Go Inside Martha's Home Office Renovation
When our founder wanted a new place to work in her home, she thought outside of the box and converted her wide front porch into a comfortable, light-flooded study.
When I restored my farmhouse in Bedford 15 years ago, I allocated a portion of the kitchen for a home office. I thought it would be a good place to handle correspondence, do my planning, and even write. I outfitted a counter with a desktop computer, a printer, a scanner, a Sonos music-control center, and a wall-mounted large-screen TV. Since then, my at-home "duties" have expanded: I often hold meetings in the kitchen, which is also home base for my four dogs and two cats. It's where my staff takes coffee breaks (the big espresso machine is usually busy) and, naturally, where we cook daily meals. My photos for the Martha Blog are processed here, and I post Instagram photos and tweets at this spot, too. It has gotten very crowded over the years.
Two summers ago, finding a convenient new location became a priority. As I looked around for a place, I kept thinking back to the beautiful, bright sunroom at my former home, Turkey Hill, and realized that my front porch would be perfect. Yes, it was open to the outdoors and needed walls and utilities. But it had a view, lots of space and daylight, and a floor and roof. I called my friend Keith Kroeger, an architect, who quickly came up with a plan. We hired a contractor; enlisted an electrician, a plumber, and my favorite painter; and got to work.
I couldn't be happier with the result. The entire house feels opened up. My beloved canaries are in here, and sing louder and longer than ever. And I have a favorite desk where I can write, make calls while gazing over the fields and gardens, and just think.
The original porch ran the width of the house and was rarely used. Guests went in and out through the side entrance.
I installed six pairs of double-sided sliding mahogany Reilly doors, custom-fitted with bronze screens, and moved the old doorway several feet forward. Now the space is a more welcoming entryway and room.
My canary cage, a replica of one from early-1900s France, is painted black to match the other furniture. On warm days, I open the sliding doors in the room to let in fresh air.
At the Ready
My desktop is never empty. I prefer to keep supplies at my fingertips, along with my Apple laptop.
Antique mirrors reflect the views outside; the wicker settee is fitted with a black upholstered horsehair seat cushion.
I found this long, tin-lined plant table at an antiques show in New Hampshire last summer; it's filled with pots of alocasia. I sit at the black wicker table for Scrabble and card games; the 19th-century English papier-mâché chairs add some color with their mother-of-pearl inlay and turquoise damask seats.
This article originally appeared in the March issue of Martha Stewart Living, on newsstands now.