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Compact Contemporary Cherry Home Office

The Space: A long hallway on the ground floor of a newly renovated home in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco.

The Need: The Client wanted a clean, contemporary home office that did not look like it was part of the hallway. The office had to be compact yet have sufficient shelf space for books, drawer space for files, and cabinetry to house and hide a printer, peripherals and office supplies.

Photo H-34: Cabinet doors closed Photo H-35: Cabinet doors open

The Solution: InHouse created a room out of one end of the hallway by adding a wall with a pocket door which matched a similar door across the hall. The entry to the new home office was positioned to allow for a compact contemporary cherry home office to be built along an entire wall of the former hall. An armoire with pocketing doors provides storage for the printer/fax/scanner on a pull-out shelf, space for supplies and two lateral file drawers. Adjacent to the armoire is a desk for computer work, additional file space, all purpose drawers and a CPU cabinet for a desktop computer. “Floating” shelves run the length of the wall above the desk. Wire management is integrated throughout all components. Color consultation services were also provided.

InHouse Design Studio in the News

Mark has designed a line of furniture for Directions, a prominent manufacturer of contemporary residential furnishings. His work has been featured in numerous publications including:

  • The New York Times
  • Fine Home Building
  • Sunset Magazine
  • California Home and Design
  • This Old House Journal
  • The San Francisco Chronicle
  • Furniture Today
  • “New Workplaces for New Workstyles” (by Marilyn Zelinsky)
  • “Practical Home Office Solutions” (by Marilyn Zelinsky)
  • “The Organized Home” (by Leslie Clagett).

Mark is a two time “Best of Houzz” winner for both design and customer service.

A Cherry Home Office With An Industrial Motif

The Space: A 30 year old condo in Walnut Creek, CA that needed updating

Photo H68: Before


Photo H68: Home Office After

Photo H-68: Home Office After

The Need: The clients wanted to modernize their condo by creating a comfortable den/home office and by replacing a dated dual-sided fireplace with a new fireplace insert and updated mantles (See “Walnut Creek Fireplace Renovation” under Custom Cabinetry & Furniture in the portfolio).

Photo H69: Before

Photo H-69: Before

Photo H69: Home Office After

Photo H-69: Home Office After

The Solution: This cherry home office was designed with a quasi-industrial aesthetic. Tarnished metal facing on the bookshelves was juxtaposed against the colorful red casing of the bookcases which added vitality to the newly paneled cherry room. The cherry wood base cabinetry integrates wire management and provides ample storage for files and a hidden printer. “Cubbies” were created for the clients’ bills and letters while fabric covered tackboard allows the clients to post notes and photos in a convenient yet attractive location. The cherry home office, along with the new slate fireplace across the room, made this small space one of the most used rooms in the clients’ home. InHouse was also responsible for the selection of the room’s lighting.

Photo H70: New Desk Area

Photo H-70: New Desk Area

Photo H71: Tarnished Metal Facing on Red Bookcase

Photo H-71: Tarnished Metal Facing on Red Bookcase

The New York Times

It was not so long ago, Neal Zimmerman recalls, that the term home office meant something very different from what it does today. In the early ’90s, when Mr. Zimmerman, a prominent workplace architect with offices in West Hartford, Conn., started designing residential work spaces, most people thought “home office” meant the headquarters of a company. Back then, the very idea… (read more)

Fine Home Building

Tired of a laptop on a card table? Use these tips to assemble an office that will make you want to get to work

By Mark Dutka

In the 15 years that I’ve been designing home offices, I’ve yet to come across two projects that come even close to being the same. No two are alike, and no two are used in the same manner. Some home offices are for full-time work; others are for occasional bill-paying. Some clients use them as part-time guest rooms or as multimedia spaces, accommodating one or two people or perhaps a whole family. And, just like their occupants, they come in all shapes and size… (read more)

Walnut Entertainment Center

The Space: A multi-media room

The Need: The Client asked InHouse to design a multimedia cabinet to contain a new flat screenTV, his audio components as well as his CDs and DVDs. A clean contemporary look was requested with a long, low profile.

The Solution: InHouse designed a two tone walnut entertainment center divided into three components: a central TV cabinet with bifolding/pocketing doors (which can be hidden when open) and two side storage compartments for audio equipment. There are three lower storage drawers for DVDs as well. Custom walnut pulls were designed and fabricated to strengthen the design statement. Wire management and ventilation were incorporated throughout the Walnut Entertainment Center.

Walnut Entertainment CenterPhoto E-15: Walnut Entertainment Center Walnut Entertainment CenterPhoto E-16: Detail of Walnut Cabinet

Entertainment Room Design from InHouse Design Studio

Entertainment room designer“An entertainment room means something different to everyone. Whether it be a multi-purpose space off the kitchen or a dedicated room with a 65” TV, audio-visual equipment and incredible surround sound speakers, InHouse can work with your audio visual technicians to design cabinetry and furniture to house the latest technology.” – Mark Dutka

Mark Dutka can design a beautiful entertainment room for your home that uniquely matches both your lifestyle and available space. Whether you have an expansive wall, a small alcove, a niche next to your fireplace or a special place for a cabinet, Mark will design a solution suited to the space and your equipment. Want to integrate a library or home office into your entertainment room? How about a hidden entertainment center or perhaps one that is the focus of attention? Mark can help. You identify the space, define the need and InHouse Design Studio will provide the solution.

