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Rethinking Office Space

Part of what is allowing DJ’s and my upcoming venture into cohabitation is an agreement I obtained through work to telecommute two days a week. The commute from DJ’s house to my job in Davis is about double the length it is from my current rental in West Sacramento. Some people might be all right with doing a 45-60 minute commute twice a day, but it’s too much for me five days a week. Three days a week is more manageable. It also means I need some dedicated work space at home.

It turns out office spaces – or rather, combination rooms – are tricky in a house with small rooms. Our initial thinking was to turn the spare room into a guest room/office space hybrid for me while DJ kept his office space as is. A tape measure and outlining the furniture footprint with painter’s tape helped us discover that the room was too small to accommodate both a queen bed and my desk.

We could forgo having a guest room and each have a dedicated office instead, but I don’t particularly love the idea of sticking my current bedroom furniture and mattress into storage for a long and indeterminate length of time. I also like having the option for out of town friends to have a place to stay with us when passing through. So instead we turned to DJ’s current office to see if there was way to fit us both comfortably in one room.

DJ has had his office arranged like this:

With the help of Adobe Illustrator, measurements from DJ, and screen sharing via Google Hangouts, we came up with some more options to consider. Here are where the key pieces of furniture originally sat in the office:

DJ has an Ikea Galant desk, which is modular, so the lighter gray parts of the mockup are the removable parts of his desk. As seen in the photographs, there was a bookcase and smaller desk on the indented wall too, but we knew those wouldn’t be staying in the new configuration.

Our first thought was to leave DJ’s desk where it was and put mine on the wall with the door. My desk is exactly the same length as that wall and we could remove one of DJ’s desk extenders. We got momentarily excited that it would be so easy. But then we mocked it up and realized we’d be so near each other that we would essentially be bumping into each other.

So I suggested we flip DJ’s desk into the other corner and put my desk where the cat tree was.

That provided a lot more space for us and felt much less cramped. But DJ relies on the extension for his arm to rest for comfort, so we took the modular extension from the right side and rotated it and stuck on the left. It sticks out a bit farther than the wall goes but doesn’t interfere with the entryway at all. Currently I’m thinking maybe we’ll stick a skinny tall bookcase there for storage and to make it look less awkward. From a quick Google search, an Ikea Billy bookcase will fit the space well, but I intend to shop around a bit for more options. Here’s a mockup including a Billy in the space:

Not bad! We’re planning to paint the office this weekend so while moving things out we took the opportunity to reconfigure DJ’s desk and try out the new layout, using the spare modular piece as a stand in for my (much larger than that) desk. We think it’ll work pretty well!

And so do Calamity and Chaos.

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