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Working 9-5

Having five people, all home-working/schooling, in our small coach house has been a challenge over the past year and it got even more challenging when our eldest finished university and started her graduate trainee programme after Christmas. While she considers her future living arrangements and saves some money to facilitate a mortgage or rent, she's working from her small bedroom and that is a challenge with the amount of stuff she has, not least the hardware needed for her job - two monitors, laptops, speakers etc. So, in an effort to make the space a little more conducive to work, my husband decided to build her a desk.

Old desk arrangement - yikes

Firstly, I have to say there are constraints in her room. Quite apart from it being pretty small, the only space that the desk can go is at the end, right next to the door. This means that when you open the door you effectively walk into the desk.

New desk from the door

On the wall opposite there's also a radiator, just to complicate matters further. But there is nowhere else for a desk because one wall is taken up by floor to ceiling built-in wardrobes (the same wall that the door is on) and the other has a circular window looking out onto the back garden plus her double bed is in the middle. Up until now she has had a rectangular Ikea desk that was ok but she had to put a makeshift shelf on it to raise one of her monitors plus, as already mentioned, the door opened into it and you were inclined to bruise yourself on the corner if you weren't careful. So, the challenge was to create a desk that utilised and maximised the available space, that was curved at the end beside the door and that had a raised level for a monitor. The further challenge was that this had to be completed between Friday evening when she finished work and Monday morning when she went back to work.

Rough model - didn't quite work out like this

On Thursday evening my husband measured the space and built a rough model out of cardboard. On Friday morning he ordered a supply of birch plywood that was efficiently delivered within a couple of hours. And on Saturday, after a lie-in and a late breakfast, he took himself into the back garden and spent the next few hours sawing and planing and sanding. By mid afternoon the desk and two shelves were done (in the end he decided to use only one of them), he had removed the legs off my desk that sat in an alcove at the end of our hall and for which I have a new plan, and attached them to the new desk. He assembled it in the room and gave it a coat of varnish. The following morning he gave it a second coat and by evening, all the equipment was on it and ready for morning.

It's not perfect but given the time constraints and challenges of doors and radiators and space, it's a triumph in my eyes and will certainly keep daughter no. 1 happy until such time as she returns to an office or moves out.