New Year, New Desk


It’s a new year, well a week and-a-half ago, and hopefully you haven’t had to rectify your written dates much. Back in 2013 or 2014, can’t remember exactly, I was living in Geelong. The place I was living at was in an old building, which undergone several uses since it was built and at the time of my stay it was used as accommodation, namely student accommodation. I was on the top floor, and my bedroom faced east which looked over the bay, Cunningham Pier, could see Deakin University and the waterfront. It was a great room except for one thing, the desk.


I can’t seem to find the photos I took of the desk but it’s similar to what’s pictured above. It was nothing fancy, just a small desk, ideal for a student. However, not ideal for an architecture student. While the desk was okay in length, it was depth that lacked as it was only about 500mm. Once you had your monitor in front of you, and your keyboard, there was no more room. Once the laptop was off to the side (feeding the monitor), room was starting to lack width wise. I’m sure I’m not alone with this, but I need a desk with depth so I can have my laptop in front of me and enough space  between the edge of the desk and laptop to have A3 paper that doesn’t overhang. It was after a late night battling an essay with books sprawled over the desk and frustration of not being able to have them in front of me while I type, that I decided I’d build my own desk.

Why build a desk when I could just go buy a bigger desk? Valid, probably smarter, cheaper and quicker to do so. However during this time I started going to guest lectures by architects and were noticing beautiful custom-made joinery and I wanted to get in on the fun. It would not only give me a chance to design something that isn’t a building, work out the details, etc, but also allow me to use my hands to build it. People would often wonder why I spent so much time in the studio instead of working at home, and the truth is it revolved around my desk. In the studio I could have 4x+ the desk space than at home, this allowed me to sprawl with sketches, paper, books and such. For someone who is so against the sprawling cities and suburbs, I tend to adopt that method on my desk.


However, I ended up moving from that place, without my custom desk. The next place I moved in had a slightly larger desk than before, but still wasn’t big enough by my standards. I kept looking at desks for inspiration, taking measures, etc but then I moved again. I ended up buying a cheap K-Mart desk, 1800mm wide by 480mm deep. It is not big enough, by a long shot but I’ve had it over a year now and it’s going okay. I haven’t exactly built it according to instructions, only applying a couple screws, so I’m surprised it hasn’t collapsed.

It’s been about three years, and each year I tell myself “I’m going to build my desk, and it will be glorious.” Still no desk though. I have my brief, and general sizing idea and what I might use as materials but I haven’t really sat down and properly designed it. Or even just build it by winging it. Naturally I want to design it, and build it (with the assistance from my brother, and his tools). I need a bigger desk so I can have my computer but space to sketch, draw, look at plans, build models and not feel cramped. I need a bigger desk so when typing an essay or a blog post I can have relevant books and sources close-by without stressing me out because everything is piled up. The desk will be a backdrop for photos of sketches, models and projects, so having the right material is important.

It’s a new year, and I’m going to build a new desk, my desk. Last year especially, I did a lot of talking about what I’m going to build. These included my desk, a pallet bed, concrete picture frame, concrete nics and nacs, plywood furniture and the like. Nothing eventuated, so the new year will be about executing these ideas and visions, with the big ticket item being this desk.  With the new desk comes new opportunities and space to work. 2016 is going to be a big year for me, so I think I’m going to need to build a big desk.

This post is part of the ArchiTalks series in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect selects a theme and a group of us (architects who also blog) all post on the same day and promote each other’s blogs. This month’s theme is ‘New Year, New ____’… I thought I’d share with you my desire for a new desk. To read how others interpreted the theme please click the links below….

The participants of this ArchiTalks blog post series are asking you to help a friend of ours who is dealing with a family tragedy. Rusty Long is an Architect based out of Portsmouth, Virginia, whose son Matthew is fighting for his life. Here is Matthew’s story, as told by his Dad, Rusty:
Matthew Long was born May 29th, 2013, happy, and seemingly healthy. Less than two days later his mother and I found ourselves in an neonatal intensive care unit waiting room, listening to a rushed intensive care doctor explain how our son needed immediate dialysis to save his life. The disease, he briefly explained, was one of a group of disorders called Urea Cycle Disorders, which impact the way the body breaks down protein. We later discovered that Matthew’s particular variant is called OTC Deficiency, a particularly severe form of it in fact, which results in a rapid rise of ammonia in the blood, called hyperammonemia, resulting in devastating neurological damage. This form of OTC is so severe, Matthew has virtually no peers who have survived it. Once the immediate crisis was arrested, we came to find out more about the disease and the impact of this initial event.

