The “list of things I’m trying to get done and off the list of things I need to get done so I can get back to blogging” continues. The most recent project has been a complete rebuild of the home office. Here’s how it looked a week ago:
And here’s how it looks now.
I’m still waiting for one final flat-pack set of drawers to arrive, but the major work is done. In the old office was a desk I lovingly call the battleship. I’ve had it for around 15 years. It’s made of 1″ thick oak plywood and solid oak pieces. It’s 6.5 feet long, and 4 feet deep, angling out to almost 5 feet. It has a cubby for a tower PC, which obviously, nobody would consider using for a computer any more so it’s turned into storage cubbies. A keyboard shelf that was huge, but not large enough for a Wacom. And a pull out shelf for a printer, which fits no printers we’d use today, so again, more storage. and all of those are deep shelves, so you use the front 18″, and the rest sits there empty, breeding dust bunnies. It is a dust bunny factory, always has been.
That desk has been a great desk. But in practice? Not very flexible, and in the modern computing age, the desk space is increasingly wasted and unusable. about eight or nine years ago, I added a second mini-desk as a work space, but it’s size — about 18″ deep and 3 feet long — meant in practice it was mostly useful for dumping stuff on, not working on stuff.
One of my — not goals, but determinations — for 2013 was to deal with all of those tasks and projects that had fallen into the “someday I need to do this” file. More and more it became clear that it was time to update the home office.
So I have. Out with the battleship; now in the back yard where it’s going to end up in pieces for the landfill. I’d originally thought of donating it, but to be honest, it’s in pretty tough shape and had a long life. It’s also, from what I can tell, over 300 pounds, and I’d have to rearrange many parts of my house to get it to a place where I could store it until I could get the Salvation Army out here to pick it up, and I just can’t feel it’s worth what it’d take to do so. I feel a bit guilty. But not much. Out went my tiny desk (it will go to SA soon).
And in comes a Geekdesk. I’ve been thinking that getting a sit/stand desk is a smart idea for a while. I’ve been researching them for a while. Laurie picked up a manually adjustable standing desk from Anthrocart a few years back and loves it; she uses a tall chair with it and that works well. I love the quality of the Anthrocarts, but to get the electric model — just more than I wanted to spend. I researched half a dozen other flavors of sit/stand desk, and kept coming back to the Geekdesk. Not the cheapest, but everyone I know who’s picked one up loves them. Mine is the smaller sized max model, which cost about $1200 including shipping.
It is built like a tank. I expected to be impressed by the build quality, but it beat my expectations. It weighs about 250-300 pounds, and arrived in three boxes. Assembly required a Phillips-head screwdriver, and took me under 2 hours. The system that raises and lowers the table works quietly, quickly and smoothly.
This model is about 3 feet deep by about 4 feet. Smaller than my old main desk, but perfectly sized as a computer workstation, which is what I do most of the time. To replace that old mini-desk I used to drop stuff on, I picked up an inexpensive flat-pack desk, which is about 2 feet by 4 feet. Toss in a couple of flat-pack drawer sets and a small vertical file, and that gives me places to stick stuff with more storage space than I had before, plus good surfaces for my printers.
My office space is about 9 foot by 9 foot, part of a larger room where the other half is our media area with a couch and the TV. Effectively it has one wall. The second “wall” is the couch, the third “wall” is the glass door out to the patio (good views. lots of glare if I open the drapes), and the fourth “wall” is the space I have to leave free as access to the patio, with wall space beyond that for bookcases. So building the area out I have limited wall space (but I don’t need bookshelves, since they live “outside” the office). I was trying to make sure I kept the view to the TV and the great outside clear, positioned the monitor to minimize the glare (I’m probably going to build a foam board glare screen on it soon), and had easy access to the computer space and the project desk.
Having just moved in, I’m still figuring out what goes in which drawer where. Adding the drawer space means that much of the stuff that I’ve been sticking in storage crates will move into drawers, and the crates can “go away” and I can stop tripping on them. I’ve over-bought drawer space, knowing a year from know, I’ll wish I’d bought more.. And yes, going through every bit of everything moving it from the old drawer to a temp space to the new drawer has given me a chance to throw out a lot of “why do I have that? Oh yeah, I used that THREE computers ago” stuff.
The computer workspace is now set up for what I use it for most, meaning my photography and and the internet. I’ve added speakers since more and more video and audio is coming out of the computer. Since I had everything torn up, it was a good time to redo the lighting in the room, replace all of the power strips and generally revamp all of those boring details that I hopefully won’t need to worry about again for another decade.
I started doing research on this in December. It’s mid-March. It’s been far from a full-time project during that time, except the last week or so. I probably have another week as I finish moving in and tweaking where stuff lives. But I love the results, and I’m a lot more comfortable working on the new desk, and I’m looking forward to the ability to stand up — all the research shows that it’s a smart change to make. And there’s a lot less dust hiding in the room now, but man, there isn’t enough sedated in the universe right now…
One question I expect to come up in all of this — treadmill desks. I did research them and there’s a lot of interesting possibility here, but….
At this point in my life, I know I’m not ready/able to use a treadmill desk full time, and with my knees, a full-time standup desk isn’t in the plans; that’s why I went with the adjustable Geekdesk, since I want to be able to stand as much as the knees will allow, and I expect as I do it, they’ll let me do more of it. (the reason I spent more on an electric adjustable is because I know if it’s manual, I’ll just set it for the seated position and not stand up. Convenience makes a difference and spending a bit on convenience makes sense here). I also knew I was doing the second desk, so unlike laurie I didn’t want a high chair — she actually has two chairs in her office, a low one for her work desk.
the treadmill desks just didn’t fit what I need right now. but they’re still on my radar; I could see putting one in somewhere else in the house at some point. Maybe. But I didn’t want to build a primary workspace around one, so I decided to leave it until sometime later. I definitely see the trend and advantage of doing something like this down the road.
So for the executive summary — the Geekdesk rocks, and the new office solves all of the things that were annoying me about the old office. It’s going to be fun to figure out what new annoyances exist in the office that I haven’t discovered yet. Interestingly enough, the total amount of desktop space is a bit smaller than the old office, but a lot more usable. And now I’m not constantly rolling the @#$@##$ printer out of the way when I’m trying to do something else…