My New Desk Top…

I have a new desk top.

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As I say this, it feels a little weird and sad because I loved, loved, loved my old desk top.

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With that out of the way, I am really excited about and happy with my new desk top. As you may recall, I had an old cabinet rebuilt into a new storage cabinet for my workspace.

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I opted to keep the top of the old cabinet intact rather than use it as the top for the new cabinet.

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I knew I wanted to use it for something, I just wasn’t sure what.  So, I have been thinking about for a few months.  Suddenly, one day I decided it would be best used as my desktop.  Actually, it wasn’t just that the decision was suddenly made. It was that the decision to make 2016 my year of just getting stuff done. We have a lot of projects that are just hanging out there – needing to be completed. I am going to get this stuff done this year!

I eventually realized that the zebra wood top of the old desktop didn’t completely coordinate well with the new storage cabinet – even though I really wanted it to work – because as we already know – I loved, loved, loved the zebra wood. I still love the zebra wood, but not for my desk anymore – because of the new storage cabinet.

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So – to convert the old cabinet top to my new desktop, all I had to do was have a piece of furniture grade maple plywood cut to fill the bottom void, stain it,

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apply a finish,

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and screw it to the base.

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Done.

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It looks great – even though the photos are not that great. The top has a glass cover to protect it – so, it is a bit difficult to get a photo without a bunch of reflections.  You will just have to trust me that it is does, in fact, look great…

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It works great.

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It was meant to be.

A Cabinet Redo…

I was thinking back on my year in terms of project completion. The list is really, really short. I can count on one hand the projects that got done around here over the last year. That is less than 5 projects! Specifically, I can only think of 3ish.
The first was the outdoor table creation/completion I already talked about – way back in March. We used it all summer. It has been great – well worth the effort that went into getting it done.

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The second project was a gardening thing. I wanted to add a bit of color to our front garden and add some plantings to an area on the north side of our house that has been just mulch and stepping stones. I did actually get started on both of these ideas. The change wasn’t all that dramatic so I am waiting to see how it looks next year before reporting success. Here is a sneak peek, though.

Then – Tad posing with mulch and a few stepping stones – we had just planted some “steppables” between the stepping stones here…

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Now – No Tad, but minimal wood mulch and some plantings…

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The third and final project of 2015 involved getting a new cabinet for my workspace. This project is what I am presenting today. I have talked about this situation a few times. Initially, I thought I was getting a custom designed/made cabinet of mahogany recycled from old rail cars. That idea never came to fruition. I was bummed about the outcome. I immediately moved on to a new idea that involved getting someone to remake an existing furniture piece that we already had and no longer needed. The first wood worker I contacted was on board immediately. I had put this off for 6-8 months thinking it was going to be a lengthy ordeal finding someone willing to do this. I was a little surprised. I just called them up, they agreed, they put me on their schedule, they got it done, I finished it, and it is very nice. No elaborate, twisted, mysterious story. Just a pleasant path to completion…

This is what we started with.

Sticks cabinet...

I had some pretty specific requirements for the new cabinet. It was going to have to fit into a pre-existing corner of my workspace and it needed to provide enough storage for everything I currently had in this much larger/taller cabinet.

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Here were my requirements – and how it all worked out.
42-44 inches wide X 22-24 inches deep X 28-29.5 inches high. Done – it fits the space perfectly.

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Easy to clean under and around – so, up on a base or easily movable. Done – easily movable with felt pads on the bottom of the reused log feet.

After

Area to hide the bulky work printer on the right side – on an adjustable shelf. Done – the ugly printer remains hidden behind closed doors – on an adjustable shelf.

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Two file drawers on the left side – to accommodate letter sized files. Done – I ended up only needing one drawer for files and the other for miscellaneous storage.

File drawer

Micellaneous drawer

Good construction, quality hardware, and a stylish design. Done. They did a really nice job putting things back together after deconstructing it. No new hardware was needed because they were able to reuse the old stuff, which was good quality to begin with. Finally, they were able to rework the piece and optimize the majority of the artwork that I had hoped to preserve.

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Natural wood rather than painted wood as the finish. This requirement obviously changed once I decided to recycle our existing cabinet. The cabinet was returned to me with areas that needed to be touched up/finished and blended with the existing art.

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I ended up using tinted water based stains and a compatible water based finish. Mostly it was finishing the interior,

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Inside finish

the edges that had been cut down,

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the top,

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and I had to add one leaf to cover up where the door handle used to be.

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Designed to coordinate with our maple flooring, natural cherry baseboards/window trim, rusty finish stair railings and desk base, and the zebrawood desk top. I think it works into the eclectic feel of the space.

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I would love to check my workspace off the master To Do List. Sadly, I cannot. There has been a revision that prevents that part of the list from being completely checked off. You may have noticed (or not) that I stained the top of the new cabinet green.