The disease is inherited, and the damage is permanent. Treatment consists of a combination of medications, low protein medical diet, and ultimately a liver transplant. Matthew was fortunate to experience no additional hyperammonemic events in the following fifteen months of life, and had a liver transplant on August 24th, 2014. The cure for the disease, a transplant, isn’t so much a cure as trading one condition for another. While we will never risk the chance of another ammonia spike, Matthew is on a half a dozen or more medications at any given time to avoid rejection. Despite these challenges, intensive daily therapy for cerebral palsy (a result of the initial damage), limited motor function, and various other challenges along the way, our son is remarkably happy and has changed all our lives for the better. He’s taught us to be stronger than we ever thought possible, to have faith beyond human understanding, and the immeasurable value of life.
The #ArchiTalks community is hoping to raise $5,500 to help Architect Rusty Long and his family reach their financial goal on If each reader of this post contributes a small amount, our impact will be massive and we can make a difference for Matthew’s family. Click here now and donate $2.00

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
New Year, New Community on Business of Architecture

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
New Year, New CAD

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
New Year, New Adventures

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
new race new year new start

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
New Year. New Budget.

Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL (@etroxel)

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
New Year, New Goals

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
New Year, New Business

Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen (@archy_type)

Nicholas Renard – dig Architecture (@dig-arch)
New Year, A New Hope

Andrew Hawkins, AIA – Hawkins Architecture, Inc. (@hawkinsarch)

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
New Year. New Gear.

Cindy Black – Rick & Cindy Black Architects (*)
New Year, New Casita

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
New Year, New Underwear

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
New Year, New Era

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“new year, new _____”

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
New Year, New Plan

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
New Year, New Adventures

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
New Year, New Life!

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
New Year, New Home

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
New Year, New·ly Adult Architect

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
A Little Premature


Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture (@mondo_tiki_man)

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
new year, new [engagement]

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
New Year, New Business

Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@simplybrinn)
New Year, New Perspective

David Molinaro – Relax2dmax (@relax2dmax)

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
The New New

Daniel Beck – The Architect’s Checklist (@archchecklist)

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
New Year New Reality

Anthony Richardson – That Architecture Student (@anth_rich)
New Year New Desk

Lindsey Rhoden – SPARC Design (@sparcdesignpc)

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
New Year, New Goals


Courtney Casburn Brett – Casburn Brett (@CasburnBrett)

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
New Year New Office

Aaron Bowman – Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
New Year, More Change

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
New Year, New Office Space

Nisha Kandiah – TCDS (@SKRIBBLES_INC)

Karen E. Williams – (@karenewilliams)

Jared W. Smith – Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
New Year, New Reflection

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
New Year, New Direction

16 thoughts on “New Year, New Desk”

  1. Pingback: Drew Paul Bell » New Year, New Found Appreciation

  2. Pingback: New Year, New Business - Architecture by George

  3. Pingback: New Year, New Perspective - Architangent Architangent

  4. Pingback: New Year, New Adventures - Studio MM Architect

  5. Pingback: new year new race new start | think | architect

  6. Pingback: New Year, New Adventures (That Might Kill Me) | Life of an Architect

  7. Pingback: New Year — New Underwear

  8. Pingback: The New New | Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA

  9. Pingback: new year : new choices #Architalks

  10. Pingback: New Year, New Office | Board & Vellum | Blog

  11. Pingback: New Year, New CAD: my CAD Story, the Future

  12. Pingback: New Year, New Life!

  13. Pingback: New Year, New Priorities | PROTO-ARCHITECTURE

  14. Pingback: New Year, New Office - Board & VellumBoard & Vellum

  15. It is so hard to buy stuff when you know what you want and nothing available for purchase quite fits. Yes you could settle for something that is “close enough”, but custom building what you want and need is clearly the best way to go. Best of luck in building the desk. I look forward to a post about sometime in the coming months.


  16. Pingback: Budgeting for Small Firm Architects

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s