Custom desk design and fabrication advice needed

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  #1  
Old 08-06-16, 05:24 PM
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Custom desk design and fabrication advice needed

Hello All!

My wife and I are about to become homeowners. We're looking for a custom office solution without the need to dedicate an entire room to being said office. We're considering using the far wall of our "loft" space to create a long, narrow multi-person desk with some limited filing space and possible some wall shelving. The available depth is 12" and the length is 12'. I've attached photos of the wall and loft, as well as some photos of [I]similar[I] wall unit concepts.

I would be building this custom in the garage and then assembling after the fact. I'm open to any and all suggestions. I'm a woodworking novice, but excited to tackle a creative project. Thank you in advance for any insight or advice!!!

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- John
 
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Old 08-06-16, 05:39 PM
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Unless you are really gung ho about building this custom, and willing to accumulate and learn to use the necessary tools, I'd consider using a couple of stock lateral filing cabinets for the bases and then buy or build a formica counter top for the desk surface. Simple enough to add matching wall cabinets. Any kitchen cabinet manufacturer offers office cabinets, including file cabinets.

Another option would be RTA cabinets, which still require you to assemble them, but don't require all the tools and effort to fabricate the pieces. There are some really high quality RTA sources (and quite few crappy ones too...).

Your biggest limitation would be the 12" depth; that's likely to be too shallow for even lateral file storage.

From your pics, it looks like you could go deeper, perhaps 18 or 20 inches, if you stay away from the doorway. I'd look for a way to do that, it will give you a lot more options.

A drawer that has to fit in a 12" deep cabinet will end up being less than 10 inches of usable space which is very limiting.
 
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Old 08-06-16, 06:33 PM
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The door to the left is a problem, but only if you want to span the entire 12'.
A 12" deep desk would not be very useful in most cases. I would recommend a desk top be at least 25" deep.
You could use 24 or 18" deep base cabinets and keep them about 3 or 4' to the right of the doorway.
 
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Old 08-07-16, 03:45 AM
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I have a small office off of our kitchen with a built in desk. Basically it's an L shaped desk with a cabinet on each end, cleats help support the top in between the cabinets. To save space I built mine only 22" wide, I agree with Brian that 12" might be too narrow. If the 12" width is due because of the door on the adjoining wall you could either stop the desk short or narrow it down at the last few feet.

You could use upper cabinets if you stay with the narrow design as they are only 12" deep, doubt you can get one with drawers though.
 
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Old 08-08-16, 07:37 AM
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A 12" deep desk would not be very useful in most cases.
That was my first thought when I read your question.
 
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Old 08-08-16, 07:42 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I think you all make really good points. I'm okay with a deeper desk away from the side door and I agree that more surface area will be really important. I know we want to give it the impression of a 'built-in' workstation, but we are limited by the space we have.

Where would I get "good" RTA supplies?
 
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Old 08-09-16, 06:29 AM
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I've used Cabinet authority a couple of times when I've had to match an existing cabinet. They offer a very wide range of cabinets, finishes, and options. They are different from typical RTA vendor that only offers a few styles and are really more of a custom cabinet maker that ships cabinets flat. But they are not inexpensive. I have no relationship with them other than as a customer.

But don't rule out just ordering custom kraftmaid or other quality cabinet preassembled if they have what you want. At least compare pricing....
 
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Old 08-14-16, 05:27 PM
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Good news!

Good news! I just did a walk-through with our builder and the limited door frame is not longer 12", but 26" due to a redesign that adjusted the door position. I now have a much deeper area with which to work!

I like the idea of using pre-fab RTA base cabinets in conjunction with a custom desktop surface. Thoughts on creative or quality material for a working surface?

Would you recommend having someone CAD/CAM or Autodraft the concept for accurate measurements? Do people do that on the side?

Thanks, Everyone!

JF
 
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Old 08-14-16, 05:35 PM
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This is a HORRIBLE, 30 second draft of what we're trying to create for that area. Thoughts on the rough draft?

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Old 08-14-16, 06:14 PM
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Looks like a good start! IIWM, I'd probably try to squeeze in a third cabinet instead of the leg, because one can never have enough storage space in office area.

For the working surface, solid surface (Corian or such) is really nice if budget allows. There is nothing wrong with laminate, especially if you have it fabricated with a rounded front edge. And there are an amazing variety of patterns and colors available to class it up. For a budget solution, MDF over plywood with a routed roundover on the front edge, followed with several coats of gloss enamel would be perfectly serviceable. I'd recommend a coat or two of water based poly over the paint for durability. And of course, there is the classic hardwood with a glass top.

For something like this, detail drawings are optional, especially if you're going to DIY. Just doing drawings won't give you accurate measurements, you get those from the space itself. There are folks that do such drawings though if you want to be able to visualize it. Craig's list might give you some sources, or you can ask at your local building department; they often can recommend folks that will do drawings for homeowners that need prints to pull permits.
 
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