Finding the perfect office space can sometimes be just as difficult as finding the perfect house to live in. There are must-haves that need to be checked off, and it’s important to picture yourself in the space. Natasha of Violet Tinder hit the jackpot when she found her current space for her custom content studio in a historic building that actually used to be a hotel. Because it is old, there were some issues that she encountered when decorating the space, but the result is a super fun, bright and eclectic place for her to work and find inspiration. It’s full of life, from the bright colors and cool wallpaper to the amazing art, vintage treasures and furniture. Step inside Natasha’s studio and find out for yourself why it’s the perfect place to spark creativity.
First things first, tell us about your space! It’s inside a historic building that used to be a hotel? How did you find such a cool property?
The space was used as a hotel and later a general store around the turn of the last century. At some point, it was converted into a retail space and then in the not-too-distant past, the entire downstairs was turned into this gorgeous wedding venue (complete with a private outdoor garden area) and the upstairs was turned into offices. I got lucky in finding it. I had been searching for months for the perfect studio space and everything was either too small or too sterile feeling. I saw a listing for this, and recognized the area right away. It’s a block away from one of the original California missions (Mission San Juan Capistrano) and right in the middle of a cool little shopping/eating/historical district. I thought there’s no way the space could actually be THE one, but it was! I snatched it up right away.
What were some of the design challenges you ran into when working with an older space?
While it had a lot of gorgeous features (wooden floors, huge arched windows), it also had some not-so- desirable older traits like crooked floors and a super tiny bathroom. By being strategic with where I placed furniture (i.e. the original space I wanted to put the fridge made it look like it belonged in a fun house, tipped partly over!), and getting crafty with some mirror and design elements in the bathroom, it really was manageable—and all worth it!
As a photographer, what overall feel did you want your space to embody?
I wanted it to feel light and bright and inspiring without feeling too cluttered or “full.” A space that felt energetic but didn’t conflict mentally with me focusing and getting in the zone. I love color and trinkets and art and it’s easy for me to go overboard, so I really tried to channel a “less is more” philosophy as I went through each room.
You do a great job of bringing bright pops of color into the space without it feeling overwhelming. Where are some of your favorite places to find eclectic pieces?
Thank you! My go-to for most of the process (and still my go-to lunch adventure) is this huge antique mall that’s literally across the street. There are dozens of vendors and they all specialize in different eras, so it’s fun to walk around and explore. Occasionally, I go in with a certain thing in mind, but usually it’s an adventure!
Tell us about the fun tropical accent wall!
I knew I wanted to add some color/design to a couple of the walls, without committing to paint, so I decided to find some cool removable wallpaper! The tropical one was inspired by my love of the Beverly Hills Hotel signature banana leaf print. I just love the vibrant greens, and it was begging for a pink payphone.
Shelving Units (build your own, from IKEA)
Every office space should have a bar cart like yours! Do you have any tips for the perfectly styled bar cart?
I totally agree! I try to keep it fully stocked with the basics (straws, napkins, a cool bottle opener), and then display a few of my favorite bottles. Even if you don’t have a lot to put on it, having a few interesting glasses or a fun ice bucket, can take it up a notch. Because I don’t do a lot of heavy cocktails at the office (shocker!), I figured Champagne and a few of my favorite wine bottles were most important. You never know when you’re gonna need to celebrate something!
You have a lot of fun vintage glassware accenting the space. Where is your favorite spot to find vintage treasures?
I love browsing antique malls and vintage shops, but my favorite is the antique mall across the street from my office called The Old Barn! It’s really an amazing treasure hunt.
Tell us about the bright and colorful art piece in your lounge area. Is there a story there?
I had originally planned a different layout for the entry room, and that wall was going to have a large bookcase. However, furniture ended up fitting better the current way, the wallpaper was already up AND I had spent a small fortune on other art for the place, so I thought, why not bust out some of my own paints and see what I come up with? I spent a few late nights in our garage at home, trying to make something like I envisioned in my head and ended up loving what came together.
What are some of your must-have pieces for the perfect studio?
I think every studio needs two things: a spacious place to spread out and work (I love my simple, spacious IKEA desk), and a cozier place to sit and take a breather (like a couch or armchair) and look at things that inspire you. If you can’t feel comfortable while you work, it’s hard to be productive! But if it’s too sterile and “office-like,” it can be uninspiring. I also think it’s important to think about ways to bring in décor that you love, even if it’s small things like framed pictures or a fun wall calendar.
Do you have any design or shopping tips for business owners looking to invest in their first office space?
Try to pick a loose color scheme or vibe, and stick with that while you shop. It’s so easy to like a million different styles and end up with a mish-mash that doesn’t flow well. Scour antique malls or vintage shops for deals on cool pieces that will give you lots of style without a brand-new high-end price tag. And IKEA is really such a great resource—it’s amazing what some new knobs or a coat of paint can do to transform something basic into a total beauty.
Desk (build your own, from IKEA)
Yellow Couch (similar here)
Large Rattan Chair
Green Armchair (similar here)
Glass Shelves (similar here)
Shelving Units (build your own, from IKEA)
All wallpapers from either Etsy or Anthropologie
Hanging Wall Weavings (all by Hull Heart)
Large Painting in entry room, by Natasha Martin
Neon Lights (all by LDGJ)
Office gallery wall: Bonnie Gray, Ashley Mary, Giulia Scalese, Kristine Brookshire, Miranda Lorikeet