Office Cabinet Project Part II

Well I’ve had a few weeks off…painting, lying around and whatnot….now back to work.  As you’ve seen previously I installed some cabinets in the “office” area of my studio.  One of the things we knew we were going to need in the new house was an office area.  I highly advise you do the same in your current or future home.  It’s great to organize mail, notes, calendars, files and all the day-to-day debris associated with running a home. And it doesn’t require a lot of space.

A simple pass through, the size of a sheet of plywood, could serve double duty as a usable office space. More than just a built in desk it features a lot of storage space without the need for a dedicated 8×10 or larger room.

We carved out some space in the original house plan, early on in the process, near the front door and strategically placed between both main entrances to the house (the other being my studio door).  Also its proximity inside my studio also means I can work on the website or take photographs and work on the computer files right there at the desk. Read any of Sarah Susanka’s books and you can learn more about these types of ‘Not So Big House’ design principles.  Once completed this should be an awesome little space that packs a punch in terms of usefulness in the house.  And like I said in my last post it’s worthwhile doing some of this stuff up front in the process if you can.  Right now I battle the family as the kitchen becomes the depository for life’s debris…if I could get the office area to be the dumping ground for all this nonsensical piles of papers, wires, toys, and what not I’ll be halfway there (the other half is having the boys turn eighteen and move out….just kidding).

So in August I did the desk part, and the rest of the cabinets have been sitting in the garage since then.  In lieu of just paying for them monthly and not using them, it’s about time I get cracking on getting them installed!  I’m installing a couple 18″ file cabinets and a 12″ set of drawers to create a 48″ base.  Above that will be two 12″ wall cabinets flanking an open shelf unit and a set of spice drawers.  This 48″ ensemble will provide a nice little focal spot as one walks around the front hall.  (I had a wicked cool idea for this area but with everything going on I’m not doing it….I was going to get or paint all the cabinets a slate grey and then hand paint over with some distressed typography, or a huge map of London or something, in white but there’s only so much one can do…we’ll stick with the cheapo stock cabinet look and I’m sure it’ll be fine…and we probably won’t tire of it too quickly.  I’ll show you a picture sometime if I can find it, of what inspire this idea that I’m not doing).  On the endcap I’ll install a sink base and wall cabinet for storage which will service my studio….for washing brushes and storing whatnot.

Because we knew the office wouldn’t be finished until after we moved in, this little half wall served as a railing until we were ready to finish off the office area.

Tonight I spent some time assessing the situation.  We set up the end of the office area with a temporary knee wall to pass code.  I’ll have to demolish this wall and also cut in a pocket for the new wall that will protrude into the studio and ultimately support our cabinets.  But before I got to demo, I spent some time with a pen and paper trying to figure out the exact plan, down to the half or quarter inch….factoring in such things as drywall thickness.  Also I’m careful to measure the cabinets and pre-made counter tops…these will all factor into my rough framing and finished drywall dimensions.

There are really only two issues I can see so far.  One is the wood floor stops just under the baseboard trim.  Which is fine except I want my cabinets stepped back about 3-5 inches preferably from where the wood floor ends.  I could put them in such a way that the toe kick covers up the end of the wood floor but that will make my passage way too narrow, up  and around the steps that lead into the office space.  So I may need create my own trim piece and trim out the end of the floor boards.  Another issue is the endcap where the sink is.  The base cabinet and counter is twenty-four inches wide, and I plan on trimming the sides in 3/4″ plywood.  It’s not really an issue but I want to make sure I have enough “reveal” either side of the cabinet and panels so it looks good, and I can’t squeeze my steps too much…should be rewarding once I get it all figured out and built.

This area is where the rest of our office cabinets will go.

Height-wise we’ll be going about 84.5″ off the height of the office platform…30.5″ counter height, 18″ in between counter and wall cabinets and then 36″ tall wall cabinets.  At that point I’m capping everything off.  I don’t want to go all the way to the ceiling.  I want to keep things somewhat “light” up top and be able to kinda see over the top of this outcropping.  I’ll cut a hole in the exterior wall, block it and nail my perpendicular wall securely to the wall.  I’ll also frame in an access panel just in case I ever need to get under the platform to service pipes.

Once everything is roughed in I’ll get to experiment with drywall.  Not looking forward to that but I’ll figure it out as I go.  I have several sheets left over from construction…basically cut, screw in place and then finish off the corners and joints.  Yes, even I will have to patiently sand everything down.  After that some paint and install the cabinets.

So far tonight I carefully pulled off the baseboard trim, intact so I could use it to trim out the finished new wall.  Tomorrow I’ll tear down the half wall and mark out all my walls. Stay tuned.

Here you can see the rough plumbing for the sink sticking out. I’ll create an access panel for this area in my new wall.

Steps in their current state. Those are 3/4″ trim boards…I’ll need to figure out how this will all trim out in the end.

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