This will probably be the last “My Ultimate Office” posting. I have more details to wrap up, but all the most critical bits are in place. I’d finished putting in flooring and started staining trim at the end of the last post. Two or so weeks later, I have now gotten that trim stained and installed.
We called our Heating/Air company, Midstate Mechanical, and had them come out and install the duct work for the office. They installed an incoming air vent on the ceiling and a return air vent near the floor of one wall.
Around this same time, I installed a light I’ve been intending to install in the back of the “Thingy” (which is what we call the utility room in the basement) since about the time we moved in. This isn’t strictly related to my office, but the light allows for the duct work and network drop box to be clearly visible. It’s also related in that I was slightly intimidated by wiring until recently. My experience with writing the stairs up has made the idea of installing any new lights/outlets/switches/etc. seem tame.
Speaking of network drops, I ran two network drops to the office and ran the phone line in for the fax into a new box on the wall neighboring the Thingy. Gabe “helped” me tighten the box on the wall with his little screwdriver. I may run additional drops or just buy a switch for the office since 2 is probably not enough, but it works for now.
In other news, I eliminated the annoying closet switch in the office. The office has a closet under the stairs. This closet opens away from the new door and there is a light switch set on the hinge side. As anyone who has a closet with a light switch on the hinge side can tell you, this results in an annoying problem every time you open the closet. You open the closet. You realize it’s dark. You look for the switch. You remember the switch is in the most annoying place ever. You close the door. You flip the switch. You open the door again. You do whatever you need to do in the closet and then you close the door and forget to turn off the switch. The next time you open the closet, the light burned out…
I thought about solving this problem by moving the switch into the closet on the wall next to the door jam, but decided instead to wire the light so that it’s always on and install a motion detector above the bulb. Problem solved, or will be once I get the light moved to a better location (the motion sensor doesn’t quite see the door open from where it’s at).
With the trim in, the ventilation problem solved, and my network drops in place, I was ready to move. With the help of my neighbor, Jay, I’ve got my desk moved from the loft into the new office. I know have a U-shaped desk, of sorts, rather than the “L” I had been cramming into before. This means I have room for two or three computers on my desk and still have space to stack papers and have my coffee service and have a space for sketching out my notes or eating lunch. It’s awesome. The picture here shows a map of the room with cut-out furniture I used to figure out how to arrange things. I do this whenever I rearrange or move into an office.
My final project big project was also finished this evening (also with the help of Jay). I had previously decided to just buy a white board. I’ve found a place online that sells them at tolerable prices. I still didn’t want to bust my budget on the white board, but finding something to cover the whole wall at a reasonable price didn’t look possible. That was true until this week when Home Depot replaced their Thrifty White Tileboard with new materials. The new stuff is in much better shape, so I was suddenly looking at a full wall white board for around 1/3 the cost of the 8 foot by 4 foot white board I was looking at buying.
The space I covered is 100” wide by 88” tall. This is space for slightly less than two 8’x4’ sheets of tileboard. I bought two tileboard sheets as well as two sheets of 3-ply luan plywood. Our Home Depot does not carry the 1/4” MDF I would like to have used, but the luan is fairly rigid and has the benefit of being much lighter than MDF. The way I mounted this to the wall, it doesn’t make much difference.
I got the materials home and Terri helped me to glue the tileboard sheets to the plywood backing using some paneling glue. To do this, I got a couple of 8’ long furring boards (cheap, thin pieces of wood, make sure you get straight ones) and cut them half so I had 4’ long spacers. I placed the plywood flat on the floor with the side I wanted against the wall on the floor and the side to glue face up. I placed three of the furring strips (looking back, I think I may have been better to have used all four) at the top, bottom, and middle of the panels. I then used my caulk gun to lay down glue on the plywood. Terri then helped me place the tileboard panel face up on top of the furring strips. Then, I pulled the middle furring strip while Terri made sure the edges stayed lined up. We then pulled each end while making sure the corners lined up. Finally, I went from one end of the new tileboard/plywood sheet to the other and pressed down on it to make sure the sheets were completely flat against each other without any warping or bubbling and then checked the corners one last time. Once dried, I have two 4’ by 8’ tileboard sheets that are mounted upon the plywood and are rigid enough to move and mount.
It was my dearest hope to cover the entire wall with a whiteboard. I have two problems though. First, the wall is only 88-1/2” tall and I have 96” of whiteboard, so I needed to cut. Second, I don’t want a seam with screws hold the board up to be at chest height, it wouldn’t make for a very useful board. Therefore, I cut one of the boards twice. One to be 30” tall and the other to be about 10-1/2” leaving about 7-1/2” of scrap. Doing my math, that gives me 30” + 10-1/2” + 48” = 88-1/2”. This height allows me to place a tray at about 30” above the trim (about 32” above the floor) and gives me a 10” strip along the top (which Terri didn’t and doesn’t understand, but I think it will be great to have a strip up there for longer term notes and what-not, besides being able to say I have a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard).
Again, I lack a table saw, so I had to clamp a 2x4 down the length of the board to provide the straight edge I needed to guide my table saw. I made my cuts and then, again with Jay’s help, was ready to mount. We put the 30” sheet on the wall, horizontally, and I mounted it initially with 6 or so drywall screws. Then, we put up the 48” sheet on top of the 30” sheet and mounted it with another 6 or so drywall screws. Finally, we mounted te 10” strip at the top with more drywall screws. Later, I came back with another 10 or so drywall screws along the top and bottom of each sheet to hold them type and reduce any bowing.
Of course, I don’t really want to see the screws. Therefore, I used my finishing nailer to place a piece of base trim at the bottom (upside-down so the bevel is at the bottom), another piece of base trim on the edge of the 48” and 10” sheets to cover those screws. I used a piece of batten to cover the screws at the very top (mostly because batten is not quite as wide base and the 10” sheet is small enough already). Between the 30” and 48” sheets, I placed a piece of vinyl brick molding and nailed it to the wall to provide a tray. On the back (facing down) there’s a nice lip that provided the perfect space to wedge some crown molding underneath, which provides extra support for the tray. I now have a great looking whiteboard and I can’t wait to mark it up!
The work is never done. I need to finish moving into my office and clean up the loft. I still need to call the carpet guy and have him get the edge done. I need to finish putting the closet back together and reposition the light so the motion sensor works the way I want. I have one more piece of quarter round to replace along the ceiling in my office and a few pieces to replace in the hall. I also need to replace the casement and baseboard in the hall. There’s probably more.
However, now my focus will be shifting to Gabe’s new big boy room, which will mean lots of taping painting, bed assembly, moving furniture, etc. Then, I need to convert Gabe’s toddler bed back into a crib and get the baby room ready.
Someday, I may try to get back to completing Super Mario Brothers Wii.