Mark Dutka’s entertainment room designs feature rich natural materials, such as oak, cherry, walnut or mahogany or exotic wood veneers. He can also identify the perfect lighting enhancements, electrical improvements and colors to complete the redesign of your entertainment room.

We invite you to view these examples of Mark Dutka’s beautiful entertainment room designs:

Contact Us

If you would like more information about Mark Dutka’s entertainment room design services, please contact InHouse Design Studio at: (415) 824-9266 (San Francisco Studio) or (707) 785-1928 (Sea Ranch Studio).

Wall Beds from InHouse Design Studio

Wall Bed  Design“InHouse Design Studio is proud to be the local representative for an innovative remote controlled wall bed called the Zoom-Room Bed. I chose to represent this product because of its uniqueness and its value to clients who were already turning to me for customized sleeping solutions. When a typical murphy bed is raised, the wall is essentially “dead”. The Zoom-Room bed’s advantage is that it allows for an “active” façade, which can house anything from an entertainment center to a library. With my custom cabinetry solutions, the potential for the Zoom-Room is just about endless and this is what most excites my clients.” – Mark Dutka

Do you own a small condo and want to avoid that ubiquitous “bedroom look” or the blank wall of a murphy bed? Perhaps you want to put your guests up in style and comfort in your pied-a-terre or pool house. A customized Zoom-Room wall bed by Mark Dutka can be the perfect solution. The Zoom-Room retractable wall bed is an exciting update to the traditional Murphy bed and Mark’s cabinetry designs can maximize your space without sacrificing utility, comfort or décor.

Whether the Zoom-Room bed is in your living room, home office or extra bedroom, Mark can custom design a solution that suits your lifestyle, budget and home environment. His design can either be for a single cabinet or a total room solution that can include a closet, desk, files, glass shelving – whatever your need.

How the Zoom Room retractable wall bed works

Unlike the typical Murphy wall bed, there is no wasted space when the Zoom Room retractable wall bed is in the “up” position. With the push of a button on a wireless remote, the bed quietly “floats” into the room from the bottom of a 24” deep custom designed cabinet, while the upper part of the cabinet (and everything in it) remains undisturbed. Push the button again and the mattress retracts, climbing into a vertical position and resting behind the flat screen TV, bookcases and/or display items housed in the front of the cabinet.

The Zoom Room wall bed has a high-density latex foam mattress, which rests on adjustable bowed wooden slats, a well-tested European solution which outshines box springs in terms of comfort, support and durability. The premium latex mattress, which uses standard sheets, is famous for its elasticity and ability to maintain shape even after tens of thousands of “bends” from vertical to horizontal. The Zoom Room can provide a comfortable sleeping solution for daily needs as well as a place for occasional overnight guests. InHouse Design Studio has a Zoom-Room bed on display in both of our locations for those who want to see this unique wall bed firsthand.

Mark’s wall bed solutions are not limited to the Zoom-Room. He can also design cabinetry for other types of wall beds if you feel that another mechanism is the right choice for your residence.

We invite you to view these examples of Mark Dutka’s Zoom-Room wall bed designs:

Contact Us

If you would like more information about Mark Dutka’s custom Zoom-Room wall bed designs, please contact InHouse Design Studio at: (415) 824-9266 (San Francisco Studio) or (707) 785-1928 (Sea Ranch Studio).

Custom Kitchen & Bathroom Design from InHouse Design Studio

“To make a space both beautiful and functional, sometimes it’s simply a matter of envisioning the possibilities and working within the limitations.” – Mark Dutka

Do you have an older kitchen that makes it difficult to entertain guests? Do you yearn for an “open-plan” look in your home? Does your outdated bathroom lack modern conveniences and sufficient storage? Many clients call on Mark Dutka and InHouse Design Studio to help them modernize an outdated and under-utilized kitchen or bathroom by creating a custom kitchen or custom bathroom design.

Mark is widely known for the design of stunning multi-functional custom cabinetry and furniture built for homes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. He helps clients visualize their current space in new ways so that their home can more effectively support their lifestyle, work style and possessions. His kitchen and bathroom designs take every detail into consideration, including lighting, plumbing, material and color selection.

Mark’s custom kitchen designs address his clients’ daily living and entertaining needs in ways never before imagined. He has delighted clients who wished to maximize their kitchen storage and workspace, while allowing them to easily engage guests as they cook. Mark’s custom bathroom designs make the most effective use of available space. Floor to ceiling cabinets, full of personality, are often integrated into his designs, creating distinctive, yet practical solutions.

