This should have come out much earlier this week, but due to my car situation I just didn't have the time.
My studio/office space is probably the most important room in my house. It was also the longest to get setup. Finding all the parts, desk, filing cabinet, shelves, organization items, marker board, etc, was fairly easy compared to the planning, setup, installation, and organization of the space. I needed a space I could shoot in when necessary and that would keep me productive for my office tasks.
Must haves of a home office/studio space:
- Have a completely separate space where you can close the door and there are no distractions - other than the Internet! This will also help you out come tax time. Just make sure you use it ONLY for business purposes and you should be good to go. (Check with your tax advisor first of course.)
- Keep a professional appearance, especially if you are going to have clients visit. I try to keep my desk relatively clean - it is a work environment after all - and I hung my various photo awards on my wall. My bookshelf has some personality but I try to keep it as professional as possible. (Yes, design-wise the bookshelf needs to become black, it's on the mile-long list.)
Creation of this space:
- Decide the purpose of the room - office or studio or both? Mine is doubling as both
- Get the dimensions and start planning out the space both on paper and physically. We measured and taped off to plan the staging. This was important with our room because it is a fairly small space 10.5'x10.5'.
- Plan out your organization. Have an idea of what supplies, equipment and workspace you want and how organized it needs to be. Emily convinced me to go for a highly-organized space with lots of vertical storage, which works well in small areas.
- Go to your favorite furniture store and start the purchasing. Most of mine is from Ikea - desk, black shelf, table leg, dry-erase board, and under shelf light. Ikea is a good store for fairly cheap organization items. I had the filing cabinet and the bookshelf. The desk is positioned on an Ikea adjustable table leg and the filing cabinet which takes up less space. My desk chair is from Office Depot - I got it on sale for $80.
- Put all the big items together first, keeping in mind where you might put some of the personal touches like plaques, photos, etc. Ikea has a ton of parts which can take forever. The chair also took a fair amount of time to put together.
- Hang up your plaques, frames, diplomas, etc.
- Move all your stuff in and start organizing it in pieces right away. Put your files in the cabinet the way you want if you never had to move them again. That way you get it right the first time, at least to a certain extent.
- Make your space neat and presentable.
Other notes about my office:
- I use Comcast/Xfinity internet with no cable service, so it's the direct connection and I had them wire it to the 2nd floor office.
- It has a closet where I can store and lock the equipment, along with some property security.
- NO MACS ALLOWED, just kidding, but I do run an all-PC office. They all sit in the office: 2 laptops and a server.
- The server is a classic - 1 Ghz, 1 gb of Ram, but it runs Ubuntu, but gives me a central location and access to my externals and printer.
- My old laptop - IBM Thinkpad - doubles as a jukebox for Pandora and to back-up to my Sony for both processing and business tasks. It is also my connection hub with all my Google apps up and running for immediate view.
- Sony Laptop - the workhouse, runs Windows 7 professional and it gets the job done
- Making these items stay in the office, means I have to go up there and do work instead of sitting in front of the TV or do other meaningless things
- It has a door that I can close to the world, which is great at helping me focus.
- It still needs a backdrop on the open wall to the left (on the list)
If money was no object I would have a plush studio in the historic neighborhood with the classic charm of Baltimore. Original brick and an open layout, with a livable upstairs or additional unit, with parking.
If you are an artist in Baltimore looking for this type of space, know a space like this, or have one, let me know. I have a few ideas.