• Frank Oles

Office Design Part 4: "The Scotch House"


Another new floor. Another chance to go bigger and better. We decided to up the ante and push our design limits and fabrication skills - REAL wood this time. Thankfully, DDB was willing to kick in a REAL budget. Unfortunately, a new overall agency redesign meant Mike and I would now be in an open office with its own unique look. But DDB did offer up the common space next to our office as a palate for our design imaginations. We took it on, bigger and badder. We were official now. No pressure...


After kicking around a few themes, we decided to go with a Scottish bar theme, in honor of the reigning CCO of DDB Chicago Ewan Patterson, who also happened to be Scottish. After ordering some lumber and a snazzy Chesterfield couch from Home Depot, Mike Porritt once again dragged out his tools and fired up his saw. There was a TON of woodwork to fabricate, and he was determined! The measuring. The staining. The cutting. The installing. The nailing. The flooring. It took weeks instead of a weekend this time.


Little by little, it came together. Once again, we were able to re-skin the existing bar, this time with new wood paneling and a cool faux hammered copper bar top that would be resistant to the spills of even the most determined drunk creatives. Unfortunately, our dreams of a built-in keg system did not pan out. Maybe next time. Believe it or not, the space we were working in was actually what used to be the Blue Ox Bar. We had to install new faux stone wallpaper for the fireplace on the exact same wall we had years before. And the animatronic keroke deer head was back as well! It all comes around.


We finished off the decorations with a portable globe bar set, gold framed vintage paintings, and a faux fireplace with realistic flames and real heat. And we finally graduated up to a flat screen TV. We christened this bar the Scotch House. Our first agency event there was a going-away party for Ewan Patterson, our beloved ex-CCO. The night ended with drift bigwheel racing around the perimeter of the 39th floor. A hoot, as they say..


Pat models our real stuffed pheasant. You can also see the new faux fireplace - this one actually has a built-in heater.


Unfortunately, the grand unveiling and kick-off party at the Scotch House was the going away party for Ewan. Mike and I will miss him. We did our best to keep a stiff upper lip.


Vintage pictures sourced from eBay and resale shops. The trophy is for winning. Decanter of mystery brown liquor just showed up one day.


Our fanciest bar top to date. Looks like hammered copper. It’s actually textured plastic with a copper foil backing. Swanky!


A working faux fireplace. It’s amazing that it’s a thing. Also the animatronic deer head makes another appearance.


Chairs were sourced from Craigslist, and a Chesterfield-style couch from Home Depot. The globe came from our world travels. Speaking of travels, the Scotch House would be our last office installation at DDB before moving on to Leo Burnett. Our installation lasted for 4 more years of parties and Instagram posts at DDB, until they also moved out of the Aon Building. The spaces are gone, but the memories will live on.

  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
  • Facebook
  • Instagram