We invite you to view these examples of Mark Dutka’s custom kitchen and custom bathroom design work:

Contact Us

If you would like more information about Mark Dutka’s custom kitchen designs and custom bathroom design services, please contact InHouse Design Studio at: (415) 824-9266 (San Francisco Studio) or (707) 785-1928 (Sea Ranch Studio).

Entertainment Center and Wall Bed

The Space: The Great Room in a second home in the coastal community of Sea Ranch in Northern California. This home had been used as a vacation rental by the former owner. The tired condition of the room and its furnishings reflected this use. The focus of the Great Room was a stone fireplace.

The Need: To provide sleeping arrangements in the Great Room for up to two additional guests without resorting to a sleeper sofa and to create an entertainment wall with a smart TV and sound bar with bookshelves for display.

 Before Photo E-1:  After

The Solution: InHouse designed a large rift oak cabinet for an entertainment center and wall bed on the left side of the great room fireplace. The “invisible” remote controlled queen size wall bed, the flat screen TV and floating display shelves are part of a larger, whole-wall solution which included a custom home office on the other side of the fireplace.

This unique design allows for the entertainment center and wall bed to remain functional/stationery even if the bed is in use. When the remote is pressed the mattress (which is stored vertically behind the TV wall) bends and emerges from the lower part of the cabinet which becomes the foot board for the bed. Since this lower cabinet is designed to look as if it is a built-in storage unit, unsuspecting visitors are quite surprised by the transformation that takes place.

The oak cabinetry has a cerused finish with a dark red/brown stain to complement the Saltillo tile floor of the home. InHouse is the local representative for the “Zoom-Room” remote controlled bed.

Photo E-2: Entertainment Center/Wall Bed
Photo E-3: Bed Emerging Photo E-4: Bed Fully Extended

Reducing Eye Strain

Essential For Maintaining Productivity – And Good Health

Recent studies show that Americans are working more hours than ever and it’s putting an increased strain on our bodies. There’s lots of talk about Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and other maladies, however eye strain is frequently looked upon as simply “part of the job.” Yet eye strain from poor office lighting causes headaches, sore/aching eyes, blurred vision and a decrease in productivity. Here are some expert tips for reducing eye strain from InHouse:

  • Correct lighting requires that two types of lighting be present: ambient light which is a combination of natural light, and light that is usually provided by a ceiling fixture, and task lighting which is provided over a single work area for paperwork, etc. These forms of light should both be present simultaneously, and the combination should ideally change according to the task at hand i.e., when working at a monitor, ambient light may be sufficient. When taking notes or reading at your desk, a task light will need to be added.
  • Design your space so that you’ll be sitting with a track or ceiling light slightly behind you. If it is too far back, it may reflect onto your computer screen causing – you guessed it – eye strain.
  • Halogen task lamps are currently popular, however they can occasionally produce harsh shadows and can be a safety issue, as they are hot and potentially harmful when touched. If you choose to use flourescent lighting instead, choose a warm white bulb (rather than cool white) which provides light closest to the more familiar incandescent bulb we commonly buy at the supermarket.
  • Place your monitor so that it is perpendicular to all of your light sources. This will encourage diffusion and softening of light, and will minimize distracting glare on the screen.
  • Instead of a ceiling light, try using soft, diffused uplighting which bounces off the ceiling and bathes the room in subtle, yet ample light. A torchiere floorlamp will accomplish this.
  • Choose a task lamp with a multi-directional head or polarized lens to direct the light so that it won’t bounce off the worksurface and into your eyes or off the page which you are reading. Also, a dimmer switch on the task light allows for increased flexibility.
  • Make sure your task light has an arm long enough to reach your work area, but does not get in your way. An adjustable arm is optimal so that you can light spaces near the lamp as well as further away on the worksurface.
  • Place the center of your computer screen so that it is 4 to 8 inches lower than your eyes.
  • To reduce not only eye, but neck and shoulder strain as well, place your document holder either right next to your screen at the same height, or directly below it, between your monitor and keyboard.
  • Wipe your screen off frequently. Dust on your computer screen can interfere with clarity, causing eye strain.
  • Seat yourself at arm’s length from your screen. If in this position, it is difficult to see the screen clearly, it may be time to visit an eye specialist.

Are You Planning to Have Your Bedroom or Living Room as an Office?


Sometimes there is no choice but to have to use your bedroom or living room as an office.

