Why more and more of us need a haven of our own at home
WHEN businesswoman Cathy Bramley, of Lambley, decided to write her first novel, she knew she might get easily distracted working at home.
That's why, like a growing number of people, she was keen to have a separate area in her house solely devoted to writing.
Cathy explains: "I work from home all the time and I needed to have somewhere completely separate from the house, so that I'm not tempted to stick a load of washing on or check who the guests are on Loose Women.
"It also means that I can keep home and work neatly segregated. When I have visitors, for example, I don't have to worry about what state the house is in. Also, if I feel the urge to dash off a quick chapter early on a Saturday morning, I can slink over there, make myself a coffee and write away undisturbed."
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Cathy and husband Tony, who undertook a major self-build project to create their dream home two years ago, decided to convert a room above their garage into a dedicated office area.
"We have separate phone lines and broadband and, most importantly, installed a shower room," Cathy says. "There would be nothing worse when you're dying for the loo than having to dash through the rain back to the house.
"And because it's a shower room, if we ever wanted to convert it back into something else – like a home gym or a granny flat – the space is really flexible."
The Bramleys are not the only ones to crave the idea of home working.
According to recent figures, about 70 per cent of home renovation plans now include space for a study of some kind.
"We all need a space we can call our own," says Caroline Clifton-Mogg, author of A Space Of My Own, a book which focuses on ingenious and practical ways of conjuring a 'work' area.
"Whatever it's used for, this area should be a haven – somewhere that is tranquil, calming and creatively inspiring at the same time. She believes a home office should be a private space that satisfies the soul – and no matter how tiny the area is, you should be able to feel free to display personal treasures and enjoy some "me time".
Says Caroline: "The important thing is that it's known to all as very much your space, and it should feel private.
"This is a place that should be specifically designed to cater to you and what you are doing.
"So, decorate in a way that pleases you, perhaps with your favourite picture, or a gallery of photos and postcards that give you pleasure to gaze at.
"Choose colours well – bright shades to stimulate and inspire, or calming, contemplative ones to allow your inner creativity to peacefully emerge. This is your place and you can tailor it so it fulfills your desires."