A stylish home office is this editor's dream

You may have seen the faces of the Traditional Homes editors smiling at you from the pages of our January catalog. They shared the items they’ve been dreaming of adding to their home, so we sat down with them to talk about their choices.

Marsha Raisch, Executive Editor for Traditional Home magazine, dreams of having a home office that she looks forward to holing up in to tackle some work! We talked to her about where to start and what pieces make for a functional space!

Ballard Designs: Where do you start when designing a home office?

Marsha Raisch: Working at home may not always be a “welcomed” assignment, but by creating a home office as warm and welcoming as any other room in your home, chances are working there will seem more like a treat than a chore. For designing a home office so beautiful that I would look forward to working at home, my first order of business would be to set the mood by painting the walls—and since I’m most productive in serene surroundings, sea-glass blue would be my go-to pick. Against that backdrop, I would fill the space with rich furnishings in warm, dark-wood tones and pieces upholstered in gorgeous fabrics—including a lovely yet super-supportive chair for the desk and an unexpected settee for style as well as a comfy reading spot. Other warmth enhancers would include stylish table lamps for task lighting, a large, fabric-covered bulletin board, and a colorful area rug underfoot. Inspiring artwork on the walls and meaningful mementos on my desk, such as framed photos of my husband and I in Paris and colorfully artistic creations by our young grandchildren, would add good-for-the-heart finishing touches.

BD: How do you balance storage and functional pieces with form in a space like this?

MR: Choosing pieces that look as beautiful as they function is the key to maintaining this office’s overall aesthetic. Tall and low-profile bookcases and filing cabinets with fine-furniture detailing would handsomely belie their hard-working character. A variety of baskets to minimize loose paperwork and assorted glass and wooden bowls to corral pens, paper clips, business cards and such would effectively round out the storage lineup.

BD: What is the one must-have item you need to make your home office beautiful?

MR: For me, the crowning gem in any office is the desk, which not only is front-and-center, but also, because of its size, makes the biggest statement. As a young schoolgirl dreaming of what she would someday grow up to be, I often sat behind the richly grained walnut desk in my grandparents’ farmhouse, wheeling and dealing with imaginary business clients (I can’t recall the nature of my business, but I was large and in-charge behind that impressive desk!). Perhaps that’s why I place such a premium on this most-used office essential. A beautiful desk would still be the showpiece in the home office of my dreams.

BD: Alright, your dream space is all ready! What does your workday look like from your new command center?

MR: There’s nothing like being the first to rise in the house (well, except for the yellow Lab who’s always ready for breakfast—no matter the wake-up time!), and with a mug of just-brewed coffee in hand, heading to a quiet haven to get a head start on the day. Enveloped in my well-planned and beautifully appointed cocoon, I dig in—fueled by early morning creativity, a splash of caffeine, and the promise of a productive day.

Find more ideas and inspiration from Traditional Home, or sign up for a subscription to Traditional Home with a special discount here.