Making It Work: The Minimalist vs. Clutterer Home Office

Making It Work: The Minimalist vs. Clutterer Home Office

Gregory Han
Jun 27, 2013

Head to Brooklyn for a tour through this thoughtfully considered home office for two — the shared space of executive coach Dea McKenzie and creative director Jorge Naranjo. Pops of color find balance with a pair of neutral task chairs, with a tiny desk top succulent garden holding court between the two. Here, Dea tells us how their work styles differ — and offers a few a smart tips for making the most of working from home.

Tell us about what you do. Jorge is a creative director and graphic designer who works in both print and web mediums, helping clients create marketing, advertising, editorial, and branding. You can see some of his work at

I am the founder of Script Your Story and I coach one-on-one with executives striving to improve their communication skills or to make a shift in their professional life. In addition, I am a partner with Smith Communication Partners where I consult mostly with large companies, helping executive teams communicate with their organization.

What inspires you in your work? For me, it’s the people. I love my colleagues at Smith Communication Partners — they are some of the most creative, clever, and inspiring folks around. And I get so energized from the work I do with my coaching clients — it’s a “helping profession” and I know my clients appreciate my work, but I also feel that I personally benefit in so many ways.

Jorge’s surroundings inspire his work. He constantly has music playing, and when doing design research, he surrounds himself with beautiful photography and typography. Also, he’s really dedicated to getting outside and soaking in the fresh air. It keeps his mind clear and his design skills renewed.

A sample of Jorge Naranjo's  design work for French Furniture company, FCL Style.

Tell us about your home office space. Were there any particular obstacles to overcome?
 Jorge and I work very differently. He’s an extreme minimalist, and I need some “work stuffs” (aka, clutter) to keep me focused on the task at hand. We strive to be mostly paperless, which is fairly easy if you have large or multiple monitors. Our built-in cabinetry allows us to store design and other resource books, as well as office supplies and our printer.

You have a pair of Eames Aluminum Group Management Chairs in your space. Why did you choose the design? We love the chairs for their timeless design — they always look contemporary. We also love how streamlined they are; they are a great blend of home and business. We’d definitely recommend the chairs to others — they are comfy and functional, and work in a variety of interiors.

Can you share any tips about working from home? Jorge’s advice is “Wake up and get ready just like you’re going to an office.” This is good idea — there’s nothing worse than realizing it’s noon, you’ve been chained to your desk and you are still in your pajamas. You feel better when you take a few minutes to get yourself ready to face the world.

My advice is to make sure you leave the house every day. Jorge is really good at this, but I’m not. It’s easy to lock yourself in when you get busy — especially if your refrigerator is full. I also use Skype or Google Hangouts — since I don’t get regular face-time with my colleagues, this is a great way to still feel a personal connection during the workday.

(Images: Dea McKenzie & Jorge Naranjo)

Republished in partnership with Herman Miller Lifework. Originally posted by Amy Feezor.
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