MacSparky's New Home Office


#1

My oldest daughter is in the process of moving out, which makes me feel a bit squishy inside but that is a different topic. Regardless, I’m going to now get a nice home office. I have some travel planned so I won’t get started on this in earnest until later this month but I thought it’d be fun to share the process and start a thread to crowdsource some of my decisions.

It’s a 10 x 10 room with one door leading to a hall and another door leading to a shared bathroom. I’m not going to use that bathroom–it’s my other daughter’s–so I’m going to put a bookcase in front of that door.

There is a wall with a closet that is going to end up being a background for a lot of video work I intend to do so I’m going to make that fancy with some sort of applied stone. I think I’m going to buy a shoji screen to use in lieu of closet doors, which are ugly. I’m thinking about buying a rolling tool chest (this one) to push against the wall and then roll out in front of the closet as a standing table when I shoot video. (I’m also going to put some lighting in the ceiling.)

There will also be two desks, one is my fancy sit/stand computer desk, which is kind of huge but useful and the other is an antique secretary desk that I inherited from my mother and I’ve loved my whole life. (It shows up in the 3d model as a cabinet. The app doesn’t have a secretary desk.) The intention is to use one desk for digital and one for analog. It sounds crazy but I think it will work.

I’m going to have a cork floor, which looks nice and absorbs sound while I’m podcasting and shooting video. However I’ve not decided yet if it will be light or dark.

I think I want the walls some form of blue-grey but not certain.

I’d planned to add a comfy chair but, alas, it’s a small room and there isn’t space. Looks like I’ll have to go downstairs or to the bedroom to take a nap or sit and read on my iPad.

I’d love to have it built out in July but it will probably be August before I can move in. Very few decisions are in stone just yet. What do you think?

Screenshots from Home Design 3D.
IMG_0140

IMG_0141


#2

I think I’ve solved your closet door problem! https://www.vinylrevolution.co.uk/vinyl-shop/doorwraps-shop/han-solo-carbonite-vinyl-sticker-for-door/


#3

Cool project.
One thing I did stick to when decorating my home office was that I will not look into a wall.
IMG_0674
As you can see on the picture (Don’t mind the mess) I sat the desk in the middle.
It feels so much more open when I sit at it.

This the best advice I can give.


#4

If you get strong sunlight in your new office, the cork will lighten with exposure to it over time. It’ll be less noticeable if you start with a light color.


#5

Because … California.


#6

Even in the northern latitudes (NY). I have cork in my kitchen/dinette with direct southern exposure/large windows. After 6 years, it’s faded noticeably.

It’s an excellent surface for flooring, I love it.


#7

My current office setup uses a corner desk so I’m always looking at two walls behind the monitor. When I re-do the office, changing that is a #1 priority.

I’m just not sure if I want to look out the window to the back yard or face a book case with the window off to one side. The window faces west so would need room darkening treatments to deal with afternoon sunlight (even here in Chicagoland) either way.


#8

My window will be to my right while sitting behind the 27" iMac and I actually think that will be find … but I’ll have to wait and see I guess.


#9

This looks very nice and comfortable indeed!

David, if this is going to be your podcasting studio, I am curious whether you use some kind of “temporary additional sound isolation” when you are recording? And will you connect the iMac to ethernet or just use wireless?

Also, when it comes to the video recording background, did you make a test shot to see if the depth of the room allows you to catch the wall/closet combination (which looks very nice!) in the right angle/perscpective/frame and that there will be enough space for lighting equipment to position around this? (I’d also see whether the glass doors in the closet would cause issues with reflections when you are recording from a specific angle).


#10

I have sat in lots of offices over the years both with and without windows and decided windows are great to have in an office when I don’t need to use a computer. If I need to use the computer, the light from the window is usually very problematic. It casts glare on the monitor if it is behind me or at one side while I am sitting at the screen. It is too bright if the window is behind the screen. The only time I enjoy the window is when the glass is darkened or muted by a curtain or shade, and is at least 20 feet away from me.

I still prefer offices that have windows, though. They are great for resting your eyes from the screen and for pondering or enjoying what is outside. And, of course, natural ambient light is the best.


#11

Sebastian,

For audio, I’m going to start with the cork floor and add additional baffles if necessary.

For video. I think I’m going to shoot with a 20mm lens that would be plenty wide. The doors have rice paper in them, not glass. I am concerned about reflection from the back of the rolling tool chest/desk but that’s a solvable problem.

For internet connection, I’m going to pay a guy to fish a line for me from downstairs.


#12

Sounds like a solid plan, David! :+1: :slight_smile: Keeping fingers crossed that this works out and that you’ll have a great home office soon. And, of course, we are all looking forward to the video production that is going to happen in this studio. :smile:


#13

As an alternative, you can do what I do, which is pile up a lot of crap in your home office, spill coffee on your desk and never get around to cleaning it up, have three or four bluetooth headsets on your keyboard tray, papers under your display that you need to process, and a stack of empty Amazon boxes behind you. Because those Amazon boxes are great, you can always find a use for them. Also, use your home office as a dog kennel, with a door to the backyard that you spend about 50% of your time opening and closing to let the dog in and out in inclement weather.

These are just some of the decorating/ergonomic ideas that I have implemented for my home office.


#14

That’s super… at least cover one of the doors…


#15

Two thoughts:

  1. Dark colors absorb more light, so keep that in mind. If you like a lot of light when you work, try not to pick dark colors for decorative. Floor probably won’t matter so much, but walls definitely do. I like bright spaces, especially when I have to deal with paper documents, so I tend to use bright neutrals for walls and accent with darker colors. I also have a really bright task light with articulating arm.

  2. Here’s how I setup in a small office. My office is only 7x9 with a window in one 7’ end and the door in the corner. My “desk” is a U-shaped formica counter set at desk height, so I have lots of workspace. I usually work at the center leg, with the printers, etc. on one side and an open area on the right for laying out documents, setting up test equipment, etc. I have a small filing cabinet and a small dresser underneath for storage, will eventually build in shelves. One corner is a built-in floor-to-ceiling shelf, and above two of three desk surfaces are wall cabinets, like what you might see in a kitchen. It’s all custom built thanks to my woodworking wife, but you could do the same thing with prefab stuff. It’s a bit of a different take, but I have lots of work space and lots of storage in a small area.


#16

Turn the main desk 90 degrees so you are facing the door.
Not only better FungSui but you can access the cables much better…


#17

I hear you about the wall color. As I understand it, shooting video with colored walls also can cause issues. I’m going to definitely have some shade – – I don’t want white – – but I will also definitely go easy on it.


#18

First, are you telling me you are a FungSui expert in addition to being a master diver?

The only problem with that rotation is it gets me further from the window. I’ll play with it but I’m not sure about that.


#19

Not an expert but subjected to this theory by my spouse :wink:

But it’s nice to be able to see someone entering the door and be able to speak to that person without having to turn around. A specially when you are deeply focussed on something.

As a technician, I much prefer easy access to the wiring and organize them neatly. Its always a pain when the desk is pressed against the wail…


#20

Will you get much glare from the window when trying to view your Mac? If so, the Mac straight in front might serve you better. Also, what are you doing with the space inside the closet? I used mine for shelves for supplies, etc. It also holds my printers & networking equipment. Then you could lose the bookcase, move your desk in front of the door, and have room for that comfy chair by the window.