Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Weekend Project: New Workspace

Today we are continuing our week of Play it Again, Momma entries and today's focus will be on renovating your home on a budget. We have done a lot of work to our late sixties tri-level home and with each project, I feel a little more pride about our home. Our space might be limited, but each entry should showcase how we make our space work for us!

I am so excited because Ryan & I were finally able to complete another project on our to-do list... creating a workspace for two.

We have had a lot of challenges with the two of us both working from home and both working on the computer. We both needed computer time and we were constantly battling for the computer. One of my first investments was getting a laptop. Thanks to having a computer guy for a hubby, he was able to get me an excellent deal on a laptop and I was partially in business.

I say partially because we were still battling over workspace. I have back problems and would want to sit at a desk. He would need the desk for his computer so we would once again be duking it out for the workspace. One of us would be sitting at our children's tiny table trying to talk about work ideas and the other one of us would be sitting all comfy at the desk. We also had other scenarios where I would try to be productive working in my room and then fall asleep or I would attempt to work from the couch, but someone would want to watch television. In short, it wasn't working.

Finding a desk though that could fit our "team Clark" philosophy was tough and expensive! We decided to use some of the money that I earned this year to put towards getting a desk that would be perfect for us to work together.

We found what we wanted in the Pottery Barn catalog, but we aren't a Pottery Barn kind of family (budget wise, I mean). Ryan was able to find it for a fraction of the price on Target's website though and you can't even tell a difference between the two designs. He also found a deal where we got 15% off and free shipping. Timing it with that really helped save us some additional money. While it was definitely a splurge, it provided the perfect space for the two of us to work together.

Welcome to my new workspace- isn't it great? You can expand these pictures to view it in more detail. We purchased three cabinets and bought two desk tops to make our new work area. The two desk tops rest on the center cabinet and make one seamless unit. This set-up works great for us because we work together on many of our projects.

Not only is this great for working together, but it has created a lot more space in our office because it is all against one wall versus our corner desk that we had before.

This set-up was not without challenges because we had originally intended for it to go along our back wall and found that the unit was a lot larger than we had anticipated. We had to remove our closet doors and allow the unit to go basically into the closet space, which meant that this closet is now open and viewable to the world. I am not liking that too much, but it was a way to encourage us to weed through the items in the desk and in the closet to free up space and make it look more organized. I am thinking about making a curtain that would just partially hide this from view since a full set of curtains probably won't work.

I did tackle an enormous project though...those craft supplies are finally in order! That was no small undertaking and I am so happy to see everything neatly arranged. I even have space for my sewing machine so I can use my workspace to craft as well.

I organized the closet without making any investments. While I think pretty baskets would look so much better, the practical side of me won this battle and I am just using things we already have. If I add a curtain, I can close this off a bit and no one will even notice.

On the opposite wall we have my children's table and chairs. They can be in the office with us while we work and they can work on their own little projects. You can see past pictures of how we made our workspace kid-friendly.

This is an investment that I hope really pays off because we can both work together and each have our own space. Being productive, without a space to call your own, can be difficult. We love working together so this the ideal space for us!

*Originally aired February 18, 2008*

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Creating a Kid-Friendly Office

I feel very fortunate and blessed to be able to work from home. The only unfortunate part about working from home though is that it is hard to separate work life from family life. I have two children who I get to be home with and I want them to feel like they are part of my work here too. Heck, without them, I wouldn't have this site or have any parenting knowledge to draw from.

I got the opportunity to revamp our office yesterday, since my in-laws so graciously offered to keep the kids for the day, and I am amazed at how much better this house looks in one day. I tackled all of my spring cleaning and set our office up in a way that I now feel that my kids can be more a part of my day and will be able to play in here while I work.

Since I was able to refurbish that hutch last weekend, the cabinet that had resided there before needed a new home. I pulled the cabinet over to the area where our child's table set was located. I removed any junk that was still left in it and filled it with our son's arts & crafts supplies and all of the family board games for us to play together. The top shelf holds the older games and the bottom shelf is storing all of our child games.

Next to the cabinet is a basket of toys for my daughter to play with. I put various board books and small toys in there for her to enjoy while mommy is working. I also brought in one of her activity cubes to play with in this room. The new location to these items makes them "new" to her and she has been enjoying having her own little space in the office.
I also have a chair for my son to sit in to read or chat with me. He can curl up in this chair, placed next to the desk, and hang out with me while I work.

I had a lot of cleaning to do in and around our desk, but now I feel like all of us have our own space in the office.

I am interested to see how others make a home office work for them. How do you separate your work from your family life when it all is in one place? Do you have any tips for keeping the children entertained while you work? Do you have a special place for them in your workspace? Please share with me!

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