One of the issues I had to solve in this room was the corner where desk and storage would meet. Even in the planning phase, I struggled with this. I eventually came up with something that I was happy with, though.
I’d originally wanted to extend the storage area over the full width of the room, but then realized that I wouldn’t be able to get to anything stored in that corner, since the shelves on the right-hand side of the main desk would be completely blocking it:
You could work around that. I could make the main desk smaller, like this:
Now you can get to that corner quite easily, but this solution had a price I wasn’t willing to pay. First of all, it would have meant making the main desk much smaller, and I really didn’t want to do that – I felt that I was going to need that space. But second of all, making the main desk smaller means losing half of its storage space. So instead of five storage spaces, I’d suddenly have four. I’d have less storage space and less work space. That doesn’t sound that attractive…
One work-around would have been to keep the desk full-length, and just crawl underneath it every time I needed something from that corner storage. But that’s incredibly inconvenient, borderline unusable. Besides, do you really want to risk constantly knocking over expensive tools and materials? No, that wouldn’t work.
Another half-option might have been to extend the main desk even further, like this:
This leaves some room to get to whatever’s stored there, but not much. You couldn’t really see what you’d have stored there, unless you were only going to use the edge you can get to, and in that case you’re again not using the room efficiently. And they don’t sell pre-laminated OBS panels that long to begin with, so… that wasn’t really an option, either.
That left me with this setup:
We’ve already established that I can’t extend the storage over the full width of the room, and I can’t extend the desk the full length of the room. So I kept the corner empty. Yup. Just didn’t use it. But you can see the green smiley. Clearly I was pleased with this idea. But why? How does this solve my requirements to use the room efficiently?
I realized that my problem with all of the above ideas was that I was trying to think of the concept of “a place where one stores tools and materials” as being accessed from the side. I’ve used planks, shelves, cupboards and closets my entire life. We’re so used to this idea that we rarely even consider the alternatives. I had an epiphany moment and I realized that by building the main desk and the storage so that the front of their sides meet, and leaving the corner empty, I’d essentially create a large box. And that’s not a waste of space – that box would be an amazing place to store large materials. I already knew that I would be working with foam, and figured I would probably get foam on a large roll at some point. I then considered what else I might store in that box, and thought about various long pipes and the like. Those materials would be very difficult to store efficiently anywhere else in the room, but that corner with top-access is perfect for them. And it checks all the right boxes: four places to store things (two in the desk, two in the additional storage area) and an additional place to store large or long rolls or pipes, plus an almost full-length main desk. Perfect!
Well, almost perfect.
Come on, don’t tell me you didn’t see that coming by now. Obviously there had to be a hitch. It’s what keeps these stories interesting!
Have a look at the last picture I posted in the previous “How we got here”, and pay close attention to the corner. See anything that might be a problem?
Yeah, it’s the heating pipes. Granted, they’re insulated at this point, but I still felt uncomfortable just tossing materials nearby, especially materials that are heat-sensitive, like foam. Those materials are pricey enough as it is, and I don’t want to risk unnecessary damage to them. And then there’s that extension cord. If I’m going to toss pipes or heavy pieces of wood in that corner, I really, really don’t want to risk them pushing on that extension cord. Bad Things ™ happen with extension cords that way. And when Bad Things ™ happen with extension cords, Bad Things ™ tend to happen to the area around them. I just didn’t want to take the risk.
So I came up with a fairly simple solution: a raised platform that would fit snugly into that corner, between the walls as well as the storage space and the main desk. That way I could be sure that any remaining heat that might get through the insulating material would be dissipated by the 18mm of laminated OSB. It would also keep the extension cord safe from any potential damage from materials I’d want to store in that corner.
It came together easily enough. Since I had a bunch of strong metal corner brackets, I decided to use four of those (two for each ‘leg’) – they’re unfortunately not visible in the photo. I considered adding more on the other side of the planks for added stability, but I did a test of the result as-was and it was already so incredibly sturdy – sturdier than I’d thought it would be – that I felt it would just be a waste of materials (even if I did get the corner brackets at a very low price).
I did a test fit to make sure everything would fit, and it fit beautifully. Then I flipped the platform over, and moved it into place. I had to get a little bit rough with the walls (all of which were wobbly in weird places), but when the platform was finally down, it was so snugly in place that it wasn’t going to go anywhere:
Granted, I sacrificed a little bit of space here, as one could argue that I really only had to protect the corner – but since I was new to this, and I already felt like I might have bit off more than I could chew, I really wanted to keep the platform idea simple, and not try to go with any fancier designs. As a beginner, that was a worthwhile trade-off for me. I was certainly very pleased with the result, pleased enough to want to spend some time organizing, and in doing so, started using the storage area for the first time as well:
Thank you all for your support – I hope everyone is still interested in these “How we got here” posts as I want to do a bunch more still. 🙂
See you next time!