maintain consistent office hours that provide structure and a framework for your entire day. When working from home, it can be easy to get off track and start working later in the morning and continuing later into the evening. For balance and a good work-life balance, it’s a good idea to try to maintain a similar work schedule from day to day. Start at the same time every day, take small breaks at consistent times and stop to eat lunch around the same time each day. It’s healthier to create a schedule and will most likely keep you on track with your regular daily diet.  

bay window desk space
Photo courtesy of the from Pause Design

When nothing in the world appears to have structure or certainty, find comfort in the fact that you have a safe, sheltered place to still conduct business. Designing your home office to include all the things you need as well as the things you love will make your remote office a place of serenity, which no doubt will increase productivity.

For other great ideas, visit our Pinterest Boards!

modern farmhouse 155D-0070

What is a Modern Farmhouse?

Gone are the days of the cookie-cutter ranch homes of the 1960s, today’s homeowners want a unique, uncluttered and simple approach to
residential architecture that pairs down the floor plan to include only the bare necessities, and relies on texture rather than color to create its iconic style. These concepts are the heart and soul of the Modern Farmhouse.

Many architects and designers alike blame home and garden channels, and fixer upper television shows  for the advent of this unique residential style, but no matter who you credit for its creation, the Modern Farmhouse is a sensation sweeping the nation, and everyone wanting to build a new home is falling in love with its style and undeniable personality. But, before you just select a Modern Farmhouse plan, do you know what makes a Modern Farmhouse truly what it is? There are several key characteristics that make a Modern Farmhouse all its own.

modern farmhouse


Gables & Roof Pitches
Modern Farmhouse style uses a gable roof in a steeper pitch than a typical home built in the last two or three decades. Perhaps it’s a popular feature because of its ability to create higher, more dramatic vaulted ceilings, in turn, opening up the interior spaces and making them feel larger. When steep gables aren’t being used, a flat roof is often added to the mix.

Exterior Finishes
Although simple in overall design, subtle texture really takes a prominent role in the look and feel of a modern farmhouse. Board and batten (also called clapboard siding), vertical and horizontal siding, a steel roof, and even a small amount of brick or stone combine to create a modern farmhouse that feels fresh and new, yet still feels like a modern-day version of its former timeless self. 

Most often white is the color of choice for the exterior, but gray and other neutral colors are also popular for both interior and exterior. Black and natural wood also have a role in the finished look. Color takes a supporting role to all of the texture provided by the various siding styles. 

Unique Exterior Footprint
Farmhouses from the past were usually rectangular in shape and built simply in order to quickly create a dwelling for a family ready to work their land. Construction had to be done around the growing cycles, so the design was modest and straightforward. Today’s Modern Farmhouses still have a common simplicity similar to their past counterparts, yet many have varied roof lines, an L-shape, or the look of multiple buildings, which promotes additional natural light in the interior because there is more exterior wall space for extra windows and doors. 

large covered front porch

Large Porches
Often referred to as “outdoor living spaces,” large front and back covered porches are common and an important feature offering additional living space for dining, entertaining, or relaxing. Add a sleek porch swing, or updated rocking chair in black, or a vibrant color and these porches are less “Grandma’s house,” and more current with the time. 

windows with black frames

As discussed, windows are an important design element. Typically, double-hung and seen with black framing that stands out against the stark white exterior and interior finishes, windows play an important role in keeping the home bright, friendly and open. Traditional double-hung style keep the design grounded to its original roots.


Simple & Minimal
A modern farmhouse has a laid-back personality that’s bright and inviting, and promotes a simple lifestyle. Homeowners want their homes to be a refuge from their cluttered daily lives. Between traffic, email, social media, and other constant distractions, a Modern Farmhouse is meant to be a peaceful, inviting retreat, somewhat like a sanctuary that shelters from the outside noise. Even the floor plans are designed to maintain a sense of openness with generally very few walls. Larger windows for added natural light, and larger spaces for effortless daily living like spacious mud and laundry rooms are quite popular. Think clean and functional.

white color palette in great room

Color Palette
Neutral by nature, the interior of the modern farmhouse mimics the exterior by sticking to a neutral color palette that’s bright and airy. In addition to the most popular color, which is white; soft gray, beige and blue is often used to promote a sense of calmness.

