Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stand-up Desk

As befits a guy of a certain age, my back has been bothering me.  It happens more in the winter when I spend more time sitting on me butt looking at a screen (except in the summer, when I irritate it doing manual labor). I've long been aware of the health hazards of spending too much time sitting down and had been ideating on a standing work area for digital photography.
One of my favorite internet sites is The Online Photographer edited by Mike Johnston. Mike J. is a knowledgeable and entertaining writer on photography both digital and analog. He also will write on other subjects, many of which I also am interested in. One such "off-topic" post was a very useful article on stand-up desks where he outlined the ergonomic and sizing guidelines.
The area allocated to my digital darkroom is cozy- about 7x10ft. The wall opposite the printer was the obvious location for the new desk. The standing area had to be relatively shallow, otherwise it would feel cramped and cluttered. Over the years I learned that a good way to give the feeling of more space is to have the floors free. Luckily, I still had a pair of 12X13 steel squares that I used for the library shelves installed last Summer. There was plenty of 2X12's and 2x8's to use for the top and bottom. The bottom refers to a base support for a pair of Bisley 5 drawer cabinets. I have another pair elsewhere; they are great for storing printing paper, photos, etc.
The expenditures for this project came from shelling out for a new desktop computer. I had been using a Viao laptop  for digital photography  and  to run a Squeezebox Touch. The latter is a little music server that has great audio quality both as an internet radio source (it can access internet stations not available on iTunes), uncompressed CD files and Hi-Res downloads. It can be linked to either a NAS or a computer from either WiFi or ethernet which comes in handy as it's 30 feet away from my desktop. So, a computer that can serve as both a much speedier Photoshop machine and a music source made for a reasonable purchase. My better half is also happy as she needed a more up to date Windows machine.
Here is the new standing desk.

The new arrangement allows for a 4 foot space between the printer and the opposing desk. By placing the computer at the former desk area, I was able to use the existing cables (except for one Ethernet cable for which I'll need to buy an extension).

In addition to providing a standing area to work in, the new arrangement gives a lot more desktop area than the previous location where the desktop now sits.

Hopefully, my back will improve and I'll be more productive.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bed Alcove

      One of the many idiosyncrasies of our home is that for the past 10 years or so, we've effectively had a very large one bedroom house. One of the things we like about our house is the ability to easily accomodate overnight guests as our TV room has it's own exterior entry, bathroom and storage. But our TV room sofabed is comfortable only for a few nights which makes my mom's extended stays with us a problem. Further, mom likes to watch TV past our bedtime.
      Part of the solution was to dedicate our bedroom as her pied a terre. Having a place to keep clothing, shoes, etc simplifies travel. A place for her photos, etc helps her feel at home. We'll eventually have a sewing machine in the room.
      The upstair area was the best area for an additional sleeping place. There is an alcove area by the gallery wall area where the bed could readily fit.

Geri's work table would take the place of the daybed in her office. That daybed now serves as the platform for my mom's mattress.
Now the upstairs was used by past owners as a master suite; we wanted to think of it as a studio/crafts area. The problem was how to keep that use while adding a bed. Also was the need for privacy while avoiding window treatments. The solution came while looking for storage solutions for Geri's office (subject matter for future post). We saw some leaded/stained glass panels at Bloomsbury, a Portland architectural salvage store, that had the frames in good condition and at a very reasonable price. I bought the vertical beams from Barnwood Natural here in Salem and the rest were from my stock of materials.

      The new space feels cozy without being claustrophobic. It's a very comfortable place to read. It also provides the needed privacy. The gallery area had turned out to be the most commented on part of our Houzz tour and I was concerned that the change could adversely affect that part of the room. The partition actually improves it as it serves as a framing device.

     The room still has an open feel to it and from most locations looks like a crafts area.