Matt and I have been re-configuring our studio a little bit of late. As we get busier and busier (yay!) we have been finding ourselves sitting at our dining room table in front of the lap top answering customer service queries and packing orders for increasingly larger amounts of time each day. Our dining room table was never intended to be our “office desk”. In fact, up until recently, we had quite an unreasonable amount of desks to choose from crowding up our studio (read: our entire house :P). We had a big corner desk complete with a hutch, all in laminated ‘wood’ set up in one room which rarely got used because I find corner desks and hutches to both be pretty clausterphobic and dark. I like to work on big, open surfaces with lots of daylight. Our next desk option was the corner desk’s matching table which we had moved into my sewing area resulting in it’s surface area being too crowded with sewing machines to use as an office desk. Lastly, we had a big old government desk (solid wood with a really large and useful table top) in Matt’s little workshop area which we used to hold absolutely everything despite Matt’s desire to use it as the perfect shop bench.
And yet, despite all these desk options, we were sitting hunched over our dining room table because it is the one surface in our studio/house that is bathed in natural light and big enough to spread computers, papers and partially packed orders all over it’s nice open surface. Unfortunately, the chair and table height really don’t work well for computing. Our lower backs have been getting more and more sore and we have been noticing that, in order to use the keyboard, our shoulders have to hunch up awkwardly for long periods of time.
So…in classic Matt and Morgan fashion, we put a bunch of our furniture up on Craigslist and decided to start again (this is a very ingrained habit for us)! We sold the corner desk (we’ve never been a fan of fake wood anyways), the table from my studio, and, while we were at it, we sold our coffee table too. We went from having an excess of not very useful tables and desks to having only the dining room and Matt’s government desk to work with!
That was a good thing though: It left us with the space in our house/studio to start imagining the perfect studio set up – which, we decided, was to switch to a standing desk.
When we started up a sewing pattern company, I perhaps naively imagined myself blissfully sewing all day. Of course, within almost no time at all, we realized that the reality of an online business is far different than this – we are probably at our computers just as much as if we had conventional office jobs as our careers. Since I don’t see this really changing any time in the future, we hope a standing desk will at least improve the situation. We’ve been reading some articles on the benefits of standing for the majority of the day and it really sounds desirable to me! (See this article in the Smithsonian magazine for example.) I’ve always been proud of my straight posture but, over the last two years I have been noticing I’m no longer so naturally inclined to sit or stand with a really straight back. Eeek! I don’t want to developed a rounded ‘computer back’!
Standing desks are pretty expensive and they seem to usually be a little too narrow for my liking. I didn’t want to compromise on my desire for a big flat work surface! So Matt decided to build us a desk so we wouldn’t have to purchase one that didn’t suit all of our criteria. He’s new to woodworking but whipped this up in no time! He’s constructed a coffee table and a desk in the last two weeks! He used this tutorial for the standing desk with a number of revisions. We decided to tilt the desk on a slight angle like a drafting table and we used 2X6 boards to create a table top rather than purchasing a thinner one. Matt also added an angle to one side since we are pretty limited for space in our office area and we wanted to still be able to walk through the door to our kitchen!
What do you think?
We’re mid way through sanding it and then we have to settle on a stain/oil color. These are the two main candidates at the moment:
And then we’ll need to figure out some solutions for office organization. We’re part way through sorting this out since we just bought a filing cabinet!!! (It’s probably a little odd that I love filing cabinets so much…I, along with my mom and my sister, am a bit of an office furniture and stationary geek…we used to look forward to shopping for school supplies even more than we looked forward to back to school clothes shopping!).
The filing cabinet we had before was part of the laminate corner desk unit so we had to sell it when we sold the desk. It was nice and big and we didn’t have too many complaints about it, but, since we had the opportunity to pick a new cabinet, I decided I preferred a tall and skinny cabinet to a short and wide one since this will give us more wall space to add more office furniture! The filing cabinet we found is a bit battered and well loved, but I’m calling this a ‘vintage patina’ lol.
I actually kind of like the chipped paint! What truly won me over though, were the brass handles. They’re perfect!
Now that we have a standing office desk I have been curious about standing sewing set ups. Recently, when Oona posted her sewing area tour, she showed us that she sews at a standing height desk. I tried this out by placing my little Kenmore on my ironing table once my laminate sewing table was sold but I don’t think I’m won over to standing sewing. It was pretty awkward because all my weight was on my left leg while my right foot stayed raised over the foot pedal. I tried to force myself to keep my heel on the ground so I could distribute my weight more evenly but my heel simply wouldn’t co-operate.
I hope I’ll have more success with standing computing! I’ll let you know how it turns out when we’ve finished the desk and I’ve had a chance to try it out for a few weeks.