laundry room with barn style door

Architectural Interest
With the popularity of using reclaimed wood and other architectural elements from buildings of the past, it makes perfect sense that Modern Farmhouse style incorporates these unique features. From rustic timber beams and rafters, to the current favorite wall paneling affectionately called “Ship Lap,” although the overall color palette may be white or neutral, rustic elements can be found for architectural interest. Even steel and polished concrete have found a place in this style because of their industrial look and durability.

modern farmhouse kitchen

Kitchen Design
A modern farmhouse kitchen is the heart of the home. It is a place where family will eat, socialize and relax. Typically, these kitchens are open to the surrounding living spaces, have a neutral color palette, which of course is usually white. They incorporate several windows, Shaker-style cabinets, white marble or quartz countertops, subway tile, Industrial-style light fixtures, a large island for cooking and casual dining, and open shelving with almost-Utilitarian dishes and glassware. Think uncomplicated, and less “your grandmother’s flowery china pattern.”

Home Decor
Home accessories are not matching, more complementary, but with character. Modern Farmhouse décor uses carefully placed, thoughtful accessories that add personality to a space. The decor mixes sleek, modern accessories with timeless ones. Artwork may be the one thing that adds a special pop of color. The majority of the texture comes from throw rugs, and the fabrics on the sofas and chairs. Bold light fixtures, and natural wood floors are a must, and if you’re looking for a sleeker vibe, then steel, wrought iron, and other metals create a more Industrial feel.  

bedroom with barn door into bathroom

Barn Doors
Besides being a stylish space-saving option, barn-style doors are a rustic addition when using natural wood, or paint it white and add black hardware for a cleaner look. Either way, “barn doors” are a staple in Modern Farmhouses and offer plenty of character while taking up less space.

rustic barn doors

If you’re enthralled with Modern Farmhouse style, you are not alone. This style is the darling of residential architecture today and it’s easy to see why. It combines so many wonderful features to create something so utterly simple and effortless. Thoughtful, subdued, smart, and functional all meet their match with the invention of the Modern Farmhouse, and we think it was about time. 

finished dresser

Tips For Painting Furniture

Our guest bedroom has some furniture that was my mom’s when she was a little girl. In fact, the furniture pieces were made in 1953 according to the information on the back. I’m the sentimental type, so instead of just discarding it to buy new, I thought it would be a good idea to repaint it, so it has a more modern feel, while still keeping it in the family.

The original furniture set was painted white with an apple green accent trim like you see here on the matching dresser. Read more

kitchen cabinets with new pulls and knobs

How To Easily Add Hardware To Cabinets

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Stylish Dog Gates and Enclosures

wood geometric dog gate
Photo courtesy of SubZero-Wolf

There are so many details to consider when building or moving into a new home, but it’s funny how sometimes some of the most obvious things that could potentially make life a lot easier are often overlooked, or are often realized literally moments after you needed to know about them. Take for instance, the dog gate. It is literally something my husband and I struggle with every single day. If we’re not tripping over it with our hands full, then we’re wincing at the sound of it crashing down and hitting the wood floor as hard as it possibly can. Read more

build a home with a vaulted ceiling from the start

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One of the first things that we wanted to do once we moved into our new home was work on the some of the extras that we decided to wait “to do” until we moved in. Some of these can really start to add up when building a new home and trying to determine what features you want the builder to include. After all, moving into a new home is expensive from start to finish, and you have to draw the line somewhere! Read more

house plan with a guest house

Great Floor Plans for Entertaining & Guests

Most of the year, we entertain smaller groups of family or friends, so Craftsman house plans like ours in a fairly modest size do the job just fine. But, now that the holidays are quickly approaching, we realize the good and bad things about a smaller-sized home and what type of floor plans are best suited for those with frequent guests and those who entertain many people often.

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patio step railing

Adding a Railing To Patio Steps

Like mentioned before, we have one deep lot house plans, but we still had some space for a spacious patio, which we added in mid-summer. But, right from the start, the grade of our backyard was quite a bit lower than where the breakfast room patio doors opened. So, when the patio was put in, several stairs had to be constructed in order to get to the patio level below.

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