Work Decor: Plans For the Office

We live in a pretty standard suburban home. It’s a tri-level — a close cousin of the bi-level, the ranch, the raised ranch, and other forgettable late 50s-70s designed homes. I read somewhere that a tri-level was designed, based on the 50s notion of the family — kids were upstairs, wife was in the middle with the kitchen and the living room, and the husband had the lower level and the garage. I guess nobody wanted to hangout together in the 1950s.

Most people don’t like their square footage divided up that way anymore, so houses like ours fetch a lower price than other designed home. If we had more of a choice when we were shopping for home, we probably wouldn’t have picked this house. But we were buying a slice of the community, and not the house, when we went house hunting.

We’ve had to put some money into the home over the years, because it was built in 1959 and the previous owners stopped renovating it back in the 1980s. We’ve gotten a new roof, new boiler, new kitchen. There’s a new driveway going in right now. At this point, I’m not that interesting in dumping money into the house, when there are college payments to make, but basic maintenance has to happen.

One of the mandatory, but boring expenses on our horizon, is new siding. The previous siding is original to the house. It’s old. There are bees boring into the cedar shingles. It’s not energy efficient. It’s time for a change.

When one redoes the exterior of a house, it’s the perfect time to make other changes. We might swap out the original bay window in the living room with a modern casement window, put in a new front door, and enlarge the windows over the garage; they look like squinty eyes. We’re also thinking about fixing the office.

My office/guest room is a bonus room off the ground floor family room. It’s very brown and dark. We haven’t touched it, since we moved in about eight years ago. But this red-headed stepchild of a room is where I spend most of time. I need a change. (Including a new standing desk, but more later on that.)

If we’re putting in new windows elsewhere, maybe we’ll do it here, too. It needs more than a good coat of paint. It needs help.

Here are some pictures of Office Pit.

I have to get a contractor over here to find out how much it will cost to gut the room and start over. It would be nice to put in some French doors to the side yard and get more natural light in the room. We need some overhead lights and a coat of paint on everything brown, at the very least.

When I’m in the thick of a writing project, my body and brain aren’t really here. For example, my brain in a school in Arizona at the moment. But my back is demanding better treatment. I have to be more present in my surroundings, while I’m working. So, a better room to work is moving from the wish-list expense column to a mandatory expense column.

2 thoughts on “Work Decor: Plans For the Office

  1. Laura wrote, “The previous siding is original to the house. It’s old. There are bees boring into the cedar shingles. It’s not energy efficient. It’s time for a change.”

    One of my relatives recently discovered that there was an extensive system of mouse condos underneath the siding of her house.


  2. It’s worth starting by thinking, ‘for whom am I doing this?’ Are you going to live there five years, twenty five years, or get carried out in pine boxes? We intend to be carried out in boxes, and we have been doing whatever the hell we like for 25 years now. Resale value? Pfui! If on the other hand you are five year people, it is worth paying some attention to the opinions of others… Is your house realistically a teardown when some swells buy it? If so you are again freed from paying attention to remodeling for others.
    We foamed our walls from the inside when the sheetrock was off, and it made a huge difference. Better wiring is a great plus. non-leaky windows.
    If you plan to get old there, think about mobility. We put in an elevator for my inlaws in their house and it made about four or five years difference in their ability to stay in the house. A roll in roll out shower or a bathtub with a door doesn’t cost a huge amount more than regular fittings, but putting them in later is very costly. With the split level it’s worth thinking about, to have your whole house reachable.


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