Craft beer on tap. Canine colleagues. A large living room with plush furniture and carpeted cubbie hangouts. Welcome to the newly made-over offices of Bark & Co. -- parent company of BarkBox -- where it's definitelty a dog's life ... and an employee's life, too!
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Before: The Office, Gutted
When the founders of Bark & Co. -- of Barkbox fame -- laid eyes on a group of tiny offices inside a charming building in New York City's Chinatown, they knew they had found their new headquarters. It needed a whole lot of TLC, though, before it would become the beautiful, functional space it is now. And by TLC, we mean a full-scale renovation.
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Before: Building Out the Space
The diversity and bustling atmosphere of the neighborhood was a definite draw, but it wasn't the most important thing to cofounder and head of creative & content Henrik Werdelin, who oversaw the design and build. First and foremost, he wanted to create an environment that felt like home.
He imagined a comfortable, open layout that encouraged collaboration and communication. He also wanted plenty of space for the company's 20-plus office dogs to run and play freely.
Henrik -- accompanied by his own canine sidekick, Molly -- decided to enlist the talents of interior designer Casey DeBois of DeBois Design as well as contractors InsideSquad to help bring their vision to fruition. The entire office renovation took two months to complete, which is quite a feat considering all that was done to this space.
Because they're a startup, the company made cost-conscious decisions. Most of the furniture in this modern redo comes from IKEA, West Elm, CB2, Wayfair, and Overstock.
The focus was on striking a nice balance of clean, simple, modern, affordable, comfortable, versatile, and functional.
Here, an entrance area welcomes guests to the front office.
A hangout space for dogs and their humans was high priority, so Henrik's wish list also included a living room-style space with AstroTurf carpeting. (Nope, we're not jealous at all.)
In a nod to Henrik's roots, designer Casey DeBois infused the room with Scandanavian style -- clean, modern, and bright; a calming atmosphere for both the employees and their four-legged counterparts.
This seating area at the back of the office serves as a place for employees to hang out and work or to host guests. Months after the space was originally built out, a TV was set up along the window sill, and employees gathered around to watch the World Cup.
The company also hosts weekly company lunches, monthly employee parties, and of course, "yappy" hours; so large, communal spaces were also a must.
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After: Cubbies and Bunkbeds
Talk about comfort! Employees get cozy in cubbies and bunkbeds designed for working peacefully on laptops and, of course, some midday cuddling with nearby pups.
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After: Covet-Worthy Conference Rooms
Bark & Co has a bunch of clean, modern conference rooms -- some outfitted with couches that beckon you to take a load off.
On the wall is a custom Dave Coverly doodle. Dave's doodles are integral to the Bark & Co. brand, and they are littered all over the office.
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After: Brownie Leads the Meeting
The Danish modern conference rooms are used for meetings or as quiet spaces, "when both you and your dog need a break from everyone else in the office."
Here, Brownie takes his rightful spot at the head of the table. Someone's got to take charge. (Follow Brownie on Instagram at @browniedoge.)
This bright, cheery conference room reflects the overall aesthetic and vibe of the Bark & Co. offices: a beautiful, clean design and a comfortable, open layout that encourages collaboration and communication among all employees.
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After: Privacy, Please
Pup Andi belongs to Lisa Bernier, one of BarkPost's editors. Here, Andi occupies one of the telephone booths, where quiet working and cuddling up on a beanbag are encouraged. (Follow Andi on Instagram at @weirdwiener.)
Because the walls and ceilings are "whiteboxed," the designers had the freedom to use pops of lively color liberally. Here, a long row of cabinets in a cheery shade of blue are used to store snacks for both humans and pooches.
"It's important that the space feel shared and fun."
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After: A Communal Kitchen
"Weekly meetings and Friday lunches feel like a family reunion," says one employee of the extra-long, 40-person reclaimed-wood dining table.
The kitchen even has standing desks along the wall to accommodate all kinds of working styles.
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After: It's All in the Details
The lively environment Henrik and the Bark & Co. team were trying to achieve didn't just include aesthetic cheer. Sound also played a big role. To that end, speakers are strategically and inconspicuously placed throughout the office, and music is always playing to help the space feel homey and keep employees in a creative state of mind.
"My dog is obsessed with the giant toy pile on [the sixth floor]. It feels straight out of 'Toy Story'!" says another employee.
Employees are encouraged to bring their dogs to work. On any given day, there are 15 to 25 dogs in the office. "It's been important, from the beginning, that Bark & Co. headquarters feel like a second home for employees and their dogs, and we've really thought about adds and builds that help accomplish that homely feel."
Need another reason to be in love with this office redo? How about candy jars and a "secret" bookshelf on the sixth floor that opens to a small conference room for private calls and meetings?
"Our space is vibrant, fun, creative, and just so totally about the dogs. It's absolutely reflective of our values," they proudly proclaim.
We give this makeover four paws up -- no bones about it.