Here are 10 tips for making it work

  • Make sure the room has a door, especially if you have children or family members who come and go during the day. This will ensure privacy when concentration is essential, and eliminates embarrassing “house” noises.
  • Choose office furniture that blends well with your existing furnishings, so that the room will retain its residential feel.
  • If you also entertain in the room, consider furnishings that can contain and even hide computers, peripherals and papers. Furniture such as armoires and hutches can be closed up so that the office disappears completely when not in use.
  • Managing multiple wires can be a problem in a room already filled with furnishings. To ensure that they stay out of sight and don’t pose safety hazards to children and others, look for furnishings that have wire management systems built in, or purchase wire management channels or Velcro fasteners and attach them to the underside of the work surface.
  • To avoid power problems, check on the electrical usage and power supply in the space you’re considering for your office. Appliances that use a lot of energy often cannot be plugged into the same outlet as a computer or fax.
  • Check to make sure you have enough outlets for modems/fax, and telephones. Don’t add any until you have decided where these machines will be placed in the room.
  • Plan placement of your computer workstation so that equipment is not in direct sun, and so there will not be glare on or behind your monitor screen. Black out shades installed behind drapes can help. If you have a great view and plan to face it as well as your screen, be aware that outside light will compete with the screen, making it difficult to focus. Avoid placing bright lights behind the screen, as this too, causes eye strain. Bright lights behind you can cause distracting shadows.
  • Avoid purchasing a desk chair simply because it will look great in the room. Your body will thank you and your productivity will increase when you choose a chair that offers optimal lumbar support, adjustable arms, pneumatic height adjustment, and overall flexibility.
  • If you’ll be doing more than working on a computer, make sure you have a task lamp on your desk for paperwork.
    Avoid putting your keyboard on top of your work surface, as this height can strain arms, shoulders and wrists. Purchase an articulating keyboard tray which can accommodate both a keyboard and mouse. These trays not only pull out from under the desk, but can be height and tilt adjusted to your specific body needs.

If you’d like more information on planning and furnishing your home office, contact InHouse, the specialists in home office furniture and custom design.

Ergo-Unfriendly Home Offices Can Hurt

First, Buy a Good Chair; It Could Cost
Hundreds, but May Keep Doctor Away


In far too many cases, unfriendly home offices are a body ache waiting to happen.
A cast-off chair with bad support paired with a computer mouse placed on the desk can take a physical toll over time. Yet plenty of home offices are makeshift.
Experts in ergonomics — techniques for adapting the work environment to the human body — say that anybody spending long hours at the home computer should follow the same rules advised for any office building filled with desk workers: Get the right equipment and use it properly.
“The effects of poor posture are really insidious. They happen over long periods of time, and you may not notice them for months,” says Robert DeSiervo, director of professional affairs for the American Society of Safety Engineers, a workplace- safety and -health group.

Constant use of ergonomically deficient equipment, or improper use of good gear, can produce carpal tunnel syndrome, a disorder of the hand; back pain; spine and neck problems; aching shoulders; sore elbows; eyestrain; and other problems.

Inadequate, unfriendly home offices are becoming a bigger issue, as the number of people working from home grows, whether because of telecommuting or entrepreneurial urges. According to a survey for the International Telework Association and Council issued early in September, telecommuters number 23.5 million, double the total six years ago, and self-employed home workers number 23.4 million, up from 18.3 million in 1997.
Achieving proper ergonomics at home is also complicated by the fact that more than one person may use the same computer. You don’t want to visit carpal tunnel or other disorders on your spouse or your children, either. So make sure the space works for everybody who needs it.

Buying a good ergonomic chair is the first and most important step in creating or improving your home office ergonomically. A good chair can often work well with a less-than-perfect desk. Paying several hundred dollars for the right chair is worth the money in comfort alone and could save you money in medical bills later.

“People who make their living sitting on their butts need to spend money on a good adjustable chair,” says Carter Kerk, associate professor of industrial engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines, who also heads the National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

If you are a telecommuter, your employer ought to see the value in providing you with proper gear.
The chair, preferably with a sturdy, five-legged base and casters that roll easily, should be adjustable in several ways. You should be able to adjust for height to ensure that your line of vision is about even with the top of the computer-monitor screen to two inches above it. Armrests should be adjustable, to keep your forearms horizontal while using the keyboard, and your elbows should be kept close to your torso.
Adjust the chair also so that your feet are comfortably on the floor (or on a footrest, if you are short). The backrest, lumbar support and seat pan should be independently adjustable, so that you can sometimes recline slightly, 10 to 15 degrees, to match the natural curve of the spine, rather than always sitting upright or — even worse — hunched forward. Make sure good support is provided for your lumbar region, or lower back.

Your thighs should be parallel to the floor or slope slightly away from your hips, if you can do that and still keep your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
Overall, the goal is maintaining a neutral posture, one that feels comfortable and minimizes strain on your body’s muscles, nerves, tendons and blood system.
Using equipment correctly is crucial, too. You can undo the benefits of the best ergonomics with incorrect behavior, such as hunching forward, cradling your phone on your shoulder or reaching too far away to type or dial. I’ve bought Gabapentin at The price is about $2.19 per 300 mg Gabapentin pill, which is not bad, I think. Besides, I didn’t have to go out of the house to buy the medication because it was delivered to the threshold. That’s cool!

