Hey-oh: we’ve got a proper desk area in our living room! I prefer having our computers in our main common area (instead of sequestered upstairs in the guest bedroom, for example), and this side of the living room seemed perfect for an office setup. I wanted a functional, comfortable, dedicated workspace for two people. No more camping out at the kitchen table!
To see what the living room used to look like, check out this post.
The Desk Setup
All of the components for this 8 foot desk came from IKEA: I used the 98″ KARLBY walnut countertop, the ALEX drawer unit, and LERBERG trestle legs. IKEA used to carry the ALEX and LERBERG in black – which I prefer – but they transitioned to gray this year. I was able to snag a black drawer unit before they went out stock, and I spray painted the metal trestle legs black.
Putting together the desk was super simple: the countertop simply rests across the legs and the drawer unit. It’s a big, solid setup. Hanging frames and wrangling cords was the time-consuming part. Oh, and I built a frame for the first time! Let’s start there.
Building a Floating Canvas Frame
I already owned most of the art I used in this project. But I knew I wanted to add a large antique oil painting to the mix, for some texture and warmth. I dug through eBay until I found a painting that I really liked. Good lord, there’s a lot of crap art to wade through on eBay. Filtering by time period (1900-1949) helped a little.
The original frame was overly ornate and, in my opinion, distracted from the painting. To replace it, I built a simple floating frame using cheap pine from Home Depot. It was a lot of careful measuring and cutting and making it up as I went along.
I stained the wood black to match the moodiness of the painting, and to help balance the black wall-mounted monitors.
I totally winged this entire process, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out!
Cat inspector on the job again.
Hanging the Gallery Wall
Having wall-mounted monitors meant the gallery wall needed to be planned out pretty well. It’s easy to tweak the placement of a frame by moving a nail a few inches, but I wouldn’t have any flexibility with the monitor placement once heavy-duty toggle bolts were in the wall. So, I over-planned, as I do.
First, I did a real crappy job of Photoshopping my two options: gallery wall vs. picture ledge. For the mock-ups, I used Chris Loves Julia’s picture ledge and our previous dining room’s gallery wall.
Then I solicited input from a friend who has good taste in nearly everything, with the exception of appropriate footwear.
I used a mix of white, black, and brown wood frames. The art is a mix of screen prints, paintings, and photos that I’ve collected over the years, and there’s a bit of a theme to it – mostly plants, houses, and birds (thanks for the Japanese ducks, Kei!).
I fussed around with the frame arrangement on the floor.
I also did the thing the internet suggests you do: used paper to visualize the frames on the wall.
This step seems excessive for most purposes, but it was helpful here. I did not want to regret my placement of the monitors.
Hiding the Cords
Did you notice what you don’t see on that office wall? All the cords. A whole lot of wire wrangling went into this. If I could make a living hiding cords, I would change careers. So gratifying!
On the wall, I used a raceway for the monitor power and DVI cords. That monitor arm is a cheap guy from Amazon, by the way: VideoSecu TV Wall Mount Articulating Arm Monitor Bracket. It lets us push the monitor back when not in use, and pull it forward when we’re working / wasting time on the internet.
Under the desk, I added a J channel cable raceway – I bought one and cut it in half to use on either side of the cabinet. The raceway routes all of the wires to a power strip I mounted on the wall behind the cabinet.
I bought the Belkin 8-Outlet Pivot Surge Protector with 6-Foot Cord (based on The Wirecutter’s recommendation); the pivoting outlets are awesome and crucial for this setup.
This hidden surge protector powers everything – my Apple charger, Jarrod’s Dell dock, the monitors, the desk lamp, the Jambox – with only one visible cord. To make it even less conspicuous, and because crazy, I wrapped it with white ribbon.
The Finishing Touches
The Kurdish runner rug is vintage from eBay. The rolling chairs are from Overstock: Porthos Home Monroe Adjustable Office Chair. I would have preferred something vintage, but finding a pair of reasonably-priced vintage adjustable chairs was not happening. These Overstock chairs are sturdy and comfortable, and they’ll do until I have a lucky find.
I did have a lucky find in the floor sample pile at Room & Board: this Nelson wall sconce. At 30% off, it was still a splurge, but I love it so. It provides such a nice glow.
I also added a Threshold Two Head Task Lamp from Target. The rattan stool is from Target as well – I plan to add a plant on top.
And that brings us to where we are today, and where I’m typing this blog post right now.
It looks something like this:
Thanks to Jarrod’s dad Rodger for the action shot, and for letting me experiment with his camera this weekend! I also borrowed my friend Carolyn’s camera (thanks, buddy!), so I have a lot of photos in the hopper for more posts in the coming weeks.