For several years early on this room served as the unofficial office for the small publishing company I worked for, with three of us busily tapping away on keyboards. Then the room became the bedroom for Electrician Son, the one we “adopted” in high school. Most recently it has served as my primary office, as I am a freelance writer and editor. It’s pretty handy, being right next to the kitchen to test recipes, cook dinners, and bake cookies. Closed off enough to work without distraction, but near enough to the heart of the home. Now that has all changed.
This new space, designed to be the dining room when we eventually put the house on the market, is open to the kitchen. We tore out one wall, moved it 5-6 inches into the adjoining room and rebuilt it as a pony wall. The original plans called for a granite countertop bar to sit on the pony wall and extend into the adjoining room. We found the cost to be prohibitive. While the granite itself was only $190, it would be $400 to mill the four edges and another $250 to install. Plus we would have had to pay for a deck to be built, making the total cost about $1000. Not in the budget. So we went for a black IKEA countertop with a stainless steel edge that only cost $99. It really blends well with the granite and black and stainless appliances and we were able to install it ourselves.
So now we have what they call a great room, combo kitchen/dining/living space. I no longer have any privacy but I do get to see my brand new kitchen as I work from my new desk, which puts a smile on my face all day long. My old desk, a cheap Office Depot model, fell apart when we moved it. Since the budget was limited, I got creative again and headed to IKEA. I found a black 6-foot desk top for $45 and some brushed stainless legs. The legs were actually too wide for the desktop, so we angled them, adding a bit more visual interest.
I also purchased a large cubed bookcase from IKEA to fill up one wall. They replace two sagging bookcases, which we found a new home for. We even added frosted window film to the large 4x8’ window in a decorative pattern, so we don’t have to look at the neighbor’s wall. It still lets in a lot of light but allows privacy. And given the cost of window treatments, it was the best option. Two boxes of Gila window film (4x6.5’) and an install kit cost less than $100, whereas shades or drapes would have been three times that. I really didn’t want to use drapes anyway, as the window is framed in the Craftsman style, with a wide 5 .5” header and 4.5” sides. It matches the kitchen windows and not something I would want to hide.
So my previous office space now houses a countertop eating area, desk and filing cabinet, my husband’s small leaning Crate and Barrel desk, the bookcase and a couch (which still converts to a bed for nieces and nephews). You can sit on the couch and talk to the person(s) working in the kitchen. You can sit at the bar and watch the kitchen wizardry that goes on while you nosh on cheese and swill some wine. You can smell the aromas of simmering stew, chaidoodles baking in the oven, or even the dirty dishes in the sink. (Oops!)
While I lost all privacy, I gained light and beauty (because it really is a beautiful kitchen) and a more efficient office. I have a great space for friends and family to hang out in while we cook, and it expands the area in which to use when we throw parties. So now the question is: When is the next party?