SARAH DAU, A HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT, spends her days helping clients make the most of their practices. Yet when it came to her own work environment— a makeshift home office on the main floor of her family’s 4,500-square-foot Tudor home in Sparta—she was neglecting to give herself the same attention.
Dau had taken a career break to raise three sons, but when her youngest started kindergarten, she decided it was time to go back full time. Luckily, she could work from home, so she gathered some extra furniture from her husband’s own home office and other pieces from around the house and got down to business.
“The room wasn’t very fun or inspiring, and I did think about redoing it,” she admits. “But I just kept thinking about it and doing nothing.”
Ironically it was COVID-19 that served as the positive catalyst. “When COVID hit, I found myself working very long hours and out of my home office,” Dau notes.
Having an uplifting space took on a new priority, motivating Dau to turn to Pamela Cooper of Cooper Interiors in Watchung. The pair had already collaborated on other rooms of Dau’s home, so Cooper was the natural choice.
“Having worked with other designers before, I can say Pam’s attention to detail and her gift for customization are really special,” says Dau. “Pam is a lovely person, and she has the amazing ability to take what’s in my head and push me out of my comfort zone to create something fabulous. In fact, that’s my nickname for her: fabulous.”
The project, which took six months, went relatively smoothly. Dau was able to work in the room while Cooper and her crew did their design thing—overseeing the electrical installation, the painting and wallpapering, and the three-day installation of the custom desk and cabinets, which were brought in piece by piece.
To deal with the room’s relatively small size (10 feet by 12 feet) and lack of storage space, Cooper had Freehold-based Ingrained Handcrafted Cabinetry & Furniture custom-build a wall of lower cabinets to house the printer, files and supplies. And for a look that’s as airy and stylish as it is practical and streamlined, the custom desk—also by Ingrained—is fastened to the wall on one end and braced by clear glass legs on the other. Drawing the eyes upward, the custom crown molding and ceiling details painted in soft white and blue also help convey a sense of spaciousness.
Furniture and decorative pieces—a Fairfield desk chair, a Braxton Culler upholstered chair, a John Richard desk lamp, a Crystorama chandelier and a vintage mirror framed by clear acrylic bars and nickel-forged iron—were chosen to enhance rather than overwhelm the setting.
“The room is now fresh, invigorating and warm,” says the homeowner. “I love what I do as a profession, so I’m very grateful that now I’m able to do what I love in a space that I love.”
TEXT by NAYDA RONDON
DESIGN by PAMELA COOPER
PHOTOGRAPHY by VIC WAHBY