When designing our house plan, one of the things that is high up on the want list verging closer to the need list is a E-Zone. You may have also heard of it being called an IT Nook. It is basically a spot in the open plan living area where you fit a bench/desk and use it in place of a study. Ideally I would like ours placed off the kitchen so that I can supervise the kids at the computer when they are doing their homework. Also I spend a lot of time on the computer checking emails, reading blogs and just a spot of shopping here and there, I want to be able to do that whilst still being able to cook dinner, and keep an eye on the kids.
Dale Alcock Builders based in WA include a lot of e-zones in their floor plans.
Style wise I think if the e-zone is near the kitchen, the bench would have to be the same as the kitchen benches for that streamlined look. You could be a little more creative if the e-zone was in the living area. You must make sure the bench is wide enough so that you can sit comfortably and type, and write notes. I plan to add some open shelves above the desk where I can display some artwork and other decorative items. And since the whole area is open, I would be made to keep it neat and tidy, whereas in a study you could just close the door if it got a bit messy in there.
Do you have a e-zone? Would you include one in your new build?