Gadgeteer: Show us your desk series – Janet

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I already told you about my spiffy elfa design-it-yourself desk.  (Check the related links at the end of this post to find the original post about my desk.)  Since I built that desk, I’ve moved to a new house, and my desk easily disassembled and reassembled at the new place.  It looks like it was built for my new office, because it fits almost perfectly between the two windows in there.  You’ll maybe notice that we have an elfa bookcase at the left of the desk.  What you can’t see is it’s floor-to-ceiling, and it also stands on feet, just like my desk does.  We love the elfa system so much that we also built a desk for our daughter’s room.  The filing cabinet to the right has my Epson Stylus NX430 small-in-one printer on it.  Our two vintage Steelcase chairs are sitting in front of the desk.  Now let’s take a closer look at some of the things on my desk.

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If you read my original article, you’ll remember that I originally had only the middle and rightmost sections of this setup.  We added a second desk area for my husband, Butch, which you see here.  On the shelf under an old picture of my daughter, you’ll see a couple of Bigso Bright Stockholm storage boxes from The Container Store.  Beside it is a classic radiometer – geeks must have their toys!  On the desktop, you see Butch’s 27″ Apple Thunderbolt display with his 11″ MacBook Air sitting on the display’s base.  He can disconnect his Air and hook up his work-supplied 15″ MacBook Pro and use it with the monitor and Apple Bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse, too.

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The middle section has a set of three very messy drawers underneath.  You can see them in the lead picture, but they are too messy for a closeup!  I need to buy a bunch of clear organizer boxes to go in those drawers, but until I do I’ll just have to keep digging around in them to find my stuff.  Anyway, the top shelf has the little “laboratory” glassware shot glasses from ThinkGeek (see related links) on display with my clocks.  The second shelf has another Bigso storage box for printer papers, and there’s a gyroscope in a display box sitting beside it.

janet-desk-5The third shelf has some photos and art, plus my Apple Mac mini computer.

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The desktop has a discontinued Levenger leather desk organizer stuffed with papers, scissors, pens, and some of my Sharpies.  The red pen and stand is also from Levenger.  Because the USB ports are on the back of the Mac mini, you’ll see I have a USB extension cord run down to the desktop, and there’s a little SD card reader beside it that I use to transfer pictures from my Nikon camera’s SD card to my computer.

By the way, all three desktop sections are protected with vinyl desk protectors we found at Staples.

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The rightmost section is my desk area.  I have more Bigso boxes on the top shelf, and a letter organizer and a storage/display box for my fountain pens on the second shelf.

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My 11″MacBook Air is sitting on the base of my 27″ Thunderbolt display.  I don’t usually hook my Air up to my display, though.  I use the display with the Mac mini and use the Air as just a laptop.  I also have an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse.

A small shelf below my desktop holds the cable modem, our Apple Time Capsule router/backup disk, and the controller hub for the Phillips Hue light bulbs we use in the living room.  And we’ll pretend we don’t see that snake’s den of cables bristling off the power strip…

There you have it – my home office and half the stock from the local Apple store!  😉

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9 thoughts on “Gadgeteer: Show us your desk series – Janet”




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  2. Thanks, Larry! elfa does have desks that don’t have the shelves above but does have room for the drawers below. And you could have a bookcase on a nearby wall if you want the extra space.

  3. I love your design for the desk and the bookcase, it’s exactly what I’m looking for. I was thinking of the hanging system but now leaning towards the freestanding. What height, width and depth is your freestanding desk and bookshelf? Did you use the classic or decor shelves? Also, what color are the shelves? Thank you

  4. I love your design for the desk and the bookcase, it’s exactly what I’m looking for. I was thinking of the hanging system but now leaning towards the freestanding. What height, width and depth is your freestanding desk and bookshelf? Did you use the classic or decor shelves? Also, what color are the shelves? Do you find the edge of the desk uncomfortable as you type? Thank you

    1. Janet Cloninger

      Hi Julia,

      My desk uses the 62” uprights, and my bookshelf uses the 83” ones. The desk shelves are 20” deep; the shelves for books are 12” deep, and the shelves for extra storage in the knee space are 8” deep. Because each unit does have a desk-depth shelf, I have to use the freestanding feet that are 21” long. Both my desk and my bookshelf have 3 columns; each column is 25” wide, so each unit is a total of 75” long. Just a note about shelf length: Use the 25” length shelf for the two outer columns and the 24” length for all inner columns so things fit together properly. Use an elfa planner in the store or online to make sure you get the right parts for your design. Read my original Gadgeteer article about my desk design and build for more info. https://the-gadgeteer.com/2013/06/17/build-an-organized-home-office-without-permanently-modifying-the-room/

      I used the melamine shelves on both the desk and bookshelf – and on my daughter’s desk and on my kitchen work shelf. They look nice, are very sturdy, and cost only a fraction of those decor shelves.

      I bought my office elfa units more than 6 years ago, and I think the shelf color I used in my office is discontinued. The current driftwood color elfa offers looks close to what I have.

      I find the edge of all desks is uncomfortable when I type, so I just added one of those long, skinny wrist rests along the front of my keyboard for comfort.

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