A couple of days ago I had a request for the how-to of our home office so here you have it.
Our house is from the 1930’s and nothing is perfectly square so when we build anything larger we build it step by step in situ instead of building the whole thing somewhere else and the placing it in the spot we want it. Sometimes this means the finished unit is not perfectly square, but it looks better on the spot and lines up with what’s next to it, in this case a door frame.
The unit is built using 18 mm (3/4”) MDF, wood plugs and wood glue.
Tools used are a circular saw, electric plane, mouse sander, electric drill, hammer, tape measure, plug marking tool, spirit level and some clamps. Also remember to wear saftety goggles, ear plugs and a mask.
The different pieces of the unit are assembled by using the marking tool to mark where the holes go, drilling the holes, gluing and hammering in wood plugs and pressing the pieces together with clamps until the glue has dried.
As each piece is cut and drilled it’s also planed and sanded. This way the whole unit is ready for painting after it’s been assembled and there’s no need for sanding in situ. You can get away without a plane but the edges of MDF are sometimes a little tricky to get smooth so a couple of strokes with the plane really help.
Start off by deciding on the depth and height of the plinth. We went for 45 mm (1 ¾”) because this way we could use the baseboard as support at the back for the bottom shelf and let the unit be flush against the wall. Cut two sides and a front piece for the plinth. The depth 40 cm (16") we determined by measuring the file boxes that we wanted to place inside.
Add the bottom shelf. It looks nice if it butts out a little.
Decide on the height of where you want your work top. Ours is at 1 meter (3´3”) from the floor as we work there standing.
Cut two pieces for the sides and two shelves to go in between. Attach the sides to the base. We use a spare strip of wood nailed to the tops of the sides to temporarily hold the sides upright.
Now you can decide at which height you want your bottom shelves. We adjusted ours to the height of magazine holders and file boxes. The narrow shelf is for trays containing pens etc. Mark where you want the shelves to go, drill holes accordingly and assemble.
For a chunkier feel and to make the work top a little more substantial we glued together two pieces of MDF. We made the work top a little wider than the sides and 7.5 cm (3”) deeper. Attach the work top to your base and you’re half way there J.
Determine how tall you want your finished unit to be. We decided on 210 cm (7 feet) which is the same height as the tops of the window- and door frames.
Cut the pieces for the top sides. We made ours 30 cm (12”) deep which is less than at the bottom because we wanted a slimmer look at the top and it also allows you to get a clear view of the work top from above.
Cut the very top shelf. Again it looks nice if it butts out a tiny bit at the front and side.
Decide on how tall you want your work space. We use a lap top there so we checked the height of it opened up and stood at it to make sure we could see the screen properly without a shelf above being in the way. The height of our workspace turned out to be 40 cm (16”).
Figure out what kind of things you want to place on the top shelves. I knew I wanted a cube look so I just went from there. Cut the horisonal shelves, attach them and then add the vertical pieces.
I have a problem with bits of paper trailing everywhere so I added some dividers to one of the cubes. It’s basically thinner MDF pieces. Martin, Wille and I each have a slot and there’s one for bills to be paid.
After priming and painting the unit I covered a piece of cut to size foam bord with linen fabric and attatched it to the wall at the back of the unit with strong double sided tape (the kind used for laying carpet).nThe little halogen light is from IKEA.
Hey presto – Home office!
Oh, and please again be aware that the the metric measurements are correct ones and the inch measurements are approximate translations.