Saturday, May 7th, 2005
6:53 pm - Office Space  
If it's raining, it must be the weekend...

I had all sorts of lawn and garden type stuff planned, but it seems hurricane season has come early to New England (well, a nor'easter, anyway). That leaves me with the great indoors.

I did venture out into the weather this morning to get an oil change, and to have them check the weird squeaking noise I'm getting at low speed from the rear wheels. I also had them flush the transmission. I assumed the squeaking was something brake related, and therefore potentially expensive, but they couldn't find anything wrong with the brakes. In fact, they failed to find the source at all. The manager says it's probably just some dust from the brake shoes. We'll see.

I finished painting the office a week ago, and have done nothing in there since except sit in front of the computer and watch TV. All the pails, tools, drop cloths, and such are still spread about the office and the kitchen (which was my staging area, figuring that if I managed to dump a large quantity of paint, it was far better to do it in a room that didn't have wall-to-wall). I suppose the first thing I should do is haul all that stuff downstairs. Then it's time to think about furnishings.

Office - BeforeHere's the way the office was laid out before. The interior dimensions are 12¼' x 10½' (Note that the space was originally designed as the dining room.) The TV stand is a rickety old end table about 2' high that was a hand me down from the ex-in-laws. The sorter next to it is basically a bunch of those plastic document trays made up into a single piece of furniture on casters. I store various types of stationery in it, and the DVD player sits on top of it. The table was part of my grandfather's kitchen set, which he got in the late sixties, and has seen better days. It was once left outside during a rain storm (don't ask), and it's never been the same since the melamine top soaked up all that water. It has served as a flat surface upon which to pile stuff since I moved here. The cupboard is an inexpensive white melamine cabinet, 5' tall, that I bought at the Depot to provide storage for all the pots, pans, and similarly sized kitchen appliances that won't fit in my kitchen cabinets. It's utilitarian. The shelf unit next to it is also white melamine, and was bought to fit a cranny (or was it a nook) in my old kitchen. The drawer unit is a 4' high roll-around plastic storage drawer set that contains assorted kitchen stuff.

Then there's the big ol' executive's desk that I liberated many years ago from the president's office of a competitor of my company's that had gone out of business. Strictly speaking, the desk was not among the assets we purchased. However, it was very nice, and just sitting there, so we found some room for it on the back of the rental truck that we were using to haul away what we did purchase. It's where my computer and all its accoutrements lives. Finally, there were some melamine shelves on brackets on the wall above the desk. The problem with melamine is that it's so heavy that it sags under its own weight, much less when you actually put something heavy on it.

Office - ProposedThe current plan is to get rid of the really old hand me downs, and replace them some pieces that I can build fairly simply. The TV stand will be the same height as the old end table, but sturdier and about twice as long, and will also provide some storage space for DVDs and tapes. My original thought for the workbench was to buy or build some kitchen cabinets that match what already in my kitchen, and run them along the entire wall. The problem there is that it not only would be terribly expensive (and terribly time consuming if I build them myself), but also they would completely block the baseboard (the bluish areas in the picture). The room is already the coldest in the house in the winter. Blocking half the available heat is not a good idea.

Instead, I'm going to build something akin to a simple buffet table, but deeper, with some drawers along the front, and the bottom open to allow the heat out. Above will be brackets for shelves. I started pricing actual kitchen wall cabinets as an alternative, but gave up the notion when the cost passed $300. The cabinets themselves were pretty cheap, albeit heavy (all that melamine), but the doors I wanted were, like, $40 each. Yeesh. I'll build the shelves from ½ thick birch faced plywood, and trim them with maple, very similar to what I did with the bookcases. The plywood is lighter than an equivalent piece of melamine, and quite a bit more rigid. Another advantage is that I can make them custom lengths and widths. I'll do the same over the desk.

The cupboard stays for the time being, but I'm going to look around for some kind of replacement. Perhaps an armoire of some sort. There was a piece that I saw at a consignment shop last year that could've fit the bill.
 
 
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noumignon on May 8th, 2005 - 07:19 am
Do you have software or something to make those diagrams? I haven't seen one like them since I was a kid -- I think in some encyclopedia or something.
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DXMachinadxmachina on May 8th, 2005 - 07:45 am
I used Altamira Composer, a very old graphics program written by Alvy Ray Smith, who went on to help start Pixar. It's based on a collage model, so you create the various objects, move them around until you have what you need, and then you collapse the whole thing into a single image. Photoshop can now do similar with layers, but that came later.

Composer got bought by Microsoft, who Microsofted it up and released it as the Image Composer module in the early versions of Frontpage. I still prefer the old, Win 3.1 version.

Everything is scaled at 3 pixels to the inch.
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