Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Built-in Desk

One of the last things we need to think about for our house is whether or not we want to have a built-in desk. The entryway to our home is huge (it's similar to the photo above, except there is more than 2-feet deep of wall space underneath the narrow window). Since the house itself is a modest size (relative to the average size for upper-middle class families in our area--at ~1,800 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms), it makes sense to try and maximize that space as much as possible. At first I thought we would use our giant IKEA bookshelf as a dumping zone for the stuff that goes in and out of the house, but I'm wondering if we could put the space to better use.
Tate and Henry are going to need their own rooms for the first year, since a) I don't want them to sleep together until Tate is sleeping through the night and b) I hope to hire someone to create a little in-home Montessori environment to take care of Tate and two other children until my school opens next July (fingers crossed!). During that time, it would be awesome to have a large desk space for work.
After that, I hope to combine Henry and Tate into one room and then use the third bedroom as an office and arts/crafts studio. At that point, another desk is a bit redundant. But then, before we know it, the boys will likely want their own rooms.
The only other thing I can think to do with that space would be to put a piano there. No one in our family plays the piano (beyond a few songs I've memorized), but I like the idea of having musical instruments around for the boys. I would hate to hinder their exposure and access to authentic musical instruments, simply because Matt and I don't play.
If we do go with a built-in desk, I think it will simply be IKEA kitchen cabinets plus a wood top. I'm thinking about this cabinet for the middle (24") and these cabinets for the left and right side (15" with the door mounted on the left for the left side and on the right for the right side). I'm also thinking about this kind of top for the desk.

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Isa said...

I think a desk would be good--even with an art studio, it would still be nice to have a place near your front door to keep mail, stamps, etc.
I love the idea of a piano, but if you don't play (and aren't planning to start) it seems like a big thing in your small house to keep on the chance that one of your boys becomes interested. If you're planning to send them to lessons once they're older, it might make more sense, but if not, it's going to be a very large knick-knack.

Beth said...

I personally like the way the entry is decorated in the picture.
I know it's hard, but try to keep in mind that as huge as your house feels when you go to visit it, it will in fact feel smaller when furnished and with 4 people (and a dog!) living in it. I would wait on putting anything big in the entryway until after moving in and seeing how the space feels then.

Shawn said...

I think that even if you combine the boys later to sleep in one space, that the other craft/office room might end up with a lot of kid activity - and soon enough they will need desk space for art and homework. With that in mind, I really like the idea of the more adult desk space in the entryway. Also, I know it's nice to have everything settled as much as possible, but I think the last commenter makes a good point about living in the space and seeing how it feels. I think I would like my desk to be in a more public/open space of the home so that I could more easily work and keep an eye on the kids, but I know some people want a quieter space to work or to be able to leave clutter behind closed doors. I can't wait to see how everything turns out. You're doing a great job with it and it's very inspirational!

Sara E. Cotner said...

I think you're right that we should just wait and see how it feels and what we need/want. Hopefully we can move in soon so I can stop planning and start doing!

Beth said...

I just wanted to say that I hope my ‘your house will feel smaller’ comment didn’t sound rude. I was thinking about my first apartment and how enormous I thought it was; I could do cartwheels from the kitchen to the back door! And then I put in a large L shaped sofa (which I purchased thinking about how large the room was but without doing any measuring) and haven’t done a cartwheel since.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Beth! I didn't find your comment rude at all. I actually think you're right. I appreciate hearing other people's perspectives (shared in a respectful way--which you did). The truth is, I'm worried about our giant U-shaped sectional from IKEA. I tried to convince Matt to go with two small sofas and a chair, but he was pretty set on having the sectional. I agree with him that it's going to be so nice to have such a cozy, family-friendly couch, but I'm afraid it's going to dominate and dwarf the living room. The space is not really very big (~18 feet across).

I agree that we should wait on everything else and see how the space feels when the five of us move in and take over!

Please always feel free to share your divergent perspectives! I appreciate the insight.

Be well,


E. said...

I just wanted to chime in on the piano issue - a piano is huge and requires a lot of work to move - even an upright can take at least 6 guys. Baby grands tend to require a crane. We just priced movers and it was like, an extra many hundreds of dollars to move - and they tend to be expensive, between lessons and maintenance, and your kids might not enjoy it - we took piano lessons for 3 years (during which time, we bought a lightweight full size electric keyboard which worked just fine), and then moved on to other, smaller, easy to carry instruments (flute and oboe). Perhaps instead you'd like to get a small guitar or ukelele and maybe a drum set to see if the kids are interested in music and show any aptitude? (I'm actually tone deaf and I truly believe my life would be better if somebody had sat me down when I was 12 and told me that 6 years of band class would just make me miserable and I should do something I enjoyed instead of holding onto this weird belief I had that playing the oboe would make my mother love me more - turned out my mom loved me anyway.)

I understand the anxiety to stop planning and start doing (we closed on our house Tuesday) but if you line up too many projects, the minute you step into the house you will feel overwhelmed and freaked out and need to go take a nap (which is what I did on Tuesday night.)

Sarah said...

Just wanted to add that we have a built-in desk in our kitchen, which is the first room we enter from our garage, after walking through a small laundry/mud room. It is really nice to have a place to put stuff (not let it get to the kitchen counter or dining table), and a place for my laptop. Not a bad idea to wait until you're there, though, if that works. Good luck!

Nora said...

it's cool to see all the exciting possibilities a new space opens up. best wishes on your move.

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