I mentioned last week that we’ll be turning one of the downstairs bedrooms into a home office and today we’re ready to share that blank-space-of-a-room that’s about to get a whole lot of function for the first time since moving in to this home almost 3 years ago. It’s a relatively small room, at just 10×11 and we decided to make it a place where Chris and I could both work, which means both of us have a lot of input on how this room is going to take shape, and naturally, we don’t always start out on the same foot. We’ll get into that in a second. But first! Here’s how the room looks now:
It’s only a slight improvement from when we moved in (you can see those photos here), in that we’ve installed all new carpeting and baseboards recently. But nothing else has changed other than we jumped the gun and removed the closet doors before I snapped these photos, but I think we’ll leave them off for the long haul. It’s feels so much bigger!
Back to the plans! For us, the very beginning stages of a planning a room involves gathering a whole bunch of photos of spaces that we could see ourselves living in, or in this case, working in. It could be something particular about the room–the colors, finishes, layout–or it could be the overall vibe feels right on par. We spent a lot of time sitting on the floor in that room this week, looking at the walls and talking about possibilities with, ahem, lively conversations about layout options (if you listened to Ep. 07 of our podcast, you know the planning process is where we get all of our disagreements out). Then I pinned a bunch of home office images on this Pinterest board and we each chose just one image that inspires us the most and explained why.
Chris chose this one:
It’s not exactly the masculine office I expected Chris to choose, but he explained while the tulip chairs and ornate chandelier weren’t necessarily his jam, he loved the large workspace and that was most important to him.
This was the image I chose:
I loved the warmth of the colors and light above the large desk and the slate bookcases as a backdrop is just stunning.
It’s might seem silly to gather all of these images to just choose one, because the purpose of Pinterest, in my opinion, is to gather lots of ideas and then mesh them together and come out with your own take on it. However, I’ve learned it’s a good exercise to choose just one image because it helps us to pinpoint what inspires us most, or what we want the most out of the room. It’s also just a really good exercise in making decisions. Haha.
If anything, that exercise taught us we both want a big desk, which also answered our layout conundrum. The only way for us to have a nice wide desk in a not very large room, would be if worked on either side of it and it jutted out as a sort of peninsula from the back wall. Kind of like this:
For reference, Wall A is the window wall. Initially I was gunning for a big, floating desk in the middle of the room, but after we started taping things off, I realized that the desk had to be significantly smaller to make room to move 360 degrees around it. Not to mention, I started thinking about running computer cords from an island to the wall and I quickly agreed, peninsula desk it is!
In the above rendering, I made the desktop slightly translucent so you could catch a glimpse of what’s comprising the desk below–Ikea cabinets in front!
This idea came from Chris’s inspiration photo where they used the Ikea Alex storage drawers and we tried to run with those for a couple hours, but in the end, we wanted something a little more polished and customizable, including varied drawer sizes, colors and total height. The other bonus about having the drawers in the front, instead of on the side, is a better workflow without interruption (I’m someone that likes to spread things out) and a few more inches on either side of the desk. We are thinking 2 sets of 24″ wide base cabinets with drawers.
The other thing that we both really wanted is the option to work comfortably, standing. Chris has a convertible standing desk at work that has done wonders for his back since his surgery and when I count how many hours I’m sitting at my little desk, I worry about the future of my own back and neck (and gut and thighs–oy!). Of course we’ll still have stools in place for the option to sit (standing all day is actually something you have to work up to), but we plan to customize the base cabinets to make them even taller with, perhaps, a crazy idea.
Ikea’s base cabinets are 30″ tall, and with the legs it adds another 3-4 inches, bringing them to 33-34″ tall. For our height, a 45″ surface is perfect elbow height, making that the goal for our desktop, so we’re short 11 with this setup. However, what if we cut up another base cabinet of drawers, each drawer is 5″ so we’d add 2 to each side to make up the height. We’ll definitely keep you posted on how that works out.
And a mood board is coming, too!