my new office

For a long time now I’ve been needing a desk upgrade: a monitor or two for video editing, a place for my laptop, a keyboard and mouse, etc. My little kitchen nook, while perfect for housing my laptop during the day for quick researching and emailing, isn’t exactly great for video editing and graphic design. 

But where to have an office? All the logical spaces were either upstairs or in the downstairs bedroom, far removed from the hub, the heat source, the couches and all my other work projects. But I didn’t want visible screens in our main living space, either. I don’t like how screens pull focus. How cold and ugly they look. How antithetical they are to cozy vibes. (Thus the reason we’re laptoppers: we close them and they disappear.)

And then I hatched an idea: a floating desk with doors that closed! So for my birthday, my husband promised to make me a desk. (My birthday was in September; the desk manifested over our Covid/Christmas break; I am not fussing.) After weeks of conversation, research, and a few sketch-ups, my husband started building.

while racked with Covid

But because I’d never seen a floating desk, let alone used one, I had no idea whether or not we were on the right track. Would it look stupid? Would it actually work? Would I like it?

That we also had to make cluster decisions for monitors, number of screens, desk chair, lighting — and then I smashed my laptop and we had to buy a new one — only added to the cloud of bewilderment. . . and the panic that comes from a hemorrhaging bank account.

smashed laptop, monitor #1 that we later returned, a too-high shelf, a temporary lamp

Over the last few weeks, we figured out the size of the box and where to hang it on the wall (and then we knocked it down a few inches). The sliding drawer and the height of the interior shelf. The doors. The hardware. My aunt had given us one of her chairs which I was going to put up in the library, but then I realized it was the perfect height (with a pillow) for my desk, and it was comfortable and pretty, so I adopted it for my desk chair.

light installation, new monitor, lowered shelf, new computer

The desk still isn’t totally done. The interior lighting feels harsh so I’d like to install a lamp somehow. The cord situation needs to be streamlined. My husband’s gonna build a little shelf to raise up the laptop and to hide techy randoms. I like a couple slim shelves hooked under the main shelf to hold scrap paper and a notebook. We might hang a little holder or two on the interior wall (though nothing heavy — don’t want to risk another smashed computer screen!). I need bluetooth earbuds. I day dream about a creamy-white sheepskin throw rug to define the space and keep my feet cozy (but then it’d be tricky to scootch the chair, so many not).

So how do I like it, you ask? WELL. Let me tell you! When it’s time to get to work, I open the desk doors and pull up my chair and — BOOM — I’m in my office. When it’s time to unplug, I turn off the screens and lights, shut the doors, and the office disappears. The separation is magical. The desk is simple enough that it feels accessible, yet complicated enough that it prevents me from getting sucked in willynilly. It’s exactly what I wanted. 

Now my husband’s desk is directly behind mine, on the other side of the room, with the wood stove between us. Neither office nook stands out. In fact, when I told a friend who has been to our house many times about our office arrangement, she was like, Wait, where’s your husband’s office?

This photo’s for you, Alyson!

I love that both spaces are tucked into the center of everything and yet feel kinda hidden in plain sight.

P.S. My new tech — this computer (but 12 core CPU, 18GB core memory, and 2T), this monitor, this keyboard — is finally up and running and it’s such a wild improvement that I don’t really know what to do with myself. (Actually, not true. I know exactly what to do: double the amount we save each month for tech because $$$.)

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (1.9.23), do it right, a new dress, Alpine cheese, classic Christmas fruitcake, my new kitchen: pendant lighting, marching, our little dustbunnies, sourdough crackers.


  • KC

    Ooooh, that desk looks *perfect* – tucked away, keyboard drawer, just the right depth!

    For the lights: have you tried putting pastel pink (or even white) tissue paper over them, if they’re LED/no-heat lights? It’s magic for taking harsh light down a notch or five… sometimes, anyway… and if it works, you can figure out a longer-term durable light-filtering alternative, or just how to make tissue paper look deliberate. 🙂

    (I think it’d look lovely with a set of bascetti stars hanging from the “ceiling” of the desk, made out of vellum with LED lights inside them, but that is a lot of fiddly paperwork.)

    • Jennifer Jo

      The LED lights are adjustable (both the warmth level and the intensity), but they are still not quite as cozy as lamp lighting. I love the idea for hanging starlight, though! Tucking that away in my nogggin…

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