I know things here got quiet again, and I’m sorry, but it’s been another incredibly busy time, both at work and around the home.

The good news is that after much crazy, I’m mostly moved into the new office. I’m almost a month behind where I hoped I’d be back in January, but that’s what happens at times. The results? Totally worth it.

Some of the office was scope creep on my part: what started out as a plan to get the office painted ended up bringing in a painting team for a solid week to paint the interior of about 40% of the house: the new office, the bedroom, the main living room where Tatiana lives and the entry and hallway. Much of that involved bare wood that needed sanding and priming (and more sanding and two coats), and we had the ceilings painted, and since this is an Eichler with an open beam ceiling, we had the beams painted a different color as well. There was a couple of days of carpentry and prep followed by four solid days of paint, we ended up six different colors, and each color had two different formulations (satin for the walls and semi-gloss for the moldings), except for the living room which needed 3 since they wanted an exceptionally hard paint on the built-in book cases to reduce wear over time.

So six full days of the paint crew here, at least three people a day and some days more (one day six) just to get it all done. the end results are quite nice.

This is also where some of the other delays have come in: everything had to come down off walls, stuff needed to be boxed up and stored, furniture shoved into the center and tapped. Tatiana went off to the vets to live for close to two weeks, since we didn’t want her back until the house had aired out to avoid fumes.

And then stuff had to be put back. This isn’t done; no art on the walls, because we’re re-thinking where it all goes and what we are going to get rid of. I’m also moving some pieces into the office here, which will free up space for other new things later.

And along the way, this led to “why don’t we?” sub-projects: new bedroom chests and end-tables, new shelving in the dining room; some new wine racks in the entry. Because as long as it’s all torn up and you’re rethinking it all, you might as well get it done now…

Oh, one other bit that I hadn’t really thought about: cardboard. I spent a good three hours last week just breaking it down to get it to the curb for pickup. That much cardboard bothered me for a bit, until I realized that it was going to happen anyway, the question was whether I or some vendor upstream unboxed it and disposed of it, so as long as I’m getting it out to recycle, I feel like I’m doing what I can.

This is the main working area I’ve built out. The computer desk is a motorized sit-stand by Jarvis, which so far I really like. To the left are the chest of drawers from the old office. On the wall is a 4K monitor attached to an Apple TV 4K, which I can airplay content to or drive using apps on the Apple TV.

The walls are a pale blue, by the way, and the carpet is a deep bluish-purplish color called Inkblot that has hints of green in it that I really love.

Where the old office was hard core black on black on black, I decided to warm things up a bit so the accessories in the new office are all bamboo, giving me that warmer wood tones. I even picked up a bamboo chairman instead of those ugly plastic ones which I think I like. I’m going to be curious how well it holds up (they claim it’s better).

Behind me is my other desk. It’s an L-shaped desk. One of the big problems in the old office was I never had a work place I could put things down to work on; I was always struggling to clear desk space for work. In the new office, I went with a smaller computer desk and the second desk has two parts, one where I put all of the stuff that goes on desks. The other section is intended to be clear, so I can use it for working projects or desktop photography projects.

On the far wall are bookshelves; I’ve moved most of the art/mementos/etc onto it, but not the books. Some of what you see on the shelves will get put on the wall to make room for books. One goal of this project was more storage, and these shelves are part of it. Since this office was also designed for recording video, it’s also in some ways a set for doing that in and the shelves were put there to enable me sticking interesting things on them as a pretty background. That big cardboard thing leaned up on the bookcases is a desk top to go on top of the drawers to the left of my computer, and I need to set it up and decide if I actually want to use it or not. If not, it’ll find a home in the garage (right now I’m leaning towards ‘it’s fine as is’ more than I expected when I ordered it…)

And speaking of storage, I’ve turned the closet into a big storage area. Those are the amazon 10×10 cubes that you put together, a total of 12. Inside each one two 15 quart Sterilite storage boxes fit just right, and you can see I’ve taken advantage of that to move a bunch of stuff that was in drawers into these boxes where it’s easier to wrangle and organize. FWIW, that means I have a number of drawers empty for future needs and about half the closet unused, so I have room for the inevitable growth.

Anyone who’s watched Mythbusters will recognize where the inspiration for this storage area came from.

Electronics

When I started this project I brought in the electricians to run a new circuit into the room for power; they actually decided to give me 2 20 amp circuits for the price of one, so I have 40 amps available if I ever want to open up an espresso shop in here. One circuit runs the computer and the bits on that side of the room, the other the area on the other desk and the bookshelves, where I’ve got my two NAS systems. Each half of the room has its own UPS, which I’ve configured into the NAS and Mac to handle shutdowns on power outage. Networking is via EERO, tied to a 16 port switch and an ethernet cable to the NAS area where there’s another 8 port switch. That feels like overkill, but it wasn’t much more money, and I remember when I felt I’d never fill an 8 port switch in the old office and was constantly fighting the lack of open ports on it. Better a bit too much network than too little.

What you see

And when I fire up the Webcam, here’s what people see now. I’ve got the audio system running again so I can do podcasts or record voiceovers for work I’m creating. This room is a bit echoey, so I’m going to experiment with a lav to see if that helps, but I think the sound is good. I upgraded the webcam to a Brio which records 4K which I think will limit my need to set up a camera to do basic headshot video.

For those curious about what’s in the office, feel free to ask, but I plan on going into detail with products in a few weeks, after I’ve lived in it for a bit and know I don’t want to change things around.

Next steps

Not everything’s done, of course. I need to get the art on the walls. I need to get the books on the shelves. I need to re-organize a few drawers — I have four drawers for photography, and it was basically “shove it in there and sort it out later”. I have a second chair I need to bring in so Laurie or others have a place to come in and perch. I have a request from work to install a kitty tree since the people on my web conferences enjoy it when Hunter flings himself on me mid-meeting.

If you do something like this…

If you ever think about doing something like this, one big suggestion: do lots of planning up front. I spent over a month experimenting with floorpans in Omnigraffle to understand what would fit in the room and what wouldn’t, and how to organize it all to work together. What you see is literally plan #6, and while I tweaked it a bit implementing it, it’s effectively what I put down in the program.

And now…

And having finally gotten to this point…

I’m taking a few days off. I head off Thursday for Morro Bay for a few days of unplugging and pointing the camera at things. I’ve found an airbnb I’m going to try (my first time) that should be fun. And while I fully intend to sit on the dock of the airbnb and watch life pass by, I also am going to use that time to finalize the various plans for the Youtube channel. Yeah, remember it?

It’s next. And there’s a lot of work to do, and like I did last year when I went to Tahoe to focus on the novel outline, I’m taking this trip to focus on the launch and marketing plans and sort out what has to be done to get to that point. and then back home, back to work, and off to get that puppy launched…