“It’s a little piece of girly heaven!” We agree! Dish Wish owner, Laura’s, space is absolutely amazing! Hidden behind a garage door, it’s unveiling is unexpected and oh so welcoming! We can hardly believe this space was once a garage, but it was no easy feat getting it to look this pretty! Laura put a lot of heart and soul into creating the perfect home for her business and its dishes with loads of diy projects, but boy did they pay off! Seriously, check out how pretty this place is, and unique too with the dish wall, fun prints, and that gold striped floor! We absolutely love her pieces and love hearing the stories behind them even more, so read on for how Dish Wish and this lovely little space came about!
1. What was your inspiration when designing the space?
Initially the space was in rough shape. It had holes in the ceiling, all sorts of exposed pipe, deteriorating paint and the floor was a mess. I didn’t have much of a budget, so I wanted to create a bold statement without going overboard on cost. So I decided to create a striped pattern on the floor – it had to be gold!
Months after the floor was completed, I found further inspiration from a photo I saw on Sugar Paper’s Instagram feed of a worktable in their studio. Since moving to my new office, I had acquired quite an eclectic mix of my mother’s friends’ hand-me-downs, flea market & thrift store finds and my childhood bedroom furniture, which I was so sick of looking at I would have left it on the curb if I could! But this picture gave me hope! The table in their office looked almost identical to the one I had inherited from one of my mom’s friends. A couple cans of lacquer spray paint and I was hooked. I sprayed absolutely everything I could. I removed the hardware and sprayed it with gold to amp up the tired Ethan Allan pieces I had been all to familiar with growing up to make them feel fresh and new and work within the space.
I am influenced by Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, Courtney & Robert Novogratz and Mary McDonald. Between my personal and studio space, I feel that they are all represented in one room or another and in this space one design element or another. For me, finding high-end inspiration and attaining it in a functional, aesthetic way by re-working pieces I can afford or already have is a fun challenge! But let’s be honest, if it weren’t up to my bank account my office walls would be lined with beautiful, antique brass etageres, gorgeous one of a kind artwork and an emerald green, tufted velvet couch, but you don’t find those on the side of the road!
2. What is the main use of your space?
My space serves as a warehouse, a client meeting space, an office, a staging area for mock-ups and a functional space where my assistant and I can process orders. I am constantly turning dishes and linens over to clients and am challenged with keeping these items in order with the open floor plan. But I tell my clients I don’t trust an event planner with a clean car and they shouldn’t trust an event rental company with too clean of an office, it would mean we weren’t hustling all the time!
3. What is your favorite element/vignette?
For me, the first thing I see when I open the doors is the dish wall. It’s a symbol of everything my business began as and always grounds me as I begin my workday. I love my gold shelves in my back office. Storage is always a challenge with a specialty rental company and I like the glass shelves because I can have an empty space to put something down the road and it doesn’t look strange or bare.
Coming from a small converted 1 car garage with a growing number of offsite storage spaces to a location where everything could be in one place was life changing for me. It was very difficult to find a space that had everything I needed at a cost my clients wouldn’t have to pay more for. When I found this space I saw the potential even when everyone else doubted me. When I take clients into the storage room nothing thrills me more than hearing them gasp! First at the amount of pieces, second at the fear of an earthquake! Trust me when I say the slightest rumble sends me racing towards the office screaming – MY DISHES!
4. Did you do any DIY projects to create this space?
To achieve the perfect straight lines for the striped floor I hired a handyman, because if there is one thing I can’t do it is cut, draw or walk in a straight line. To guide him, we used a long piece of wood and drew lines on the floor before painting. The width of the stripes was determined by the paint roller so we could easily roll the paint for the most even coat and the best quality. After painting the entire floor white, we drew the lines and used painters tape to keep the lines straight during the rolling process. When painting concrete floors you want to use epoxy paint. To protect the floor we applied a clear coat on top after the stripes were painted. To achieve a shiny gold appearance, I was able to talk my local Home Depot paint department extraordinaire into experimenting with mixing Martha Stewart Metallic Glaze with flat gold paint and it worked brilliantly! I was able to achieve a metallic gold epoxy paint that has worn really well almost a year later! Both the handyman and the Home Depot employees that helped me thought painting gold stripes on a 1000 square foot concrete floor that was stained and cracked was absolutely ridiculous. That’s usually when I know I am on to something.
Studio Dish Wall:
In my first office, the walls were drywall with a particleboard over it that made it virtually impossible to hammer a nail through. I knew I wanted a plate wall, so I had to come up with a plan B. That’s when I discovered industrial strength velcro. Given that plate-hangers would require me to measure and make precise holes, the velcro was an even bigger victory. My short attention span for levelers and measuring tape were thrilled to only have to peel and stick! All my plates in my new office are on a cement wall and the velcro is the perfect solution! It’s a great sample for my clients and helps them not to focus just on one pattern or aesthetic. When you step back you realize it all is cohesive.
Office Dish Wall:
When I created my back office area, I knew I wanted another plate wall to be incorporated, but I didn’t want it to be the focus, rather more of a textural element. I had seen this beautiful wallpaper on Apartment Therapy that had a beautiful gold foil pattern with a white background. I wanted to achieve the same look with plates. I had some dishes that were discolored and not rentable, so I painted them white. Then using gold leaf paint, I attempted create that pattern and was unsuccessful due to the bevel in dishes and the consistency of the leaf paint, so I settled with the various designs I was able to create using sea sponges, brushes and foam.
Tables, Chairs, Dresser, Bookshelves:
All the furniture in the office has been re-upholstered and painted by myself using lacquer in black and white. I am a huge fan of spray paint and use Krylon most often.
