This Built-From-Scratch Home Office Was Designed for the WFH Era

Soaring ceilings and homey accents made this new build cozy and comfortable for year-round work.

new build home office

The wood ceiling beams for this new build home office were salvaged from an old mill in Lancaster County. The desk has built-in wire management: Power cords run through one leg and down to the floor for an uninterrupted look. The floor lamp by the chair is strategically placed, as task lighting should be stationed anywhere you anticipate concentrating for long periods of time. Photograph by Rebecca McAlpin

This office was featured in our “The Art of the Home Office” article. See more home office design inspiration here.

When you have the luxury of designing a domicile from scratch, an office can look however you’d like — including entirely different from the rest of the home. That’s the case with this off-the-living-room space in Chestnut Hill, where designer Michele Plachter worked with Flourtown-based builder Blake Development to create a traditional, rustic retreat for an insurance exec. (The rest of the home reflects his wife’s more modern aesthetic.)

The personalization is rooted in four distinct surfaces: hardwood flooring, blue grasscloth wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries, a vaulted hickory and white oak ceiling, and the stone wall centerpiece. “It feels like it’s always been there, which it hasn’t,” says Plachter. “It gives the room soul.” Other lived-in touches include an antique hutch that belonged to the owner’s great-grandfather and a beloved leather club chair, which the family has carried through multiple houses. The desk is a custom job through Plachter’s company, Michele Plachter Design, that accommodates the owner’s tall frame. The leather-wrapped chandelier is from Ralph Lauren, and the windowpane-plaid shades were made with wool Robert Allen fabric. The graphic cowhide rug is Kravet, and navy blue custom bookshelves (not pictured) surround the glass-door entryway and hide additional papers and a printer.

It all comes together to create a distinct sense of space — necessary for work/life separation if you’ll be permanently making the WFH switch. Also key: a comfortable (read: upholstered) chair, a creative way to handle clutter — “Look for an interesting piece of furniture to store files,” suggests Plachter — and art that inspires you. “Find something you really love looking at,” she adds. “Don’t just get it because it matches.”

Michele Plachter of Michele Plachter Design, Washington Square West
Style philosophy: Unexpected details keep sophisticated spaces from feeling too showroom-y or serious.
Secret Philly resource: Architectural Antiques Exchange in NoLibs for everything reclaimed
Best WFH advice: A Samsung Frame TV delivers your daily cable-news fix without disrupting a room’s design scheme: It displays digital art when turned off.

Published as “If You … Are Going Fully Remote” in “The Art of the Home Office” in the December 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.