Nature Inspired Home Office

Grand Banks Building Products

For designer Sarah Sherman Samuel, staying inspired in a home office space means incorporating her two must-haves for creative bliss: plenty of natural light and a blank slate space where the color, materials, patterns, and finishes she works with can get all her attention.

Marvin Modern Nature Inspired Home Office

Used to living and designing in sunny California, natural light (and lots of it) is integral to her professional process. When Samuel and her family relocated to Michigan and moved into a home in a beautiful nature ravine, she knew she wanted to build a space that would capture as much light as possible while celebrating the wooded backdrop. She ditched traffic-filled commutes and gave “working from home” a new meaning when she built a modern, streamlined office structure just steps from her newly renovated home

Nestled in a hillside overlooking her tree-lined site, Samuel’s workspace is long and skinny, modeled after a house with a single-gable roof. The exterior is painted Caviar Black to match her family home, giving the impression of a closed-off bunker until you round the side and see a wall of expansive Marvin Modern sliding doors and a 12-foot direct-glaze windowframing the ravine below.

Marvin Modern Nature Inspired Home Office

“I’ve always wanted to build a ‘modern shed’ for an office, and when I saw the new Marvin Modern line, it all clicked. I designed the structure around its multi-slide door that goes from floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall,” Samuel said. “There is nothing superfluous in the design, just like the structure itself. The clean lines go hand-in-hand with the black metal roof that almost seamlessly transitions to the siding.”

In keeping with Samuel’s modern aesthetic, her home office boasts clean lines and a minimal color palette of black and white, letting natural materials, rich textures, natural light, and nature views take center stage. Since she spends a lot of time at her computer designing and envisioning spaces, Samuel enlisted her father to create what she calls the “infinity pool of desks” – a 12-foot custom desk built into the windowsill of her Modern direct glaze window. The desk helps save space and gives her a much needed opportunity to bask in the light and gaze into the forest to clear her mind

Marvin Modern Nature Inspired Home Office

“Even when you’re sitting at the computer you feel immersed in nature,” Samuel said. “You only need to glance up to give your eyes a beautiful break from the screen. Focusing on something 20 feet or more away periodically while working at a monitor helps to avoid eye strain. It makes it easy to follow the 20-20-20 rule (which states that for every 20 minutes at the computer, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds).”

As a designer, Samuel has a knack for choosing art and creating beautiful moments in a space. In her home office, she did this with the windows – strategically placing solid walls where the views were not so desirable (her driveway) and placing windows and doors so when she’s in her office she sees nothing but forest views and the wooded ravine below.

Marvin Modern Nature Inspired Home Office

“When taking a picture, you narrow in on the subject and crop out anything you don’t want to see. For example, showing the perfectly styled corner of your house, but cropping out the toy explosion produced by your toddler just off to the left,” Samuel said. “Windows are like photo cropping in real life.”

From the materials you choose to design with, the shape of a structure, and the creative ways you organize the space within it, Samuel believes that a person’s surroundings deeply affect how they feel. In a space designed around light and views, with creative and custom touches to accommodate her busy design business, Samuel has created an inspirational sanctuary (and she doesn’t need to go far to find it).

“Natural light gives me life and is my number one necessity for productivity. My brain often works overtime and needs a palate cleanser. I’m never not working or thinking, ideating or designing in my head, which can sometimes lead to burnout,” Samuel said. “Being able to take a moment to look outside and immerse myself in nature helps my mind to rest and sparks more inspiration.”

Marvin Modern Nature Inspired Home Office

Monica Banks




7am – 4pm Monday – Wednesday

7am – 4pm Thursday

7am – 4pm Friday Saturday

Sunday by appointment

7 Crafts Road Gloucester, MA 01930
P| 978-281-2421

Marvin Modern in Sag Harbor

From the mid-1700s up to the mid-1800s, Sag Harbor, NY was a prosperous whaling port. Today, the quaint village on the eastern side of Long Island is known more for its boutique shops, beaches, water sports, and compelling architecture. This home, designed by The UP Studio, features a smart, people-first layout and amazing attention to detail. The vision at conception was to create a home with an emphasis on privacy, an abundance of light, building strong connections with the outdoors, and accessing views of the water. It was an ambitious strategy for a home that’s on a corner lot and not located on the waterfront.

Marvin Modern Sag Harbor


While working within constraints like budget, site limitations, and local building requirements, the aspirations of every project The UP Studio undertakes is to create a balance between aesthetics, environment, and performance. John Patrick Winberry, one of the partners at the architectural firm, explains the origins of this project, “We have worked with these particular clients on several other projects before they came to us with this Sag Harbor request. They trusted us and gave us plenty of design freedom, which of course is every architect’s dream job.”

Marvin Modern Sag Harbor


People in the United States now spend almost 90% of their time indoors. Research has shown that increased exposure to light makes people more productive and improves their sense of well-being. It’s not surprising that we often look to designers and architects to help create positive home environments in the places where we spend the most time.

Winberry talks about how his studio thinks about light, “There is this big blazing ball of fire in the sky that effects everything, so our site strategy always starts with the path of the sun. Once we know how the sun will affect the build site, we design the placement of the home and the fenestration around that. It’s why all four of our facades are almost always different. On the south side of this home, a soffit projects beyond the facade to naturally shade the home from the high summer sun without blocking the warm, direct sunlight in winter months.”

Marvin Modern Sag Harbor


In addition to making the best use of natural light and creating the desired aesthetic, managing privacy is a key ingredient in any successful fenestration plan. This particular build site posed some unique challenges.

Winberry explains, “The traditional instinct would be to design the new home to face the street, but since the property is located on a wide street corner, the orientation was flipped to face the rear corner of the yard and the first-floor facade was designed to act as a subtle privacy screen from the street. On the rear of the house, we have floor-to-ceiling glazing featuring Marvin Signature® Modern windows and doors.”

Marvin Modern Sag Harbo


The team at The UP Studio understands the importance of nature and how it can have a positive effect on our moods. Whether a home is located on a small, in-town lot or situated on an expansive country estate, the team tries to leverage a site’s natural landscape.

“It’s important that we bring nature into our architecture,” Winberry says. “The abundance of windows and scenic Multi-Slide doors creates wellness for the family by strengthening connections with the outdoors. We also pushed the plunge pool right up against the home where the water seems to flow right indoors.”


When planning a compact home like this one, every square inch counts. One way to get the most square-footage bang for the buck is to take advantage of the flat roof design by adding a patio space on the roof. The relatively low cost for the additional usable space made sense but the real payoff came from the stunning views that the rooftop provided access to.

“The home is located on a land-locked site in a small harbor town without direct water views from the lower levels,” Winberry says. “However, by creating habitable space on the roof, we were able to reclaim the spectacular views of Sag Harbor Cove and Noyack Bay that were hidden by the neighboring homes, views that none of the other nearby houses have taken advantage of.”

Marvin Modern Sag Harbor


“We chose the Marvin Modern windows and doors product line on this project specifically because of the clean and narrow sightlines and Modern’s ability to create huge expanses of glass,” Winberry says. “We have been using Marvin windows and doors for many years. The huge Modern Casement and Awning windows in this house are noticeably easy to operate. The quality is there. It’s like when you shut the door on a luxury car—It just feels right.”

Monica Banks




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Robin Hubbard is a financial advocate, consultant, planner and coach for individuals, businesses, and business investors. An agile, refreshing alternative to franchise firms, I don’t push product but find solutions for individual needs and ambitions.