Inspiration from Famous Home Offices


Home Office-Al Gore Al Gore’s home office via Steve Pike/Time.


With advances in telecommunications, a public desire for a greater work/life balance and a decreased reliance on shared workspaces, home offices are becoming more and more in demand. And, (sadly) thanks to the recession, many people have found themselves without an office to go to, and are forging out on their own.


In my house, an office and a baby’s room are in the process of being swapped (a surprisingly arduous, painful transposing). One advantage, though, is that it gives us an opportunity to redesign the work space. I’ve been looking at the home offices of some famous work-chez-vous types to glean inspiration for elements to include. Here are my observations so far.


Home Office-Ernest Hemingway Ernest Hemingway’s home office (Cuba) via Frank Fazekas Travel & Photography.


Personal effects
The great benefit of a home office is that it’s your office: it doesn't have to conform to any corporate guidelines that strictly outline exactly how many pictures of your family you can have. Take Ernest Hemingway. It appears he felt he was most productive while staring down an animal he’d killed. His homes in Key West and Havana both feature offices with stuffed and mounted game, as well as other souvenirs from his globetrotting adventures. In terms of uncut manliness in all its brawny glory, the Cuban residence [pictured above] takes the prize because of what appears to be the head of a massive water buffalo gazing over Papa. HR wouldn’t stand for that!


Home Office-George Plimpton George Plimpton’s home office via Static.guim.


Looking at the home office workspaces of famous people, one thing stands out: the sheer number of things. Virtually every person I looked at, from the late, great writer and Paris Review editor George Plimpton to Al Gore [pictured, top of post] has a desk coated in nine inches of notes, bric-a-brac and other detritus. It appears creative minds devise their own creative filing systems and often find comfort in clutter.


On the other hand...


Home Office-Steve Jobs Steve Jobs’s home office via The Digital Journalist.


Maybe No Desk at All?
Here’s Steve Jobs circa 1982, in all his minimalist glory. Quoth the visionary: “This was a very typical time. I was single. All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had.” He ended up doing pretty well for himself. 


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