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“I like white spaces because they’re calming and my mind is incredibly busy”: Designer Vanessa Eckstein on converting her attic into a home office

By Iris Benaroia| Photography by Erin Leydon
“I like white spaces because they’re calming and my mind is incredibly busy": Designer Vanessa Eckstein on converting her attic into a home office

Who: Vanessa Eckstein, founder and creative director of Blok Design Where: Summerhill

In the before times, Vanessa enlisted architect Heather Dubbeldam to redo her semi-detached Victorian in Summerhill. The reno included a third-floor attic bedroom with a writing desk tucked under the gable. Until the pandemic, that desk was rarely used. Vanessa used to bike or walk to work at her warehouse studio a few blocks away. But in March, like so many other people on the planet, she started working from home.

By April, her five-person team had successfully navigated the transition, so Vanessa let the studio go and seconded the attic as her new full-time workspace. It has a view of the neighbourhood and is a calming place to think up new concepts, she says, describing the space in monastic terms: “There’s a big window at the back of the room, so the light comes in and it surrounds you—no noise or distractions, just meditative silence.”

Vanessa shares the house with her two teenagers, 15-year-old Luka and 13-year-old Uma. “I’ve been dancing between the upstairs desk and the kitchen,” she says. “I migrate with the light.” (The whereabouts of her kids might also have something to do with it.)


 

The desk, with its two hidden drawers, is tucked into the original gable of the Victorian roof, creating a cozy nook with a view of the neighbourhood:

“I like white spaces because they’re calming and my mind is incredibly busy": Designer Vanessa Eckstein on converting her attic into a home office

 

The Eames moulded plywood lounge chair is available at Herman Miller in red, black or natural finishes ($1,370):

“I like white spaces because they’re calming and my mind is incredibly busy": Designer Vanessa Eckstein on converting her attic into a home office

 

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The desk lamp is a 1950s design by Jieldé in France and is sold at Stylegarage ($733):

“I like white spaces because they’re calming and my mind is incredibly busy": Designer Vanessa Eckstein on converting her attic into a home office

 

The vintage lettering set was a birthday gift. Vanessa uses it for inspiration:

“I like white spaces because they’re calming and my mind is incredibly busy": Designer Vanessa Eckstein on converting her attic into a home office

 

This coral-coloured carafe and cup set is by Førs Studio, a product design firm Vanessa launched in November with a partner, Muriel Solomon ($106):

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“I like white spaces because they’re calming and my mind is incredibly busy": Designer Vanessa Eckstein on converting her attic into a home office

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