Top designers share their secrets for creating a productive home office

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Yes, it's possible to create a calm work space at home. (Photo: Havenly)
Yes, it’s possible to create a calm work space at home. (Photo: Havenly)

With all of us conducting business from our counters and sofas these days, having a dedicated home office is on everyone’s wish list. Case in point: Havenly, an online interior design service, says that requests for home offices skyrocketed from 6 percent in 2019 to 26 percent today. And since February requests have gone up 160 percent.

“It all jumped the week of March 16, when the world went indoors,” says Lee Mayer, CEO of Havenly. “Even when we can go back, more people will work from home than ever before. So having a space you can be productive in will

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This Video Series Offers a Peek at Stunning Design Locales

Photo credit: Neil Landino
Photo credit: Neil Landino

From Veranda

A landmark gate house in Pittsburgh. A masterful Connecticut garden with a delicious pedigree. An early 20th-century planned community in Houston that serves as a paradigm of architectural diversity.

As virtual field trips go, they don’t get better than this. In a recently launched video series by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA), a Who’s Who roster of top design talents share peeks into their own backyards (both literally and figuratively) to offer illuminating perspectives on near-and-dear landmarks and other feats of good traditional design.

The series, entitled In Your Neighborhood, arose in part out of a sense of COVID-era localism—architect and board member Eric Osth came up with the idea, says ICAA president Peter Lyden. “He is deeply invested in understanding the elements that make for beautiful, livable, and memorable towns, cities, and neighborhoods,” notes Lyden, adding that he

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Take a Peek Inside Kit Kemp’s Hyde Park Home

Given the choice, most decorators with a personal design itch would scratch it by moving from one house to another, exchanging one expertly completed realm for a new challenge, ad infinitum. That would not be Kit Kemp, the effervescent British interior designer who is also the creative director and cofounder, with her husband, Tim, of the eccentrically chic Firmdale Hotels, an international hospitality empire composed of 10 smart hostelries and eight fizzy bars and restaurants, stretching from London to New York City. “I’ve lived in other places before, but I’m going to stick with this one,” she explains. “I’m no quitter.”

<div class="caption"> Kemp (right) and her daughters Minnie (center) and Willow lounge on the drawing room sofa, which wears a linen by <a href="https://www.raoultextiles.com/home" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Raoul Textiles" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Raoul Textiles</a>. </div> <cite class="credit">Simon Upton </cite>
Kemp (right) and her daughters Minnie (center) and Willow lounge on the drawing room sofa, which wears a linen by Raoul Textiles.

Simon Upton

<div class="caption"> In the entry, flat-weave rugs were fashioned into a stair runner, antique mirror. </div> <cite class="credit">Simon Upton </cite>

In the entry, flat-weave rugs were fashioned into a stair runner, antique mirror.

Simon Upton

The address to which Kemp has pledged her

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Algorithms are designing better buildings

<span class="caption">Sberbank Technopark in Russia by Zaha Hadid Architects.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/sberbank-moscow/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Zaha Hadid Architects">Zaha Hadid Architects</a></span>
Sberbank Technopark in Russia by Zaha Hadid Architects. Zaha Hadid Architects

When giant blobs began appearing on city skylines around the world in the late 1980s and 1990s, it marked not an alien invasion but the impact of computers on the practice of building design.

Thanks to computer-aided design (CAD), architects were able to experiment with new organic forms, free from the restraints of slide rules and protractors. The result was famous curvy buildings such as Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and Future Systems’ Selfridges Department Store in Birmingham.

Today, computers are poised to change buildings once again, this time with algorithms that can inform, refine and even create new designs. Even weirder shapes are just the start: algorithms can now work out the best ways to lay out rooms, construct the buildings and even change them over time to meet users’ needs. In this way, algorithms are giving

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