Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Future Self: Home Office Excavation: Week 7

I live in a ranch house that was built in the 1950s. My husband and I believe in a decorative aesthetic in that we try to match the interior furnishings of the home with with the period in which the house was built. To that end, several years ago, when we first moved into this house, I acquired two pieces of furniture for my home office: One was the blue drawer unit (on the left in the picture below) and the other was the desk (pictured on the right.) The blue drawer unit was purchased for $5.00 at a yard sale and; the desk was purchased online from a dealer on Ruby Lane for $150.00. Other people who have seen the blue drawer unit have wondered when I'm going to repaint it; but I'm not! There's something about that blue and the fact that it doesn't clash with the wall paint color that appeals to me (What I didn't realize when I chose that wall color is that you have to be very careful about what other colors you set against it, otherwise it looks pissy yellow. It's actually a pear green!) The desk unit was a birthday present from my husband and I was thrilled. At first. What had not been disclosed in the listing was that it originally had been a sewing table. The top had been replaced and the support truss underneath was notched to accommodate a treadle. Moreover, when the guys shipped the desk, they broke off the legs and included the pieces and hardware to repair it. Sigh. It did it's duty for 5 years here; but then something else became apparent overall: The way people lived and moved in the 1950s was really a lot different than the way people live and move today. There are some obvious differences like needing jacks and grounded outlets; but there is a more subtle difference in the way we use space. People live larger these days. Women don't sit primly at secretaries and write thank you notes. They need a little more space for a computer/monitor, printer, keyboard/mouse... in order to compose e-mails and messages. Technically, you could get away with doing it all in a small niche; but given a choice, many would prefer more elbow room. There seems to be a subconscious demand for more space in the things that we do even if the task at hand doesn't absolutely mandate more square footage. Anyway, the cute little '50s sewing table-cum-desk wasn't cutting it. I felt guilty about deciding that it had to go because it was a birthday present from my husband; but pragmatism won out over sentimentality in the end. Also, it helped that my husband has been, and continues to be, very supportive in my efforts in this project. So, the desk went to the Salvation Army, along with the cumbersome computer monitor; and an IKEA work station was brought in.

IKEA?! Yes, IKEA! I've often disdained IKEA furniture as being grad school furniture along the ranks of milk crate shelves and mass market paperbacks. IKEA is notoriously cheap and flimsy. But not all of it. In fact, the original Expedit shelves that I purchased about nine years ago survived a trans-continental move and serve as my non-fiction bookshelves today. The new Expedit shelves that I purchased a couple of years ago serves as my fiction- and TBR- shelves now. Neither has buckled under the weight the way the Billy bookcases did in my old apartment (yes, the one I had during grad school!) So yes, off to IKEA I went last week-end and this is the transformation wrought:

Before & After

Before & After

Obviously, some other things had to happen in order for this arrangement to happen: Most notably, what's left of the Great 48 has been moved into the living room. This coming week, all of that will have to be dispositioned: thrown away, put into storage, whatever; but it will no longer take up unorganized residence in my home office. There are some other finishing touches to this area that need to happen as well: I need to dress the cables, get a poster framed for over the printer area, replace the generic office chair (IKEA's Jules swivel chair in birch finish,) decide how the remaining squares in the work station are to be filed, etc.; but it's a start.

Next week, I'll talk about the last of the Great 48: "Letting Go, Part 2" and "Going Paperless."

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