Los Angeles furniture designer Sally Sirkin Lewis, president and chief executive officer of the J. Robert Scott & Associates furniture and textile showroom in West Hollywood, created her home office from a 6-by-8-foot walk-in closet adjacent to her gym. Lewis removed the closet door and return walls, then enlarged the space by installing a mirror on the back wall and raising the ceiling to 10 feet. Finally, she added black-lacquer built-in shelves, files and a desk area. Lewis has designed interiors for the rich and famous for more than three decades, and her work frequently appears in Architectural Digest. "If the space is well-thought-out," she says, "you don't need that large a room for an office." A self-proclaimed workaholic whose main office is in Culver City, she works at home in Beverly Hills mornings, evenings and on weekends. "I like to do my textile design here because it's so quiet and free from interruptions," she says. And if she wants to get in a little exercise, Lewis has all the equipment just steps away. "I can do the treadmill and read reports at the same time, so I don't waste a minute."
Furniture designer Thomas Callaway's idyllic second-floor home office in Brentwood is nestled by giant sycamores and overlooks a waterfall that spills into a courtyard pool below. "The whole concept of the house office for me was to combine an early California rancho with some of the Taos artists' studios from the '30s and their kiva fireplaces and viga-style beams," he says. "I wanted to create a coziness and a sense of history that has appealed to me for many years." Callaway, who maintains a traditional business office and showroom for his collection of upholstered pieces, says the Santa Monica showroom is an open-space, group-oriented office with ringing phones and little privacy. "When I get home at night, I have this wonderful personal space surrounded by things that mean something to me. I find I do some of my best designs here."
Brindell Roberts, owner of The Blue House in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, specializes in continental country furnishings and accessories, so decorating her Holmby Hills office with the same blue-and-white English transferware, Chinese ginger jars and vintage baskets was a natural. An English bamboo armoire from the turn-ofthe-century stores bookkeeping supplies, a wicker basket contains files and a six-tiered Chinese box is used to organize stamps, rubber bands, note pads and pens. Using the office in the early morning and each evening, Roberts updates business records and mailing lists on the computer. "I can't get any paperwork done at the store," she says. "There's too much activity." The only downside about working at her Holmby Hills house: "My husband, Milton, sometimes has another agenda for me--'Call the exterminator, talk to the gardener ...' "
Attorney Doug Ring, former president of the L.A. Public Library Commission, has offices in Marina del Rey and West Los Angeles, but the sleekly modern office at his house in Brentwood is his workplace of choice. Architect Tracey Loeb of Forma Architects in Santa Moncia designed the space, knowing that Ring needed a larger-than-average desk and wanted something made of granite. So the former sculptor created a three-piece, U-shaped desk of stainless steel topped with Ring's favorite stone. "The trick was to make something big that doesn't look like it consumes the space," Loeb says. Now Ring can spread out files at will: "I can be as comfortable as I want to be without offending anybody. It's 100% my space." As a lawyer, he says, working at home makes sense. "If I'm doing research on Lexis, the legal database, whether I'm sitting at home or in the law library doesn't really matter to the client."
Bryn Bridenthal, vice president of media and artist relations at Geffen Records, worked 12- to 16-hour days at the company's West Hollywood headquarters until she set up a home office. "I cut the time by being fully equipped at home. Here, I can at least have the illusion that I'm having a personal life," she says. Her office technology inclues a laptop computer with a modem to tie her into work, a fax, a printer and an electronic organizer which keeps track of her appointments, as well as several phone lines. Laid out by Bobi Leonard Interiors to do double duty as both home office and dining room, the space is furnished with an old oak table from her husband's family. When Bridenthal is in work mode, the table serves as her desk and a vintage armoire that belonged to her aunt holds office supplies. Turn-of-the-century reproduction Vienna art plates decorate the walls; a lawyer's cabinet to the right of the desk is filled with Russian lacquer boxes and antique silver. Says Bridenthal about her Mar Vista home office: "I like to have the things I love around me."