I realized recently that I've done a number of these "I live here" posts, but ironically, none in the United States and almost all in more temporary dwellings than the one I have lived in now for years.
When the pandemic started and everyone began working from home, a wise friend told me we are not "working from home" but "living at work." How true.
So I thought it would be fitting to post a tour of my home office in my "I live here" series. I have been in this office for over 4 years. I "moved" into it in January 2018 when I knew I would quit my full-time job and work for myself as a consultant. I couldn't very well work from my kitchen counter top or take important calls from the bedroom (though I respect that people had to do that when office work suddenly became virtual overnight).
In the last 4 years I have had countless iterations to the layout. My computer has faced nearly every direction and the bookshelf has been moved against every wall, but finally this version is the one I like most of all.
I decided not to "stage" my office for these shots. Sure, I cleaned up a little bit, but I otherwise wanted to present it exactly as it is. This exercise of photographing my office and decided what to write about it has revealed to me that I am no minimalist. Instead, I like to be surrounded with treasures that remind me of who I like to think I am.
I realized that my office houses some deeply personal artifacts. This is strange because I consider my office a place of business, and I have such a big divide in my life between the business and the personal. But maybe the divide is all in my head - apparently my office is the most personal room of all! If a biographer were to investigate my home to learn more about me, they would find the most revealing artifacts in my office.
This first photo is a view from the doorway when you walk in. You are greeted by a large fig tree and light from two windows. The big free soaks up the light from the window, and provides privacy from my neighbor's house.
The black and white rug is from Ikea. I got it on sale but it is impossible to keep clean with a toddler. It is also 2 inches too long for my office. Once my daughter is older and makes less messes, I'm going to buy a nice custom rug that is easy to keep clean.
The large Japan Railways poster to the right was a gift from my best friend 20+ years ago. I still display it.
Only one wall has neither a window nor a door, so we built stationary bookshelves and a magnet board. I actually don't like the board very much and I want to replace it with a white board.
I sit facing out to the street. Usually the blinds are down but I opened them up to take pictures.
These past two years I have collected photographs from Alex Thomas, a photographer who lives in Tokyo. Her photographs are so nostalgic and bring me so much peace.
More Alex Thomas photography on the other side of the window.
And even more Alex Thomas on the other wall.
I have one shelf devoted entirely to anthropology books...
The top shelf is very narrow and cannot fit any books. I display a fan purchased from a street vendor in Yangon Myanmar, a photograph of my family's hometown in Greece, two skeletons from Mexico, and the Anna Sui Starbucks mug from Japan.
My Monocle Magazine collection from 2008 to present.
I purchased "City Pillow" from a local artist in Shimane when I lived there. Everyone thinks it's ugly but I proudly display City Pillow on my shelf.
Above the pillow is the "Scary Times" Success Manual by Dan Sullivan, whose lessons have kept me afloat throughout the pandemic.
Along the other wall I have a calendar and several postcards from museums I visited in Japan and Qatar.
Here I keep my Delfonics agenda and favorite pens for everyday use.
The plant window features a small collection of animal pots. Unfortunately the succulents look very sad and I will need to have them replaced.
The other side of the plant has a salt rock land and some geodes.
Close up of my actual desk. I keep my Hello Kitty Pez collection off camera.
This is one of the best purchases on my adult life: The Herman Miller Sayl Chair. I have been wanting this chair since I sat on it at a client's office 6 years ago. I could have saved a lot of money ordered a black chair with a black cushion, but I wanted the custom white one with grey armrests and a red cushion. I am so glad I splurged and got exactly the one I wanted because I sit on it every day and love it!
There are the five daruma I bought in Japan in 2017. With daruma, you are supposed to set a goal, then color one eye in. When you achieve your goal, you color the other eye. You will notice that the two on the right have both eyes colored in. One is for starting my consulting career, and the other is for having my daughter.
These daruma have gotten very beat up because my toddler like to throw them around the house.
On the far left corner of my desk I keep a mirror, comb, and stash of make up for quick touch ups before or in between Zoom calls. My schedule is often so packed I don't have time to run upstairs to the bathroom to put on makeup. Keeping it at my desk is so convenient.
This is my actual computer: a 2020 Macbook Air. Also pictured, my headset, mug warmer (which keep my coffee from going cold during meetings), and computer glasses.
A look at the shelf to the right of the desk.
The shelve behind my desk is off camera, and a little messy. Every 6 months or so I try to reorganize it. It's mostly office supplies, journals, agendas, notebooks, and stationary.
This is a tote bag I bought at the Mercato in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and I use it to store my poncho (for when it gets cold) and printer ink.
Lots of books on strategic planning and consulting.
Monocle book collection.
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