A Little More Acreage

Our 1200 sq. ft. house is shared by 4 people, 2 Scottish Terriers, 2 cats and more yarn than may be strictly necessary.  My "office" is an 8' x 20" scrap of real estate I commandeered from the front hallway. I'm not complaining, mind you - I've managed nicely in this little area for four years, producing two books, an indeterminate number of knitwear patterns, and more blog posts than I know.

I've always loved my workspace, because it's the first one I ever had all to myself.  Creating my very own desk at home validated my identity as an author and a knitter, long before I was able to escape my loathsome day job.  Now that I've changed careers, having a physical space to "report" to each day really helps keep my work on track.

But one day a few months ago, I looked around and realized that while my desk was 4' wide, I had piles of stuff in baskets and boxes on either side of it that were occupying 8' of space.  Worse than that, I have never been able to have a book or a sketchpad in use at the same time as my computer, because there just wasn't enough desktop.

Having begun my third knitting book, I decided it was time to make the leap and replace my desk.  And while I was at it, I got a real-live office chair, too.

I visited Ikea to score a couple of shelving units.  Then a dear friend let me cajole him into taking me to the home-improvement center, where we snagged some lumber that was WAY too long to fit in my Honda Civic Hybrid (thank you, Commodore - we whose cars are short salute you).

Once home, the Smallies and I went to work assembling the new Ikea pieces.

Then I spent all of the next day waiting for various coats of paint and varnish to dry, and decorating the austere Ikea shelves with pretty wood moulding.  I attached it with glue and finish nails.  Since I knew it would always be against the wall, I only trimmed out the front 3 sides, but it would be easy to do all 4 if the desk were visible from both sides.  I also added some little L-brackets to secure the wood top to the lower units.

Once that was done, I just dropped the newly-stained and varnished top into place and secured it from underneath, with screws through the L-brackets.  And then the fun part:  I moved in!

Can you believe how much storage there is now?  It actually occupies less of the hallway than my former arrangement, because the desk is 4" narrower.  And the sexy new office chair (yes, those are bungees!) actually tucks under the desk, which is something I could never quite manage with the old setup.  It's a very big deal to  walk past the desk without an extra detour around my chair sticking out.

Here's a closer look at the top moulding:

While I just love the value and quality of Ikea pieces, they are usually way too modern-looking for my taste.  Warming up the plain lines of the shelf units with trim and a stained top really helps it fit my aesthetic.

And now I am luxuriating in the vast spaciousness of my 8' desktop.  I still need to figure out some bins and dividers for the cubbyholes underneath, but things here at my desk are  greatly improved by the newly added added wiggle room.

For those who are wondering, all the pieces for the desk, plus finishes and hardware cost just under $200.  I couldn't find a 8' desk at any price for comparison, but I'm pretty sure this one's a bargain.