Working From Home: How Do You Separate Live/Work?

I was at an event last week and struck up a conversation with someone about what I do at Apartment Therapy. “Your apartment must be amazing!” he said. I’m embarrassed to say that at the moment that isn’t exactly how I would describe it. I run my commercial photography business out of my tiny living room, in my tiny (under 500 square feet) city apartment.

Up until recently that meant a few bins of files, a closet full of equipment, rolls of leftover background paper in the corner and the odd prop. I get a lot of natural light so I’ll set up and do test shoots on occasion but the majority of my work was location based. Then I decided to branch off into selling prints through the South End Open Market (it’s amazing, check it out) and via Etsy. In came the boxes of prints and the mounting supplies, then the panels for my display (which do not fit in my closet) plus the tent… and sandbags, a folding table, chairs, and… what happened to my apartment?!

Suffice to say the current state of things is driving me crazy. I can’t afford an office or studio space at the moment and quite honestly like the convenience of having everything here. Problem is, not only does it look messy; I can never quite relax because work is staring me in the face. I’m trying to view this as a temporary situation but I don’t see an end in sight and it’s starting to wear on me.

Is anyone else in this situation? How do you handle separating work from home when they share space or did you just learn to embrace it for what it is?

Image: Leela Cyd Ross from Heidi & David's Downtown Portland Loft

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A Bay Area based photographer, writer and all around design junkie I'm obsessed with finding beauty both in the home and on the open road.