Home office design — adding space for crafts in my 9′ x 14′ basement computer cave

home office designYes, this is where the *magic* happens. The basement computer cave — walls painted with Sherwin Williams avocado — where I research and write the blog every day. Yes, I cleaned everything up (see stories where I come out of the closet about my mortifying office mess aka vintage hoarding.) Overall, this office — which measures just a tad larger than 9′ x 14′ — works quite well for me. In 2011, I added the Ergotron standing work station, the rya rug, and in bursts, I started putting up some of my vintage finds on the wall. Now, though, as a continuing outgrowth of my *project fever* (see living room lighting project also launched), I am also going to do some major project work on this room.

Basically, the plan is to: Take out the 10′ row of bookshelves…. put them into my husband’s office… and add lots of working space for collage projects. I think there will be lots of moving stuff around — to create a large U-shaped work space that maximizes every inch of available wall space. There may be cabinetry, shelves, peg board and cork board involved. I may do a few things to improve the heating situation $$. We’ll see what I come up with. I am not sure. I am going to start by moving out the bookshelves, then I will see how it all “feels” and figure out next steps. There will be *chaos* and *indecision* and *researching 8,000 alternatives* and *second guessing*. Haha. Welcome to the way I make decorating decisions.

home office ideasRight now, doing my collages regularly is hard, because I use the dining room table. We keep that space very tidy — so I have to keep moving my collage equipment in and out, from boxes on shelves in the basement to the dining room and back again. By added a dedicated crafting space to my office, I will be able to work on my collages a bit each day, and to keep all my materials organized (haha) and at hand.

Fortunately, DH’s office needs reorganization, too. About 7 years ago, he became a high school teacher. He took over the guest bedroom (also in the basement) for his office. We never “designed” it to suit his needs — and like me, he spends a significant amount of time there. So there is actually a third household project project this spring: (1) Living room lighting, (2) Pam’s office, (3) David’s office — a “his and hers” home office remodel series!  The first step, though, starts in my office. This week I will be going through all these bookshelves … tossing out what we don’t need anymore … giving away some books … and moving some of the stuff to other storage locations in part of the basement that is unfinished.

Above: The view toward the door(s). We use this tall dresser for office supplies. It’s vintage Conant Ball — and actually may be Russel Wright… valuable. I am not sure if we’ll keep it in this spot or not…. The size is actually great — there are doors swinging in from both the right and left. That vintage rag rug, picked up at an estate sale in Pittsfield, is kind of clashy, I know. But, it’s quite functional — the door on the right leads outside, where Astro goes to do his business. I need a landing space to wipe his muddy feet.

I want to try to complete this project without spending much money at all. We have a lot of things around the house that I might be able to use to create my crafting space. Alternatively, I’ll look for vintage at the Re-Store.  Also, this is a working space. I want it to be pretty, yes, but it doesn’t need to look like a home office in a magazine shoot. I want it to be functional and personal to me. I’m aiming for tidy, yes, but I think there will likely be a lot of open shelving and the like — because I want to see what I have to work with. I want the office to be a collage with lots of layers, lots of visual complexity.

So, my home office remodel is under way. I work fulltime on the blog now, so this is a room where I spend a ridiculous amount of time. I just about live in this room. I’m very excited about adapting it even better to make it *my happy place* falalalala.

Do you have ideas to suggest for my space-mazimizing home office remodel?

  1. hannah says:

    Nice to see where you communicate with us all from! Good luck with your project – I have similar stumbling blocks about decisions. I’m still balking on what part of the kitchen to paint aqua, and what part to paint ‘pot o cream’. I NEED to make that decision before Mr. Wonderful’s work picks up!

  2. Nancy says:

    Good luck and have fun on your redesign!

    I also have a basement workroom. The previous owner put in a hotwired single unit electric baseboard heat run in just this room – heats up quickly to whatever temp needed. These run a couple of hundred bucks plus whatever rate your electrician charges and the units are considered “to code” in most areas. If we built a small closet, we could claim it as another bedroom whenever it comes time to sell.

