Lifestyle: Inspiring Homeoffice – Interview with Interior Designer Mireille Metwalli

Open sesame! What is behind your home.. more like a Dungeon or an Oasis?
Okay, enough exaggerated. We all work creatively and know how important it is to have an inspiring environment around you at home. It’s clear that we were once again too curious and wanted to find out how to set up and create your perfect Homeoffice for a 100 % Well-Being.
We meet Mireille Metwalli, an interior designer who tells us all about it!
And dear friend, do not despair after this article your Dungeon will definitely become an Oasis.

So Mireille, who are you and what’s your biggest passion?

My name is Mireille but most people call me Mimi! I grew up in Toronto, Canada and now reside and work in the heart of the city as an Interior Designer. Growing up I always loved moving furniture around and making changes to rooms to give our home a fresh, new feeling. I have been in the profession for 12 years and specialize in both Corporate and Residential Design. The two areas of practice give me the unique opportunity to collaborate with a variety of clients and organizations on different projects. My passion stems from the ability to improve people’s emotional, mental and physical wellbeing through good design. I always say you’ll often forget the details of an experience but you’ll never forget how you felt in a space so in a nutshell that’s what drives me. 

What advices can you give us for creating an inspiring interior?

I think creative means something different to each person so I encourage you to discover your own version of ‘creative’ to make it unique. Things to take into consideration include artwork and photography, plants and flowers, cool accessories and organized storage space. Often overlooked, ergonomics are one of the most important considerations in setting up your home office. If you are working in your space for extended periods of time you’ll want to have a good task chair and a desk with some height adjustability for comfort. We know one solution doesn’t fit all so it’s important to ensure your chair can be adjusted to accommodate your height and arm positioning. As for the desk, if you’re budget allows, you can purchase a desk that gives you the option to stand or sit while working. Studies often recommend 15 to 20 minutes of standing for each hour of work and some users will even set reminders to remember to stand. 


Is there specific Furniture, Design or Colors we should pay attention to?


When it comes to materials and finishes you’ll want to ensure you select a scheme that is energizing, positive and encourages productivity. Materials such as wood gives you a warm and welcoming feel and rugs can be a fun and unique way to give your space some personality and highlight the area. Accent colours often used in office design include shades of blue, green and greys with white often used as the base colour for most walls. Personally, I love to work with white paint because it gives me the opportunity to turn vertical surfaces into blank canvases and it opens up the doors to so much possibility for what surrounds it. With white you can then layer on the colour through furniture and accessories, artwork and photography and playful materials. 


From time to time I have writing blockades in my Homeoffice, maybe our readers feel the same way… When do I know that its related to the environment?

Whether it be in your Homeoffice or any other environment the human mind craves change and inspiration in their interior environments. I think it’s important to move around through your work day based on the tasks you are looking to complete. Studies have shown that choice plays a big role in a person’s productivity and output, meaning, no one place will be appropriate for all of your daily tasks. My advice is to spend some time exploring a variety of settings including cafes and lounge areas, outdoor spaces  and co-working destinations where idea sharing and collaboration is encouraged and enhanced through amenities and a vignette of settings. Just like any other design project your home office may require a few tweaks once you’ve settled in and that’s completely normal, it’s all about working in the environment and finding your version of the perfect setting.


How does your Homeoffice look like?

Our current flat includes one large open space with our kitchen, living and dining area all within one room. A home office needs to feel intentional, comfortable and needs to be situated in an area with electrical points nearby and a good wifi connection. We’ve spent some time making this area special- we have a variety of plants and artwork, decor and ergonomic furniture to support long working hours. We also made sure to select a place with access to daylight and enough room to move in and out of our work area comfortably. 


Where do you get inspired?

Pinterest is my absolute favourite website for a variety of reasons. I’ve always liked to look at fashion and hospitality as part of a design scheme and Pinterest does a great job at populating and sharing inspirational material. I love how when I look for something specific I can really narrow down my search as I click on images allowing me to find more of what I want in less time. I also love how I have much quicker and easier access to design images and interior projects from around the world for inspiration.   


What kind of Design are people looking for nowadays? What are their priorities? Are there any trends?

In workplace design an activity based approach has become a main focus for most organizations to ensure specific work styles, tasks and functions are being addressed and supported to enhance productivity and creative output. Some common work styles include heads down work, collaborating, formal and informal meeting settings, places to unwind and celebrate and places to break and socialize including cafes, hydration stations and communal areas. 


 What has changed from when you began to now? 

A lot has changed in 12 years! When I first started we were still designing with more of a conservative hierarchy approach. Maximized privacy was achieved with high workstation panels creating silos, killing any opportunities for collaboration and leaving end users with little access to other co-workers. Workstation sizes were much bigger due to limited areas designed for working outside of your desk space and a need to keep paper records of most documents. Different size offices were built along the perimeter of floor space giving those with more seniority primary access to daylight and views. An office represented status where as now with the cost of real estate and generational diversity we tend to design with more of an equal approach.  Offices are built on the interior of floor space allowing access to daylight for all and one size is often used for all levels of leadership. The redistribution of dedicated to shared square footage has also drastically changed the way people use space. Generally speaking, office and workstation footprints have become much smaller allowing for more diversity and space to design a series of workspaces that fall out of those two categories. Our clients include sectors such as Insurance, Law, Technology, Service and Corporate organizations. Budgets vary from very high to cost effective solutions and as Designers it is our job to deliver functional spaces that address our clients goals and resolve their challenges. I like to establish budget parameters at an early stage to ensure we don’t over promise or over design a solution that the client can’t afford. On tighter budgets we will strategically distribute the funds to ensure client facing spaces or specialty areas receive additional design attention and specialty finishes creating a unique wow factor in the places that mean most. 

What do you think is going to change in the future? What is going to be the focus and why?

The way people utilize interior space has dramatically changed in large part due to technology advancements, organizational changes and less of a need for people to physically be in the office. The work force is increasingly becoming more and more agile reducing the amount of real estate required to accommodate occupancy. Agile workers are being supported through reservable workspaces and temporary storage. Technology has improved the way people collaborate both face to face and remotely and has created a more impromptu work style giving users the flexibility to move around the office instead of being tethered to their desks. I believe the corporate office as we know it today will not exist one day, I imagine it will become a destination for people seeking human connection and emotional stimulation through the presence of others. I think the ‘office’ will be even more multi-functioning with one space being able to transform into a multitude of functions at the click of a button. 

Thank you so much to the beautiful Mireille for this interview!
How do you set up your Homeoffice? Tell us in the comments about it.



For more inspiration check out our Literaa Pinterest Board Writers Office

Mireille is the Founder of i.d-Ah! a Design practice focused on improving the way people experience space. Follow her Design journey on Instagram at @i.d.ah

Interview & Text:
Masha is the founder of Literaa Poetry and the better half of Pedro.
She likes to write columns and lifestyle topics and takes care of the editorial staff.
Read more about Masha here.

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