“You want to do as much as possible within your shoulder-to-shoulder range, without having to reach,” adds Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
If you have a laptop, use it sparingly. A laptop by design violates ergonomic precepts — it requires incorrect posture to use the keyboard and monitor together, because they are too close and too low. It is best to use a separate keyboard or monitor, or both, with the laptop at the office or at home, and when you cannot do that on the road, at least support your laptop and your arms with a pillow or seat cushion, if possible.

Keep in mind that just because something is labeled “ergonomic” doesn’t make it useful. It may not be ergonomic at all, or it may suit only certain users; a prime feature of ergonomic furniture and devices is adjustability. Curved desks require more reaching, because they limit your ability to swivel the chair. Keyboards, mouses and staplers designed for large or small hands are good for some people, not for others. Keyboards split down the middle, with each half rotated outward at the “ZXCVB” base of the keyboard may work well for broad-shouldered users, but poorly for smaller or hunt-and-peck typists.
And if you are really serious about getting things right, try a consultation with a certified professional ergonomist, or C.P.E.

Beyond the home-office chair, these are some basics for buying and using computer-related equipment:


A height-adjustable desk, usually about 26 to 30 inches above the floor and easily fittable with the right keyboard and mouse tray, is ideal, but you may have to use the desk or other work surface that is available in your home workroom. Using an adjustable chair and fitting your other computer-related gear to the desk then becomes imperative.


Place the keyboard at a height and distance that keeps your elbows comfortably by your sides. The keyboard should be flat, or tilted slightly downward away from you, to help you keep your lower arms, wrists and hands in a straight line. Your hands should be essentially flat, with no twisting of wrists to the side, upward or downward. A keyboard tray fitted to the underside of the desk top is useful. Don’t rest your palms on the keyboard rest pad while typing — do that only between typing stints — and the rest pad should be padded, but not spongy. Don’t rest your wrists on the pads, or on any hard or sharp edges, because that puts pressure on the wrist’s medial nerve. Your thighs should be comfortably clear of the bottom of the keyboard tray.


Use one that is large enough so that your hand fits comfortably over it, with a mouse tray fitted to the side of the keyboard, to avoid constant reaching to use it. Don’t leave your hand on the mouse when you aren’t using it. If you are right-handed and begin to have discomfort in your right hand, switch the mouse to the left side of the keyboard and use it left-handed, and vice versa. Some ergonomics experts reduce mousing by using function keys instead, whenever possible.


Position the monitor at arm’s length — somewhere in the range of 18 to 30 inches — with the top of the view screen even with your line of vision, or slightly below it, to avoid straining your neck when you turn your head to look upward.
“What you don’t want to be is a bobble head,” says Lawrence Schulze, an associate professor of ergonomics; at the University of Houston, who is also director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s worker-safety and ergonomics program. If you wear bifocal glasses, the monitor may have to be still lower, to prevent turning your head upward. Or you may need to buy trifocals or computer glasses, so you can work from the right distance and keep the monitor at a proper height. A flat monitor held by a movable arm is easily placed in the right position.
Copyholders should be as close to the monitor as possible, so you don’t have to keep twisting your neck back and forth.


Reduce harmful glare by tilting the monitor slightly toward you, and, if possible, by placing it at a right angle to the window, rather than in front of it. Keeping the blinds closed is another option. Overhead light shouldn’t end up bouncing off walls, contributing to glare on the screen. Use an antiglare screen filter when needed.

And reduce strain on your body and eyestrain by looking away from the screen and blinking, and changing body positions from time to time, taking frequent “micro” breaks (one or two minutes, resting your hands and eyes), and 15-minute breaks every hour or two, doing stretch exercises, getting up and walking around or doing some other chore.

Copyright 2003 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Traditional Cherry Home Office and Library

The Space: A recently purchased home less than a year old.

The Need: To design and build a traditionally inspired comprehensive home office and library for a retired client incorporating an entertainment area for state-of-the-art equipment in a large lower level space. An overly wide and long hallway adjacent to the space was to be integrated into the solution.

Photo H-36: Office Cabinet doors closed
Photo H-37: Cabinet doors open

The Solution: InHouse worked with the clients on dividing the large space into three distinct areas with one complimentary “look”. One area houses the office which was configured in a “U”. The office overlooks a second area devoted to seating and entertaining which is centered around a flat screen TV and visible from the office. A large cabinet under the TV hides the speakers and subwoofers while the multi-media equipment is housed in an adjacent niche.The perimeter walls contain open shelves which house part of the clients’ library. The remainder of their books was moved to the hall which was transformed into a library with an aesthetic that reflected that of the larger room.  This traditional cherry home office and library met all the clients’ needs and more. InHouse designed the lighting and electrical improvements and consulted on the room color.


Photo H-38: Media Room “After”
Hallway Before
Photo H-39: Hallway (now library) After
Photo H-40: Media Cabinet doors closed
Photo H-41: Media cabinet open

Sea Ranch Living Room Bookcase and Entertainment Wall

The Space: The main living room wall in a home located in the coastal community of Sea Ranch California.

