Office Envy: See Where Two Top Designers Bring Their Big Ideas to Life

Alyssa Kapito and Paloma Contreras open up about designing the work spaces of their dreams.

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Kirsten Francis; Kerry Kirk

When you're an interior designer, crafting your personal office naturally comes with some pressure. Beyond serving as a source of creative inspiration for the designer and any colleagues who work out of the space, many times, their office is the first impression a potential client might receive of their capabilities.

With this in mind, how does a designer dream up a beautiful office that's representative of their aesthetic? We invited two designers—, who is based in New York, and from Houston—to share, in their own words, how they designed the office spaces of their dreams.

Alyssa Kapito

The concept for our office started out with the idea that the space wouldn’t feel like an office at all. It was, instead, meant to feel like much more of a creative studio, a place to host clients and be inspired. When I first saw the listing with my broker, the space was under construction and looked like a total mess! While that could be a turnoff for most, it was perfect for me.

I had the rare opportunity in New York City real estate to work with the developer of our building to install a few more elevated design elements that would make our office feel like a space we had really designed. Instead of engineered wood or drab carpet that are commonplace in many New York office buildings, we laid down four-inch oak floors and painted them in Farrow & Ball’s floor paint. We upgraded all of the outlet covers to brass ones by . We also installed a fabric library, complete with from Ann Morris. The furniture was either custom made or found antiques to help the space feel collected.

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Kristen Francis

In our lounge area, two by Cedric Hartman flank a custom table and linen sofa. by Poul Kjaerholm and a by Poul Hundevad add texture and character to the space. In our fabric library, a custom table is surrounded by found on 1stdibs and an antique Italian glass vase sits next to a Just Andersen covered bowl. from Mecox Gardens hold client materials and our favorite fabrics are stored in from IKEA.

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Kristen Francis

Of course, like in all of our work, art is so important, and finding pieces that would elevate the space took some time. Behind our conference table sits a small figural work by from Gerald Bland, that I absolutely adore. And in the lounge area, the blue and white modernist painting is by . Our office is where we spend so much time and we all love how inspiring it is to work there!

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Interior designer Alyssa Kapito
Kirsten Francis

Paloma Contreras

An organized work space–whether it is a home office, a traditional study, or a library–can be paramount to one’s level of productivity. In my own office, I prioritize plenty of concealed storage, so that everything is in its place at all times. When we redesigned and built out our office, I knew that I wanted to add custom cabinetry so that all of our baskets of fabric samples, finish samples, client binders, and vendor catalogs could be concealed behind closed doors. Messes make me a little crazy, so not having to look at so many design elements brings me a sense of peace and allows me to focus on designing new spaces for my clients.

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Max Burkhalter

Since we generally work on a dozen different design projects at any given moment, it was also important for the design of our office to be neutral since the color palette and fabric selections can vary greatly from one project to the next. I did not want our office environment to compete or interfere with our design work and creativity. Our cabinetry is white with custom-made pulls in lucite and antique brass; we have a chic pendant hanging above our tulip work table with marble top; the girls on my team have white task lamps with brass accents; and we have leopard carpet, which is the wild card in the space.

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Max Burkhalter

The obvious choice may have been seagrass, but my dog, Tate, spends the entire day in the office with us, so it was important for the carpet to be soft enough for him and for the rest of us when we work on presentation boards and other projects on the floor. After all, leopard is a neutral!

The space features desk lamps from for Visual Comfort, the chandelier is the , and the geometric objects are by . The framed artwork above the printer is by , and the draperies are from . Plus, there's a and porcelain gold bud vases, which are available at .

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Interior designer Paloma Contreras
Kerry Kirk
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