At the Office With Tommy Chambers

Tech Tour

Name:Tommy Chambers Interiors
Location: West Hollywood, California
Size/Room: 1,250 square feet
Years lived in: 10 years

A couple of weeks ago, we got a peek inside the home of Tommy Chambers, where he puts his skills to personal use in his own abode. Next door to his flat is another apartment which houses his interior design business. Mirroring an identical elongated floor plan, this office is a root of inspiration.

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At the office of Tommy Chambers Interiors, more is more, color equals fun and multi-textures and patterns add warmth. To see a working display of an interior designers space is so insightful. There are vision boards, sketches, swatches, paint cans... you name it, it's in there. Tommy even converted the old 2 car garage into a "library" for his extra fabrics, accessories etc. Taking full advantage of each room of this apartment he has converted the living room into three desk areas for his design assistants.

The dining room is now the "conference" room, housing four sections of vision boards and shelves overflowing with books and samples. The kitchen is a kitchen/ copy room. Tommy's office occupies what would be the master bedroom. What I love about this office conversion is that they were not afraid to really take advantage of the space. Putting great use to the floorplan of this apt they were able to really show off their work create a charming place to meet with their clients.

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Our style: Creative working studio...

The inspiration for our office: I wanted a real working studio that gave way to true creative expression in our design work. So have all the fabric, stone, wood and tile samples close at hand for the design projects but it would need to be well organized and exposed for easy access. One big creative jungle if you will...but always organized.

Favorite element in your space: Honestly, my design/business team have been together for so long...a real family...there is nothing the five of us cannot accomplish. After that, two things:

1. The upholstered walls in the conference room. They make fantastic pin up boards for presentations. It is extremely helpful to have the entire wall for show and tell with clients when presenting in the design studio.
2. The filtered south facing sunlight we get all day in the studio...wonderful to work by.

Biggest challenge in designing my space: The biggest challenge in designing my design studio was how to convert a residential space into a real working design studio. I needed it to function and feel professional but also satisfy our desire for intimate and comfortable surroundings while we work.

What friends say about my space: "So much stuff!"
Admittedly there is, but that just comes with the territory. Interior designers have to deal with so many elements of each project. So many different pieces and details to consider. We can easily have 12 different elements/pieces for one sofa order. The key is organization. Also you need accessibility to everything and you always need know where everything is. And you can only have that by keeping it organized.

Area where there is room for improvement/future projects:: We actually are planning a remodel of the kitchen, bathrooms and some other improvements but just haven't figured out how to do it without moving out for a spell. The clients and their projects come first. We just have to wait for the right time.

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: I guess the overall organization of everything in the design studio. There are five of us in here with all this design "stuff"...we have to be organized and know where everything is or it can get the best of us.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my space: The decoupage screens that I had my artist friend, Ben Humphrey, make from my vintage Richard Avedon photography portfolio. They serve as a practical divider between the front office and our conference/presentation room and stunning art all in one. I get to enjoy these amazing images everyday instead of them sitting in a portfolio on the shelf.

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: Consolidating all tech equipment in one dedicated area/closet really helps with the organizing part. Just make sure it is well ventilated and clean. Beyond that, have someone close at hand that is a "tech head" at heart. Steve DeFields, one of my project managers, happens to know everything there is to know about computers. We also have a computer technician, Neal Eglash, that keeps our server and computer systems running smoothly. He is the real deal when it comes to knowing all things computers.

Dream source for stuff: I left this one out of the house tour but I need to add now because without them I would be lost...Art Services Framing over on Almont Drive here in West Hollywood. They are responsible for all my framing. They offer wonderful, extremely diversified product with equally wonderful people running the place. They can make my cheapest art finds look like a million bucks.

Also, 1st Dibs. This website source we have been using since its inception. All of our favorite dealers use it, and because of it, we can cover so much more ground when looking for those perfect pieces.

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Resources
Office Tech

  • Three PC Workstations
  • One Networked Server
  • Sony Receiver for "office music"
  • DirecTV Music Stations, streaming Pandora and iTunes for office music
  • Rooms wired with speakers
  • Apple iPad used as TCI Portfolio to show new perspective clients our work
  • Apple iPad used for client e-mails/communication when in the field
  • Apple iPhones, RIM Blackberries for mobile email access
  • WiFi router
  • Apple MacBook Pro and PC laptops used.

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Thanks: Tommy Chambers

Images: Bethany Nauert