Friday, June 05, 2009

Decorating delimna again...

Decorating geniuses, I need your help. I have a dilemma in my epa center/kitchen. A few of you commented that you would like to see the real home, not the Pottery Barn Catalog, so in an effort to make you all feel better, I took a picture of my kitchen when it was a mess. Hope you all feel better because I just had to completely resist the temptation to clean up and take another picture so that I would again appear perfect.

I love having my computer in the kitchen and it is the most practical location for it in our home. The desk it sits on is just barely big enough for the computer and gets cluttered up faster than you can say, "Let's pay some bills." It is also right next to my only workable counter space and my nerves go into a frenzy if liquid gets within 10 feet of my computer. My printer is in the closet in another room and I have to bring it out every time I want to use it. We used to use the red table to eat at, but as a family of 4, almost 5, it gets used for stacking extra clutter instead.

My idea was to get a small-ish computer hutch to put the computer and printer inside and replace the red table. The built-in desk next to the counter would become a window seat and an ideal location for kids to stand and help cook (not a panic area where I stave off liquid spills).

I ordered the armoire above from Wal-Mart and now consider it to be my worst purchase of all time. The reviews were good, but apparently Wal-Mart customers aren't in to having their furniture look like something other than awful wood stickers stuck to ply-wood. The only good that came out of my husband assembling it (while gagging) and then un-assembling it, was that now my budget is a bit more flexible. He is a quality vs. quantity kind of guy and could not handle the cheap-o cabinet.

And here is where I need your help: What kind of desk should I get and what color? The kitchen cabinets are true white, the floor is light and so are the counter tops. The only reason I went for the wood "look" (besides its cheap price) was that the dining room through the doorway next to the table has oak wood floors and an oak hutch. I thought it might tie the two rooms together.

This cabinet looks really nice, it has lots of storage and cork board inside. Mr. Quality is concerned that this item is cheaply made.

Or should I go with a regular old desk? There would still be room for the printer inside the cabinet.

I like this one too, but it doesn't have a lot of work space, plus the printer would be out in the open.

In my search, I stumbled across a furniture manufacturer who sells unfinished furniture made out of wood that was once part of a tree -- imagine that! The pantry cabinet looks fitting for my kitchen and would offer lots of storage.

A cabinet like this one would also offer storage and then I could put the computer on top. 

Leave me a comment with your brilliant suggestions. As always, I will process your advice, run it by the CEO and post "after" pictures.


kelleighr said...

My 2 cents - get a new, wireless printer and save yourself some money!! Sorry, that might not be what you want to hear, but I seriously would get a wireless printer if I were you. I think the table fits the kitchen nicely, and the desk area is seriously the most perfect spot for a computer.

My printer is in the front office and my computer is in the family room. It is a wireless HP all-in-one (fax, printer, copier, photo printer, etc) that was fairly inexpensive and produces gorgeous prints. And . . . it's wireless. I put new technology above new furniture any day, but that's just me!

Good luck! And, I'm glad you like my blog! I'm super excited about it, too!

Melanie said...

I don't know - all of those cabinets, except for the computer desk, look awfully uncomfortable to sit at while using your computer. Knee space, and having the keyboard at a good level are both essential for maintaining good posture. And the computer desk will show all the mess (like ours does).

Two ideas: first, have you looked at We've found many "just what we were looking for" pieces of furniture there. Or, if you can't find anything perfect, you should figure out exactly what you want, and then take your drawings to a custom cabinet builder to get an estimate. Then you can build in pull-out shelves and drawers and closing doors just as you wish. If you need a suggestion of some names... :)

Alyce said...

I agree that you should have a real desk with leg room. It would drive me crazy not to be able to put my legs underneath the keyboard space. So I like the "regular old desk" with room for the printer in the cabinet.

Dan & Hillary and little Russell said...

I think Ikea has some options because we looked into this same problem. Of course, Mr. Quality may have some issues with it though;-)

Anonymous said...

I would go with a laptop... then you could just use the red table as your computer station and still get the window seat for the girls. I have fallen in love with my laptop since my husband convinced me to give it a try - I take it out to the deck, to the kitchen, or even the camper.... our house is set up with wireless internet so our "non-wireless" printer is left in our office and I can print from wherever the laptop is. But a wireless printer might be a good option for you too. I have a wireless printer/scanner/copier in my office at work and I love it too. But since this was a cabinet/desk question, I always like closed storage best because it looks tidiest, so I would choose the armoire, and probably something wood-toned since you have so much white going on already. Or you could paint the armoire red... love the color of your table!

Stacy said...

A wireless printer would be awesome! I'm wanting one myself!

I liked the real wood cabinet, the unfinished ones. Quality and tying the other room together and hiding any clutter. Sounds like a winner to me.

Kari said...

