Where I Work

Before After
I work in a countertop and cabinet showroom that’s located in a busy industrial park, that’s tucked away from major shopping areas. Just Counters & Other Stuff is a unique retail showroom open to the public. Located in Port Charlotte, Florida, the showroom features quality products to complete any kitchen or bathroom renovations. Products we carry include cabinetry, countertops, plumbing fixtures, hardware, and more—all under one roof. Our design team is knowledgeable and will create designs to help you envision your new space. Just Counters can help you find exactly what you’re looking for during your remodel project.
The owners, Mark and Kathy Kemeny, knew how important first impressions are. A year ago, the showroom was difficult to navigate, had poor lighting, and didn’t boast a welcoming atmosphere. The owners had planned on remodeling the showroom. But what they hadn’t planned was coronavirus. They never expected to be undertaking a showroom renovation in the midst of a pandemic. But they did. It took a lot of experience, a tremendous amount of knowledge, and a lot of hard work. However, this blog is not about the finished gorgeous showroom. It’s about the space I work in.

Let’s face it. We spend a lot of time at work. And we need to be at our best while there, so that we’re productive and at ease. If you spend all that time in a space that’s not inspiring, it can drag you down. Working in an office can be monotonous. Day in and day out, you see the same desk, computer screen, and office supplies.

When I first started to work for Just Counters, I was given a makeshift desk to work at. It was inside a room that was the size of a small, windowless closet. It was directly off another “office.” It wasn’t long before I was promoted to this other office. There was a small window in the room. However, to be clear, the window did not have a lush outdoor garden view. It faced a workshop, and it wasn’t soundproof. It’s a simple fact that power tools and explosive powered nail guns are very noisy. So, unfortunately, I often heard loud noises coming from various machines in the shop through the closed window. A single pane of glass will almost allow as much noise to come through as if there wasn’t any glass there in the first place. At the time, I thought all this was distracting.

But then… they moved my coworker, Sheila Graham, to the closet that I once worked in. Sheila is our countertop-to-go-to-person. The guys in the shop often needed to speak with her. So, they installed a door that opened directly to the noisy and dusty shop. If I thought the bare-thin window was distracting…Hahahaha! But, here’s the thing, people frequently needed to speak with Sheila. They either walked through my office to talk with her, or they used the workshop door. And whenever that workshop opened, it created not only a ton of noise, but a blast of dust and dirt was escorted into our offices. Ugh!  

Before After

The problem for me was that in order to be creative as a designer, I needed to feel creative and this office space hadn’t been helping with that. I mean, you do see my dilemma right?

So, when the stay at home order took place, I moved everything out of my office at work. I created a work station at home. Considering that I live less than three miles from work, I was able to see the progress of the new showroom.

So, my new office is pretty cozy—only six-foot wide by eight-foot long. That gave me roughly 48 square feet to work with. It was pretty much a blank canvas with neutral light gray walls, wood-look porcelain plank floor tile. The good news was that the owners allowed me and my coworkers to personalize, organize, and decorate our new office spaces so that we could be energized and productive! I wanted to work in a space that is set up properly to be comfortable and organized. After all, a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind. I wanted to keep my work space dedicated to work and professionalism, while also making me feel “at home.” The office, as much as I may hate to admit it, is basically my second home. I spend a lot of time at my desk — sometimes as many hours as I spend sleeping!

I knew there would be no joy in entering my office and find yet another identical office with the same décor and the same office furnishings as mine. Incidentally, there are four other offices the same size as mine. Each one has an extra-tall door that makes a grand entrance from our office to the showroom. I wanted to change up my office by giving it a “theme.”

Dull, all-grey design can be quite de-motivating, so I planned to bring in a pop of color to my workspace. What would you say if I told you that they make peel and stick wallpaper? Well, they do. I purchased two rolls of NuWallpaper, a premium peel and stick material, right off the shelf at Home Depot. I wanted the focal point wall to look as if it were in the middle of a birch tree forest. The peel and stick wallpaper is completely removable and will never damage walls. The directions read, “Makeover your walls in minutes.” But to be honest, it took me hours to finish the project. However, the look-at-me wallpaper really made a difference. I even applied the wallpaper to my plastic wastebasket. The dark handsome cabinets are from Aspect Cabinetry. I chose Corian’s Ice Queen for my L-shaped desk top.

Are you ready for a story?

There was a wise fisherman. This fisherman, who caught crabs, would keep them in a bucket without a lid. Someone walked by and noticed this. He asked, “Don’t you have to keep a lid on that bucket?”

The fisherman replied, “Nah, they never get out.”

“Why? Won’t they climb out?”

“No,” said the fisherman.

“How are you so sure?”

“When one crab tries to go over the side, the others will reach up and pull him back down again.”

Okay, so now you may be wondering what this story has to do with my office design. Well, I’ve been a furniture salesperson in one of my other roles in life. I worked for a company (I’m not going to name names) that employed human beings who behaved like those crabs. Unfortunately, whenever a salesperson started to climb, other sales associates were thinking: How dare you succeed? How dare you do better than me? How dare you do well when I’m not doing just as well? You get back down here with me! I witnessed coworkers who did things to prevent others from succeeding.  In fact, the furniture store corporation encouraged this kind of environment. I know. I know!!!

Obviously, I could go on and on about this furniture store, but let’s move on.

I thank God I work for Just Counters & Other Stuff. If you’ve never had a terrible boss, then you are one lucky human being. Mark and Kathy are on the other end of that spectrum. They do their best to create a healthy and motivating work environment so that we all are happy to work for them.

I now have a workspace where I can dream, plan, write, edit, research, design, and generally feel productive. There’s so much that’s absolutely wonderful about my office at work. The birch tree views, the beauty of the dark wood cabinets, and my great big awesome desktop. I wish I could point to just a few of my favorite accessory pieces, but the problem is, there isn’t just one piece I don’t absolutely adore. I love them all! They all work so perfectly together. It’s really special to be able to enjoy something that I created.

What’s on my desk right now? I cleared my desk off just for you. Just kidding. On a rare day, my desk is sparse, like seen in the “after” photo. But on most busy days my desk is covered in manila folders that I have not gotten to yet. Is there a favorite room that I’ve ever designed? I think that’s an impossible question. It’s almost like asking a parent which child is the favorite.

One more thing before I go. It seems like people are spending more hours in their home office these days and it looks like that’s going to continue for a while. So, if you want to update your office, I’m ready when you are. You can call me to schedule a safely social-distanced meeting.

Before After

As always, thanks for reading.


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