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  • Sarah Mervis

Campus on the Coast

Once a teacher, always a teacher.


My previous career in the classroom is something I cherish on a daily basis. There is no greater reward than knowing you spent every ounce of effort, every day, investing in your students' lives and their educational journey. Forever I am an advocate for teachers; which is why I couldn't say no to the director of The Children's School when she reached out for help designing their office space!


Honored at the opportunity to make a difference in the education industry, I grabbed my pink tape measure and made the sunny coastal drive to La Jolla, San Diego. Arriving at the school gates, I masked up and was greeted with a wave and a digital thermometer- ready to tour the beautiful, expansive campus grounds.


Immediately my heart went out to every masked teacher we passed, working hard to find alternate ways to educate their students in the pandemic environment. Passing each classroom, there were televisions at the head of the rooms to communicate with distance learners and instructors conducting class out in the field. Teachers are undervalued individuals, and their silent cries of uncertainty and distress during this pandemic were heartbreaking as we walked through the campus.


We reached the corner of the spacious grounds, where the director's office and student-parent waiting room was located. It was a bright and airy space where parents would spend downtime before meeting with teachers and school administrators. This educator boss babe desired a cozy, welcoming vibe that was both professional and stylish. With a tight layout, she struggled to find just the perfect fit for furniture, decor, and storage pieces.


Every teacher needs their cup of morning coffee to keep pace with students! So I made a mental note to find a functional, easily accessible location for their brand new, high-end coffee machine. After snapping some photos, taking measurements, and discussing design ideas, I said goodbye to the director and left with a serious craving for luxury coffee.


Designing this campus remodel came with its own set of challenges: positioning the furniture pieces to create a warm atmosphere while allowing for traffic flow meant a lot of design drafts and revisions. Between all the emails, text messages, and photos, the director and I came up with a solution that would provide every parent, teacher, and school administrator the fresh and cozy vibes we were aiming for.


A brown, tufted leather couch was a must have item for this boss babe along with a stylish space for storage and a comfortable chair for extra seating. Creating a welcoming environment for any space requires strategically placed decor pieces that aren't overwhelming for the occupants: greenery, neutral colors, and soft touches such as rugs and pillows will transform any room into a cozy oasis!


My favorite part of this design was incorporating students' art pieces on both walls of the sitting area. Not only was this an extremely adorable way to personalize the room, but it also reflected the joy and purpose of being a student at this school. A few additional storage pieces for paperwork and coffee completed this remodel for its guests and staff!


One thing's for certain, the pandemic forced us all to learn how to live a little differently. Taking each day as it comes, sharing close quarters with our families and roommates, going the extra mile to support a small business, and most importantly learning how to appreciate those who we often overlook.


My heart goes out to all the teachers and educators: know that what you do makes ALL the difference, both virtually and in the classroom!