A Homey Place in Which to CloseNov 21, 2019 05:23PM ● By Mandy Mowers
Karie Milford’s new office speaks volumes about her real estate business. She opened Milford Real Estate Group in March 2018 and moved her 10-member brokerage team into a new space in Briar Hills at 168th and Blondo streets in January 2019.
To prepare the space, Milford added walls. She wanted an open concept to create community and a team environment, but she also wanted smaller spaces so clients who come in do not feel lost or overwhelmed—especially on closing day.
“When the client walks in, I want them to sense a personal touch,” Milford said.
The space feels more like a home than an office. In the front room, a collage of framed pieces hangs against a pale damask wallpaper. Milford’s vision was to decorate with old-school elements that have a sense of elegance. The pieces all mean something to her, and they tell a different story to everyone who walks in.
Two pieces—one masculine and one feminine—created the cornerstone for the room. A brown leather sofa with tufted buttons invites people to relax; adjacent is the largest piece in the collage, a painting of a woman obscured by eight white birds. The obscurity symbolizes Milford’s business motto.
“When you own your own business, you have to stay focused,” Milford said. “What’s important to you? Never lose yourself in the process. It’s like you’re a running horse with blinders on: This is what I want.”
The conference room is arranged like a dining room. Rich purple drapes frame the window. A pair of large, gold, birdcage-esque light fixtures draw focus to the table, which has the brokerage’s logo subtly embedded in its wooden surface.
Milford wanted the office to evoke a sophisticated, but eclectic style. “We’re a boutique agency, and that’s how we wanted to align the space,” she said. “We brought in pieces you just don’t see everywhere.”[gallery ids="40122,40121,40125"]
Milford increased the heights on the doors, and used frosted glass on them so light could come through, tricks to make the space feel bigger.
As in a home, one main focal point in the office is the kitchen. As people gather in the kitchens at family homes, Milford wanted her people to gather in this kitchen.
“I put in a full kitchen because I wanted us to be able to cook together like a family,” Milford said. The team cooks before their weekly meeting and often brings in meals to share.
A painting of a horse overlooks the island, continuing the theme of focus. A bold gold-and-black wallpaper with damask roses complements the geometric lines of the backsplash tiles.
Spreading beyond the kitchen is an open workspace for the agents. “I was thinking of the agents, what they would want, what could help them collaborate as a team,” Milford said. One private office is tucked away with a pocket door. The full-time creative director has an adjoining office, a space filled with windows and light to aid her process.
Milford’s own office flows from the kitchen/workspace and opens again into the hall. A giant mixed-media piece of a woman with roses in her hair sits behind the desk. “I wanted a fashion piece, something girly,” she said. “Throughout the office, I’m trying to balance a masculine feel with feminine pieces.”
She wants her team and her clients to be comfortable. “My clients trust me not only with buying and selling their homes,” Milford said, “but more than that, they’re trusting me to help them get to a better future.”
Visit milfordco.com for more information.This article was printed in the December 2019/January 2020 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.