A good desk
I'm in the market for some office furniture. Most of this stuff is easy to find, but a good desk is eluding me. Everything I see seems to be designed forty years ago. Sure, they are all very good looking and even have some accommodations for technology (cable paths, keyboard drawers, etc). But none of them can handle what I want too through at it. The best example is that they all have hutches (something I like) that can only accommodate a single monitor (something I can't have).
Well, you could always go to the local community college and learn metalworking and woodworking and do it yourself.
Check out the
A hollow core door and two sawhorses.
Ed the Millwright
Find a place that sells second hand, solid core, flat wood doors. I paid about $40 for mine. There was a small scratch on mine that became the bottom of the desk. Pickup a can of clear coat and apply a few layers until it's nice and shiny.
I have to suggest you think hard before going to Ikea. They sell things cheaply, and they do the job, but they are not the most durable furniture. I use it, but the particular desk I got was designed to be assembled once and only once: the joints were not designed to be disassebled: in this one desk it's all cheap plastic that gets screwed into. This desk isn't ever going to get out of this room.
Anthro.com has some very nice stuff, but it sure is up there in price.
I have two folding tables - one 8' and one 6', angled into each other. It's the "door and stilts" idea but gives you the deep corner for a big monitor. Then you can put your satellite monitors on either side.
"Check out the
I prefer a table to a desk. I find it easier to get a table at a comfortable height for a keyboard - desks are less likely to be available in different heights. Also I like the freedom a table gives my legs, not confined to a cubby hole. And a table leaves more room on the floor for a UPS, or subwoofer, or even a computer.
I agree with the poster above... modular office furniture is the way to go. I went with the Bush Advantage series from http://www.everythingofficefurniture.com/adser.html. (You can also find a limited selection at Staples.) The corner desk easily fits 2 19" monitors. I got two additional side tables and a filing cabinet. The furniture should rearrange to fit any room in the event that I move to a new location.
"Where on that do you put the three open books + client documents?"
Actually, Office Advantage is what I use, also. ;)
You should take a look at City Desk - it only about $80 and designed by programmers.
RH: I also prefer a table to a desk. I can't say how many times I have banged my knees against a stupid keyboard tray that is 12 inches too low or a drawer that simply holds pens.
Oh, one more thing: I will never buy another item from ikea again. I have bought a few items, that were all basically crap that fell apart, but the one that stands out as the big piece o' crap was the attractive coffe table I bought. I bet they thought they were really clever when they used their special "connectors" instead of using a plain old wood screw. They table simply could not stand up well and swayed from side to side when I put anything on it. I ended up having a friend that builds furniture make it stronger using wood screws and a few braces.
Mike Swieton above say...
Ikea has no choice with respect to their connectors. Screws and nails don't hold very well in manufactured wood (i.e. laminated particle board and/or strand board). I bet you'd improve structural stability if you put some dabs of glue where needed and most especially inside the dowel holes. Ian's friend who does woodworking uses real wood, which doesn't have that problem.
I was in this position a while ago - and I needed a desk that could handle 21" CRTs...
Third vote for Bush Office Advantage (this is starting to sound like an infomercial!)
I would recommend taking a look at the Hon 38000 series. You should be able to get a 72" x 36" (surface space) steel and wood desk for under $400 from a local office furniture supplier. I have one with the metal hutch (another couple hundred dollars I believe) and it works very well for me. The only problem with it is size. If you are going to buy one for home like I did, you may have problems fitting it through doorways.
The best arrangement that any of my employers have provided is a standard office desk, the 40 year old design, plus a separate computer table. I arrange them in an L. I haven't seen anything that really works better. But it is only good for one monitor.
The first desk I bought for home use, many years ago, was a real struggle to get it in to the house and down the hall to my room. Then I discovered that desks usually come apart in to 2-4 major pieces and moving them is no trouble at all. This might not be true for the Ikea ones.
If I had to do it all again, I'd build it myself, actually.
I have a big glass topped table thing from Ikea, with a platform underneath that the computers go on, the single keyboard, monitor and mouse go through a switch. The desk surface fills until I can't stand it anymore.
For a do-it-yourself desk, I highly recommend buying laminated countertop from the hardware store, and setting it on filing cabinets. It's about the same cost as the suggested "door" desks, but requires no finishing. Also, being countertop, it is spill-proof and easy to clean. It also typically has a two-inch lip at the back, so pencils won't roll off the backside.
I can hardly beleive this topic - isn't there a furniture workshop in your area that'll build exactly what you want at a price waaaay below the $10K mark - it'd cost $1K here (New Zealand - so freight would run you a few buck...) if you wanted good hardwood, but a fair bit less for pine.
Way back in the dark ages (early 70's) I worked as an undergrad at a place in Cambridge call Intermetrics.
Until I started using a flat screen (no good for serious graphics work, though), the main problem I have always found is getting a desk that is deep enough. I can put up with most other irritations of office desks.
I don't think that it meets your requirements (in fact, I'm not sure that it meets anyone's requirements), but when people talk about desks, I always bring up the Aura (and you mentioned "Swordfish"-esque desks):
I definitely recommend the Aeron chair, except the price of a new one may be more than your other office furniture combined. If possible, try to look for the latest backrupt local dot-com, and see if they're selling off Aeron chairs in the bankruptcy sale. One of my coworkers was able to pick one up that way for $350, rather than the ~$900 list.
I personally love the steelcase stuff. It's modular and very well built. I don't think I've seen a line of office furniture I liked better, regardless of price.
Also, even if you are lucky enough to not work in cubicles, don't overlook cubicle furniture. You could put cubicle walls along the non-window walls of your office. And cubicle desks tend to be very well thought out for programming use.
They're not exactly on the cutting edge of office furniture technology or esthetics, but the modular desk components I got at Office Depot work fine, and look decent enough to show to a client (all the crap on top of the desk is another matter). I got about 20 feet of desktop, arranged in a U, and a file cabinet for a little over $700 (on sale). Free delivery, too. By doing a little research, I was able to get a desk that exactly fits the wall spacing of the room.
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