I’m sure there are plenty of folks in the Gnomiverse who have home offices. Whether they are an extension of another office (telecommuting) or you are truly in business for yourself, home offices are a contemporary phenomenon. Home offices can range from a nook-in-a-corner to a fully dedicated space in your domicile. One of my clients, a work-from-home professional couple, have taken it a step further and built their home office in a manner that truly delinates it from the rest of their house. It even has its own entrance from outside. This is handy when it comes to IRS home office guidelines and the tax deductions that come with it.

But I’m not talking about the tax angle of home offices, this post is more about the Bob Villa aspects of a home office. My own home office is down in the basement of my town house. It’s actually pretty spacious, but three years (and several cat incidents later), let’s just say the Glade Plug-Ins weren’t doing the job anymore. The original carpeting was really nasty, and the stark white paint was boring. For quite some time, I’ve wanted to put in hardwood (laminate, actually) floors. To me, it just looks better, and I hate having my comfy office chair on a carpeted floor, even with a chair mat.

It took a long time, but it happened. We lucked out because my wife has a co-worker whose father works for Mohawk flooring. So we got the raw materials at wholesale rates. And another co-worker of hers does carpeting and flooring installation, so we got a good deal on the labor. I may be handy with computers, but when it comes to home remodeling, not so much. We picked up the flooring several months ago and stacked it in the basement. The hardest part was really finding time to schedule the work. We also wanted to take advantage of having the room emptied out and have it painted. A pretty big project, but so worth the hassle and disruption.

So we finally got the work scheduled, and I spent over a week clearing stuff out bit by bit. The poor Toyota had to be banned from the garage as it became a storage area for the large desk and cabinets I had in the office. I tossed a ton of old junk that I’ve accumulated over the years (except for some old laptop batteries, which I think I can find someplace that I can recycle them properly). I set aside other stuff that might be good for a garage sale. Then I took all of my PC equipment up to the living room, which became a makeshift office for a week.

The work started officially on Friday, 20 Jan, when they came by and ripped up the old musty carpeting. On Saturday, they installed the laminate flooring. On Sunday, they did the finish work around the baseboards. Monday and Tuesday were for the painters. I cannot tell you how different the room is now. It is so much more pleasing to the eye. And I’m planning to be very methodical about how I set up my office. I am so done with clutter. I’m ready to actually have a work surface I can write on that isn’t covered with cables, software CDs, trade mags, and manuals. I have no excuses now. Plenty of storage available now that I’ve tossed the junk. I’m going down to a single monitor, and will be running 4 CPUs off the VGA port with an IOGear KVM switch, and my main PC on the DVI port. I have an APC UPS running on my main PC and will be using the cable trays on the underside of the desk to keep the jungle of cords as organized as I can. A cable tie here, velcro strap there, and tangled cords be gone!

I expect it will be another two to three days until I get most everything I want back in place. I’m in no hurry, other than wanting to make enough space to get the car back in the garage. The biggest problem is fighting the urge to remodel other parts of the house.

[tags]home office,painting,do it yourself,flooring,maintenance,cleaning house[/tags]