This isn’t The New Yankee Workshop, but here’s some photos I took whilst building a new home office, showing the construction in various stages─along with some humour for good measure. I’m not going to talk about what screws I used, but you’re welcome to ask any questions in the comments section after the post. Here goes…
18 months ago, I was happy in my small, but quaint office upstairs at my home here near Leeds, England, UK. As can be seen in the photo below, I had a great view of the bowling green at the rear of my back yard—and all the tweeting birds and such-like. However, as my wife gave birth to our second baby, I needed to relinquish my office and turn it into a nursery.
This is how my old office looks now. At least I could use blinds in this office, but the one I constructed had no windows at all!
And this was my peaceful view…although it looks better in Summer (the bowling green is the pride and joy of the Hemsworth Conservative Club): Oh, I did do some sketches for this project in my Moleskine Notebook, but they were quite rough.
Since I was booted out, I have been busy designing away in the corner of my living room. However, working downstairs with two kids and a nagging wife isn’t the best environment to be working in (don’t worry, Mrs. K never reads my posts).
So, over the past few weeks I have been building an office, as well been as busy on several design projects at once. Yeah, it’s been a challenge but now the office is finished, I thought I’d share some photos with you, outlining the steps I took to build it…and yes, it hasn’t fallen down yet.
I’m a designer, not a tradesman, however I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to build my own little office. In this image, it shows where my Mac and desk are downstairs, in the corner of the living room. It’s only a small space, but it worked well for me in the daytime at least.
Here, I have started to cut away the flooring and started on the timber framework…
A few months ago, I was constructing some large-format Foamex® prints for Next, Plc and wrote an article named How to make a mockup Pallet Racking, where I saw a stud drywall being constructed. I figured that it looked simple to do, so I just noted the construction method. Here, I have started on one of the walls:
In all, there were three separate sections of the timber wall to construct. I also researched online to find out the best way of doing things:
After the stud wall was completed, I set about attaching large panels of plasterboard to the framework. I did the inside first, then insulated the inside before applying the outer boards. Then I nailed on the architrave onto the door frame:
I used special plasterboard tape and filler to smooth over the joints. After it dried, I used sandpaper to smooth it over:
Whilst I was doing all this over a period of several weeks (when I had spare time in-between projects), I worked in a bit of a mess with dust everywhere. At least I covered up my iMac—now I didn’t want this to break!
I sanded down the inner walls and constructed an air vent. It’s only a small working space, so I didn’t want to suffocate whilst designing!
Here’s my daughter, Paige (yes, the one who kicked me out of my larger office). Since she’s so cute, I’ll let her off I suppose!
At one point, I needed to apply some more joining plaster, but bought one which was too coarse. However, I fixed the rough surfaces with some Polycell Smoothover compound instead of spending hours sanding it off. This is why the walls are all nearly all white here. I used a Dyson to suck up much of the plaster dust, but I clogged it much to my wife’s despair:
I painted the plaster with UVA Bond to seal it, then after it dried, painted the new office and entire living room for consistency:
The office is larger than it appears, as it is neatly tucked away under the stairs and looks more like a closet. I’m out of the way in the corner and I have a living room which is more visually appealing. No cluttered desk on show—and my wife doesn’t need to look at me, hehe.
One final step was to gloss the woodwork, so it matched the rest of the house:
On the interior of the office, I stuck on Acoustic Foam triangle/pyramid tiles to help with the acoustics of the office. Previously, when I needed to take a phone call when my family were in, I would have my Skype number divert to my mobile (so I could talk elsewhere, etc).
Now that I have a new office, it was very “echoey” and hollow-sounding, so I installed these tiles to dampen the sound. This way I can easily just sit down and talk from of my screen via the in-built microphone. As can be seen, I also installed shelves:
To cut the tiles into the correct shapes, I just used a saw (yes, that is Kermit the Frog in the background):
As my desk is under the stairs, there is an area where I have my scanner and printer. It’s great that they’re out of the way and not in my direct workspace. Again, I have used acoustic tiles to dampen the echoes—and it helps in soundproofing when I have music playing while I work.
By-the-way, to attach the foam to the plasterboard drywall, I used 3M Scotch-Weld number 74 Foam Adhesive for a very strong bond:
As the office is ‘smallish’, it’s very cluttered, but tidy at the same time. I’m not one for wanting a lot of color around my Mac screen (read my article on this for more details), but if I am doing colour-critical work, I can simply turn out the lights.
Oh yeah, here’s my son. He’s only 4 but can use Photoshop with a graphics tablet already! A designer in the making?
Now the construction of my new office is complete, all that’s required a very mature, 30+ year old graphic designer, complete with a retro He-man and Skeletor! If you look on the shelf in the background, you’ll also see Smeagol from LOTR too!
It just goes to show that with a little know-how and determination, anyone can build their own office (oh yeah, and a little money I suppose!). The total material cost for this project was about £300 (thats roughly $490 USD), but if I hired someone to build it for me, it may have cost a thousand pounds (although it would’ve been built faster).
Do you have a home office? If not, would you consider building one if you had the space?