January 26, 2012

A Desk of Her Own (and Some DIY Upcycling)

I'm in a bit of a mood at the moment after upending my much-anticipated shepherds pie leftovers (from last night's Robbie Burns 'feast') face down on the kitchen floor. It looked a whole lot more appealing on my plate. On the floor, it looked like it belonged in a pig trough. At present I'm giving less appealing Replacement Lunch the hairy eyeball. So, so disappointing, but to quote The Bard: 
"[I] hae meat and [I] can eat, and sae the Lord be thankit."
Anyhoo, back to the original purpose of this post... (I'm the Queen Consort of Babble & Digression)

For quite some time now I've been working on my WiP at an IKEA table passing for a desk. And in case you couldn't guess, no keyboard tray = a very bad idea when you're using a desktop computer. My wrists, elbows, neck, and shoulders have been pretty much plotting my murder for many a month. There are plenty of desk options (check out this YA Highway post on the topic) but most are either too expensive, too clunky/ugly, or are just plain dangerous. Like the treadmill desk, for instance. That thing would almost certainly land me in a neck brace at best, or traction at worst. I hadn't been actively looking for an alternative, but lo and behold, Costco solved this problem. I found this very simple, very inexpensive, and very sturdy beauty* there the other day:

My desk is always a cluttered mess (I'm a stacker), and it didn't help that my keyboard and mouse were mixed in with the chaos. Now I not only have a keyboard tray, I also have two small drawers to toss odds and sods of crap formerly rolling around on my desktop into. This is where I spend the better part of my day, working on my WiP or this blog, so it had to be just right. And it totally is.♥

In addition to being a stacker, a babbler, and an expert at digression, I've also got a bad case of "This looks like it could be useful for something"-itis. I wouldn't say we've quite reached Hoarder territory, but I do try a little too hard to see the diamond in the rough AKA the storage possibilities in more than a dozen empty CoffeeMate containers (I know, it's completely embarrassing).

Andbutso, I was more than a little inspired/thrilled/tempted when I found a bunch of very useful packing cardboard in with my new desk. Not just any cardboard, folks, but large rectangular pieces that are about 1/2" thick, along with some foot-square pieces about 1" thick. Immediately, my brain started practically smoking at all of the DIY possibilities in this small pile of packing material. The winning project? While making a life-size cardboard cutout of my husband (who's away for work a lot) might have been appealing, I've decided on a giant storyboard/inspiration board for above my desk in my home office. We're living in a 3-bedroom townhouse, and since we have no munchkins (meaning 'kids' and not 'members of the Lollipop Guild' <-- though that could inspire some excellent stories) to fill the two extra rooms, we each get an office. That means wall space!

A bulletin board this size would cost way too much, so why not make my own? So yesterday I went to our local fabric store and purchased a remnant of gorgeous damask upholstery to cover this slab of corrugated goodness (my office is decorated in taupe, black, and white):

This looks grey, but it's actually a deep brown and black.
This will go quite nicely with my giant (23"x35") picture of 1878 Paris and will also allow me to see important details, notes, and bits of inspiration pertaining to my current WiP. Plus, it's an excellent way to upcycle some otherwise useless cardboard! I tell you, it's a win-win scenario all around :D

Why all the fuss about a desk and some fabric-plastered cardboard? Well, because I'm a firm believer in creating the right space, with the right atmosphere for working on my writing. I don't work well in clutter and I don't work well in a completely uninspired workspace. Simple as that. 

How about you? Is the suitability of your workspace an important factor in your writing process?

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*Broadmoore Academy desk from Costco - made from birch in espresso stain with antique brass drawer knobs. The best part: It only cost $129 CAD! At that price I kind of feel like I ripped it off.

10 comments:

  1. I love the idea of a home-made space!

    My desk isn't as wide as I'd like, but it's as hectic as I am :D In fact, I should post another photo of its current state :P

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    1. Mine is doing okay now that I have New Desk, but talk to me in a week and I guarantee you I'll be telling a different story :-)

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    2. You should make that a post! New Desk: One Week Later... ;)

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  2. Nice desk, and nice upcycling! I want a standing desk, but I don't think one is in my future. Maybe I'll have space in the next apartment!

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    1. Thanks :-) It's all about the desk for me - I don't work well at my laptop in the living room (too many more distractions than already exist on just the computer). Here's hoping there's a desk in your future too :-)

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  3. I work well in chaos... noise, clutter, you name it. The only thing I *have* to have is a window. That's a deal breaker for me. I can't feel closed off--there has to be an opening to the outside world in front of me. :D Though I might feel differently if I ever do get to have a desk, office, private space! LOL!

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    1. Yes, a window is a must. For whatever reason the windows on the top floor of our townhouse (where my office is) are about 4.5 feet from the floor. What this means: plenty of natural light AND I don't have to worry about anybody seeing my mid-writing dance breaks (they happen more than I'd like to admit).

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  4. Have you ever seen a picture for a product that shows a child playing with said product, and a caption that says "Child not included"? I know I have. Talk about DUH!! "Customer Service? I unpacked this Lego playset I bought yesterday from Toys R Us, and I seem to be missing the cute four year old clearly shown on the box!" :)

    As for workspaces--yes, I like to have a workspace where I know where stuff is, and I can just get on with writing. Not that I can't make do if I have to... but ideally, this--right here where I'm sitting now--is where I like to work.

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    1. That's hilarious :-) Can you imagine how easy that would make things for those of us who don't yet have kids? Just go to Toys R Us, buy a Lego playset, and come home with a kid to play with said playset. Awesome.

      Like you, I can make do without my office, but I prefer not to. I get far more accomplished (which today is sadly very little) in my office away from other distractions.

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  5. What a beautiful desk! And I'm so impressed by that bulletin board--it's gorgeous! I"ll have to steal that idea. Enjoy your new writing space!

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