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Home Office Reorganization – New Layout

July 20, 2008

Now that I had the proverbial blank slate to work with, I could start adding furniture back.  Before I did that, however, I needed to figure out which pieces of furniture would be selected.  I found an ergonomics calculator provided by Ergotron that started with my height and calculated how tall the table should be, the chair, etc..  Once I had those numbers, I started measuring.

I found that the Rubbermaid desks had the right height, and the chair I was using could be adjusted to be at the right height.  That was a good start.  I turned them around to face the majority of the basement, and temporarily set up the lights:

NewLayout

The next step was to figure out where the major computer components would go.  I normally type with a full-size keyboard when at my desk, and I prefer to have my arms resting on the desk.  That meant I needed a fair amount of empty space in front of me.  Additionally, based on the Ergotron calculations, the monitor needed to be at least two feet away from my head.  All of this meant I needed a good amount of depth to the main desk.  I had two options here – the corner piece, or the straight piece.

The corner desk (shown in the picture above on the right) had the depth needed, but I hated the keyboard tray.  It was too squishy and set too far forward to be comfortable.  The straight desk (shown with the darker-gray top) would work better, but I needed to get the monitor far enough away from me to leave room for the keyboard.  I solved the problem by “extending” the desktop using a two-drawer file cabinet placed immediately behind the desk (both are shown in the picture above).  Once I had these pieces in place, I quickly dropped in the major pieces to see how things would work:

CoreComponents

Now I was on a roll.  Unfortunately in my zeal to get things hooked up and tested, I had the beginnings of cable-spaghetti behind the desk.  This would interfere with me getting into the filing cabinet:

Spaghetti

The Rubbermaid desks have a built in tray for cable management, and between that and some zip ties I got the cables up and out of my way.  Since I regularly transported my mouse and external hard drive between my home office and work, I had to be careful not to zip-tie those cables down.  You’d think that would be simple to avoid, but you know, if I don’t consciously tell myself to avoid it, I’d do it and then be grumbling as I cut the ties away and try again:

Less Spaghetti

The desk was moving along nicely.  I had my core setup complete, and it was relatively comfortable.

I didn’t care for the monitor or the keyboard I had on hand.  While I didn’t have the funds to buy a new flat-panel, I could pick up another MS Comfort Curve 2000, the best overall keyboard I have ever used.

I am very finicky about my peripherals, and hunted around for several years looking for a decent keyboard that felt good, was decently priced, and had all of the keys in the RIGHT spots (you know, little things like an inverted-T layout for the arrow keys instead of the stupid diamond layout).  The Comfort Curve isn’t a true “natural” keyboard, but it does have a slight curve to it.  The keys are fairly low-profile, so it feels more like a laptop-keyboard (which I like) and the keypress action is soft and smooth.  I also can’t argue with the price – $20.

In the next post I’ll start putting up some of the secondary tools like my whiteboards and so on.

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