SOLD! Whissel Realty’s Mid Century Modern Office by DesignX

DesignX Architecture + Interiors takes us for a tour inside Whissel Realty’s eclectic mid-century office complete with barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Whissel Realty is the top selling residential real estate firm in San Diego.  Owner Kyle Whissel’s strategy to maintain being the best is rooted in creating a functional, collaborative, and impressive work environment for brokers and clients alike.  

The firm is organized for brokers to be able to come in on an as needed basis to utilize flexible open office work areas and to meet with clients in casual or formal meeting spaces.  A select group of employees work in the office daily to manage operations.  Whissel Realty also creates podcasts and hosts events, so all these factors went into the schematic planning of their office design.  

The mid-century modern concept was fitting for the prototypical historic mid-century building located on the main street of San Diego neighborhood of La Mesa. The stunning barrel-vaulted ceiling and geometric façade set the stage for DesignX Architecture + Interior’s vision for a modern take on traditional mid-century elements.


Project Planning

DesignX worked with Whissel Realty’s team to create a space plan and design concepts that would meet their functional and aesthetic goals.  The building façade is considered historic, so the exterior design was required to meet specific requirements.  Spatial needs included private offices, an open workspace that would double as an all-employee meeting area and an event space that could be rented out, booth style seating and window counter seating for casual work and meeting areas, a formal conference room, an open kitchen to also be used as a workspace, a soundproof podcast room and an outdoor space.  The outdoor area posed a challenge since there was no such space in the original building footprint.  Creating a floor plan with all these requirements within a relatively small building required thoughtful space planning.  

The floor plan concepts started with the biggest challenge of determining where and how to create an outdoor space.  DesignX worked with the architectural and structural teams to locate the ideal placement at the back of the building where a portion of the existing roof was to be removed.  The rest of the building layout took shape based on programmatic requirements.

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Project Details

Whissel Realty’s office is characterized by its historic barrel-vaulted ceiling, original brick and concrete block wall finishes, walnut wood paneling, period-specific green paint, classic mid-century light fixtures, restored original paintings, clean linear elements, geometric concrete block wall and an authentic vintage free-standing orange fireplace.

A quintessential orange mid-century modern door and geometric black starburst stenciled concrete defines the main entrance and just inside is a custom wood slat reception desk with a textural mid-century inspired wood screen wall behind it.  Authentic vintage moss green mid-century wood armchairs add to the character of the reception area.  Adjacent to the reception lies the formal conference room to one side and casual work and meeting areas, defined by booth seating and counter seating looking out operational windows to downtown La Mesa’s bustling main street.  The conference room is visible from the street and draws in interested clientele daily – walnut wood wall paneling encompasses a unique, colorful mid-century wall map, and a clean white lacquered elliptical shaped conference table is surrounded by green velvet chairs.  A sputnik-inspired chandelier adds to the character of the street facing space.

The building is rectangular with a barrel roof, so the space is laid out to maintain a grand open concept in the central area and private offices and podcast room flanking the sides.  The podcast room is designed with sound absorbing materials and has a functioning light-up “on-air” sign to indicate when filming is in session.  The central open area functions as a flexible workspace, meeting area and event space.  Nesting sit-stand desks are utilized during working hours and are moved out to a storage area when the space is used for meetings or events.

At the back of the open office area is a large walnut butcher block island with geometric mid-century tile along the face, defining the kitchen area and functioning as another casual workspace.  The kitchen opens to the outdoor area with awning style windows and counter seating for a fluid indoor-outdoor experience.  The unexpected outdoor area is visible upon entering the building and showcases beautiful greenery and natural light.  Brokers and clients can lounge on sofas to soak in the sunshine during the day or enjoy the ambience of the long fireplace during evening events.

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Overall Project Results

Whissel Realty’s eclectic mid-century style office space is a draw to bringing in skilled new brokers and clientele. The layout is functional for flexible workspace, formal and informal meetings, events and filming podcasts. The beautiful open central office space has also become a desirable spot to rent for special events, benefiting the community of La Mesa and Whissel Realty’s bottom line. Whissel Realty’s design is a success for its employees and for the community.

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Key Contributors

Interior Design: DesignX Architecture + Interiors

Architect: Architects Local

Custom Furniture and FF+E Procurement: Handbuilt Furniture + Fabrication

Structural: TJK Engineering

Electrical: ARB Electrical

Whissel 02 PhotobyZackBenson


Zack Benson

Whissel 03 PhotobyZackBenson

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