Photo: E16 Before


Photo E16: Living Room Wall After

Photo E-16: Living Room Wall After

The Need: The client wanted to replace an existing douglas fir wall of bookshelves with an updated design that would complement the style of her home and enhance but not overwhelm the living room. The use for the new wall was to remain essentially the same (for books and display) but she wanted InHouse to integrate a new flat screen TV and supporting components along with her CD and DVD collection. She requested a bit of drama in the design but was not sure what direction that should take.

Photo: E17 Before


Photo: E17 Living Room Wall After

Photo E-17: Living Room Wall After

The Solution: InHouse designed the new wall so that it no longer read as one long storage unit. The new symmetric design has two individual cabinets for books and display items surrounding an open central wall for the TV with a component cabinet beneath. The primary wood utilized was maple (a wood common to many Sea Ranch homes). The maple was then selectively accented by a chestnut burl veneer to add “activity” and drama. The central TV wall is all burl, as is most of the lower component cabinet while the burl is used more sparingly on the two bookcases, relegated to the perimeter moulding in a tone-on-tone theme.
The result was exactly what the client wanted since the design complemented her other furnishings and added the requested drama to a wall that was formerly a simple storage solution for her books. InHouse also added dimmable LED uplights which were hidden in the top of the two bookcases. This lighting accented the room’s angled ceiling while adding essential illumination which could be dimmed according to the client’s needs.


Photo: E18 Media Cabinet Chestnut Burl Detail

Photo E-18: Media Cabinet Chestnut Burl Detail

Photo: E19 Bookcase Chestnut Burl Detail

Photo E-19: Bookcase Chestnut Burl Detail

Macassar Ebony Remote Controlled Wall Bed

The Space: The den of a new luxury condo with 11’-0” ceilings in downtown San Francisco.

The Need: This prominent space off the living room required a dramatic statement to house a wall bed for the occasional guest and a display cabinet for the client’s artwork. The solution needed to  incorporate: the “Zoom-Room” Remote Controlled Wall Bed; display space for three statues, and a painting; two bedside tables; file cabinets; and room for general storage.

Remote Controlled Wall BedBefore

The Solution: A macassar ebony remote controlled wall bed cabinet was designed to bring both drama and function to the space. The queen size wall bed is housed in two bowed cabinets of macassar ebony which project from a main cabinet of ebonized eucalyptus.  The bowed cabinets contain pull-out bedside tables, file cabinets, space for general storage and a printer on a pull-out shelf and organizers for the client’s paperwork. The cabinet features niche lights over the statues, uplight/cove lighting on the top which reflects off the ceiling, and directed lighting over the painting. InHouse was responsible for the fabrication and design of the cabinetry and the electrical design. Choice of cabinet wood, stain and other furnishings made by others.

Remote Controlled Wall BedPhoto F12: Under Construction in Shop. Wall bed mechanism is in center of cabinet Remote Controlled Wall BedPhoto F-13: Construction in Shop, partially stained
Remote Controlled Wall BedPhoto F-14: Nearing Completion Remote Controlled Wall BedPhoto F-15: Finished Cabinet (Wall bed is retracted (furnishings by others)

Cherry Home Office-Art Studio

The Space: An underutilized room in a single family home used as an occasional home office and art studio with “make-do” furnishings.



The Need: To create a special space for a home office for two and an art studio which resembles more a home library than a work space. The need was to maximize storage, book shelves, files and computer equipment while creating a welcoming warm environment as this room is in a highly visible location.




Photo H-49: Curved cabinet closed & open

Photo H-50: Art Area Photo H-51: Second Office Area

The Solution: InHouse designed a a new cherry home office-art studio that met all of the clients’ criteria. An entire new room was created within the former space. All electric, HVAC, lighting, electric, flooring and windows were replaced. The removal of a closet provided an ideal niche for the new art area which features a tilting laminate (for ease of cleaning) work surface, built-in laminate storage shelves and cherry cabinetry. The remainder of the room houses two separate computer work spaces, files and shelving. InHouse created a playful design for all storage/file cabinets as they serendipitously protrude/cantilever into the room beyond the shelving. The computer equipment is housed in a curved central cabinet with custom wood knobs that hug the curved surface. Within the storage unit, the two printers sit on pull-out shelves. The docking stations are hidden at the top of this cabinet in small compartments near each desk surface. Ample storage is also provided as is under cabinet lighting. InHouse designed a lit entry archway surrounding two French doors (not shown) and provided the carpeting and color consultation as well.

Fireplace Renovation

The Space: A 30 year old condo in Walnut Creek, CA that needed updating

Photo F28: Before

Photo F-28: Den Fireplace Before


Photo F-28: Den Fireplace After

The Need: The clients wanted to modernize their condo by creating a comfortable den/home office (See “Cherry Home Office With An Industrial Motif” under Home Office in the portfolio) and by undertaking a fireplace renovation which would entail replacing a dated dual-sided fireplace with a new gas firebox and updated mantles. Each side of the fireplace was to get its own “personality” to complement the decor in its respective room.

