At-Home Workspaces with Interior Designers Holly Volpe & Yelena Gerts

The BELLA Sophisticated Spaces pages are typically adorned with luxury apartment buildings, lavish homes, and grandiose hotels around the country. However, in the wake of COVID-19, we found it only fitting to recognize the true spaces in which the world has been spending its time–the home.

In some cases, makeshift, and in others, picturesque dwellings, the home office has become the most sought after for design tips and renovation tricks. So, how can you create a Sophisticated Space in the comfort of your own home?

Interior design experts, Yelena Gerts and Holly Volpe, are no strangers to adorning a home office. BELLA spoke with each of the designers to get their unique and very different opinions on what goes into designing a space for both creativity and productivity. Both Yelena and Holly design spaces that are equal parts comfortable and stylish, while exhibiting contrast and distinction between their individual styles, palettes, and techniques.

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YELENA GERTS

Yelena Gerts is the owner and principal designer of House of Style & Design, as well as the recipient of the 2017 Vision Competition Designer of the Year Award. With an extensive background in the luxury retail market, she is known for cutting-edge style and elegant designs. Yelena’s talented eye for color and unique details sets her apart with her clients and helps them achieve their dream homes.

As a sought-after interior designer and successful business owner, what got you started in interior design?

After spending 15 years in luxury cosmetic industry, I decided it was time for me to do something I really loved and go after my dreams to be a designer. I always wanted to be one, I just didn’t know which kind. I tried fashion design, flower design, event design, products design, and a bit later realized I truly wanted to be a lifestyle interior designer,  where I could incorporate  all those  elements  into one to create beautiful, comfortable, stylish, luxurious, and functional spaces for my clients.

With the recent transition to working from home offices, have you seen an uptick in design inquiries on how to create, decorate, or renovate at-home workspaces?

Yes, of course, we have all seen a shift in our lifestyle and especially in the way we live and work. Comfort and  function  will be a  leading  factor in every space.  Multifunctional  rooms will be the key to every design. I have designed many spaces as such and received many messages during the  quarantine  how much my clients  appreciate  and enjoy them during this difficult isolation.  My recommendation is to try to make each room to have a dual function.

What are a few of your favorite design tricks or furnishings for creating an ideal home workspace?

I like to use a picture frame for a TV on the wall. They look like beautiful artwork, and they can be used as a computer screen and TV at the same time. [I also recommend] built-in units that are multifunctional—from built-in refrigerators to invisible television lifts if you are limited in wall space…[also,] Murphy beds and that whole concept of resource furniture.

Is there a trend you have noticed when styling home offices?

I love warmer tones for home offices, from dark hues to warm beige undertones.  I love to incorporate items of personal use, such as favorite books, gifts, photos, art, awards, and blueprints, while also mixing textures and materials, paints with wallpapers, etc.

Could you give any tips or advice on how to easily or cost-effectively transform a home office with just a few modifications?

If you have an extra room in your home and  you’re  not sure what to do with it, make it a  “DOFFICE”— den/office/guest room/playroom. Place a  pullout sofa and a desk in the guest room. Add multiple small storage ottomans for toys that can be moved easily if you need to work in front of the television. It’ll be an office by day, guest room by choice, movie theatre by night, playroom by necessity.

House of Style & Design | @houseofstyle_design

HOLLY VOLPE

Holly Volpe is the CEO of Holly Volpe Interior Design, a designer, staging consultant, and entrepreneur, as well as retail storeowner. The Shop by Holly Volpe, which is based in Colts Neck, NJ, offers home décor, furnishings, gifts, and more.

As a sought-after interior designer and successful business owner, what got you started in interior design?

Interior design was always brewing within me from the time I was a little girl; I just didn’t realize it. I always kept my bedroom organized and clean and wanted it as pretty as I could get it. Later in life, my career took me into the business field, but I always had an attraction to making the space around me comfortable, functional, and beautiful. I would go into business meetings and be more interested in the office space’s layout, color, and art than I was in the meeting itself. It started to become even more apparent to me when I was designing  my first home and loving every part of it—I could do whatever I wanted. Friends and family would tell me I missed my calling. I always had an eye for design, it just took me a little longer to figure it out. So, when I started my family, I left the corporate world and went  back to school part-time while I was raising my children. I knew when I returned to the workforce, I would be doing what I absolutely loved, or nothing at all. The minute my youngest was in school, I opened my business, and here I am.

With the recent transition to working from home offices, have you seen an uptick in design inquiries on how to create, decorate, or renovate at-home workspaces?

That’s an interesting question. I think it’s going to be more of a topic after all of this settles, because as you’re restructuring how you’re doing business, it becomes more obvious that you just might not have the ideal setup at home. If you’re accustomed to working from home, you most likely have a dedicated space already, and if not, you’re winging it. I will bet there is going to be a spike in requests from clients, not just for office space, but also for other rooms in their homes. When you have nothing but time to walk around your home, there’s a good chance you’re going to notice things you’d like to change that you normally wouldn’t have.

What are a few of your favorite design tricks or furnishings for creating an ideal home workspace?

To be the most productive version of yourself, your workspace needs to be comfortable for you. Everyone’s needs are different, but one thing is certain—remove the clutter and chaos and you will find clarity. When you dress up and show up to a dedicated, comfortable space, only good things can happen. If this is new for you, start by carving out a spot that’s away from any distractions. Also, make sure the surface you’re using is cleared off, with just the essentials of what you need. Utilize a comfortable chair, and if possible, position yourself with a view that’s pleasing, not distracting. Ideally, your back should be facing the wall—you shouldn’t be looking at it. Creativity and energy flows much better when it isn’t shut off.

Is there a trend you have noticed when styling home offices?

Home office design has become as unique as the individual. Clients are looking for office spaces that are more aesthetically pleasing to them than in the past. Gone are the days of the clunking, wood furniture pieces. We are designing them as complete rooms, equipped with everything from a desk, table, and chairs, to casual seating areas for reading. We are also carving out workspaces in living room areas. In either case, they are designed in such a way that they are masked to fit in with the surroundings in the home.

Could you give any tips or advice on how to easily or cost-effectively transform a home office with just a few modifications?

A cost-effective way to create a home office space is to pick a spot in a room, clear away the clutter, and add the basics, like a desk, lamp, and comfortable chair. Next, personalize it with items that make your heart sing, and you’re all set. You can then build off of that as much as you’d like.

Holly Volpe Interior Design | @hvinteriordesign

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