The Weekend Post - Real Estate
KNOCK UP A ‘CLOFFICE’
Now that so many of us are working from home, we need to have a dedicated work zone. One such space is in the closet: here’s how to turn a closet into your office
Hands up if you have a beautiful dedicated home office with plenty of storage and premium lighting all to yourself – yeah, me either. With an increasing number of us working from home thanks to repeated Covid lockdowns it’s more likely you’re fighting for space on the kitchen table with home schoolers and a work-from-home partner. And you’re not alone. Some 67 per cent of employed people are now working from home in some capacity since Covid began, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
So, have you heard of the cloffice – or the closet-office? Whether you have limited space at home or you’re having to share that space with others, the concept of the pocketsized home office tucked away in a cupboard is on the rise.
But don’t think of it as a dark little hole under the stairs. The modern cloffice incorporates clever space-saving solutions to make sure you have everything you need to get the job done.
Interior designer Sally Hart, of Sydney’s Clever Closet Company, says we have long been hiding the laundry in a cupboard, now it’s time to do the same with the home office.
“I have always helped people create a home office environment, but what I’m seeing now is a more urgent need for people to create spaces in their home where they have no study area at all,” Sally says.
“And for many people space, or the lack of it, is a big factor. I have designed several cloffices in the past year for people who find themselves working from home for the first time and having to share that space with several other members of the household.”
Sally is creating a fully enclosed cloffice for a young professional couple whose small lounge room doubles as a work space, a home school for their daughter plus a recreation, exercise and dining area.
One of the major challenges Sally faced was incorporating a chair in the enclosed space. They went for bi-fold doors as a better solution to framed doors, with hinges along the ceiling and the bottom of the desk, rather than the floor. But still, the problem of fitting the chair in once the bifolds close was a problem. So Sally developed a way to angle the chair into the desk and secure it with a latch.
Valuable under desk space and wallmounted shelving will solve the problem of storage and a recessed LED lighting strip and desk lamps will illuminate the area.
Renters, she says, can also have a cloffice, but need to use available nooks that exist under stairwells and existing wardrobes. Having wood cut to fit at a hardware store may be a better solution than finding the right sized desk in this instance.
Once you have your space sorted, don’t neglect the new family dynamics working and schooling from home has introduced, says Elisabeth Shaw, of the Relationships Australia.
“Make sure you define a reasonable work day and don’t just drift on into the evening due to habit,” Elisabeth says. “Make sure you stop and genuinely engage in other down time activities together.”