Jade and Chris Towery
Office Makeover
Ken returns to Venice Beach to help his good friends make over their home office space.
We first featured our friends Jade and Chris Towery in 2018, when Ken stayed in the ADU they designed on their property in Venice Beach. As a close friend of Chris and Jade’s, Ken had visited them since then, and knew that their home office needed a refresh. So he offered to do a Grovemade workspace makeover. Here’s what went down.

I wanted to help make their workspace as inspiring as they are.

What the Office Was
Ever since Chris and Jade had started the ADU project, their office had been a storage room, a place to dump extra materials. When they had their second child, it became a room for baby gear. Despite wanting to clean it up, Chris and Jade were tending to other priorities: careers, two kids, and running their Airbnb. In a home of beautiful things they were proud of, the office was the one space that needed attention.

It was a place to be organized going in and a place to give up coming out.

What the Plan Was
Ken wanted to make a space that matched the serenity and beauty of Chris and Jade’s work. The goal was to provide them with products that facilitated long-term organization and everyday use. The challenge was to structure it in a totally functional way, and make it a reflection of Chris and Jade’s personality and lifestyle.

With this in mind, Ken sent a full set of Grovemade workspace products to Venice Beach, and then he and his wife Jen flew down to get to work. Jen would handle the staging, while Ken would add finishing touches and document the completed design.

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To make sure they found a setup that fit Chris and Jade’s needs, they planned to test out three workspace personalities.
What a Space is Worth
Before their arrival, Jade had intended to prep the office for the project, clearing away the clutter and cleaning all the surfaces.

With a preschooler and a toddler at our feet. We couldn't clean up the office, not even the desk.

Jade texted Ken to say that the office wasn’t worth their time and didn’t deserve their efforts.

But from Ken’s perspective, it was totally worth it. Chris and Jade’s work was so inspiring to him.

They had amazing art and interesting objects, a lot of which they created themselves or picked up in trades with other artists. Add in the two skylights in the space, and you’ve got an overload of potential.

So he and Jen showed up, jumped in, and cleaned up.
Ready To Go
With a blank slate in front of them, they first worked with Chris and Jade to put up some of their artwork. The pieces speak to who they are, and Ken and Jen let that guide the spirit and flow of the space.

People’s offices should be an extension of who they are.

With the art in place, they decided on a spot for the Grovemade Wall Shelves, anchor pieces that would be a constant in the three workspace setup options.
Then Jen got to work staging the pieces, swapping artwork in and out and arranging things to fit the following personalities:
Setup One • Minimalist
“We were going for magazine-like looks, not necessarily practical for everyday living. It was heavily inspired by their Airbnb which is immaculate minimalism but is intended for guests only. We even used some props from that building.”
Setup Two • Architect's Tools
“How it would be used if the office was only used for working. We worked to get a lot of the analog tools within arms reach.”
Setup Three • Family of Four
“Something that matched their life and lifestyle realistically. You can see their design ideals come to life in their Airbnb, but their life really centers around family and kids. We went for blending the two worlds, even adding a kid’s art station at one end.”
And The Winner Is...
Each option had its strength. But when Elle and Ray saw the Family setup they were like magnets to the workspace. Elle played architect and directed her little brother around, showing off her drawings and making herself comfortable.

The most profound impact was seeing the kids respect the space and pretend to be professionals.

The redesign drew the kids in to sit down and create. It was so unexpected, so pure of a reaction. Likewise for Chris and Jade.
Jade felt so much emotion on walking into the new office. In front of them was a workspace that had stations for all of them, where each of them could get their best work done, whether that’s watercoloring for a preschool artist and toddler, drafting for an interior architect, or concepting for a graphic designer. Even Sandy the tortoise had a place.
A Year Later
The Towery family fell into a routine in the space, adding their own touches over time. Chris works at one half of the desk with his laptop on the Laptop Lift that sits on the Desk Pad. He keeps his headphones on the Headphone Stand. His stationeries are sitting neatly in the multi-level Trays.

The Grovemade Brass Pen is our favorite pen. We wrote 100 holiday cards with it last year and had to change out the cartridge.

Elle, now seven, listens to her audiobooks while painting on the other half of the desk, with mounds of papers creeping into Chris' side and onto the floor. In the winter, Sandy the tortoise brumates under the desk. Ray plays on the floor—“if he’s not screaming at his sister.”
Since Elle has taken over Jade’s space, Jade migrates around the house with her leather mouse pad, a token that turns any space into a workspace. When she comes back into the office, Jade likes to notice the contrast between Chris’s tidy space and Elle’s wild one, a sign of how much they use the space now.

The office has lived its fullest life since the makeover. Seeing the paint blobs all over the Grovemade Products on our daughter's side of the desk brings me joy.

Check out the Towery's listing on Airbnb!


Further Reading