Home “reno”: working from home

I have another post about our new normal that started with the new year but the easier one to post is how I created a workspace for myself because there will be times – often enough – where NPY and I are both working from home. We never considered sharing a workspace and switching off to, say, the dining table.

In February last year, I blogged about turning the left end of our living space, left of the sideboard, into a desk/workspace where paperwork and computers and stationery supplies would be corraled. My kitchen counter still has a pile of paper on it, I haven’t fixed that problem. And little did we know that at the end of March, NPY who works for a company that didn’t set up its employees to work from home finally did and he’s been home well over half the week even when he started going back in the office in the fall.

Getting ready to go back to work was mental / emotional but also a matter of physically setting up. **** Decor notes are the at the bottom of this post! ****

The right side of our sideboard has been de facto in-suite in-living room storage. A Pampers box full of odd and ends. A giant Thule box with the Thule bike seat but also assorted tutus I’ve made, a tote bag of David’s tea purchases, kids’ hockey sticks and dollar store golf clubs we want to keep out of their reach, and dollar store hauls that I haven’t sorted or gotten to. The Thule box with the seat when into our storage locker and I found homes for the rest of the stuff because I measured and this space was the right width for a desk.

I could have created a nearly identical space as NPY’s. That would have been cute. Really cute. But I also wanted a space that I could close up and not have three laptops and two external monitors out in the open. My sister sent me a link to a secretary desk at Walmart and I selected between two they carried.

On January 2, I set out to set up my new desk. The kiddos were around so NPY had to keep them away. They played happily with the styrofoam and I proceeded to muddle through. It’s not IKEA so it was a little different and I was super careful to check orientation of the boards, smooth vs rough sides, so I didn’t make a mistake. As with many furniture building adventures, a slew of anxious thoughts go through my head. Like: “Well, this will be nasty to move. We’re not moving for a long time!” And: “We are definitely getting movers who will ‘professionally’ disassemble that is needed and maneouver this out.” This desk is some 100 lbs. And, often at some point: “I would pay a Task Rabbit to assemble this!!”

The kids, led by the incorrigible older one, would find non-standard uses for the desk and a new piece of furniture means new dangers to be aware for of the younger one!

Before the monitors came in, this was the set up. I wasn’t going to move around all the dining furniture or clear off the table for a relatively unobstructed view.

In a bleary moment, I thought I could remove the top shelf because I knew the main hutch rea would not accomodate the 27″ Dell monitors we ordered. But when I put the desk together entirely and then thought about it, I realized there was no removing the shelf without destroying the idea of the desk that closes. Because there is a one-year-old around, I stuck on silicone corner guards on the very sharp top corners, and a dollar store cabinet lock to further disable the toddler from getting into the space, pulling wires, marking things up with pens, etc.!

I cry a little inside about how the monitors change the whole look of the living space. But, seriously, it’s life working from home in an open-concept condo. We are grateful we have the space to have two workspaces and have jobs that let us work from home as we need the flexibility for the kids’ school and daycare.

When I moaned about my large monitor being so glaringly obvious, NPY made the suggestion a guy would make and told me to cover it with the sheet the monitor came with. So, I do! Every evening when I’m done work. If I’m not doing work, I don’t plug in the external monitor and just work off the one laptop monitor.

I love seeing Kiddo using my desk. But I have to keep reminding him not to lean his weight onto the flap! And if the desk falls apart because he and/I break the flap, then I will create that identical space as NPY’s. I’d miss the storage in the cabinet. Currently the left side holds Kiddo’s exercise books, crayons and markers we don’t want Baby to get at. The doors are push to open which she’ll take a while to figure out I think. Yeah, it’s real life and there is a box of pantry items in a utility bin under my “office chair” which is just a dining chair. The fake leather is dying on us so probably in the not too distant future either (1) we’ll get new chairs, upholstered kind or (2) I find some chair covers that fit these chairs. I also don’t know how to dispose of these chairs!

In working from home lingo, they say I have a “window office” and cute “co-workers”. Indeed! I’m going to be ungrateful and say for the record that on a sunny day, given our south-facing condo, it’s almost unbearly sunny and I have to lower the blinds between 10 a.m. and when I leave for my “lunch break” at 2:30 to pick Kiddo up from school.

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Decor notes …. basically, I want the areas of the desk that stay visible to adhere to my colour theme (green) and reflect tidy, tasteful me!

  • Desk: Nexera Boss Secretary Desk (Walmart)
  • Storage boxes: Ikea Anilinare – in the larger one, I store this set of 65 Crayola markers of Kiddo’s; in the smaller one, I store things like hand cream, essential oil rollers, and lip balm!
  • Aquamarine-edged light box: a type store in LA; colour letters are from an AliExpress store
  • Diffuser: Poosh Aroma Om (Saje)
  • Journal: Leuchterm 1917 in Army Green (Chapters Indigo)
  • Pen holder: removed it from our Ikea SKÅDIS pegboard
  • Tumbler: Polished Metallic Mini Favourite Tumbler in Plum (David’s Tea)
  • Vase: came as part of a corporate/Godiva gift basket
  • Candle: luxury scented candle in Balsam  &Cedar (Illume, gift from SIL)
  • Coaster: it was from a museum visit, I’m thinking it was from our visit to the Tate where we stumbled upon an EY-sponsored exhibition and I wanted a momento of one of the art pieces –  I did ask Google via Lens and no search results