If you've been reading my posts at all for the last couple of years you'll likely be aware of my obsession with the perfect desk (if not you will be by the end of this piece). I spend so much time sat at my computer desk that I want it to be ideal in just about every practical way. My desk has a lot of responsibilities; it affects my physical and mental health and is the environment in which I indulge many of my hobbies and perform a number of my own responsibilities. It's also the one part of our home that is entirely and absolutely my own — it's the one part of our home that I can selfishly tailor entirely to my own preferences.
My old desk served me pretty well. It was made for me at a cost of £20 (thats about $30) and built to my own specification. It filled a need at the time but has a few flaws; not least of which was it's not-quite-entirely-flat surface and it didn't quite meet the aesthetic standard that I would have liked. For the cost it's hard to complain too much, but it couldn't last forever. I had some ideas for replacements including a glass desk from Ikea (I'm not the worlds greatest fan of Ikea furniture) but was slowly edging towards using a dining table, rather than a actual-official-labelled-as desk.
There are a number of reasons for this. One is simple aesthetics - a plain wooden table surface makes me happy; it's simple, elegant and stark. I won't lie that the clean aluminium of my MacBook and Thunderbolt Display simply look great on solid, unadorned wood. Another reason is function — I don't want all the 'features' that come with more typical desk designs. I don't want drawers to bump my knees against and fill with junk. Although I need some storage space, the average desk draw or filing cabinet is not ideal. Neither do I want keyboard trays, which are always ugly and ergonomically questionable. I really do just want a table, basic and unadorned but spacious and versatile. There's also something homely about a sturdy wooden table. It's reminiscent of the family gatherings of my childhood where my Grandmother would cook for everyone. The use couldn't be more different but the sense of place is pleasant.
I was lucky enough to find pretty much the ideal table, conveniently reduced to half its intended price thanks to a local store undergoing renovation and needing to clear it's stock. I couldn't really help myself. I also recently invested in a new stand for my laptop, affording me the convenience of a dual-screen setup. I really couldn't be a happier nerd. Desk objective achieved.
That's not quite *it* though. There are other details — the desk was just the biggest, most central piece after my computer and display. Some are environmental and others are jobs inadequately handled. The lighting in the office/study for example is a little lacking, probably not great for our eyesight, and I still keep a stack of unavoidable paperwork (salary details, tax information, that kind of thing) kind of bundled together in a useless un-sortable mess. I'd like to get some artwork for the walls, which themselves could use a fresh lick of paint. There are finishing touches yet to be made; I'm working on it. By far the next big thing though is a new chair. This one is getting a little worse for wear, the leather is torn and one of the bolts that holds the thing together literally sheared in half under the immense magnitude of my countenance. It's going to be another long hunt for just the right thing.
There is a site, probably somewhat niche, that I consider to be essentially pornographic (not *actually*, it's safe for work I promise), in that it has always instilled within me a certain unashamed lust. It's not just in that the imagery is pretty, which it most often is, but the photographs are often full of little practical details that I find particularly interesting. I first sighted my new laptop stand in one of Minimal Desk's posts (I also stumbled across the desktop wallpaper from the photo quite by accident, and will be using it until the novelty wears off). The similarity in aesthetic will be immediately apparent.