I think the desk with knee space is best. Then maybe there would be room for dear dad to make a custom cabinet to go over and/or next to it, maybe creating a bit more work space as well. (he copies IKEA very well right? just find the right one and start hinting about Christmas!)

Shawna said...

This may seem odd but throughout the day today I woke up thinking of your cabinet choices. So now that I am alive again (Somewhat) I wanted to at least write what I kept thinking even if a bit delirious.

I kept going back to the white one with the shutter type doors. I like it but if it isn't made to be a computer cabinet it won't have the shelf that slides out for your keyboard to give your the leg room. When I was looking for one like this what I hated was that these types of storage, put me too far away from the screen and I like it to be close.

As an alternative to buying a new computer you could get a wireless router (I have one for my mac) and the printer in the other room is plugged into it (it isn't a wireless printer but works like one because the computer talks to the router which talks to the printer. Works pretty slick and less clutter for the kitchen.

You could get one of those rain guards like they make for strollers to put over the computer when not in use to ease the fear of splatter when you are in your creative zone in the kitchen!

Okay enough babble, but one last thing, I can't begin to tell you how many times I thought of you today when I was sick, helped me push through "I can do it!" I am still about 50% but had some toast, so far so good.

Grandma Sherri said...

Sorry about what must have been a huge disappointment after your great expectations for your new cabinet. I would definately go for the one of the ones behind closed doors, keeps little fingers out of mischeif and hides all the disgusting clutter problems. You can get drawer/desk type attatchments that screw onto any shelf and it pulls out for your keyboard (since I'm willing to bet a laptop is not in the equation) We have one for our computer at work, and though it is not quality engineered I'm sure you could find one that is (or have one made- your dad has all sorts of things like that in his Wood Magazine)
My favorite is also the one with louvered doors (although they create cleaning problems all of their own!) I think the window seat is a great idea too!

Linds and Manda said...

I agree that you probably want to go with something that came in contact with a tree. Hard to find these days but it would definitely last longer. I have something resembling the one from Walmart and I'm thankful for the space but there's no way I will be able to pass it down to anyone or leave the window open when there's a stiff wind. :) I'm thinking you'll need some leg women blessed with long legs need a place to put them while sitting at a desk. Although I have seen you sit with your legs up on a chair while writing an essay, it might not be the best. I like having as much enclosed as possible too. I'm not helping am I. Would be possible to go with the more original desk but find a variation that offers more storage and place for a printer...or go wireless.

Thanks for your call yesterday. Sorry it didn't work to call. I'm having a good birthday so far. We woke up to having no power, which was a bit inconvenient on a Sunday morning when I have a brunch planned for all the family staying here. We ended up taking the sticky buns to the Dining hall where there are gas stoves. I guess the people that live in town were warned about what turned out to be a planned outage but the campus wasn't warned. It all worked out and now it's a good story. We went on a houseboat for 2 hours this afternoon and enjoyed a BBQ with friends and family. I hope the evening will hold some down time with Linds. I could use the break...after all I am old now. :)

Tawny said...

REGULAR OLD DESK!! That one was perfect-- more countertop space, leg room, AND covered cabniets. Put the printer on the floor below the cabinet and then use the covered space for clutter. And you can paint thewhite an ole color down the road.All is well.

Andee said...

I'm with Tawny. But about the printer, you can just get a router thingy to plug it into in the other room to make it wireless without having to get a whole new printer. I will have to ask Paul how this works exactly, but what a lovely thought to not have to have printer gear in the vicinity at all!

Kelly said...

Printer + floor + boys= broken printer. Q: How do you think your husband got so good at putting things together? A: by spending the first 13 years of his life taking things apart. Just my warning. Ours is a "sauder"($149) and while shopping I found that cheap doesn't look cheap if you go with dark colors. But we have low standards :)

Kelsey said...

My mil told me about your desk search, so I had to come check it out.
We're searching (or, um, I am) for a new desk setup for our kitchen as well! Livia is getting her own room soon, so that means computer/printer/bookshelf gets moved into the kitchen.
We have wireless printer (recommended!) and that can be put anywhere if it doesn't fit. I have spent hours searching online for the perfect setup and have some favorites. Maybe they would work for you (I am mostly looking at dark woods). Canopy Armoir $409 Walmart. Canopy Desk office set Walmart $579 (This is what I want, but I want the desk and two shelves). White Liatorp desk $319 Ikea. White Madison office center $500 amazon.
Maybe something like this will work for you! Fun to think about--I'm always thinking of the possibilities! I'll have to get some tips from you on Monday!
Oh to have just one more room in the house...

Christine said...

Hey- congrats on your new baby on the way- this is what I think- in the order in which they are posted:

Maybe you could have the printer in a storage area under the what will be new window seat?? I really liked the look of the desk and hutch. Cute leg- it had character. I think if it were me- I'd find the armoire open all the time- which- unless it has slide in doors could be a little annoying. I also think they would take up more visual space- which might not be a good thing.