This Smartly Designed Home Office Doubles as a Mudroom

Design Manifest founder Naomi Stein helped a Penn Valley family turn this room into something multifunctional to meet all their needs.

home office mud room

Not anchoring the desk to a wall gives the owner room to walk around while on the phone. And because it’s not on wheels, the chair can easily be pulled into the kitchen for additional dinner seating. Photograph by Raquel Langworthy

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

With an odd hexagonal shape and windows on four sides, it wasn’t clear what, exactly, this annex was supposed to be, so Design Manifest founder Naomi Stein decided it would serve multiple purposes. Since it connected to both the kitchen and the driveway of a Penn Valley colonial with “a beautiful entry but no storage,” Stein knew part of the space should go the mudroom route. On that front, thin brick pavers from Delaware Brick and a sturdy wool Jaipur Living rug give the family — which has both a young son and a dog — a place to come in and be messy, while the built-in bench and charming Kingston Brass hooks serve as a drop zone for leashes, bags and coats.

The workspace is simpler, but intentionally so — the freestanding antique desk and Brownstone Furniture’s “Gabby” chair can easily be moved aside for a sprawling Lego session, while beadboard that cocoons the entire room brings a homey vibe that encourages longer sits.

“It fulfills two needs and makes use of the space in a functional yet beautiful way,” Stein says of the unusual pairing. “Most importantly, it works for the family.”

Looking for a space of your own to turn hybrid? Stein suggests considering your dining room, which is likely underused. (A work/workout room is also an option; just don’t position the desk to look directly at the Peloton.) Wherever you decide, take the time to make it yours. “Even a few temporary changes — a plant, a favorite painting — will improve your eight-hour-a-day environment,” Stein adds.

Naomi Stein of Design Manifest, South Philly.
Style philosophy: Livable luxury. It’s all about finding the balance between really beautiful but not too precious.
Secret Philly resource: Springboard Media for seamless IT integration that keeps aesthetics top of mind
Best WFH advice: Drawers are key for tucking things away when you’re wanting that serenity moment.

Published as “If You … Need a Space That Can Do Double Duty” in “The Art of the Home Office” in the December 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.