A lesbian, an academic, an administrator, and a longtime partner--childless not by choice.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
A room of my own
Well, with nothing else I really want to do, I am thinking ahead to the fall semester sabbatical. While I will spend a few weeks in other places (probably not more than 1.5 months total), I will be home most of the time. Therefore, the biggest task on my sabbatical prep list is setting up the home office. This pic (top, from Sauder Office Furniture) captures some of the feeling of what I want...
I used to have a home office when we first moved into the house. There is a great bedroom in the front of the house with big windows facing east, and I claimed it. The gf took a darker, smaller bedroom in the back for her office. Since my office was the larger of the two, we put the home computer in my office, and my partner, who pays the bills for the household, would use the office frequently for that purpose.
I didn't work in the office as much as I thought I would; I found that I liked being in our living room, which has big, bright windows overlooking the backyard. So, I worked on my laptop in the living room. And then, when my partner started working from home and needed a space, she took over the bright office full time.
However, working in the living room just won't do for the more serious writing projects I intend to take on the summer/fall. I need a real office chair with lumbar support and a desk for the computer, rather than sitting in the couch or chair in the living room with my laptop on my lap. Also, I tend to scatter my readings all around the room as I write, I like to print and review drafts, and the messiness just goes downhill from there. I have committed to stay far away from campus over my sabbatical, lest I get caught up in the aca-drama, and I need to create a new space conducive to writing. So, I am going to adopt the dark bedroom as my new office.
The first step in rehabbing the room is to empty out all the extraneous furniture, which is a bit of a task, as the room has become our temporary furniture storage facility. But I would argue the time has come to clean the sucker out! If it won't help me write, it is clutter and has to GO! Then we have to purge all of the gf's belongings from the closet and switch out all my personal/professional stuff from the main office closet into my new office closet. This will make her room hers, and my room mine. This is a good thing.
I already have a desk chair, a small filing cabinet, a couple small cheap bookshelves, and an old recliner for reading. (The recliner needs to be recovered, really, but I plan to just make do.) I rely on my laptop, so that may mean getting a docking station, keyboard, and monitor, or borrowing the ones I have at school. (I have to see what the school policy is about that.) I need to buy a desk, hang some better wall art, and lighten it up with some lamps and lighter window coverings. I want an office that is professional, personal, and pretty.
In the past, I had pretty industrial looking desks, the ones with file cabinets built in and lots of drawers, but I think I am going for a more stylish, Mission style desk with only one center drawer and lots of horizontal desk space (sorta like the one to the left). It does need to be sturdy and large. I don't plan to do a lot of filing there; I just want someplace to write, stack papers and journals, etc. I want to be comfortable working there for long periods of time, as that tends to be how I write.
I am hoping to get an old-fashioned, tiffany style desk lamp along with a floor lamp that works with the style. This style (pictured on the right) would work well with the Mission style desk. I'd like to avoid using the overhead lights on the ceiling fan unless I absolutely have to... I can just keep the fan running with the lights off in the summer and early fall.
As for window coverings, I don't need much except at night, because the sun doesn't hit the back of the house until late afternoon. I may look at wood blinds or shutters that I can close at night; the mother-in-law has shutters at her house, and they are just lovely. All I know for sure is that the dark blue curtains have GOT to go.
It is fun to daydream about creating a nice working space. My office at school is okay--quite small, with one window, a very nice desk I got to special order, and attractive prints and wall hangings--but nothing special. I can't fit a couch or recliner in there, which would be my preference. Therefore, it would be great to have a space at home that I enjoyed. It is strange to think about having a cool office, when I recall the working spaces I used during my dissertation. We basically reorganized our house and gave me the living room, because it was the only room in the house with multiple windows. I worked at my crappy, disintegrating, faux wood computer desk for hours, taking time out only to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom. It was terribly uncomfortable and lonely. I am hoping this new office feels better to me, and that it supports a productive use of the sabbatical time!