When my company announced that we’d be working from home at least through June, I decided I’d had enough—it was time for a proper office.
You see, when I designed my house I intentionally went with a minimal setup. The idea was to have someplace to pay the bills and check personal emails. Work was supposed to stay at the office. It was part of my new post-law-firm lifestyle.
And this arrangement was perfect for what it was designed for—not for the prolonged work hours of pandemic work-from-home. After unbroken weeks of 12-15 hour days perched on that stool, my legs and back and head would be all sorts of achy.
During summer months I broke it up with long stints working on the roof, but when the weather turned I found myself dreading the days in that corner. I thought, oh if only I had a real office with windows and space!
Then it occurred to me that I could have such an office. I’d just have to sacrifice my guest bedroom. I resisted this thought at first. Having a guest bedroom has long been an absolute must-have for me, and well, I’m particularly proud of how I decorated this one. It’s the room in the house that consistently gets the most oohs and ahs when guests see it. Let’s just say I was very attached to it.
But the pleasure of having a beautiful shrine to nonexistent guests started to fade in the face of six more months on the stool in the corner. So one day I decided to rip off the Band-Aid and just reconfigure the room into an office. I moved the bed and rug into storage, pulled an old rug and a lamp I brought back from London out of storage, and set out in search of an acceptable desk.
The desk, alas, was a travail. I’d had good luck in the past with simple tables from IKEA. But everything I brought home from IKEA was either too small or too wobbly—and I feel the same way about a wobbly writing surface that my mother feels about the color yellow: I just couldn’t even. So I gave up on IKEA and resigned myself to spending lots of money on something new—only to find out that everything new had a lead time of several moths. I risked not having a desk until March!
I began to regret moving back from London, where I knew all the shops that would have had something perfect, including the antique shop below my flat. Which reminded me that there are antique shops in Seattle, too! Sadly the one I had shopped at before had closed, but I found another and went to check it out. And lo, nestled beneath a mountain of “treasures”, something with potential:
A vintage table with grey, faux wood-grain Formica surface and brass trim… and not even a hint of wobble. Perfect. I haggled down the price and brought it home in a U-haul rental van.
After that it was only a matter of moments to get the new office set up and it has been terrific ever since. I still spend way too much time working, but at least it’s in a more comfortable space with light and plants and the ability to close the door in those rare hours when I can unplug.