Julie Ann Segal Home Office Renovation

Do you ever find yourself longing for change? This pandemic nudged me into action, to do something I intuitively knew I needed to do: move my business office into my home. For most of 2020 many of us have found ourselves working from home more, meeting over Zoom, and gathering in person less often. I loved my space in the Hirshfield’s building in Minneapolis, a place where I designed my heart out for many years, but it didn’t make sense anymore. There was just too much space.

At home, I got creative. Having recently moved out to the suburbs, I was ready to switch to working out of my home permanently. I love my new home and the peace it brings me to be out of the city. There are two areas I decided to convert into a workspace: my windowless lower level and my garage. The garage has become my create space, where I keep my samples and other resources for designing. And I can still fit my car in there! The lower level has become my administrative space. These areas may sound like strange spaces to work from, so let me walk you through how I transformed them into a work-from-home haven. I hope it inspires you to rethink your workspace!


Before I even thought about moving, I got rid of stuff. I would be moving my work to a smaller space, and didn’t need all the furniture I had accumulated. I then took careful inventory of what I kept and made a digital resource list to keep track of vendor information. I had many physical catalogs that were taking up too much space. Now I have a list on the desktop of my computer to keep track of the many partners I have. Organization is key to moving.

Add Distinguishing Color

Brighter is better in a working space to keep your energy up. In the lower level, I painted an accent wall in “Sunset in Italy,” a cheery shade of yellow. The other walls are a nice vanilla hue. I repeated this color scheme in the garage. These spaces are the only areas with this color theme; this creates borders between my work life and personal life, which promotes balance.

Think About Lighting

In the lower level, since there are no windows, I had to really amp up the lighting. I added an overhead lamp, a table lamp, and a Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy lamp on my desk. You may have heard of these light therapy “happy lights” that help beat the winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Perfect for a windowless space! In the garage, I changed out the existing fixtures to make them more stylish.

Polish the Space

My favorite look is what I call “earthy elegance,” a polished, nature-inspired style. In the garage, I added a piece of art featuring a hammock set up in nature and surrounded the space with fancy pillows. I brought in cabinetry on castors to make it easy to move and added a distressed finish to the wood countertops to give it an earthy look. I then added silver twig hardware to the tall storage cabinets. The garage floors need to be spiffed up, so I added a nice and durable epoxy floor. It looks great!

When the weather is nice, I can open up the garage doors and let actual nature inside. In the basement, I added shelving that contains some open-backed spaces to allow the sunny yellow color to shine through. I also intentionally added fun, decorative accessories and photos on the shelves instead of just books and papers. There is even a built-in desk that my vendors and staff can use when they visit.

The great thing about the garage is that it was already set up as an office; my townhouse was the model unit. The garage had “predecessor energy,” a Feng Shui term that describes the energy left behind by a previous occupant of a space. I was able to use this to my advantage by adding my own earthy elegance to the already well-lit area. I could take the foundation and expand with my own style.

Dial up the Comfort

To be able to use the garage in the coldest days of winter and the hottest days of summer, I installed a ductless A/C and heating unit with a built-in dehumidifier from Total Comfort in Minneapolis. This will help eliminate mold from collecting on my abundance of fabric samples and increase the comfort of the space no matter what the weather brings. If you are interested in this ductless system, you can contact Gary Katz, the President/CEO of Total Comfort, at 612-968-2433.

Moving my office space into my home space has really worked well for me. I am proud of the changes I have made and it shows in my work. If you are looking for help with home office design, or any other area of your home, check out these tips on Feng Shui design and then contact me for a personalized consultation. Try our new offering, a One Room Virtual Interior Design Video service or our more extensive offering, a Virtual Consultation.

Warmest Regards,

Julie Ann