Photo F29: Living Room Fireplace Before

Photo F-29: Living Room Fireplace Before

F29: Living Room Fireplace After

F-29: Living Room Fireplace After

The Solution: Slate was used for the walls on both sides of the dual fireplace with a variation in pattern and color in each room. The design for the living room fireplace mantle incorporated a cabinet for media equipment since the client wanted the TV to remain above the fireplace. The den fireplace design has a bold cherry mantle/shelf set against a slate wall which wraps around the left side of the fireplace. The new fireplace complements the room’s cherry paneling and the home office on the other side of the room which were installed by InHouse’s contractors.

Mahogany Entry Cabinet

The Space: The entrance wall of a new home in Napa Valley with an open plan entry, kitchen and great room.

The Need: A functional piece of “art furniture” which makes a strong visual statement due to its prominent location by the entrance to the home. This multipurpose mahogany entry cabinet had to accommodate space for housing/charging the client’s cell phones and other electronic items; storage for several games and miscellaneous outdoor clothing.

The Solution: InHouse designed a multi-dimensional wall-hung mahogany entry cabinet consisting of several ganged containers (both cabinets and drawers) of various sizes, depths and textures to create a collage of boxes. A mirror was placed a the top left of the piece for both functional and aesthetic value. InHouse designed and facilitated the installation of the mahogany entry cabinetry and the related electrical work.

Mahogany Entry Cabinet

Photo F-21: Mahogany Entry Hall Cabinet

Colorful Contemporary Kitchen

The Space: The Great Room in a second home located in Sea Ranch, an architecturally and environmentally renown community on the northern California coast. The existing kitchen occupied about 90% of a recessed niche in the room with the remaining 10% devoted to a narrow entrance to the adjacent master bedroom.

Former kitchen

The Need: The client was disenchanted with the existing kitchen which had a formal, traditional dark look. He felt it seemed out of place in a contemporary (1989) home on the coast. Additionally, the layout seemed less than ideal with the awkward entry to the master bedroom sharing the niche with the kitchen. The client really wanted a colorful contemporary kitchen and InHouse was asked to evaluate the space for the optimal solution. The client was open to designing an entirely new kitchen or simply making some changes to the existing kitchen that could address his concerns.

During kitchen renovation: old kitchen dismantled


The Solution: After considering numerous options for the space, InHouse and the client decided to dismantle the existing kitchen and sell it for reuse in another home. The layout of the new kitchen was turned 90 degrees allowing for a better relationship to the room’s seating and dining areas. Also, by moving the master bedroom’s entrance to an adjacent wall, the entire niche could be devoted to a larger, more functional and colorful contemporary kitchen.

A peninsula with a Caesarstone top now runs parallel to the main seating area. This long counter abuts a tall storage cabinet that allows for maximum use of the corner space, often a underutilized area. This cabinet offers storage from three sides: from the front where there are numerous pull out shelves and storage drawers behind the two cabinet doors; to the right where it provides a recessed niche for unsightly dishwashing accessories; and from the rear where a hidden space conveniently houses countertop appliances. In order to prevent the potential “foot in the bowl” catastrophe, the peninsula ends with a whimsical inset nook for the dog’s food and water.

The concept for the new kitchen was to bring the “outside in” with a contemporary yet eclectic design. The new cabinets have a dual personality: the lower ones and the refrigerator cabinet are painted dark brown with a board and batten exterior (a familiar look borrowed from the exterior of many Sea Ranch homes) while the upper cabinets and the large corner cabinet are a lightly stained rift oak. The oak cabinet doors have glass inserts and play with the veneer direction to create dramatic flush panels of rift oak. The walls behind the new kitchen were painted a striking blue which alludes to the color of the local sky. Industrial light pendants hang from custom designed wrought iron “arms” over the center of the space and provide ambient light. Under-cabinet task lighting and new track lights supply ample light for food preparation. Much to the client’s delight, the new design maximizes storage and work space while allowing him to easily engage guests as he cooks. InHouse was responsible for the design and execution of the new kitchen.

Photo K-1: Sea Ranch Kitchen After Photo K-2: Dog Eating Area at End of Peninsula

Modern Mahogany Media Cabinet

The Space: A recently constructed master bedroom with a large rectangular space off to the side that was left for the eventual construction of cabinetry.

The Need: To follow the clients’ original intent and fill in the available space with a cabinet which would house their sound and media components as well as offer room for books, general storage and display space.

Modern Mahogany Media CabinetBefore Modern Mahogany Media CabinetDuring Construction

The Solution: The obvious solution called for floor to ceiling cabinets to fill the small rectangular space but InHouse instead decided to “float” a modern mahogany media cabinet and have it extend to the right beyond the available space in order to achieve needed balance. In reality, only a shallow part of the façade of the cabinet extends beyond the space so no additional demolition was required for installation. The modern mahogany media cabinet protrudes several inches from the wall and has built-in lighting to accent some of the clients’ personal possession in a large display area. The inside of the cabinet houses the media equipment as well as several drawers for CDs, DVDs and misc. items. Since the space was originally built with a small access door in the rear to provide access to the back of any new cabinetry, wire management was easily handled. InHouse facilitated the electrical, framing and sheetrock work as well as the cabinetry design and installation.

