The Office Tour

As most of you know, this year my office got a fairly substantial overhaul as I cleared out the previous particle board desk and shelves, put down a wood floor, and had new custom cabinetry installed. I’ve displayed the occasional bit or piece of the reconstruction, but now all the work and most of the decorating is done, so I can finally reveal the whole thing. For those of you interested, come take the office tour after the jump (if you’re seeing this on the RSS feed, you won’t have a choice. Sorry about that).

First, here, have a video tour. This will take up two minutes twenty six seconds of your life, but does feature Ghlaghghee:

For those of you who prefer not to deal with herky-jerky phonecam video with extra added inane narration, here are the still shots, going clockwise around the room.

First, here’s Krissy’s chair, for when she wants to hang out in the office, and the accompanying table and lamp. The chair I’ve discussed before. The table we got on clearance at a local furniture store, and the lamp, admired by many, was gotten at the local Lowe’s. The glared out picture on the right is the cover of the first edition of my astronomy book, while the mounted San Francisco poster was actually trash picked for me years ago by someone who knew I would appreciate the piece.

Here we are facing the west wall of the office. The rug, of which I quite like the design, I found at Wal-Mart of all places. I went to all sorts of other places and most of the designs I found were either fussy or garish. This design isn’t exactly subtle, but it has a nice 60s feel to it I like. It really ties the room together, and yes, I just wrote that so the rest of you wouldn’t get there first.

To the left you’ll see the bookcase I commissioned from a local cabinet maker. It’s L-shaped and very nicely put together and made out of cherry, to go with the floors, which are not hardwood but wood composite, on account that we have a dog, and dog nails scratch up hardwood floors quite nicely. Here’s that bookcase from a slightly different angle:

Next to the bookcase is low table which (again) we bought on clearance; it has a small flaw on a corner that absolutely no one notices. The blinds were the last thing to go in the room; they just arrived a couple of weeks ago, replacing generic white aluminum blinds. The blinds really do shut out an amazing amount of light, and if I ever need to take a nap during the day, I’ll be taking it in here because it’ll be dark enough.

Here’s my work desk, which I had built. As noted before, the desk is substantially smaller than my former desk, with the idea that being smaller, it would be easier to keep clean and free of distracting toys and pets. This has been mostly but not always true, especially regarding the pets. To the right of the desk is a file cabinet, also commissioned, which serves as secondary surface for things like my DSL modem, router, file server and printer, the last of which I reluctantly bought when I became President of SFWA (I hadn’t owned one for years).

Regarding the objects on the wall, on the left wall are pictures of family, while on the right wall there’s a painting my daughter did when she was five, my Campbell award, and the original cover art for Old Man’s War, by Donato Giancola.

Finally, here we have the chaise, which actually sees its most use from Athena, who likes to lay about on it, and also from the cats (which is why we have the blanket there, to avoid clumps of fur). The dog (pictured, blurry) also attempted to appropriate it, but that was an animal too far. We put a dog bed into the room for her, however (you can see it there by the shelves), so don’t feel too bad for her.

The shelves you see were installed in what was formerly a closet; I needed shelves in this room rather more than I needed a closet, so in went the shelves. I’m quite pleased with the shelves although I should note that even with these and the new bookcase, I have more books than shelves for them in the room. The majority of the books in the house are in the basement, where for one of the next home improvement projects I will probably have a long run of shelves installed and proclaim myself the northern branch of the Bradford Public Library.

However, I have enough space to temporarily keep handy new books that come in, and also books that are gifts from friends and/or have sentimental value for me. I’m still in the process of moving those back into the room from the basement.

Now, for those of you who don’t remember or weren’t around for it, here’s what the office looked like before:

I think we can all agree that the current state of the office is a much better state. At the very least, I like it a lot better.

60 Comments on “The Office Tour”

  1. It is all the imperfections that can make perfections. It is lovely and looks absolutely comfortable. Wonderful!

  2. Very nice office. I notice even though your shelves are expanded and new, they’re already almost full. I’m guessing it will not take long to fill them completely.

