Photography throughout: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Light, like paint, fabric, and hardware, is an essential element of interior design. No one knows this quite like Bobby Berk, who transformed a dark, dreary ‘70s home into a multi-use workspace that inspires creativity and connection.

After outgrowing their previous location, an historic loft in downtown Los Angeles, the Queer Eye star and founder of the Bobby Berk Firm began scouting for a new location and settled on a 1979 Spanish Mediterranean home in the Hollywood Hills instead of a more traditional office space. “The idea to move the office into a residential space came about when we started thinking about our needs and what an office space could really be,” Berk said. “Yes, we needed an area to work, but we also wanted to be able to showcase our design work in actual rooms in an actual house.” The home would serve as an office, but also a showroom, photo studio, and event space.

But before the team could set up their desks and get to work, the property required a complete makeover to re-envision the layout and make it more functional for their needs. The house was dark and dated, stuck in the ‘70s, and Berk wanted to honor the traditional Spanish Mediterranean elements through a modern lens.

While everyone loves natural light, it’s practically an essential tool for designers, who need adequate natural light to inform their use of materials and color schemes — and there’s really no underestimating the impact of light on mood and well-being throughout the day. Thus, Berk turned to Marvin Ultimate windows and doors for the unlimited customization and design options that bring such a unique vision to life. “The first thing I noticed when I toured the property was the lack of light. The property backs up to a hillside, and is surrounded by mature trees, so the few windows that we did have to work with were blocked by shadows for much of the day,” Berk said.

The team kept the elements that worked — wood ceilings, arched openings — and updated them with sleek ebony-framed Marvin windows against white walls. “Not only does the graphic black really highlight the architecture, but we added French doors with sidelights, a bi-fold slider, and increased the size of the majority of the windows,” Berk said. “To do this and keep costs under control, we kept the header height the same, which allowed us to avoid completely reframing all the windows, while growing them by lowering the sills. This allowed a huge amount of light to pour in across the newly opened spaces, and really transformed the entire office.”

The staircase in the Bobby Berk Firm’s office, featuring a tall retangular Marvin Ultimate window to bring in lots of light to the space.

"Not only does the graphic black really highlight the architecture, but we added French doors with sidelights, a bi-fold slider, and increased the size of the majority of the windows.”

–Bobby Berk

When Berk purchased the home, its windows were in rough shape. “Good design must marry both form and function, and in this case, both were lacking with the old windows,” Berk said, adding that many of the casement windows were completely broken and unusable.

Post-renovation, you’ll see the biggest difference at the back of the house and in the stairwells, where Berk opted for tall, linear windows in a rectangular grid pattern to maximize the amount of natural light and serve as a striking design feature. In the primary bedroom-turned-office, Berk chose a series of three arched windows in a similar grid pattern to contrast against the rectangular lines at the front of the home and continue the harmonious marriage of old and new design elements. The team also added a custom quatrefoil window over the front door.

The new windows aren’t just beautiful — they’re fully functional and allow the team to let in light and fresh air throughout the workday.

In a world where we must consider our energy use, the need for efficient windows that create an insulating seal, while also allowing for passive cooling through air circulation is a really important factor to the health of people and the planet. In this way, creating better functionality through our new Marvin windows was another way to combine traditional time-honored strategies with contemporary living.”

Berk also swapped all interior doors for a single panel shaker style, painted them black to match the windows and freshened them up with new hardware. Elsewhere in the home-turned-office, the team removed walls from the second-floor bedrooms to create a more traditional collaborative space and optimized the first floor of the house not only to show off their design work, but to make creating content stylish and simple. The office features a full closet, a podcast or quiet Zoom meeting room designed in graphic black and white, a white plaster fireplace in the living space and a chic marble kitchen with a dining nook; Berk even entertains in the office on occasion.
By working closely with Marvin, Berk and his team were able to create the office-slash-showroom of their dreams, making space for plenty of possibility. “Marvin’s ability to customize the window design is unparalleled at this price point in residential window manufacturing,” Berk said of the partnership. “They really have the ability to create really unique and custom features for your home, which will both elevate the look and feel of your space, but provide the functionality and efficiency that everyone needs in today's climate (literally).”

Related Content