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If you noticed that, you may be wondering (or not) what happened to the old cabinet top. Well, I opted to not have the top of the existing cabinet cut up to fit the reworked piece. It felt like a lot of the artwork would have been lost. It sits in the extra bedroom (now storage room) waiting for its new life…

The Top
I am now thinking about using the old top as my desktop. I would replace the current zebrawood top.

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Then, I would reuse the zebrawood top on some other table. Maybe, a sofa table because I could really use somewhere to put my tea when I am laying around in the living room – not doing projects. Or, maybe, I could just reuse the old cabinet top as the new sofa tabletop instead of playing musical tabletops – because I do like the zebrawood as the desk top. Or, I use the old cabinet top to create a new breakfast table in the sunroom since I still need to check that off my list.
I just don’t know.
This is why I only accomplished 3 projects in the last year.
Every project leads to another project…

A Change of Scenery…

I have been working from home for 8 years now.

After a while, I get tired of looking at the same things day in and day out.

The time has come for a change of scenery.

Things need some freshening up.

To keep me sane. To keep me interested. To keep me happy.

The first change was to get rid of the old terrarium.  Sad but true.

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It was time. This little terrarium was going on 3 years old. It was low maintenance, but that wasn’t enough to keep it around. It was the only indoor plant we had in the house – again, not enough to keep it. I liked the striped appearance of the leaves, but I just wanted something different. I was wanting some color in that little corner. So, the terrarium had to go.

Here is my new view of the kitchen from my workspace…

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I suspect you are wondering what all the hoopla is about – or not.  Well, the hoopla is about that little red pumpkin popping out against the sunny window .  It is likely a surprise to most people out there that something small like a little red pumpkin can make a big difference in my sanity. Well, I am here to tell you that it has and does make a difference. It sounds weird, but the color and the cute shape keep me from losing my mind when I am sitting at my desk – on a phone work meeting that is the same old monotony.  I love that little red pumpkin. Here he is close up…

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The other change I’ve recently made was the addition of some artwork along the ledge going down the stairs.  This is also visible from my workspace. It was feeling a bit tired and uninteresting.

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So, I went into the archives (aka the basement) and found some things that I already had. I like the bright pops of color from the two pieces on the right – the colors and contrasting graphics are easy to see from my desk. The two on the left with the white mats are also easy to see from my desk – so, that’s good. The two in the center are small prints and not easily studied from across the room. I think at some point I will move those somewhere else and replace with something more graphic and colorful. Finally, there is the ostrich print on the wall. Previously, that spot was taken by the black and white photo that is now on the ledge. The ostrich is brightly colored and funny. He makes me smile – so, that’s a plus when I am at my desk – trying to get through the monotony of my afternoon work.

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I think the artwork is also nice as you go down the stairs

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and up the stairs.

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The final changes involve improved comfort while working – and an addition of some stripes.

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The stripes are a bit of a stretch for me. I don’t love stripes. For me stripes feel a bit too structured, too formal, too linear, too expected, too monotonous (I promise this is the last reference to monotomy – ever). You get the picture. Stripes are not my thing.  With all that said, I went with stripes for my new area rug in my desk area – and I think I like it.  It brightens up the place.

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The finale is my new desk chair…

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I previously had an upholstered dining chair that I was using as a desk chair. It has worked out ok for the better part of 5ish years. Then, in January I noticed that my lower back and hips were stiff and sore after sitting in my desk chair for any period of time. Tad offered to let me try out his desk chair – Tad has been singing the praises of this chair for a year. I was resistant at first because I don’t really like the look of office furniture – especially in my house.  However, common sense and comfort finally won out. I tried Tad’s chair. It was a miracle – comfortable and ergonomic.  I was sold after one day. I ordered one up. It came in this week.  I had to pick it up downtown – where the parking and loading of things is not optimal. I got lucky that day though. I got a parking space about a half of a block away from the showroom so I only had to carry it a short distance. Oh – and there was 30 minutes left on the meter so I didn’t have to pay for parking. It was a good day – great parking space, money left on the meter, and the new green chair made it safe and sound to my car for transport. I am taking all that luck as a good sign. The green chair is meant to be in my life – even if it does still resemble office furniture.

I like it. It is comfortable. I just wish somebody out there would make a comfortable/ergonomic desk chair that looked like a dining room chair. That would be the ultimate best.

Anyway…

Tad’s is gray leather. Mine is spring green wool. Tad’s leather chair is softer – thus, maybe a bit nicer. Mine is prettier. I like pretty.

Here we are before the mini workspace makeover…

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Here we are now – after the mini workspace makeover with a new chair and a new area rug…

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It feels freshened up. I think it looks freshened up too. Now, if only my actual work would get freshened up…