  3. Kate says:

    Not sure what the situation is or the budget, but have you thought about doing in floor heating? I find when my feet are warmer, I am warmer! Just a thought!

    I’ll be very excited to see the transformation of the space! 🙂

    1. pam kueber says:

      Yes! I’m going to explore that! Electric wire stuff embedded in mud — and covered with tile from WORLD OF TILE! YAY! We have this kind of electric heat in the downstairs bathroom — we installed it when we updated the tile in that space. It works well!

      1. Just another Pam says:

        My contractor said the problem with heating a foundation floor is that most of the heat seems to escape through the concrete. He’d worked for a company that did it all the time though they got a lot of compaints afterwards as it was no where near as warm as the upstairs floors. On the other hand I certainly see it done on home shows on TV. Maybe it’s just too cold up here?

        1. pam kueber says:

          I talked to my contractor this evening. He says: Get electric baseboards. Lots cheaper. He also said that adding the electric mat (which I think gets embedded into a concrete like substance) then adding the tile also makes your floor like 1.5 inches higher. Nix. I think we will open the outside walls, sister ’em a few inches, add more insulation, and cover ’em up again. Stay tuned.

    1. pam kueber says:

      They are around… craigslist? I need to blog about mine at some point — it is a vintage V. Soske “Rowanda”

      1. St Louisans have some great mid-century stuff, but never seem to have gotten into cool rugs. There’s a real dearth of nice textiles around here. I’d love to see your rug collection, though I may be a little jealous.

  4. Stacy says:

    This idea may be a little too mid-century-modest for some, but it’s what I use. When we bought this house we asked the owners to leave the work-bench that was in the basement. You know the kind-someone built it by hand for their workspace, painted it a lovely 50’s color, and put matching peg board above. I love mine! It’s built well, the dimensions are right, the height is comfortable for when you want to work standing up. I’ve seen them on the curb and being given away on craigslist. Some are better quality than anything you can buy new. That’s my two cents!

  5. I’m always interested to hear how people (non-professionals) approach a creative change in their environment. It seems like a good approach to take out the shelves and “feel” the space for a bit before doing something specific, even if you have ideas about what is likely to work for you. I’m just beginning a project to re-work part of our back yard to remove the last grass and include a paved or graveled open space, and a low retaining something (wall, edging) for the beds. I need to establish a budget first, but it’s hard to do when one has no idea how much things cost. It’s a kind of which-comes-first-the-budget-or-the-design dilemma.
    Have fun with your woman-cave (there’s gotta be a better term than that!)

    1. Tracey says:

      How about “Underground Nest” (or UN) instread of “Man Cave”?

      And does Astro have any say in the new space? I can see that he “nests” under the desk.

  6. Lynn-O-Matic says:

    Hi, Pam!

    Ooh, more fun! I had a U-shaped work area at my old job and it’s the best. You will love it.

    I know you don’t want to buy much, but I would consider putting an adjustable shelving system on two walls above your work spaces. That way you can rearrange until it works best.Those wall systems are very mid century, but you can get a modern one that’s cheaper than vintage. I’d get one that has small cabinets available. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to hide the ugly stuff:

    http://mimomito.wordpress.com/tag/mid-century-modern-finds/ (scroll down)

    I have a set of old mint green kitchen cabinets that I plan to use in my future office, so your ReStore idea is also good.

  7. Lynn-O-Matic says:

    P.S. Pam, how do you like the Ergotron? I’ve been wanting to set up a standing work area for a while but I can’t decide whether to do a standing/sitting desk or a treadmill work station.

    Also, what is that cool stool you have at your computer?

      1. Andi says:

        Glad to see we’re going to learn about that stool…and please elaborate on the Ergotron, too, if you can, now that you’ve been using it. I am seriously considering one for my home office where I work all day on my Mac, with resulting neck, back, arm issues!

          1. Andi says:

            Thanks, Pam. I had just re-read that post and was wondering how the device is actually working out now that you’ve spent quite a bit of time using it. No rush, though!!

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