The winner in our Considered Design Awards, Best Design Professional-Submitted Office Space category is Kate Monckton, a London-based designer who created a home office space that manages successfully to look more like a home than an office.
As more and more people operate out of live/work spaces, Kate Monckton, founding principal of Kate Monckton Interior Design, has noticed an increasing demand for personal and relaxed offices. Monckton’s client for this project, who works in a creative industry, needed a space to work from as well as one in which to entertain clients, colleagues, and friends. Monckton wanted to lighten the space, located in a small and dark Notting Hill apartment, as much as possible; to that end, she changed the flooring to light oak and painted the walls a subtle shade of gray (Fired Earth Earls Grey).
No structural changes were required—instead, Monckton sourced appropriate furniture, lighting, soft furnishings, and decorative items from auction houses and vintage markets (her personal art collection included), creating a small, eclectic office with a big personality. “I don’t know whether I can really explain how I put things together; it’s automatic," she says. "Mixing color and pattern is one of my favorite things to do. It’s persuading the client to run with it—that’s the hard bit.”
Above: Monckton purchased the blue laminate-topped desk and 1950s bentwood Thonet chair at auction. "I buy from auction quite often," Monckton says. "You can sometimes get collector's pieces at affordable prices, but you need balls of steel to hold your nerve." The metal cabinets are original French postal cabinets from the 1940s, which the designer sourced from Couilles du Chien.
Above: "The shelf detail above the desk is my favorite part of the project," Monckton says. "The grouping of gold glasses gives the client something beautiful to gaze upon when they look up from the laptop; something other than an office photocopy machine and a water dispenser." Monckton sourced the 1930s French collection of glasses from Kempton Antiques Market. "Cheap as chips—didn't need them but couldn't leave them behind," she says. "That is the key to successfully creating an eclectic style in a room. Often it's the unnecessary, slightly bonkers things that give a room its personality."
Above: Monckton often sources art for her clients and visits degree shows at art schools to find the latest. The pair of charcoal figurative drawings are by Simon Nicholas (the designer spotted his work at his Goldsmith's College degree show) and come from Monckton's own personal collection.
Above: "I am obsessed with cushions and rugs and love all things graphic—fabric, artwork, rugs, tiles, anything, really," Monckton says. The designer sourced these pillows from Rouge du Rhin. "When I found these, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven," she says. "I could happily have each and every single design of theirs." Monckton wanted the mirror, which she found at the Ardingly Antiques and Collectors Fair, to blend into the room in a subtle way, so she painted the "nasty" bright white frame the same color as the walls (Fired Earth Earls Grey).
Above L: When Monckton was unable to find a narrow-enough console table for the hallway, she created one out of reclaimed materials. The aged wood top, which she purchased for £20, is from a vintage dealer on Golborne Road near Portobello Market and the legs were found in a reclamation junkyard for £18. Above R: Monckton purchased the antique Victorian suede gloves, embroidered with the words "Love" and "Hate," and displays them in a frame found from the Lacy Gallery, her favorite source for antique frames. "There's no significance to the gloves, I just like them," she says. "The mix of Victorian quirkiness and the modern obsession of tattooing appeal to me."
Above: "The key to a good interior is to mix up your colors, patterns, and textures," Monckton says. "If not, it will look bland and safe." A cotton dhurrie from The Rug Company creates pattern on the floor while a vintage Afghan quilt cover that Monckton found after scouring Portobello Road is draped over a chair that might otherwise need recovering. The cushion is from the designer's favorite local antiques shop, Couilles du Chien.
Above: Monckton mixes work from unknown artists found in flea markets with Bavarian porcelain and a pair of 1930s carved wooden bookends.
Above: "All the furniture had to be carefully considered, as there wasn’t a huge amount of space to play with," Monckton says of the one-room office and entertaining space.
See all 11 winners of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards and watch for individual project profiles as they publish over the next several weeks.