    Glaghghee seems unimpressed with all of the changes. Did you take a windowsill away or something? Because that is not a happy cat. I’d sleep with one eye open if I were you.

  3. That is one gorgeous office, John. I’m rather jealous. One question, what is the Jupiter poster?

  4. Beautiful office. Love the rug! The only thing I’m not crazy about (and it’s your office, not mine, so I’ll deal) is the dark olive green paint on that one wall. Lighter colors, like the color on the perpendicular wall, make rooms look larger and feel less enclosed. Having said that, it looks like you have a lot more space now than you did before. However, it’s a reader’s/writer’s lament that they’re always going to have more books than shelves. Doesn’t it always work out that way?


  5. It’s not dark olive green; it’s actually a pale green called Scotland Road. It looks darker in the picture because I took the picture without a flash.

  6. Your voice is completely other than what I thought it’d be. No offense. I guess after reading your novels, I expected some gruff/tough military I’m-gonna-kick-your-….. voice.

    I like your office. I am relieved that somebody else finds the occasional gem at Walmart.

  7. I love the new office! I still think you should have put a secret door in the shelves, but road is behind us now. The small desk is a perfect innovation for limiting the cat involvement in your work. Excellent idea.

  8. Sara: actually, there is in fact a secret door in the shelves. It just leads to plumbing, however.

    Constantce: it’s very close to my ideal, since I was able to afford to get it that way.

  9. Honestly, I think if John ever gets tired of writing, he can join the NPR jazz DJ staff for those late Sunday nights. “And now we have ‘Take the A Train’….don’t forget to donate to WGBH’s annual pledge drive….you’ll get…a fancy tote bag!”

  10. “there is in fact a secret door in the shelves. It just leads to plumbing, however.”

    Of course, if you told us where it really led to, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, now would it?

  11. I’m in the lumber and parts collection phase of building a new desk and need to ask: how is the desktop supported: wall-mounted or legs? Any decissions you wish you could revisit?

  12. O Great Scalzi, how wonderful it is to finally see a video of Her Most Glorious Shimmering Radiant Perfection, the Beauteous Ghlaghghee, after so many years of fruitless demands for this by the Executive Committee.

    Even though the video was buried in an amazing amount of worthless tripe – and indeed, the video itself had only about 30 seconds of proper content – we find it fairly easy to forgive your lapses in this case. How Superb She Is. How Lovely. How Radiant. What a gift you have bestowed upon The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club and the lowbrows of the Whatever.

    However, we were wondering who this “Glaghghee” character was you claimed was featured in the video. No such being was seen. A relative of yours, perhaps?

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

    PS – If you had not posted so much irrelevance you would have been awarded the coveted Seal of Approval Award. But since you did, you weren’t.

  13. See, this is the cool office I want someday. And, as the daughter of a cabinet maker, can I just say thank you? Artisans like that are a dying breed these days; it’s getting hard to find people that appreciate handmade furniture that wasn’t put together from IKEA. (which is a shame. And that cherry wood is gorgeous, by the way.)

  14. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with IKEA furniture. I have some. But for big pieces, I just think handmade is nicer. :shrug:

  15. How does the corner cupboard deal with the, ehm, corner? Is it just closed, or do you stack up books all the way to the wall, covered by the books at a right angle to it?
    In kitchen land there is a whole industry trying the make the most clever use of space.

  16. Impressive office, John. Definitely a creative cocoon space. :-D

    My current “environment” looks a lot like your old office. I especially like that custom-made corner bookcase, but I have a soft spot for cherry furniture. I love the deep, warm, reddish brown of cherrywood.

    You said you have a wood composite floor in your office – Do you remember what company made it? Is it really dog-scratchproof? (I’ve got four Shelties and want to ditch some old carpeting in favor of some kind of “dogproof” flooring.) We all know that an office isn’t complete without a dog/cat or two. You seem to be fully equipped in that regard.
    Thanks for the tour!

  17. Stu@23: That looks like a nook e-reader. John has talked about owning one. (I have one too, and the screensaver looks familiar.)

    John, where do you sit when you read a non-electronic book? Your desk looks great for computing, but it doesn’t look quite so comfortable for reading.

