A Place Within a Place

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

A desk. The endless possibilities of what can be accomplished at a desk are mind-boggling. You can study there, get your life organized, manage your life, compose a letter or a book, hide your things there, make it a sacred space, a self-sufficient place to conquer your world, just to name a few. For many a desk is almost a home away from home if you compare it to the desk at the office, company, or classroom where you may be employed. Often the look of a desk defines who you are or want to be. Chances are some make shifts desks have popped up in your home which, after some time, may need a second look to upgrade as it looks like there will be a paradigm shift in the future of working from home more.

Painters have their perfectly placed easels in a lighted area, seamstresses have their sewing areas, gardeners have a potting table or shed, so goes a variety of styles and uses for desks much the same way. For the sake of inspiration, it is an organized place to do what you do and with any luck only do “that for which you were meant to do” at your desk. With having Virtual conference calls and classes conducted at home not to mention doing remote office work, you may have been caught short without one. A comfortably situated desk can inspire and trigger the mental juices in the right direction to make you more functional in your home-office scenario instead of it being thrown together or as you plop on the floor with your digital device. Who'd of thunk there would be a concern about the home-office setting and what it looks like (or what we are conveying to the boss, peers, customers) when participating in digital virtual business conferences?

I have are five desks in my home plus the dining room table if need be for an extra workspace to spread out. Three of those desks are in rooms designated for the guests I host like the traveling commuter, intern, or graduate needing a spot to work remotely, a landing station to begin or end their day. Three of the desks have pull-down covers or doors to hide the desktop leaving things just as so you can pick up where you left off.

Finding a desk to coordinate a room’s decor was a fun endeavor creating a custom look. I equip each desk with the bare essentials times five (surge protectors, pens, pencils, scissors, scotch tape, paper clips, notepad, a calendar, and post-it notes), local info, a guest information booklet and at least one piece of desk art. I got used to buying multiple desk supplies from when I had four kids who each had a private workspace in their shared bedrooms. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi is provided throughout the house.

One guest room has an antique desk originally obtained on consignment from a local business resulting in me liking it so much I ended up buying it. It fits well in the traditional décor of that room. Guest room #2 is themed with furniture from another era spruced up by contrasting paint. I have a subtle sunflower theme going on in guest room #3. In this room, is a DIY tv entertainment center converted into a desk area. I painted the interior doors with chalk paint and hung a large bulletin board (also painted with a simple muted sunflower) hanging behind it. The desktop is the tv shelf that pulls out with the doors hinged to pushed into the sides. A desktop organizer holds supplies and a small lamp brightens up the inside. The drawers below are left empty for guest use.

The inspiration to repurpose furniture into a desk came from this huge custom-built entertainment center that is the refreshment center for the guests. It is placed in the common landing area between the rooms. I got it at a moving sale with delivery included in the price (no easy deal as the thing weighs over 500 lbs. It took five men and is in two pieces…oh and did I mention a low ceiling up the stairwell?) Check out the amount of space and storage in picture! The claw toed feet had to be trimmed (a pedicure?) to allow a snug fit making it look like it is a custom-built wall unit. Suffice it to say it is now permanent to the house. Granted this is not a desk but it is a workstation of sorts what with the coffee machine, microwave, etc., with a simple sitting area (two bolted down to the floor theater chairs from an old local theater) across from it.

The glass top desk (below) is situated in a room adjacent to the kitchen and is best described as grand central station. My laptop permanently rests here plus the printer/scanner and a second monitor. I utilize virtual assistance technology with a couple of AI's, a google nest, and an Amazon Alexa (the latter in the bedroom). This desk is in a public area so I attempt to keep it neat. (Thank goodness for technology, digital files, and the

cloud for storage.) I run a small business from here, plan menus, take bookings, and keep the calendar up to date. I also do research when in the study mode doing my assignments here. I can also pretty much see all the comings and goings in the house (through the door into the kitchen/dining room area) and who is ringing at my front door thanks to the AI technology.

I can't afford a stand-up desk converter usually placed on a desk workspace so I sometimes use the passing window between my kitchen and dining room, a few steps away, that also serves as a breakfast bar with stools. It's the right height for me to stand, moving the laptop there, on those days when I am sitting too long.

In my bedroom, I have a corner where I placed a small rolltop desk. This space is more private, a sanctuary for me where I recharge. On top of the desk is an apothecary drawer unit for office supply storage. In the privacy of this room is where I keep my personal records, snail-mail, and a tablet synced to my laptop. It is also my prayer desk. A few floating bookshelves along the sides of the desk make for ready reference.

Most of what I decorate with is usually repurposed from another use of a bygone time, a hand-me-down, or a desk to be discovered and reclaimed for reuse from second-hand stores or garage sales. I find it interesting to look at furniture pieces through the lens of how to make it work in more than one way or another that fits my budget and purpose. The other thing I want to mention is this is the “now” in my life but when raising four kids I get it that some spaces (like a dining room table) are multifunctional. That’s where boxes (decorative ones with lids, plastic ones with drawers, even trays) are handy to stash things away for the next tabletop need. I did find that separating the kids (4), with makeshift desk spaces of their own (preferably in their bedrooms), personalized for them, would turn out to be the most productive for them. Don't forget to surround desk areas with items to motivate like pictures of family, a plant or flowers, inspiring quotes, a vision board, and other things that bring joy to the one using the desk.

The options for desks from standing ones to treadmill desks to traditional ones of various lengths and sizes not to mention constructed material are for the choosing. Once I used older heavy ornate doors (from a 150 yr old home) placing some glass tops on them and resting the doors on small filing cabinets. Then there is the consideration of a chair, desk accessories, the essentials, for the desired outcome of working in a productive spot. Think about the functionality of what you want to do at your desk, what end product is in your mind that you want to accomplish as the starting point when creating your workspace.

While venturing out of the house more this summer compared to the spring of 2020, consider picking up a few storage containers. In the event the latter part of the year brings back a rerun of this spring in terms of social distancing or stay at home requests, you are prepared. And if life miraculous looks closer to normal ( a version of the familiar previous status quo) in the future, you now have a space to slip away to, to do work that can become a labor of love all benefiting from the time and energy put into building special places in your home.

#thereisaplace4U #rooms2stay #aplacewithinaplace #ahomesanctuary

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