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Creating a Productive Work Space

This post has been a long time coming!

As many of you know, mollybydesign (mbd) is a primarily home-based operation (with treks to the field and meeting customers), and it's been a long-time dream to have a studio that fits the needs of this growing business. So, when it finally hit that point where both Rob and I were ready to move on to the next stage of our lives, we literally planned our home around our work spaces.

First thing, I knew I needed a separate area for mbd. Somewhere:

  • Customers come visit the studio for design meetings

  • That could accommodate multiple employees

  • That could be accessed by NOT going through the main house (but still have that option for US)

  • With plenty of storage for the insane amount of design samples we've accumulated

  • With plenty of light! Can't tell you how important natural light is in my business - how are you supposed to see the true color/texture of things in low lighting?

Due to the sheer size of what we needed the studio to be, it was decided we would situate it in the space over the garage. From there, the two story garage seemed to dictate the size of the rest of the house (which we really didn't need - but resale, resale, resale).

During the foundation stage, we got the question as to why we didn't situate the studio in a separate building somewhere else on the land. To be honest, it was never a thought, as I, often, work late into the night. I didn't want to be walking back and forth from the house to the studio in the dark. You never know what you're going to encounter in the dark in the country.

So, now that we have the ideas compiled for the mollybydesign (mbd) studio, how do we construct a workable floor plan? Breaking our "need list" into sections, we knew we needed: a conference area, storage, employee work space (in addition my own desk), layout/work zone, a small kitchenette and a restroom.

Conference Area

Having this particular space is so huge for mbd:

  • As a business owner, I save valuable time not traveling to different meeting places

  • There's no forgetting plans/samples/estimates at the office - everything is in one place

  • Similar to the previous point, if a customer changes their mind with a particular selection, I have the ability to immediately show them other options


Granite, quartz, tile, flooring, stains, vinyl siding, and paint colors are just SOME of the samples we hold here at mbd. Altogether, these samples are a combination of bulky, heavy, oddly-shaped, or fragile, and they are currently scattered all over our office/home/shed/vehicles, depending on where we are headed that week.

Functional storage was a must! We'll have plenty of this in the form of display racks, cabinetry, shelving units, bins, and a "storage island." Some of our vendors have also been kind enough to offer professional displays, as our studio/home will also function as an "advertisement" for their selections.

Work space

As we upgrade to a bigger space, we are also planning for future mbd employees.

We wanted to provide plenty of desk space with a couple of upper shelves. In addition, I'm obsessed with cork wall covering, and am super excited to have this featured in a couple areas of our office. It'll be great for pinning up samples, vision board inspiration, and current ongoing projects.

We also needed both file space and layout space for making selections so we planned for a large island near the conference area. This will be a work zone (if you recall, we often worked on our kitchen island so this totally made sense to us) and will also be a perfect area to stage samples to review during customer meetings.


This didn't need to be a huge area: we tried to think of what we primarily used. So, the space needed to feature a small fridge, a faucet, a sink, and some cabinet space for our many coffee cups.


Coffee and water are a must and with both, comes the restroom. So.....we needed to plan for a small powder room. Though it is a home office, the goal was to make the studio space as removed from the homes personal space as possible; therefore, we needed a dedicated restroom for employees, vendors and customers.


We had the entire second floor of the garage to work with; there is a direct entrance to the studio from exterior stairs located to the left of the garage. We created two zones; public and work. The two spaces were divided with a knee wall. In front of the knee wall would be industrial open shelving for sample storage. Open storage allowed us to have the light from the rear windows flow through the entire space. We have the full lite double doors on the Juliet Balcony on the work side too which also allows for connectivity to the outside.

When you enter the studio space, you are greeted by the handmade brick back-splash kitchenette with pops of "mbd red" in the pendant light and retro refrigerator.

To the left of the walkway is the conference area and built-in work island with the powder room tucked behind. To the right of the walkway, behind the open sample shelving, we have built-in desk spaces and a drafting table. We flooded the spaces with LED flush mount fixtures, under cabinet lighting and two ceiling fans for air circulation.

Unlike our other space, you can't hear anything going on in the house due to being so far removed and extra sound insulation. I must say, even though the space is not finished; productivity is on the rise and our hopes are high for 2020! Here's a peek into our space so far:

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