Work rooms tak­ing on new life

Calgary Herald - - NEW HOMES - AN­DREA COX

With the gig econ­omy chang­ing the land­scape of the work en­vi­ron­ment, the home of­fice is no longer just a place for pay­ing bills or do­ing a few hours of week­end work to ease the 9 to 5 week­day.

It’s be­com­ing a full-time hub for free­lancers and con­trac­tors, a place to set the work juices hum­ming and burn the mid­night oil.

That said, a few de­sign savvy in­te­rior de­sign­ers, de­vel­op­ers and builders are tak­ing note of the trend.

“With so many peo­ple work­ing from home, it’s not just about drop­ping a desk into an empty space any­more,” says Am­ber De­silets, de­signer at De­sign­ers Edge In­te­rior De­sign.

Whether it’s a nook tucked into the kitchen or a sump­tu­ous pri­vate space with French doors to a gar­den, good de­sign is cru­cial when it comes to home of­fices.

“Be­fore start­ing a project, we re­ally like to dig deep to see who is go­ing to be us­ing the home of­fice space and what is go­ing to be hap­pen­ing there,” says De­silets.

Light­ing, wire man­age­ment, stor­age and com­fort are all key el­e­ments.

“We are find­ing that home of­fice spa­ces are be­com­ing a lit­tle bit more com­mu­nal, too, with kids us­ing it for home­work and both adults us­ing the space for work, some­times all at the same time,” says De­silets.

And that thirst for com­mu­nal of­fice space is be­gin­ning to ex­tend be­yond a home’s borders, es­pe­cially with multi-fam­ily home de­sign, where sin­gles are of­ten work­ing solo and in iso­la­tion.

“We’ve re­sponded on more of the front end, be­fore we even go into con­struc­tion on a project,” says Al De­vani, prin­ci­pal at Rndsqr, an in­ner-city de­vel­oper and builder with mul­ti­ple projects cur­rently un­der­way or about to launch.

That re­sponse em­braces the idea of com­mu­nal co-work­ing space.

“We are look­ing at in­stead of com­mon amenity rooms that don’t get used as fre­quently as you would think, to cre­ate com­mon cowork­ing space where res­i­dents go in and pull up to a hot spot sta­tion and man­age it them­selves,” says De­vani.

The com­pany is mulling over de­signs for their lat­est projects Grow, Peak and Court­yard 33.

“When you think about the best co-work­ing spa­ces — they are ca­sual, com­fort­able, where you can pull up on a couch.

“We re­ally want to pro­vide the right per­son­al­ity from a de­sign per­spec­tive where it is like, ‘Yeah, I want to spend more time here,’ ” says De­vani.

Rndsqr’s mixed-use Court­yard 33 project in Marda Loop is tak­ing the con­cept a step fur­ther with 2,000 square feet of the sec­ond floor re­tail space slated for a co-work­ing en­vi­ron­ment run by a pri­vate con­trac­tor, but of­fer­ing pref­er­en­tial rates for those who live in the build­ing.

“It just brings this level of cul­ture and vi­brancy, where own­ers can rent a hot spot desk.

“We are re­ally find­ing that there is such a de­sire for peo­ple to work and live in th­ese es­tab­lished neigh­bour­hoods, close to all of the ameni­ties, with a dis­tinct per­son­al­ity, but not di­rectly in the down­town core,” says De­vani.

A re­cent Gallup sur­vey found that 36 per cent of the work­force is part of the gig econ­omy. And that num­ber is grow­ing.

Even more sur­pris­ing, the re­port showed that gig­gers slice across de­mo­graph­ics, with boomers at the top of the chart, fol­lowed closely by Gen Xers and mil­len­ni­als.

In re­sponse, con­do­minium de­sign is also shift­ing to in­cor­po­rate floor plans that work with the trend.

“We are cre­at­ing spa­ces that al­low peo­ple to de­cide how they are go­ing to use it — they are more dy­namic in the sense that they don’t have this hard and fast pro­gram­ming,” says De­vani.

He sees pri­vate den and of­fice spa­ces go­ing by the way­side, with open-con­cept spa­ces that of­fer multi-func­tion­al­ity ris­ing to the fore.

Each home in Court­yard 33 will of­fer a sling-down desk and work­sta­tion that is able to tuck away when needed.

“It is like a flip-top ta­ble in a sense that comes down and goes up. It is built in to the ac­tual unit,” says De­vani.

But re­gard­less of where the home of­fice rests, whether it is cowork­ing space or in the midst of the kitchen, cre­at­ing an in­spir­ing en­vi­ron­ment with colour, art and great func­tion­al­ity is key.

“Af­ter all, you are go­ing to be spend­ing eight to 10 hours a day in the space, it should feel good,” says De­silets.


A com­mu­nal of­fice space for full-time work is a grow­ing need in to­day’s homes.

Roomy of­fice space in a Mount Pleas­ant town­home.

Am­ple shelf and stor­age space in of­fices are es­sen­tial.

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