Working from home has its perks and its perils: think blogging from bed and Skyping in sweats, to name the advantages. The downside? It can be a lonely affair. Such was the predicament facing self-described strategist and matchmaker Rena Tom after she sold Rare Device, the San Francisco shop she started with Lisa Congdon. After several months of hauling her computer to cafes, she rented her own work space; ironically, though, she found herself heading back to the coffee shop for camaraderie.
Rena took matters into her own hands and enlisted two friends—Victoria Smith of SF Girl by Bay, and Suzanne Shade, of art site The Beholder. Very quickly Makeshift Society was born: a bright, airy, well-designed work space with both a long communal table and a quiet space to sneak off when silence is required. Membership has taken off, primarily by word of mouth and has drawn a creative crowd: photographers, writers, and artists alike. As Rena points out, "It's a self-selecting group, a bit like Craigslist was in the beginning." Membership is available at different levels, and perks include monthly mixers and classes (out-of-towners can buy a guest pass) as well as a couple of bikes for running errands in the neighborhood. In short, it's much more than a workspace; it's a creative clubhouse where like-minded people can connect, collaborate, and socialize. Self-employment has never looked so good. To learn more, visit Makeshift Society.
Photography by Victoria Smith.
Above: To help launch their business, Makeshift Society enlisted several sponsors including Restoration Hardware who supplied this extra long farmhouse table. The mismatched chairs were sourced from Anthropologie and Greenhouse Design Studio. (That's Victoria's dog, Lucy.)
Above: Rena missed the books she had on hand at Rare Device, so she created a library at Makeshift. The ever-growing collection now boasts more than 500 design books and a healthy supply of magazines that members are free to peruse.
Above: Victoria spearheaded the design, enlisting local wood worker Michael Woo to help build out the space. He created the book shelves and a meeting room, as well as the loft area shown here accessed by ladder and with a recently installed chaise (for those accustomed to an afternoon nap).
Above: Several small desks on wheels in the rear of the space can be easily configured into a large meeting table when needed.
Above: The conference room can be booked by members for Skype calls and meetings. Woo used whitewashed pine on the walls and covered the built-in benches with gray felt.
Above; The original tiled floor was kept intact; rugs warm up the space and add color.
Above: A communal kitchen in the rear of the clubhouse (L) and industrial lockers for rent with brightly painted knobs (R).
Above: The large window at the front of the space has built-in seating.
For more inspirational work spaces check out our Gallery.
Do you work at home? We'd love to hear your secrets for staying sane; let us know your strategies in the comments section!