The back office shelves are my most recent project. I purchased the black brown shelves from Ikea and spray painted them gold. After researching quite a bit on glass shelves, these were absolutely the most cost effective option. Because the shelves are so open, they did use about 2 cans of spray paint each, which mainly fell on the tarp I used beneath the shelf.
Black and White Striped Table:
I am obsessed with black and white striped material. It’s my neutral, like leopard print. I didn’t want to simply use it as a tablecloth so I upholstered it to the top of a flea market table which achieves the look without the heaviness of a tablecloth.
5. How did you transform a garage into a space this amazing?
Normally I wouldn’t take this complement, but if you saw what it started out as, I suppose I should be proud. The first step was definitely a power washer!
When I first began I had a store front, storage units and my converted one car garage as a home office and felt that my time was spent just shuffling items between these three spaces, none of which had the proper set up for washing the items. After searching high and low for the right space with the capabilities of washing the linens, dishes and flatware on site and also have a separate place for storage and client meetings. I had almost given up until I found this space. I love places with a history and realized months into the garage construction that the house was part of the lost community called Surfridge, which was an affluent beach community between El Segundo and Playa del Rey in the late 20s. When a small airstrip began flying jets during World War II, the homeowners tranquil little beach town was compromised. So began Los Angeles International Airport and as they expanded, all the homes were destroyed or moved. This home was a part of that community and when it was moved, the owner created a California basement perfect for Dish Wish headquarters.
For myself, the first thing I notice in a space is the floor and the walls. You can do anything in a space with a clean, fresh version of both. For my first office I used black self-stick carpet tiles. It didn’t stop me when Home Depot wouldn’t ship them to California (they weren’t sold in stores) so I simply had them shipped to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I would be visiting my husband’s family and managed to get 250 square feet of carpet tiles out of 11 boxes and into a suitcase and a carry-on. The eye rolls from my husband and his family only spurred me on as I succeeded at my goal and was able to check the bag for free!
Working in a garage, the space is what it is and its never going to be perfect. There are some less than “Pinterest worthy” spaces. For instance, to cover the water heater, I had a copper pipe bent at the hardware store to the exact dimensions and hung a white curtain to neutralize the space as much as possible.
It always pleases me when customers come by and have overwhelming reactions to the space. One said, “it’s a little piece of girly heaven! ” and I will take that!
5. What is your advice to small business owners using their home as their office space?
Be Respectful of your Time & Space
Create systems and boundaries for your time and space. Just because you can be flexible with your home based business doesn’t mean you should be. By creating a solid structure to your work space and work schedule you can be more efficient. Make a weekly schedule for your workdays and stick to it. Whether you can carve out a shelf, desk, closet or room be strict with yourself and your fellow dwellers that that space is solely for your work.
Hone your Priorities
I am a big fan of Betheney Frankel. She has a quote related to diet that says “you can have it all, just not all at once.” I think the same applies to starting and operating your own business. “You can do it all, just not all at once. When you first begin your business, your head is full of all the “to-do’s” so much though, that at times you may get bogged down by social media posts, networking emails, team building and customer service needs. The truth is that every business is going to grow in a different way. Focus on the authentic way your business is best portrayed and hone it. Don’t worry about what you are not doing if you don’t feel that it is authentic to you. Find what is and it won’t feel like a chore keeping up with it!
Control the Chaos
For my business, my biggest struggle is how many pieces are coming in and out and need to be laundered or cared for and sometimes that funnels through my personal space. Because this is a losing battle, I have created systems for the items to go in the interim so they don’t clutter my home and distract me from the time I have allocated for friends and family, not my business. Recognize where your mental and physical obstacles come from in your business and actively create a realistic solution that helps you manage these on a daily or weekly basis.
6. How did you get started collecting vintage dishes?
In college, I set out to be a Dateline investigative journalist aka the next Keith Morrison. But on the first day, first Broadcast Journalism I class, it was obvious I was completely alone in wanting to interview everyday people on their personal journeys rather than sensational stories about groundbreaking political and social change, so I changed paths and never looked back.
In 2010, I began collecting dishes for my personal collection. As crazy as it sounds, I would always, always ask what the story was behind the china. The question would completely catch the seller off guard. There was never a time I asked that someone didn’t have an emotional story to tell. So as I collected and I would pull a dish off the shelf I would remember that person and envision the memory they had shared. I absolutely fell in love with the energy of the pieces and how they made me feel.
As a third generation compulsive shopper, acquiring anything has never been a challenge for me. About a month after I started I had no less than 800 pieces and even I felt crazy. So, I had the idea that I would put up a website just to rent the dishes a couple of times to off set the cost and make me feel a little less insane in the retelling of this story to friends!
I taught myself how to create a website and within three weeks had my first order. Now not only did I have the stories of the dishes as I purchased them, I had a happy customer with photos of guests enjoying these pieces. My heart could have burst.
So began Dish Wish. This little labor of love somehow fulfills all the pieces of me in a way I could never have imagined. I can literally say a single dish changed my life and every day I am amazed and grateful for the journey.
Items in the space
Pillows: Homegoods & Anthropologie
Back office desks
Vases: Jonathan Adler
Office art: Ooh La La Print, Los Angeles, The World is Your Oyster, Be Bright Be Happy, Gold Ampersand, Classic Print, Ballerina (painted by my mother when she was 20), C’est Tout, Black Dots, Paint Art Made by Girl (no longer available), Tolkien Quote- Etsy (no longer available)
Banner Menu on Plate: Paper Crew
Flowers: Glasswing Floral