I’ve always had this vision of having my own space in the house. Not a man cave. I’m not into sports or darts or video games. Not a chill zone. I don’t really veg out and watch movies. Not really an office either because I’m not running a business or “working.” I just want a space where I can explore my creativity. It’s more of just a zone. My zone. A place where I can get into the zone and feel the “flow.” You know, when your mind lets go and you’re completely 100 percent in the moment and enjoying what you are doing. When I’m hustling around the house and managing the day-to-day with my kids and their homework, activities, and cooking, I find I rarely, if ever, get into the zone. So I figured for me to get into the zone, I needed to make my own.
The first thing I needed to decide on was the cornerstone of any productive workspace. The desk. I’m a total DIY guy. I like taking on projects I’ve never done before and figure them out as I go. But some things I don’t want to do or don’t feel I’m not ready for. Like making furniture. Especially a desk. That’s major! Cabinet hinges, drawers and drawer glides. No way, that’s way out of my comfort zone.
My requirements for the desk were not complicated, just specific. I needed drawer storage for supplies, and a cabinet to house my stereo receiver. I also wanted an L-shaped desk to have a spot for computer work and a larger area for other projects. Since the size of the room isn’t very large, the dimensions of these elements needed to be very specific. I really didn’t want to make a desk. But after searching all over, I couldn’t find what I was looking for the price I was willing to pay. So making a desk was suddenly becoming more doable. It’s amazing what you can build from a few sheets of plywood.
Simple is usually best. I really didn’t want to over complicate it. I went with painted drawers and cabinets, mostly so the paint would hide my mistakes, and a lightly stained top. The cabinets and drawers were built out of finish grade maple plywood with the drawer faces mostly made out of 1 inch pine. I know there are plenty of harder woods out there that were probably a better choice, but my goal was to keep the cost down. The top was just a piece of plywood with a laminated oak edge for durability.
I also wanted to include things in the room that inspire me. Music is a major part of my life and I’m one of those people that still owns and listens to CDs. I know, everyone is circling back around to vinyl again (which I’m dabbling in), but I’m still okay with CDs. I love the visual experience of scanning through the rows of albums deciding what to listen to. I like looking through them and remembering moments from my past. They are the soundtrack to my life. I never had a space where I could consolidate them together before. So I decided this was the place to do that. I used one full wall to build floor-to-ceiling adjustable shelves specifically for my music collection. I made these out of plywood and strips of 1 inch pine wood and then painted them.
The last thing I needed to bring it all together was a power image. At least that’s what I call it. An image as a focal point in the room to motivate and inspire me. I originally thought it’d be a photo from a rock concert of a band I like. Like Eddie Veder in a mid-air jump, or Slash shredding on guitar. But the more I thought about it, there isn’t any one musician that really deeply moves me. I didn’t want a shrine to some random rock star. That’s when I remembered one of my favorite artists; Kandinsky. I like the musical connection with his art and his Composition VII would be the perfect centerpiece for the wall. It’s colorful, energetic and in between the chaos of the abstract shapes there is harmony. And, I just think it looks cool. In addition to the center piece, I have a cork board to hang up cards and drawings from the kids over the years and anything else that inspired me or gives me joy.
Once I finalized all the details I was ready to declare this project finished. And there is nothing more satisfying than a good before and after picture.
This truly was a passion project and I am beyond excited to have a space to work, think, create and just get in the zone. It turned out to be such a cool place that my kids are excited as well, and they already have a project picked out for us to work on together. Even though this is my room, I guess I don’t mind sharing.