Studio Tour

Studio Tour: Tommy Lei

by Sabrina Smelko

When Tommy Lei and his two sisters were looking for office spaces at the same time, they decided to join forces and seek out an office that they could divide into three to save costs. “[My sisters] ended up choosing this office en suite that’s divided into three separate rooms,” Tommy explains, which was more than ideal for their collective needs.

Nestled in Alhambra, CA, Tommy’s office is a melting pot “where business meets leisure with pleasure,” located at the back of the suites — which also boasts the largest window and most privacy. As a creative consultant and the founder of MYBELONGING, a high-fashion menswear and lifestyle publication, Tommy sought to craft a space that fostered his creativity and productivity. But most importantly, he begins, “I really wanted the space to reflect and be an extension of me — as cliché as that sounds.” Although he is in the business of sharing and creating online, Tommy has a strong need for personal space, “whether that be an office or a bedroom, it should be a sanctuary.”

From the get-go, the space presented a few perks as well as a handful of challenges. While the room is constantly flooded in light throughout the day thanks to the large window, there are few power outlets which severely limited options when it came to layout. In addition, this room hosts the electrical panel that controls the suites, so cue decor and design to save the day! “When I started the design process, I eschewed the conventional route of seeking out an interior designer or consultant due to my limited budget,” Tommy shares. Instead, he opted to enlist help through the app Homee (pronounced home-ee) which connected him with a real, accredited interior designer who provided him with a visual mock-up of his space and curated a selection of furniture that fit within his budget.

Tommy could not be more thrilled with the outcome which perfectly encompassed the look and feel he was going for. Along with his personal pieces and artifacts, the studio is awash in sophisticated earth tones, with plenty of black and marble accents. Accented with slim furniture to fit the space’s smaller footprint, his office is now his nest where he can “conceptualize, create and clarify.” –Sabrina

When Tommy first got access to his studio space, he had little furniture or decor to fill it with. Equipped with his phone, he enlisted the help of Homee which curated all of his likes and packaged them into a list. Now, his space is sophisticated and feels grounded thanks to the mix of wood tones, marble accents, and black.
"This CB2 marble wall-mounted shelf, one of my favorite finds, currently displays my customized Buscemi crocodile shoes with the Nike logo."
A glimpse into Tommy's wall collage which features his own photography along with mixed media prints. Below is a Harry Bertoia wireframe chair, and an Umbra ladder rack.
Rather than put another hole in the walls, Tommy opted to use this leaning ladder to hang his jackets, accessories and decor accents which he swaps regularly.
A marble table -- which Tommy found on Craigslist -- and two of his beloved wire chairs come together to create a nook where visitors and guests can come in and sit down for a quick cup of coffee. From left to right on the table rest a Houzz hourglass, H&M copper plate, and Hammer & Spear vintage cups.
"I am such a cat lady at heart," Tommy says of this print from Public House of Art.
Tommy kicking back on his chaise lounge chair which he purchased through one of his favorite apps, Homee. The vase is from West Elm.
Tommy's studio must also function as a retreat, so having a space where he can read a book or browse a magazine was vital. This CB2 rose gold floor lamp helps create a more intimate space for relaxing.
"A reminder that the hustle is constant," Tommy says of his neon MFG sign from Fab.com.
On the back of his door hangs a customized James Payne vegan leather jacket, created by DTLA Custom.
To save some money in the studio, rather than opt for expensive art and frames, Tommy created this print collage using images he clipped from a COS catalogue.
"Where all the sole searching happens," Tommy remarks of this minimalist shoe rack he found on Amazon. The marquee sign is from Typo.
"In keeping with the business-meets-pleasure element of the office studio," Tommy begins, "I wanted to evoke a tongue-in-cheek vibe with this arrangement." Everything pictured is from Fab.com.

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