When Art Meets Function

Rob’s starter desk.

When you’re part of a distributed team, that means you get to work from your own home office. Working from home is a huge blessing that comes with a small caveat: you have to provide your own office furniture. One of my wife’s hobbies is refinishing old furniture she finds on Craigslist and in thrift stores. We happened to have a small youth sized desk my wife had refinished, and an unpadded black metal folding chair. When I started working for Sundog, I was set… sort of.

With a monitor, keyboard, and mouse on the desk there simply wasn’t much room left. And the metal folding chair… oh the metal folding chair was a pain. It was several months before my wife looked at me and said, “Why don’t you toss a blanket or pillow down? It would probably be more comfortable.” It had never occurred to me to add padding in the form of a blanket. What an upgrade that was!

After months of using my small desk and folding chair, the most amazing thing happened. I received a text message that said, “Hey Rob, I am sending you a gift. You need a work space better than you have so I want to help with that.” A few days later I received a check in the mail. Let the real upgrade begin.

I spent a few days on Pinterest and then ran down to The Home Depot and started pricing out my new desk. I quickly shifted gears as I discovered my first plan was going to be several hundred dollars more than I wanted to spend. I settled on a design, bought my materials, and started the build. In the middle of my building project I realized I’d also have enough money to get a proper office chair. After numerous online retailers refused to ship a chair to Alaska, I headed down to Costco and found a chair. I felt like I’d upgraded from a beater with a heater to a Ferrari.

Several times throughout my desk build I changed my mind on what I wanted the final project to look like. Did I want black stained legs, whitewashed legs, all natural? Should I torch and stain the top? What kind of stain? Maybe I shouldn’t stain it at all. As I sanded the pine boards I realized that I really cared about the aesthetic. I needed the design of the desk to fit well with the rest of my workspace. It needed it to compliment the silver aluminum of my computer, and contrast the grey and black of my new chair. And it needed to blend well with the rest of my office. I wanted the desk to be seen when it was in use, but disappear if I wasn’t sitting down to work. All natural it is. I look at my desk and see a piece of art that I keep in my home office, and I get to use it every day.

In a lot of ways, your website and my desk are very similar. We want to design and build you something that is functional and easy to use and be so beautiful you don’t want to look away. You have information you need to communicate, but you don’t want to bore your visitors. Walking the line between the beauty and function of your site is a fun and rewarding journey. I’m so thankful that I can be on that journey with you… sitting in a new chair at a new desk.
~ Rob Anderson