Adding a home office requires planning, design, and potentially permits. If you are building walls, performing electrical work, or changing the layout of your home to accommodate a home office you will have to comply with all local building codes and permitting requirements.
I am an architect and owner of New York based architecture firm Fontan Architecture this post is based on a few projects we have done adding offices to apartments in New York.
Apartment Home Office
Technology has made it so that working from home has become incredibly common especially in certain professions. I myself, have an office in Manhattan but work from home from time to time. Figuring out a way to add a home office can be a great way to have a more flexible life for people who work in an office. Many people only work from home so a home office is even more important to them, especially if you are always working at home.
Building a Home Office
This post will be focused on adding a home office with actual construction and not just converting an existing room into a home office. I am an architect in New York City and all code references and legal issues are based on NYC regulations. Make sure you are always in compliant with your local requirements.
Designing and Planning a Home Office
If you are going to do any type of construction you will probably need an architect. You want to plan out the home office so that your new home layout works.
Home Business Laws
New York City has very strict zoning codes. The Zoning Resolution outlines what types of businesses qualify for a “Home Occupation” or home business. Additionally it outlines some requirements and restrictions on “Home Occupations.” These regulations apply to a home based business where individuals are operating a business in their home. I will not be going into the details in this post but we have another post you can see on: running a business out of your home Zoning NYC.
Permits and Construction for a New Home Office
If you are building walls, adding doors, or doing electrical work to build your home office then you will definitely have to file for permits. In NYC you will need an architect who will file for an Alteration Permit for the construction of a new office. We have another post on the different types of DOB Alteration Permits in NYC.
Home Office Privacy and Sound Proofing
Soundproofing is a complicated issue. There is no one size fits all for soundproofing. We would not soundproof a home recording studio the same way we would a home office for an architect, such as myself. Also, whether your home is typically louder or quieter will determine the soundproofing you would use and of course, the type of construction you have will affect your soundproofing as well as budget.
In general a few tips for soundproofing an office would be to use the following:
- Insulate between stud walls
- Use soundproof Gypsum Wall Board “drywall”
- Apply acoustical sealant to joints
- Insulate the floor and ceiling
- Use acoustical underlayments in your floors
- Soundproof around outlets and switches
- Use Solid Core Doors
- Avoid sliding or pocket doors
Home Office Glass Doors
Home Office Design
The picture below is of a loft we renovated in Chelsea NYC. In this apartment we added a home office among other things. The office has black metal and glass doors that allow transparency and the ability to close the office. In this apartment the client wanted a bright red accent wall in the office to really make it pop in this apartment that had all white walls.
Working from Home
Working from home is a growing trend that we expect to increase. Having a space where you can separate from the common areas of your home to focus and work is critical to productivity.
Adding Home Offices
As an architect, I study design and construction, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article, we reviewed some tips and ideas for adding a home office but there are many others to consider. Every project is unique and must be assessed on its own unique characteristics. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.
Thank you for reading our blog post on Adding a Home Office.
I hope this was helpful. If you would like to speak with an architect, you can contact us directly.
This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.