I recently had the opportunity to create a home office from scratch. The clients gave very few parameters aside from a budget, and that there be enough space for them to work from home as well as space for their children to use the room. This was so fun and my favorite type of job. It gave me the opportunity to really take some ideas and run with them. All of the old furniture was removed and replaced with built in shelving, a wrap around desk, a 360-degree bookshelf and a mobile craft table. I went with a fairly utilitarian/industrial design while softening it with light colors and exposed birch wood. We kept the budget down by going with several furniture pieces from Ikea on wheels. It was important to create lots of shelving so that they would have space for all of their crafts as well as quite a collection of books. The room was also repainted.
Both clients are UCLA Bruin fans so we kept the room blue, but went with a lighter shade to brighten everything up a bit. I went with a white on the built ins, a slate gray on the chalkboard wall and a semi-gloss white for the ceiling. The reason for using a semi-gloss on the ceiling was because I installed LED lighting along the back of the top shelves. Although the LED is more accent lighting behind the books, the semi-gloss serves to bounce some of that light off the ceiling and down into the room.
This job had a significant amount of metalwork. To hold the weight of all of the books I needed heavy duty brackets that could go into the studs and take the weight. Another large component of the metalwork were the braces for the wrap around desk. Although it would have been much easier and cheaper to just add legs to the desk, I didn't want legs to dictate where the clients sat or how they used the room. These braces needed to be large enough to support the weight of the several sheets of plywood and mdf, along with whatever they decided to put on the desktop. I chose to leave the metal exposed. This was more work, it meant all the metal needed to be polished down and sealed, as opposed to just spraying them with paint and being done with them, however, the look was much better.
Despite the fact that there were no doors on the cube shelves, there was still a lot of plywood used in this project. I decided to use baltic birch for almost everything. I used MDF as an underlayment for the desk to add extra strength. All the plywood was cut to size, edge banded and painted in my shop before I brought it over for installation. At the site, it was cut to exact specifications. Once it came time to install everything there were several spots where the walls of the room bowed out of alignment up to a half inch. While this did prove to be quite the headache it was nothing that a bit of scribing and a bit of caulking couldn't solve. With some time spent doing touch ups, all seams were hidden giving it a really finished look.
Custom Craft Table
This is one of my favorite components of the room. I suggested they have a custom table that was on wheels for their crafts. It needed to be heavy duty enough to have a sewing machine and support a bit of weight. My first thought was, can I find something that exists already that is less expensive and will do a better job than creating a custom table from scratch. The answer was no. The room had a pair of french doors that were never used. With the table on wheels, it could be positioned in front of the doors for natural light when working on projects. The table could also be moved into the center of the room when the whole family wants to work on a project together, and everyone can sit around the table. I encountered a small hang up when I realized the floor was a little uneven. Due to the fact that the built table was perfectly squared up, there would be a little wobble because not all of the wheels would touch with the same force when someone was working on it. Not ok. So I made a modification and welded threaded nuts into the legs and switched to stem casters. This way, not only is the table on wheels that brake, the wheels can be adjusted up and down so that it is always level.
If you have stuck around this long, wow. Thanks for checking out my work. If you are interested in bouncing some ideas off of me or are interested in having something made or designed feel free to reach out! - Zach