keeping a masculine office welcoming

A friend of mine is moving into an office space after many years of working from home. The space is very small (150 square feet), but has a window and plenty of light. He purchased an antique bankers desk, and an ultra-modern black leather chair. Then he stopped buying, stepped back, and realized that the two styles are drastically different.  Feeling stuck, he e-mailed me and asked if I had any ideas to move the design along.

Now, as for style, I know this guy pretty well.. and his is a Ralph Lauren/Restoration Hardware/J.Crew world. I'm thinking burnished leathers and warm woods, all mixed up with a bit of tradition and luxe - and fortunately that works with his profession, which is in finance. The only thing that doesn't quite fit is the chair, and so we need to make it disappear into the design, right? Would you like to see what I am sending him back?

First,  I think the palette should remain neutral because of the nature of his business. So far we have orange-toned woods and black, so incorporating pale warm grey walls, while creating a darker wall (black or dark grey) behind the desk will allow the space to breathe while giving that black chair a home. If he would like, he could incorperate a wall of black bookshelves behind his desk, like the third pic shows - this is my personal preference.

Adding accessories that have classic appeal but feel modern are the key to linking the modern lines of his desk chair and the classic design of his desk.

How about adding a little comfort for his clients? Let's repeat the caramel tones here, with some sumptuous leather and link it all together with a hard-working sisal carpet. Architectural prints keep everyone focused on the task at hand, which involves real estate.

What do you think? Masculine yet welcoming? Professional yet comfortable?

images sources: black gallery wall vintage table open shelving
art  architectural print chevron print door print armchairs work light leather boxes desktop side table

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