  18. Nice space. Interesting as well on two other accounts. First, trying to see what books are on the shelf and second hearing your voice. In a most kind way, it reminds me of a old cartoon character, Underdog’s voice.

  19. Your home improvement project turned out quit nice. You should share it with they love “before and after” and other cool office treatments, and yours is both.

  20. Very nice! And distinct improvement over the old office. The carpet’s not the sort of design I usually like, but I think it goes great in this room. And both the chair and the chaise look so comfortable. Love those blinds, too. (Could not cope with your desk, though. I like a LOT of surface area where I work, to spread out my notes, notebooks, research books, etc. And also a separate surface area for bills and paperwork.)

  21. PeterM @5: I sense that Ghlaghghee’s OK with all the changes. It’s Scalzi waking her up and shoving a camera in her face that she likely was unhappy with. (“Stop that, please! It just encourages that Chang≠Chang person!!”)

    Ah, the price of fame. ;-)

  22. I love that your office is a cozy hangout for the entire family – pets included. It probably means they’re less likely to steal your chair. Fabulous job, thanks for the tour!

  23. Nice try, but that is *so* not the office of an SF/F writer. Where’s the weaponry on the walls? Where are the pizza boxes and empty Jolt cans covering up the coffee table? Where, pray tell, is the 1:144 scale model of the Enterprise-D?

    Now, that last picture at the bottom, *that* looks like a proper office, towers of books and all.

    (Seriously: nice office. You either have above-average interior decoration skills for a straight male SF writer, or your wife had a hand in the design as well. Is Kyle Cassidy going to come out and take updated shots?)

  24. Very nice looking office but I would have gone for more “utility”… you know, every square inch of wall covered with book shelf space. Of course, you do have the extra storage in the basement, but me thinks the office space doesn’t even fulfill your most intimate needs ( as in required books). But, hey, that’s just me… obviously it’s your space and if it makes you happy, that’s all that counts.

    And, I’m sure you don’t need my opinion to validate your decision, but there it is… frank c

  25. Wow. The pic of your office before makeover looks exactly like mine now. Exactly. Sigh. So I guess I should follow your footsteps and clean up my office so I can walk in it again.

  26. Looks nice! Funny, my husband has semi-jokingly called our office the unoffical branch of the Peru library. He doesn’t even know about the boxes books I left in my dad’s basement when I moved to Indiana. I figure I will tell him about the time we actually buy a house and (hopefully) have an office larger than what I believe was originally a closet!!

    For the record he does know the boxes books exist, I have just never told him how many there are exactly. :)

  27. When you eventually get to installing the shelving units in the basement, I suggest you don’t put anything you want to keep forever on the bottom level. As I recall, your basement needed a sump pump, and you REALLY don’t want to discover ankle deep water covering your first drafts or Athena’s baby pix when it, inevitably, gives out at a bad time.

  28. Judging from the before picture and the after pictures, I have to say that you have rebuilt quite nicely after that devastating earthquake.

    Good job!

  29. This is pretty much exactly what I’m trying to get my parents to do with their living room, in terms of wood shelving and the color scheme, with nice arty bits here and there. They remain unable to see the wisdom in my suggestions and are thus unable to come to an agreement on what to do with the room at all.

    In other words, very nice work. Cozy and classy. I’d very much like to have a room like that one.

  30. Not the most astute comment, but I always find it interesting to hear someone whom I’ve only ever read before. I always assume you sounded like one of my favourite professors, as from what I’ve read of your work, you share the same sense of humour. Happily, you are not his voice doppleganger. That would have just been creepy.

  31. Seemingly random piles of books? Partially full kitchen trash bag? Floor based filing system? An accretion of cardboard boxes?

    The before picture looks exactly like my bedroom.

    I think . . . I think I need to go do some tidying.

    Or start a fire and run. One or the other.

  32. Oh, wow, you have one of those cool Blue Yeti microphones. Forgive me for not having perused all the archives, so I don’t know if you’ve talked about it previously. I’m considering getting one of those (and some recording software) to lay down some instrumental tracks. If you like the results from that mic, maybe you’d consider commenting about it someday.

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