Home Decor

A Husband and Wife Design Duo

A local husband-and-wife team designed the perfect comfortable space for a stylish office.

By Karen Bliss

Dec 2023

Interior photo of couple's designed home
Photo by Tessa Cooper

Designing any space, you have to know your client, and the timeless look of this space that falls somewhere between the traditional and the modern was based around an art concept picked by client William Beadle, of Tolbert Beadle, LLC.

Sharon and Robert Reed, owners of Walnut and Ash Interiors in Springfield, designed an office interior for William Beadle. In addition, they designed Terry Tolbert’s office and the main visitor lobby.

The main goal was to update the office and modernize it. It had been designed in the early 2000s and not redesigned since then, Robert says.

The concept was built around Thomas Hart Benton paintings, which were specifically requested by Beadle.

“Robert mounted the pictures, but he would see them a lot in the Capitol Building and he really wanted to have those in his office,” Sharon says. “We tried to take that traditional space and make it a little bit more transitional by using the 80% traditional and then juxtaposing the contemporary artwork.”

The goal was to make it a place where Beadle could sit and relax, work or see clients that come into his office. The furniture pieces and the rest of the design of the room just bounced off the idea of the Thomas Hart Benton paintings.

The designers' favorite furniture piece was the leather chair, but the other pieces all came together as well.

“It's got a real modern shape to it, but the leather is really comfortable,” Robert says. “It was the last piece that kind of made the transitional design work for everything else. Those two metal tables, the drum tables there in the center, we liked those too because a lot of Thomas Hart Benton's work focuses on industrial scenes, and so the metal gave a nod to that.”

A metal table up against the already-in-place wood paneling had law books placed on it, which lent itself to tie in an aspect of the law. The Reeds say the law books were not being used, but were already in the law office, and so they pulled them into the design of the office.

Sharon and Robert say they have been married 37 years, and designing together has been a great way to work.

“I think it works really well because we bounce ideas off of each other,” Robert says. “You're not just making that one decision and hoping that it's the right thing that you're doing for the client. There are a lot of designers who do that, but it, to us, it's a nice relationship where we can say, ‘What do you think of this? What do you think of that?’ It's definitely a collaborative effort.”

Tips for Designing an Office Space

Make Your Space Comfortable

"When we go to our homes, we want to feel like our home is a reflection of us and we feel comfortable there and it's a place that we want to spend time. In any business situation, it's nice to have that same feeling when you feel as comfortable there as you do in your own home." —Robert Reed

Art Gives It Depth

"I think art is so important. Art doesn't have to be expensive. I'm a big advocate for artists, whether that's local or worldwide, to be showcased. I think that really brings a lot of depth to a space." —Sharon Reed

Add Texture

"Textures and form are both really important. I always think you should have a little bit of green somewhere in the space. I think nature really adds another dimension to your space. It doesn't necessarily have to be real. Plants and floral are wonderful, but if you're in a place like this law office that little plant would not have made it with where it is in the room. That's a faux plant. There are a lot of manufacturers now making faux greenery that is very realistic." —Sharon Reed