Prior to joining The Whole Brain Group as creative director, designer Jamie Latendresse served as Creative Arts Director for CPOP Gallery in Detroit, was co-owner of the emerging-artist gallery Primary Space, and worked for clients like General Motors and Our Time Theatre in New York City. Here the recent transplant to San Francisco shares his ideal live/work space-one that's founded in every city dweller's dream: more space.
Jamie Latendresse: I live in the Sunset area of San Francisco, just south of Golden Gate Park, with my ﬁancée Emily, a children's fashion designer, and our Siamese cat "Kitty." Like our previous apartment in New York, it's a one-bedroom, which presents some challenges for "ﬁt." We both need a workspace and we've created a shared area at one end of our living room. Ideally our workspace would be a second bedroom or even an outside studio space (like typographer/illustrator Jessica Hische's amazing former studio above).
Our long-term plan is to one day open a design store/studio that we could both work in, and move the office out of the house altogether (oh, to have a Nelson Swag Leg Desk with a MacBook Air on that alone and call it our "home office").
Working at home means that my office is omnipresent, and it can be intrusive in a smaller space. The size of our apartments both here and previously in New York required it to be adjacent to our living space. Integrated, built-in shelving and desks would allow us to have a comfortable and effective workspace and simultaneously let it recede into the fringe of the room, semi-detached.
Another symptom of working at home is, well, always being there. The option of a perpetually compelling and changing view is a solution I've always dreamed of having. It might be distracting to have a view of Central Park or the ocean, but I'd be willing to test myself.
The ocean view workspace also combines two of my ideal items: built-in desks and Eames Aluminum Group Chairs. I currently park in my cherished Aeron Chair, but we love the idea of matching Aluminum Group Management Chairs (with pneumatic height adjustment so I can pop up and down and have fun during long conference calls). That's no reflection on my Aeron chair; in our small apartment, it's just a big and bold player. The Aluminum Group Chairs are the perfect size and style for our space.
Our style is a healthy mix of acquiring pieces we know we'll love - like the Eames Storage Units currently on our save-up-for-it list - as well as making do with what we have. For example, some of our furniture was damaged or destroyed in the recent cross-country move, including our desk. We made the most of it by saving the leg from the damaged desk and combining it with two new ones to create our "partners" desk. It was an easy hack and we were able to recycle potential landﬁll into a perfect solution.
It's the beguiling shapes and attention to function in Herman Miller's, and specifically in Charles & Ray Eames', designs that inspire me. Charles Eames said, "Design is the appropriate combination of materials in order to solve a problem." I've always admired that approach and I try to apply it to our spaces, aiming for the biggest impact with the simplest solution.
No matter where I work, well designed and organized surroundings make long days easier. I sometimes pace when I'm conceptualizing, strolling around looking at shapes and colors, books, and other sources. Once everything in a workplace is just so, it becomes a source of real comfort and inspiration for me.
Organization and style lead to more ease of creativity. And while admittedly not a home office, this space is inspiration eye-candy. I can only imagine how comforting it would be.
Images: Jamie Latendresse, Jessica Hische
Republished in partnership with Lifework
By Amy Feezor