If you thought Olivia Pope’s office was enviable, take a peek at Kerry Washington‘s.
The Scandal star recently moved her production company, Simpson Street, into a new space on the same lot where she shoots her hit show. The bare bones setup needed some major help, so she called on longtime friend and decorating guru, Danny Seo to make the space worthy of a real-life power player.
“We had all these rooms, but nothing to put in them,” she tells Naturally, Danny Seo, the eco-conscious designer’s lifestyle magazine. “We spend a lot of time here and work really hard, so I wanted to feel good about it environmentally, functionally and aesthetically.”
The only catch? “I gave Danny no instruction. There was no vision board, no nothing,” Washington, 40, says. What could have been an intimidatingly blank slate was perfect for Seo, who previously decorated the actress’s single-girl apartment. (She now lives with her husband, Philadelphia Eagles player Nnamdi Asomugha, and their two children, Isabelle, 3, and Caleb, 11 months.) “I wouldn’t have done it that way with any other designer, but I really trust him,” she notes.
Washington strikes a work-and-family balance by making her office space work hard for her. “If I’m away from my family, I better be somewhere that I love,” she says. “I need to be accomplishing goals that mean a lot to me with people I love. Otherwise I’d rather be reading a storybook and changing a diaper.”
Seo outfitted the space with beautiful and functional furnishings from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and lined the walls with whiteboard and chalkboard laminate panels from Wilsonart, for whom he’s a brand ambassador.
The ability to write on every wall works perfectly for the “startup” hustle that Washington says the business embodies. “There’s so much going on in this office that is good to literally be able to throw it up on the walls,” she says.
WATCH THIS: Vanessa Bayer Gives PEOPLE a Tour of Her New York City Apartment
Unlike Pope, the actress is still ramping up her “girl boss” accreditations, but she’s focused on doing it right. “I’m learning a lot about what it means to have an office with lots of people working in it,” she says. “This workspace is a small token of gratitude for the people I work with.”
Read the full story in the new issue of Naturally, Danny Seo, on newsstands September 3..