All Dressed Up: Reservations Required

What do you do when you don’t cook or eat at home, but you need to set up a home office? You may do exactly what entrepreneur and author Mandy Williams (aka Black of Red & Black) did, and convert your dining room into a home office.

Mandy isn’t your traditional author or business owner and doesn’t take a conventional approach in her personal and business life. Her approximately 15.8′ x 15.7′ home office is the perfect example. She could have converted a spare bedroom, corner of a family room, or a formal living room into her workspace, but how conventional would that be?

Mandy’s well-hidden home office is still disguised as a dining room, thanks to the wall of wood. Unless you opened the cabinets, you’d never know that behind the Wenge wood doors are several file drawers along the bottom, a slide-out printer stand, and open shelving for storing loose-leaf binders and  various office organizing boxes/sorters. She also has cubbyholes for paper, notepads and envelopes.

Her gorgeous custom-designed, glass-top table with a leather base looks like a dining table but can be used as a conference table or desk.  Not unlike many dining rooms, Mandy’s office is filled with natural light (often the best in the home).

Not eating or cooking at home seems to be a good trade-off for a stunning home office.


  1. And so much more convenient than in the corner of the basement.
    David @ self help blog recently posted..Pain Is Our Friend. Really.My Profile

  2. Fantastic article and the picture is stunning. If my dining room doubled as an office I’d be over the moon. Unfortunately I don’t quite have the space for those amazing wardrobes. In the process of decorating some office space soon though. I’ll link to some pictures and get your views on it when I upload them :D.

    Nima recently posted..Lock him into ContractMy Profile

  3. Hi Lisa,

    a wonderfully creative example of optimizing space. Perfect. It’s amazing how big printers are, isn’t it ? The huge printer is the only thing that disturbs the harmony of this picture.

    Thanks for sharing !

    Be blessed

    Oliver Tausend recently posted..Blogging Basics For MLM Success Part 5My Profile

    • Oliver,

      When I started the company, I probably could have gotten away with a smaller printer. However, as I explained to my sister in our book, long-term planning should be backwards thinking. If the company was successful I would ultimately need a commercial (versus home office) color laser printer. At that point, I would have to reconfigure the custom wall unit to accommodate it – which would be expensive, not to mention disruptive to the business.

      At the time, I had no way of knowing that our book (which was initially intended to establish the Red & Black brand and be the basis of a sitcom) would detour into the world of education. Or that we would be working on lesson plans and speaking engagement handouts. The fact I had purchased a high quality, high volume printer has saved me significant time and money as many large printing jobs I would have had to send out have been done at “the office.”

      Although I will admit I wish that the machine had come in black, but the good news is that when it is not in use I can close the door and hide it entirely.

      • You were smart to plan ahead, especially considering how much money you save by printing in-house. I use to have a nice color laser printer when I owned a different computer. When I bought a new computer, the printer wasn’t compatible. I miss it! One of my favorite parts of your home office is that you can close the doors at the end of the day. That feature is priceless!
        Lisa recently posted..All Dressed Up: Reservations RequiredMy Profile

  4. That office looks swanky!
    Aston recently posted..Nike PlusMy Profile

  5. To turn the dining hall to an office really sounds great to me. Believe when I tell you I love both places (Yummy!) It takes great thinking to be able to come up with such an idea. I will love to try it out some other time.

    Thanks Lisa, that is really an eye-opener
    Martin recently posted..My new year lesson for 2012My Profile

  6. I recently moved back into my bedroom-turned-into-office from the living room. Thoroughly enjoyed the article!

  7. Finding furniture to utilize dual spaces of office/home is easier and easier as more and more people are looking at the alternatives around working from home. Light is important in a home office. And the office is the hub of the business person’s world. There are reasons for the spare room but my office is in my lounge with my husband in the spare room.
    Roberta Budvietas recently posted..21st Century Business Success understands wants vs needsMy Profile

    • You’re right that it’s much easier to find dual-purpose furniture (finally). I like your “hub of the business person’s world” quote. Many of us don’t realize how much time we spend in our home offices…so much that as much as possible, it needs to be a place where you want to work, not have to work. Thanks for your comment.
      Lisa recently posted..All Dressed Up: Reservations RequiredMy Profile

  8. Lisa thanks for sharing this idea …. never considered converting the dining room. It is giving me ideas of how I can use some of the furniture we already have and turn it into dual purpose for a home office. thanks again!
    Lynn Brown recently posted..Want To Reach Your Online Marketing Goals This Year and BeyondMy Profile

    • I love using a dining room as a home office. It’s one of the rarely-used parts of most homes. Dual-purpose furniture is the best. One of my clients uses the top of an antique dresser to hold her printer and keeps office supplies hidden inside. Thanks for your comment.
      Lisa recently posted..How to Keep the Promises You MakeMy Profile

  9. Absolutely love the idea! =) I don’t cook much at all, so this would be a perfect idea! And a space saver, especially since my partner and I are looking for a smaller apartment! YAY!
    Samantha Bangayan recently posted..Now a Real Peruvian: A MilestoneMy Profile

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge