Photos by Bernie Littlefield with Bel Portraits

Florida bungalows are known for their cozy layouts. Sometimes too cozy. And when isolated at home with pets, a partner or spouse, and possibly kids, grandkids, parents or in-laws, the walls might feel like they’re closing in.

More and more people are being asked to work from home. As a result, Florida home owners are challenged with finding productive escapes to get work done. Since the majority of Florida homes are one-story bungalows or apartments without basements or home offices, that can prove difficult.

When the cat is curled up on your lap, the dog is begging for treats, the kids are nagging you to go outside and the significant other is asking you to finish the laundry before you jump on your next conference call, it’s either time to buy a bigger home or to create a home office.

OutCoast.com reached out to Florida interior designer, David Fischer, for insight on how to add a home office space to a Florida bungalow. Fischer is also the owner of Zazoo’d, a fun and quirky furniture and decor store in central St Petersburg. His design work is well-known throughout the Tampa region. From hotel makeovers to wedding designs to home remodels, he’s done it all.

And over the years, he has helped many cramped homeowners convert functionless spaces into practical oases. One of Fischer’s most memorable experiences was converting a laundry room into a multi-functional office space.

How did you come up with the idea to turn the laundry room into an office/relaxation/entertaining space?

While working with the client during the purchasing process, they determined there was no designated space for a much-needed home office. Since our client works full-time from home, we knew the space needed to be comfortable, have natural light and an inspiring view.

Home Office
Laundry Room (before)

With these factors in mind, we gave the laundry area a second look. It was an area in the home that we felt wasn’t being utilized to its potential with some wasted space. We still faced the issue of finding natural light and an inspiring view. That led us to the idea of opening the back wall into a full sliding door to the beautiful backyard. Problems solved!

Home Office
Outside Wall of Laundry Room and Back of House (Before)

Our client is also an avid entertainer and these plans worked perfectly for entertaining purposes as well. The open wall works well for parties, allowing guests to move easily from inside to outside around the pool. The large work table/desk doubles as a serving area and the bench is great for extra seating.

Rear of House (after)

What were some of the strategic choices you made with furniture, decor, etc. to make the most of the space you had available?

We had a local furniture builder repurpose the client’s old headboard and footboard for the back of the built-in bench and table base. Instead of a traditional desk, we opted for a table and built-in bench to save space. The bench also serves as storage space under the seat.

Office Space (after)

The work table is strategic for a few reasons. It was custom built with wheels to make it easy getting up and down from the bench, large enough for entertaining and is perfect for folding laundry right out of the dryer.

To add a personal touch to the room we decided to go with a large mural of lyrics from one of the client’s favorite songs. The large print also allows the art to be enjoyed from anywhere in the backyard.

What would you tell a home owner/renter who has a small space they would like to use but they don’t know how to use it? How can they identify its best use?

The home owner/renter should assess their needs and determine what is lacking in their home.

Next, look for space that is currently wasted or that may be under-utilized. Then, get creative with space saving ideas, such as: multipurpose furniture, custom built-ins, things that can be tucked away, etc.

Laundry space is tucked away by barn doors and the multipurpose desk cleaned off for folding clothes. (After)

Multipurpose furniture in a small space is essential. Think bench or bed as storage, fold down tables or beds, or recessed in-wall storage solutions.

Keeping a small space organized and clutter-free is also a must. This can be accomplished by using baskets, shallow shelving units, or labeled canisters. Browse home décor magazines for inspirational ideas. Or visit your local furniture and decor store for ideas.

Zazoo’d is packed to the brim with furniture, decor and ideas.

What is one tip you would give someone looking to redecorate, refurnish or otherwise repurpose/renovate a small space?

Make a list of what you would love to have in your home that is currently lacking. From that list, determine needs vs. wants. Then, start looking for under-utilized space.

For additional tips on living in Florida, click here.

To reach out to David Fischer about decor ideas and design assistance, click here, or call 727-344-(ZOOD) 9663.