WORK Lab's Vintage Eclectic Workspace

Workspace Tour

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Location: Richmond, VA
Size: Front office space is 1,600 square feet, back space is 600 square feet
Years lived in: 20 years

Cabell Harris, the founder and owner of WORK Labs has created an environment that is bursting with creativity and fun. WORK Labs is a creative brand agency in Richmond, VA that promises you that they are always thinking. This was apparent as soon as I walked in; I immediately got the sense that this was a place designed to inspire, and walking through the space proved to be an exploration of fun discoveries!

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After beginning his advertising career in Richmond, Cabell worked in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles , where he started WORK, and moved it to Richmond in 1995. The office of WORK Labs is now located on the first floor of a house, and Cabell and his family occupy the second floor. There is a guest house in the back yard that is an extension of the office space, officially dubbed WORK-HQ.

The main office was inspired by architect Frank Isarel’s deconstructionist style and has elements of his work throughout the walls and bookshelves. WORK HQ was designed more as a place to hibernate and create; Cabell says that it is filled with things that he likes and feels most comfortable with – oil cans, filled test tubs, industrial enhanced furniture and concrete floor. This space was a labor of love, starting from Cabell's sketches of what he envisioned it to be, to all the hands that went into making this a retreat for thinking and creating.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Vintage eclectic with a touch of wit

Inspiration: Industrial pre 1940’s, Frank Israel Deconstructionist architect, Graphic Design, Type and oddities

Favorite Element: Mouse door cut into the molding on the floor by the stairs.

Biggest Challenge: Working on a small budget

What Friends Say: Can they stay here if their spouse kicks them out?

Biggest Embarrassment: I’m not going to repeat it by telling you.

Proudest DIY: Finding the soda crates and making them as drawers

Biggest Indulgence: Time by myself in front of the fire with a glass of scotch

Best Advice: It’s therapeutic to have a space to yourself.

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Resources of Note:

Steve Berg was the contractor and I could not of been happier with the overall quality of the work and that he staying on budget and time. A special thanks to Moe and Erik they were the work horses that got it done. Bill Fields was a great resource for getting the reclaimed wood for the stairs and the counter tops. He also built the bookshelves.

Furniture: Most of the furniture we had and just repurposed it. The large piece of furniture right when you walk into WORK-HQ is actually two different pieces that I found at Governor’s Antiques. I had them stained and reworked to match. We had an old partners table that works well in the space as a worktable or dinner table. The shelves for the TV are supported on old truck jacks. Baron Penton, a welder worked with Bill Fields to create the two adjustable tables. They can be used as TV/ coffee tables while sitting or be raised and tilted as drawing tables. Wendy Umanoff created for me by taking a Hand Dolly and turning it into a chaise. She also took a birdcage and wired it as a lamp. I found the chalkboard at Caravati’s salvage. What’s nice is if we have a large get together in the yard we are able to bring a lot of the different elements outdoors.

Floor and Walls: Erika Vaden painted and sanded the upstairs floor. She also applied a wall finish that reviled small patches of wallpaper to give a feel of a much older place. Chad Gill polished, stained and applied the decal to the concrete floor. The chalkboard hangs from the wall and is on rollers. I’m able to move it to reveal a pin-up wall that is used when I’m working.

Accessories: I love the little things and I like collecting; things such as oilcans, porcelain glove molds, old letterboxes, felt handmade mice, test tubes with memories of trips enclosed and an assortment of oddities.

Window Treatments: For window shades I use vintage German educational charts. These can be rotated seasonally.

Artwork: I have a Large Rauschenberg print going up the stairs but my favorite is a portrait I had done of my Father. The artist is John Shenk. It captures my fathers commanding presence and his sense of humor.

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Thanks, Cabell!

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(Image credits: Christine Lu)

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Christine lives in Richmond, VA with her husband, daughter and Norwegian Elkhound. She is a purveyor of daily delights and champions the joy of doing more with less, the art of living beautifully, and sharing good stories.