When Lauren Berger signed the lease on an office space, it was a monumental occasion. It would be the first physical office for her successful business, InternQueen.com. Lauren and her team had worked remotely since the company’s beginning in 2009, relying on Skype and other online tools to stay connected. Making the move to an actual location was an exciting accomplishment — even if the floors were linoleum and the paint was yellowed. She envisioned a space that would be fun and comfortable, yet would also reflect the hardworking and youthful values of her growing company. She contacted interior designer Lindsay Pennington — 3 weeks before the move-in date, no less — to quickly transform the space into her dream office.
Today, the accomplished designer takes us on a tour and shows off the gorgeous transformation:
Hi Lindsay! We love what you did with Lauren’s first office. What condition was it in at the start?
When Lauren rented the space, she insisted on upgrading the floors (to wood), repainting, and modernizing the electrical for an office for at least four people. The space is less than 500 square feet, on the ground floor of a two floor office building in Toluca Lake, California, a beautiful neighborhood in Los Angeles nestled between the Hollywood Hills and Burbank, one of the entertainment industry centers of our town.
Did Lauren have any design “must-haves?”
The first step in the design process was to walk through the leased space with Lauren and her fiancé, who is also an entrepreneur — they are getting married in November! We walked through right before the New Year. Lauren wanted to show me the space and start getting ideas for how it could work. Her design brief was to make the space light, bright, feminine and fun, but also professional enough to confidently welcome corporate clients into the office and to have a place to sit and meet with them. In short, she wanted her younger employees to feel the space reflected her and them while at the same time creating an aesthetically cohesive environment that communicated the essence of her brand and felt comfortable for additional employees and/or visiting clientele.
We started from scratch with zero furnishings and Lauren had a strict budget for purchases. (That’s why she’s such a successful businesswoman!) So we worked very hard, and succeeded, on meeting her budget expectations and delivering on all her design expectations. Though we had to buy new desks, new chairs, new lighting, and even office supplies, her only must-have was a conference room space that would allow team members to meet together at one table and communicate face-to-face, and that would also provide additional seating for interns or other temporary employees.
The result is gorgeous. Do you think any of the pieces “made” the space?
Yes! I’ve always loved the Josephine desk from World Market, which we bought three of in white for the full-time employees. Another item that I love is the conference table rug (a steal at HomeGoods, and the first thing I bought), and the acrylic purple chairs, which are from IKEA. Towards the end of the project, we had to be even stricter with the budget to come in under Lauren’s final number. As a result, we substituted the original selection for the rug in Lauren’s separate office space with a striped rug from IKEA. I bought it without consulting her first and we both agree it is one of our favorite elements!
You certainly have a talent! When did you first discover your love of design?
My mother is an interior designer, and my father is a landscape architect. I grew up in a family of builders, architects, interior designers, and homemakers, and I was always comfortably ensconced in beautifully appointed homes that were authentic to their residents. Though I made a slight detour into corporate law, I always did design projects on the side for friends and colleagues. I can’t remember a time in my life that I DIDN’T have a love of design!
Any exciting projects ahead?
I’m super excited to now be working with Lauren and her fiancé Mike on their new home! It’s such a pleasure to continue a relationship with a client and carry over the knowledge of their tastes and personality from one job to the next, and to be part of establishing the first home for a couple about to be married (down to their registry!) is more rewarding than I can say. I’m also building a home in Wyoming for one of my oldest childhood friends and her family and I could not be more excited to work with them to create the home of their dreams (and hopefully to have a bedroom to sleep in when I visit!).