2021 Design Awards: Home Office Design


WHEN A MALIBU-BASED client commissioned a handful of independent guest rooms on his property, research led contractor Nate Garnero to the idea of using shipping containers as the framework for the project. The transformation of the ubiquitous transportation units, which are fire-resistant and upgraded with exquisite finishes and top-of- the-line fixtures, stunned architect Douglas W. Burdge, who collaborated with longtime partner Garnero to turn the one- off project into a full-fledged business. “When the pandemic hit, we started getting calls from people who wanted them as offices and classrooms,” says Burdge. “It was a natural pivot.”

The interior is offered in three finishes: a warm oak, shown here; a light (white-washed) oak or a black-stained oak. Photos by Katherine Ann Rose.

The duo tweaked the original design of the Buhaus (a reference to both the nickname for Malibu and the Bauhaus movement) to accommodate its revised role. Available in a choice of three exterior finishes and three interior finishes, the 160-square-foot space—the fully customizable unit is outfitted with a Murphy bed and either a fold-down desk or a couch—is composed of a central room open to the exterior with two decks and a bathroom. “It’s like a car,” says Garnero. “You decide on the options and three months or so later we deliver this gorgeous, private office.” This puts a new spin on bringing your work home.

For the office configuration, a spa bathroom with a tub and a shower can be replaced with a powder bath and an optional outdoor shower. Photos by Katherine Ann Rose.