a peek inside the fishbowl

08 Nov, 2012

Reno post #48: The new office door, and what it means to me

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno|parenting

New office door - blog version

Once upon a time I was interviewing a couple for a local magazine who designed their own home. I was getting the grand tour and asking lots of questions. The tour eventually came around to their home office. It was situated in a great place, right by the front door as you stepped into the house. This meant that clients didn’t have to trek through the house – though the family’s personal spaces – in order to get down to business.

I was surprised to see that there was no door on the office, it was simply an open doorway to the front hall. We were planning our own renovation at that time and I had to ask… why no door?

I should mention that the couple had just had a baby, who was snoozing peacefully in a bassinet next to the desk. In truth I can’t remember the exact words of their explanation, but it had to do with maintaining a work/life balance that included kids, and closed doors just weren’t part of that.

I get that. When there’s an infant involved it’s important to have them nearby and within earshot, but when the kids get older… well, that’s when it gets more challenging. Bigger kids = louder kids.

We’ve needed a door on our home office for the last five years or so. Mostly because I need quiet when I’m writing and when I’m having a phone/Skype meeting I don’t want there to be sounds of kids/dogs/cartoons in the background. It just doesn’t strike me as very professional.

I used to give the kids ample warning: I’m having a phone meeting right now, so I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR A PEEP. But kids are kids, and they instantly forget your instructions, no matter how sternly they are delivered, because when you’re that age the world revolves around YOU and your immediate needs.

But yes, a door. I had very specific requirements. It had to be shaker-style (so it matched the rest of the cabinetry), with glass panels. I wanted to be able to peek out and see what everyone’s up to. It also means they can peek in and see me working… and technically, not interrupt. The rule is: When the Door is Closed It Means Do Not Disturb.

The added benefit here is that I can close the door on my work when I’m done for the day. I’m trying to be better at separating home and work, and the symbolic act of closing the door when I’m done will help.

(In case you’re interested, the door came from Classic Wood Mouldings – as did all of our trim – and their website is here.)

7 Responses to "Reno post #48: The new office door, and what it means to me"

1 | Marianne

November 8th, 2012 at 9:44 am


I like it! Personally, I would have gone for frosted glass, but that’s because I am a slob. Our main floor office (which we don’t work out of), is the one disaster area on our main floor, crammed with odds and ends that don’t always have a home, school notes, etc. And when we have company come over, it’s where we toss any other clutter from the main floor if we have no time to clean up properly. Frosted glass would let light through, but allow us to hide the mess! We currently have French doors on the office, but they’re in bad shape and don’t match the rest of the doors in our home. In the short term, my mother in law sewed some linen panels that we installed on the inside of the doors, but I look forward to the day we can replace them .

Also, in terms of separation of space … if you have a door, you can always leave it open nearly all the time. But if there is NO door, you can’t close it on the occasions when you want to. And I like that the amount of glass in the door you choose still gives an open and airy feel.

I seem to rambling … chalk that up to not having finished my morning cup of coffee yet!

2 | andrea

November 8th, 2012 at 9:58 am


Frosted glass was definitely an option. We could have ordered any kind of opacity, including “special effect glass” which has simulated raindrops etc. :)

I wanted to be able to see without opening the door, from either side of the door. One thing we talked about was installing curtains or blinds at some point… which is an option but I don’t see us doing it. And I hear ya about the clutter! The office is a total mess right now. There’s a lot of sorting and organizing to do in here.

3 | Javamom

November 8th, 2012 at 10:47 am


If we ever move (and we WILL) then I am so coming over to kidnap you and force-walk you through my new house to get your experience on what to do and what not to do re any potential renovations.

LOVE that door. I work IN the kids room bec the office is a mess and full of his stuff….and the dining room table is impractical.

4 | Tatiana

November 8th, 2012 at 11:03 am


Great door! I think it was an excellent choice going for the clear glass. If you eventually find that you need more privacy you can always use some window film.

5 | Mimi

November 8th, 2012 at 1:20 pm


I heart your door. That’s the kind of door that I would like to have for all the upstairs bedrooms (with some opacity added though). It would let through a lot more light.

My home office is part of a glorified hallway, so when there is traffic in and around me, I usually advise my clients that I work from home, apologize for the carry-over noise, and then give them above average customer service to compensate. ;D

6 | Jen Hughes

November 8th, 2012 at 1:48 pm


I so hear you on this! My desk/office is right in the kitchen and I never actually sit at it. This means that my laptop and I travel around the house to whatever spot works best at that moment.

I have to arrange all calls for when my kids aren’t home, or when the littlest one is napping. I long for a proper office. I used to have one upstairs, but I lost it when we kept having more kids to fill the bedrooms. :) I found it a bit impractical anyway, since I’d have to force myself to go up there.

Anyway, I’m so envious of your office AND your door!

7 | Caroline

November 14th, 2012 at 5:28 pm


Congratulations Miss Fish! :-) So very pleased for you! (and I’m glad that my office isn’t the only one with piles!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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