Close-Up: Matthew Williams Design's Thrifty and Crafty Studio

Close-Up: Matthew Williams Design's Thrifty and Crafty Studio

Sonia Zjawinski
Aug 8, 2008

A few weeks ago we found Flickr photos of the offices of Matthew Williams Design. A particular photo caught our attention, a shot of what was happening behind Matthew's desk. The photo had a link to what his office previously looked like and we have to say we like the changes. Above are the before and after. After contacting Matthew we found out the designer had a lot of great finds and resources we thought we should share...

Matthew and his wife, Sharon, moved into their San Francisco studio in 2004. Since they didn't have time to remodel before hitting the grindstone, they made changes along the way. "We're both graphic designers and we were busy with work, so whatever I did couldn't interfere with either of our workloads. In a sense, I had to work backwards -- we moved in, plugged in the computers, and then began working on how the studio should be arranged. I worked in the evenings and on weekends so I wouldn't interfere with business, and I'd tell my wife several days before moving or disconnecting equipment so our work interruptions were minimized."

"I'd spent many years working in different office environments, so I had several ideas about how best to use our new workspace. I'd always loved the openness of the design and architecture firms in which I'd worked, and I wanted to avoid the sterility of cubicles. But since we had a very tight budget, I was constantly searching Craigslist and Freecycle for used and free office equipment. I found chairs, a conference table, all sorts of miscellaneous items, and a free color laser printer that only needed a good cleaning and a new fuser assembly."

Both the large laser printer and table were scored for free.
"I bought solid-core doors from a lumberyard and coated them with Varathane, and rested them atop a pair of file cabinets to form a cheap, sturdy, simple desk."
"Sharon and I saw that table at Ikea. She loved it and I hated it, so we decided to wait until we found something better. Then I found it on Craigslist for free." The bartering site also proved useful when Sharon found the six Eames DCM chairs now surrounding the table.

If there's one thing Matthew and his great studio space have taught us, wait long enough and you can score it for free on Craigslist!

Photos: Matthew Williams

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