Modern Mahogany Media CabinetPhoto E7: Modern Mahogany Media Cabinet
Modern Mahogany Media CabinetPhoto E-7: Media Equipment Storage

Contemporary Entertainment and Display Cabinet

The Space: A recently constructed great room consisting of two dining areas, a large seating area and a new kitchen.

The Need: To design and build a contemporary entertainment and display cabinet that met several purposes: general open and closed storage, a home for a new flat screen TV with room for various peripherals, CDs and DVDs, lit display for the clients’ pottery and space for serving food when entertaining.

The Solution: InHouse designed a long contemporary entertainment and display cabinet with a solid mahogany base and two rectangular protruding volumes dramatically sheathed in Hot Mottled Makore wood. One horizontal volume houses all the entertainment equipment while a smaller vertical cabinet (partially shown to the left of Photo E5) displays the pottery. The play between the protruding volumes, their active veneer, and the mahogany base (which provides additional storage) offers a welcome rhythm along the formerly bare wall of this rather wide new room. Electrical and wire management needs were addressed as well.

Contemporary Entertainment and Display CabinetPhoto E-5: Media/Storage Cabinet
Contemporary Entertainment and Display CabinetPhoto E-6: Media/Storage Cabinet

Contemporary Home Office and Guest Room

The Space: A guest bedroom and home office in a San Francisco home.

The Need: The clients wanted to replace a free standing desk and sleeper sofa with a cutomized home office solution that could accommodate a printer, scanner, multiple file drawers, lots of books and office supplies. A new queen sized bed was also to be housed in the room for the occasional guest. It was important that each component of the design solution be appropriately scaled so that the room would not look too busy. They wanted a warm, inviting space for both themselves and their guests.

The Solution: InHouse designed a single-wall home office solution that was long, low and contemporary with simple beveled edges on the drawer perimeters to make it appear as if the drawers “float” within the outer frame of the cabinet. The cabinetry was painted white in order to blend in with the white woodwork of the home. A solid walnut desk top with a beveled edge provides a dramatic link between the two home office storage cabinets. The home office houses: a printer in a pull-out drawer; a shredder on a pull-out shelf in its own cabinet; numerous files and many smaller drawers for office supplies. Wire management and power outlets were also built into the cabinetry. A complementary tall storage cabinet on an adjacent wall houses books and provides deep drawers for bedding, guest clothes and additional files. Additionally, this wall unit has a bar for a removeable ladder to access items on the upper shelves. When not in use, the ladder is hung on a rod in the corner behind the entry door. InHouse also assisted with the selection of the color for the room, the bedside lighting, and the bed.

Before: Former home office with sleeper sofa

Before: Former home office with sleeper sofa

Photo: H-72 New Home Office

Photo H-72: New Home Office

Walnut Desk Top Detail

Photo H-73: Walnut Desk Top Detail


Photo H-74: Beveled perimeter edges on drawers


Photo H-75: File Drawer

Shredder Cabinet

Photo H-77: Shredder Cabinet

Printer Cabinet

Photo H-76: Printer Cabinet



Photo H-78: Built-in power outlets

Wall Unit

Photo H-79: Wall unit with ladder

Custom Maple Sideboard

The Space: A kitchen.

The Need: A piece of furniture for a high-end kitchen that was to serve as an occasional desk, a serving piece and a storage unit. The Client did not want the piece to look like a desk but rather like, “a piece of furniture.”

The Solution: InHouse designed an attractive, compact, custom maple sideboard with drawers for files, recipe cards, and miscellaneous utensils. A pullout “bread board” on top serves as an occasional desk surface. Curved feet and top soften the otherwise rectangular cabinet.

Custom Maple SideboardPhoto F2: Multi-purpose Sideboard

Walnut Book and Storage Cabinet

The Space: A large second floor hallway in a Victorian home with 10’-0″ ceilings. The space was between two windows, adjacent to the top of the stairs. Any piece of furniture would be viewed on three sides: from the front, adjacent rooms and the top of the stairs.

The Need: The client wanted walnut book and storage cabinet that would give the hallway some personality. The cabinet needed to provide a place to display his books and store some miscellaneous items. He was intrigued by the idea of a library in the hall.

The Solution:  InHouse designed a large built-in walnut book and storage cabinet to sit between the two hallway windows. The cabinet is designed to have adjustable open shelves on the sides as well as the front of the unit so it would “read” well from any angle. It is anchored by a large base which protrudes into the room in a bay-like manner which complements the architecture of the home. Other design elements playfully reflect the traditional Victorian elements found elsewhere in the residence.

Storage CabinetPhoto F-27: Walnut Bookcase/Storage Cabinet