As fate would have it, the very week we started our home reno my office also underwent a renovation. Of course. For a full week this past summer my entire life (except for my car) was packed in a box. As frustrating as it was to be packing everywhere, there was an unexpected silver lining. I work for an architecture firm (no, I’m not an architect! I do marketing) and all of our designers work on these super cool metal, plaster, and hardwood desks. They look like something out of Restoration Hardware, but are even more interesting because of how they are constructed.
An architect who worked at our office years ago designed and built them by hand. Being a bit of a savant, he made these desks in the most complex, but brilliant way possible. Every detail is carefully thought out, each bolt meticulously measured and placed, even the composition is unique and complex. The metal was left unfinished to quietly patina over time. Instead of screws or nails, perfectly spaced tension rods support the pin board. The drafting surface and separate work space wholly balance the structure on two feet. Even the side supports are made of 4 different layers of metal and wood bolted together rather than just being one piece each. And the plaster section in the middle is different on every desk to give each one it’s own personality. The desk really is a piece of art.
And my boss was giving them away.
They had been used in our office for over 15 years and since our firm was growing, the time had come for new furniture. He announced at a staff meeting that if anyone wanted a desk we could take it so long as we removed it ourselves on a particular day. I jumped at the opportunity and told Ian that I absolutely had to have one. Since this was early in our renovation (literally, the first week) Ian hadn’t yet realized that I was going to make every single job a thousand times more complex than necessary, and so he agreed. We met at work one evening and piece by piece we took the monolith desk apart noticing two things in the process. One, it was unexpectedly complex. This was no Ikea knock off, this was going to be a power-tool-assisted renovation project all on it’s own. And two, the desk was insanely heavy, like insanely heavy. Coming in at just over 300lbs (!!) dissembling, moving, modifying and reassembling this desk was going to be a small nightmare.
So we broke it down into a billion pieces and transported it to our house. For months it sat quietly under our basement stairs and I was afraid we might never revisit the desk as other, more necessary, projects continued to surface. Then a few weeks ago Ian turned me and said, “I think it’s time for the desk.” I was so excited that we were really going to do this. But my excitement was short lived and nearly vanished when we started lugging sections of it up three flights of stairs to our office/den on the top floor. Ugh. That was not a fun night.
Since the desk was (is) enormous, we needed to make major modifications to it so that it could fit in our tiny house. We spent the next three weeks brainstorming solutions and slowly assembling it during breaks from other projects. Finally, earlier this week, we finished (yay!) and I got my very own, custom built, architecture desk! After five months of using a computer on the floor any work surface would have been a vast improvement, but this desk has a pretty big cool-factor, an interesting history, and a permanent place in my heart. It also has a permanent place in our house as I don’t think Ian will ever let me move that crazy thing again.
But…you never know. Maybe he’ll grow to love it too 🙂