Office Inspiration Galore at Houzz-like Custom Spaces

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Chair of the Month

Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie is a Workplace Consultant at Herman Miller and the former Editor of Work Design Magazine. She’s currently based in Pittsburgh.

San Francisco super-broker Jenny Haeg’s new website, Custom Spaces, is a resource for companies looking for inspiration and vendors to bring their ideas to life. In an e-mail interview, she told us about her vision for the platform and shared photos of a few of the cool spaces featured on the site.

WDM: What inspired you to launch the site?

JH: I’ve been working in commercial real estate for over a decade now, and over that time saw a persistent need among all of my clients for a resource that could help them discover all of the cool things that they could do with their space. Something that would help them be inspired to create a space that fits their unique company culture, and connect with vendors who can bring their ideas to life. I kept waiting for something like that to appear, but it never did, so eventually I thought, you know what, I’ll just build it myself!

Rather than restrict it just for our clients however, we decided to open it up as a resource to the entire community, and I’m so glad we did that. The response so far has been great. Companies love being able to browse through these beautiful photos and connect with vendors that are able to take their ideas and bring them to life. Also, we live and breathe commercial real estate, so building something that allows the artists of our trade, the architects, designers, and craftsmen,
to showcase their amazing work, has been incredibly exciting.

How do you find the spaces, vendors, and designers to feature—do you seek them out yourself or is there a submission process?

I’ve built relationships with several companies, vendors, and designers throughout my career, and they formed the initial community when the site first launched. However since then we’ve been approached by both companies and vendors wanting to be included on the site, and we love that. There really isn’t a submission process, and we want to feature all types of spaces, from small spaces for two founders that are working on getting their idea off the ground, to large
spaces created by companies that are further along in realizing their vision.

How do you envision people will use the site?

I hope the site will serve as a resource for companies that are looking for inspiration when building out or decorating their space, and need to find vendors that can bring their ideas to life. We currently allow companies to browse by category (e.g. kitchen, boardroom) as well as by keyword to help them narrow down their search for ideas and inspiration for the specific projects that they’re working on.

From a vendor perspective, we hope the site can function as a platform for them to share the work that they’ve done and be present when companies are looking to hire someone for the type of services that they provide. We not only want to help vendors showcase their work, but also make it easy for their fans and clients to share their accomplishments and accolades.

Do you plan to launch in other cities?

Yes! Although we’re currently focused on San Francisco and the Bay Area, expanding into other cities both within the United States and internationally is very much a part of the plan.

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