Before & After: A Creative Workspace Filled with Vintage Decor
Brooklyn prop-rental house Patina revamps its office for a serious lesson in secondhand style
When you work in a 5,000-square-foot warehouse surrounded by vintage furniture pieces that collectors would kill for, it’s a pretty safe bet your office is going to look nothing like a corporate cubicle. But when your business is the Brooklyn prop-rental house Patina—known for its roller-jam parties, impromptu rooftop cabanas, and a fearless hand with rehabbed upholstery—the design expectations run especially high. One look at these images is all it takes to know that founder Corrin Arasa and her team of creative talents were more than up for the challenge. Here’s how they transformed the 20’ x 20’ space.
THE STARTING POINT
“For the first year or so, we didn’t really pay much attention to the space, design-wise,” Arasa acknowledges. “We had a couple of desks and the basics.” One hazard of being a furniture-rental company: the impermanence of your everyday decor. “We’d be in the middle of a meeting, and the guys would come take the table away,” she says. The state of constant flux extended to the seating arrangements, in which staff members would forgo desks for a musical-chairs array of sofas both in and out of the office. “We’re a small, collaborative team where communication is a priority,” says Arasa, “so making sure everyone felt comfortable and was able to be in the same physical space was important.”
THE COLOR SCHEME
A dramatic dark-blue calendar wall anchors one side of the office. “We rely on it to keep track of all the ins and outs—previously we just used washi tape, which was kind of an eyesore but really useful,” Arasa explains. Wood moulding from the Home Depot was spray-painted a coppery orange and nailed to the wall to form a frame. Clear dry-erase paint allows appointments and events to be noted in white marker against the deep blue hue. (“I think I’ve had a dark blue wall in every place I’ve ever had. It just makes everything pop!” says Arasa.) An adjacent wall features a custom screen-print wallpaper by Brooklynteriors—a metallic-copper-and-ivory riff on a palm leaf style.
THE DIY DESKS
“We wanted to keep a few desks in the office. Our CB2 desks were a great size and shape, but the white wasn’t working with our new design scheme,” says Arasa. The solution? Fabric “slipcovers” in a sumptuous leaf-green print. “They give the desks a custom feel and hide some of the storage underneath, but preserve the small size and sleek shape that we liked in the first place.”
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Decorative accents such as plants, pillows, and vintage props are Patina’s stock in trade. “Custom, handmade, and special is part of our ethos here, so we wanted to carry it through in our office design,” Arasa says. To break up the direct sun streaming in during late afternoons, the team installed shelves across the window and used them for textural displays. A corner sectional is lushly layered with textiles; the macramé chandelier was made by Amalia Rompoulias, Patina’s content manager. “That piece stands out and gives the space a nice warm vibe,” says Arasa.
Who wouldn’t feel creatively inspired in an office like this? “The way the desks were situated [in the previous incarnation], we had our backs to each other and were facing the walls, which didn’t help with communication or trust,” Arasa explains. “Now we’re all more or less facing each other or the center of the room, which helps conversations flow more freely. Impromptu brainstorming sessions occur way more frequently, and people are quicker to share stories and thoughts as they come up.” And let’s not forget the most important part: “It’s really nice to walk into a space you love everyday.”