Monday, January 11, 2016

Arm and Both Legs

You have seen my office desk in many of the past photos already. It has served me well for almost 20 years but it is time for a change. It just doesn't work well for the two people who use it and the two growing up who will most likely be using it for school research projects in the future. I need more space to spread out plus more space to store things. So when we decided to remodel the office so that we could use it as a spare bedroom since our current spare bedroom is in full time use by my mother-in-law, I decided it was time to put some thought into the future of it being an office.

I decided the way to go would be to install some upper cabinets along one wall for storage and make a built in desk that spanned the same wall with some lower cabinets beneath for filing space and more storage. I figured that I could pick up some basic cabinetry for a reasonable price to make that dream come true. It hasn't turned out that way so far. The way I had things layed out, two of the upper cabinets are common and easy to find. However, the middle cabinets are not common sized to fit the distance and thus impossible to find unless I order them made through a cabinet manufacturer. The average desk height is about 30 inches and the average kitchen counter top is closer to 34 inches. I had thought about using kitchen lower cabinets which are easy to find but this makes everything too tall to use comfortably from a chair. Finally, I have searched the used market and can find one or two of the cabinets but finding ones suitable for the lower cabinets in height is all but impossible.

I went to the local big box store and looked at their stock of cabinets but they were extremely cheaply made and looked it. They also didn't have the oddball sized middle upper cabinets that I needed nor the 29 inch lower ones needed to fit under a desk surface. I next went to the local cabinet warehouse and a nice man said he could definitely give me everything I needed. I chose a very basic design and finish with absolutely no frills and he priced it out for me. It came to a whopping $3800!

I have a hard time paying $3800 on essentially five cabinets that are going to be in an office that nobody sees except for the occasional overnight guest. Another choking point is that for that kind of money, they aren't delivered nor installed. I have to pick them up and install them myself. Finally, I'm guessing that I can build those cabinets for around $500 in wood and supplies though it will take me a fair amount of labor but hey, I have the time these days. So, I guess I am going to be custom building my entire office setup for this project. I'm actually looking forward to it.


sage said...

I would hate to build my own cabinets, but you seem to have talent for fine wood working and I expect yours will be first class. Good luck!

Ed said...

Sage - Well maybe not first class but they have turned out so far to be perfectly fine for my home office. Plus, I calculated my cost savings of going DIY versus buying them and if I made another 350,000 sets of them, I would have saved the amount of the current Powerball jackpot!

Kelly said...

Yes, I would say based on what we've seen of your work, you'll craft some beautiful cabinets. The man who built our house did ours and I loved being able to get exactly what I wanted as far as size and "insides".

I remember my kids using the kitchen table for their schoolwork far more often than a desk. ;)

Ed said...

Kelly - The my oldest still uses the kitchen table so I can keep an eye on her while she is doing homework. It seems to work more efficiently that way!

Vince said...

Any desk will do the job if you have a secretary to keep it clean. I've had unknown number over the years and none work for very long. SO in my opinion the only desk is a version of a pair of trestle and lid. If that means getting a massive plank of marine ply and glueing a bit of decorative beading to it and seating it on two two drawer filing cabinets. Then if you need it higher than the cabinets you build two risers to put below, to lift the whole. This way if you need to re-jig the room all you need do if strike the desk and stack it against a wall corner.

jambaloney said...

DIY ed DIY!!

i agree with the others - you will make vastly superior cabinets anyway and they will be the exact size you need - 3800 bux indeed!!

have fun and take pics!

Ed said...

Vince - Not sure if this applies to you or not but in my case, I have five people who use the same desk so for the sanity of myself, they all need places to store their things so that when it is my turn to use it, I don't have to spend the first fifteen minutes cleaning a space to work. That is why I'm building all the storage cabinets. The desk surface itself will be made out of plywood with hardwood edging on it.

Jambaloney - Pictures are on the way soon!