Ahh, the office.
When Christy and I relocated to the Austin area (from frigid Rochester, MN), we technically became remote employees – with our teams still centralized in Minnesota.
During the transition we both worked a lot from our offices on the Austin campus, but after about year of getting settled in we started to realize driving to the office wasn’t necessary. Neither of us had coworkers in our buildings, we worked exclusively on laptops, and we gradually started working more and more from our home until eventually it became the norm.
There were quite a few deficiencies at home though, and we decided to address them by making a more formal and functional office space for the both of us.
When we first moved in, we just had a single small desk that we tried to fit all our equipment and things onto…
Obviously, this was not an optimal solution for two people working 8+ hours a day. So we put the old office set up on craigslist and started our wish list…
1. Desk big enough for both of us to work on. More room to write notes, look through papers, etc.
2. Getting 2 office chairs. We really just had one, and it wasn’t the most ergonomic and definitely not the most sexy. It’d be nice to have something to support us full time.
3. Someway to hide all the clutter. Working for a tech company and being gadget geeks we have a lot of equipment and as you can see in the picture above, it all was just kind of haphazardly setup. Let’s get this area organized.
4. Some art and decorations. We felt our office shouldn’t be all business, it should be relaxing and inviting.
5. Phone and Bluetooth Headset. A phone was a necessity for me because I have a lot of calls and Christy doesn’t want to be subject to hearing all my coworkers for most of the day on speakerphone. So we needed to get a phone solution and bluetooth headset so I can have conference calls and not drive her crazy.
With that list set we took one of our famous trips to IKEA and put together a solution to address all our needs with a mix of cabinets, desks, and some good ol’ hackery.
1. IKEA Vika Viene Table Top (for Christy, a cool desk that opens and closes so all the work clutter is out of sight when not in use.)
4. IKEA Aspvik Cabinet with sliding doors (to house all the electronics)
With all furnishings rounded up it was time to redecorate. The first step was to move everything out of the office…
Now it was time to get rid of the dreary green walls with a fresh coat of white paint….
When that venture was done and dry, we began the always-fun assembly of IKEA furniture…
What we did here was pair a Vika Veine desk with a small Vika Amon tabletop on one side (Christy’s). For the other side (mine) a larger Vika Amon tabletop would serve as the workspace.
We cut the small Vika Amon tabletop to size on one end using a power saw (a literal hack). The Vika Amon tabletop is hollow on the inside, so we faced the hollow side toward the wall so you don’t notice.
We then put on the Vika Kaj adjustable legs, and adjusted them so that all the tabletops were the same height. The adjustable legs are a necessity, because the Vika Veine desk has a taller width (to accommodate the fold-up feature).
Here’s a snap of the desk from the other end so you get a better idea how we configured the Vika Amon tabletop and Vika Veine desks…
After getting to that stage, we realized we had to come up with a cable management solution (IKEA never considers this it seems). We didn’t just want them going over the top of the desks.
So Christy came up with the genius idea of raising the height of the desks a bit and putting in place hacked risers. Each riser was made by taking 4 felt pads, and two rubber desk feet we picked up at our local hardware store. We then sandwiched them all together – with felt in the middle and the rubber feet on the ends (all OREO resemblances are purely coincidental)…
We put the risers on opposite ends of the desk where the Vika tabletops rest on the Aspvik cabinet. The effect is a cool “floating” desk that allows our cables to run under the table instead of over it!
We then put all the electronics in the Aspvik cabinet and cut a couple holes out back for routing the wires and to serve as ventilation for the computer. We also got a small USB fan to help push out the hot air from inside the cabinet.
The next task were the shelves. The drywall anchors that were included in the kit were no good, so the shelves would not hang level. A trip to Lowe’s for some more heavy duty anchors solved the issue and once we put some display items on them, including west elm storage boxes we spray painted yellow, our vision started really coming together…
See the finished office here.