Monochrome Studio, by Lisa McLaughlin
The classic two-tone look brings a pleasing sense of balance and harmony to Lisa McLaughlin’s Arley Pent Studio.
Lisa and her husband bought their garden studio over 3 years ago after much debate about whether they wanted a shed or garden room. The Arley Pent with panelled windows and side shed (soon to be ensuite, if Lisa has her way!) gave them the best of both worlds.
We think you’ll agree the bold contrast of dark and light makes a real impact and creates an enviable, elegant workspace.
It has given me the perfect work from home space. I get to ‘go out to work’, I can’t be distracted by the breakfast dishes in the sink or the washing basket and it’s so peaceful. At the same time, I’m taking advantage of zero-rental costs while I focus on growing my business.
I’ve loved designing a space of my own that provides the perfect stress-free environment for me to focus on my work. I need head space to be creative in what I do, and I believe your work surroundings make such a difference to your creativity, motivation and mood.
Malvern’s service was second to none. They listened carefully to what I was looking for, they were incredibly flexible and helped us to find a solution that was within our budget.
I didn’t have a big budget to spend on creating the space. We painted the outside ourselves and I simply varnished the floor and white washed the walls. I already had much of the furniture, such as the vintage desk, retro office chair and old French leather club chair but I mixed these pieces with practical and affordable office furniture from Ikea. I then added the finishing touches; such as a cow hide rug, cushions, plants, pictures and vintage finds sourced from antique fairs to make it feel homely and cosy.
I love being outdoors. Having an outside office gives me the opportunity to enjoy the garden and the fields beyond; it lifts the spirits and provides a natural productivity boost. My cocker spaniel, Monty, also loves it as he can curl up on the old leather chair or wander around the garden with me in sight.
In the summer, I can open the doors onto the decking and bring the outside in or the inside out! I love to set up the decking with chairs, tables and lots of cushions so I can take 5-minute breaks away from my screen.
My shed provides peace and quiet, away from the noise and clutter of home especially when there are teens around. When I’m in my shed my family respect the fact that I’m working, and I can focus without interruption. However, when I see my husband walking down the garden with a glass of wine on a Friday evening, I know it is time to down tools.
Lisa’s career began in London marketing agencies in the 1990s. Ten years later she moved to the Oxfordshire countryside and started a family. She launched an antiques and interiors retail business but returned to marketing as a consultant working for an organic baby food brand after the recession hit.
Wishing to brush up on her digital skills, Lisa joined the Digital Mums training programme. The training takes place online so the digital shed at the bottom of the garden came into its own (even in the depths of winter) as a place where Lisa could immerse herself in learning.
Lisa now runs a Marketing and Social Media consultancy and feeds her lifelong interiors obsession with her Instagram alter ego, Fox & Peel (@fox_and_peel).
Lisa’s top tips for monochrome interior styling:
- Add pops of colour with artwork or accessories
- Experiment with form and texture
- Don’t be afraid to mix modern and vintage finds