Home offices have become one of 2020’s must-have real estate features since the coronavirus closed most workplaces across Dallas. Sure, sitting on the couch while catching up on work in your pajamas was great…until it became an everyday affair. As many employees face the likelihood of working from home into 2021 and beyond, they are carving out spaces that block distractions and inspire creativity. Peek inside these two hot home offices in our neighborhood.

Ortho office

After Carolyn and Rich Vandiver lost their home in a 2017 fire, they rebuilt with a home office that they expected to use for checking emails and light nighttime work. Rich, an orthopedic surgeon, and Carolyn, a radiologist, moved back in February 2019. They never predicted that a year later, elective surgeries would be temporarily suspended, and they’d spend nearly every day in their home office.

Rich is the primary user, and it shows in the space’s masculine aesthetic. Maestri Studio designed and furnished the office in mid-century modern style with sleek lines, geometric shapes and functional pieces.

“This is his space to close the doors and forget about the dogs and the kids,” Carolyn says.

Large cabinets hide the clutter of office supplies, tangled cords and stacks of files — none of which are as appealing as the antique books, vintage gas mask and spinal cord figurines lining the open shelves. Peppered throughout are family photos and Rich’s collection of signed hockey pucks.

“We lost almost everything, and the thought of furnishing a new house was overwhelming,” Carolyn says. “They presented the design on boards, but we forgot what everything looked liked. We walked in and were like, ‘This is fantastic.’”

The couple’s medical degrees are proudly displayed on an open wall. A beautiful arched window opens onto Bob O Link Drive with sheer curtains that provide an element of privacy.

Escape the ordinary

Who says your home office has to be all work and no play? When Alyssa Donlin was sent home indefinitely from her job at Samsung in March, she knew she needed a home office.

“Video chat is a thing now, so I needed to have an acceptable space,” she says.

Inspiration for the office struck when she and her husband spent the summer vacationing and working remotely from their Colorado condo.

“It was freeing after being in lockdown,” Donlin says. “You could go outdoors and go on a hike. I love the Colorado vibe.”

When they returned, she transformed a catch-all room in her Lakewood home into an office that reflects the beauty of the outdoors. Canvases of mountain ranges that once hung in the condo now adorn the walls of the office.

“I kept the reminders of how nice it is to be outside of Dallas in the mountains,” Donlin says.

Unlike a traditional office, her decorations aren’t limited to small trinkets. A cowhide rug is one of several statement pieces in the space. The others are a framed world map that covers nearly an entire wall and an old day bed that her dogs love to sleep on.

Donlin brings the outdoors in with plenty of houseplants and natural light from the room’s many windows. From her desk and ergonomic chair, which Samsung sent employees as a gift, she has a great view of the fountain in her backyard.

“I love my outdoor view,” she says. “I love that I can get right out of bed and be in my office in 20 seconds. I love having my dogs as my co-workers.”


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