My ideal home office

August 25, 2014

A recent blog post on the Estes Builders website got me thinking about what my ultimate home office would look like.  I’ve been working from home for a little over four years now, and I’ve identified a few flaws in my situation.

My office is a secondary bedroom at the rear of the home, adjacent to the master bedroom and deck. It puts some distance between me and street noise (garbage trucks, mail delivery and so on). However, my dogs patrol the front window all day and will bark at a chipmunk crossing the lawn. I find myself jumping out of my chair and racing down the hall several times a day, usually for no good reason. In summer, since the yards in this neighborhood back up to each other, I enjoy a symphony of lawn and garden machines almost every afternoon.

Since I frequently record telephone interviews, I’m tethered to the landline in my office. If there’s a way to record over a wireless connection, anywhere in the home, I have yet to find it. Everything is in this one room. I do have an iPad and find it useful for checking up email when I’m not chained to my desk. It’s an old iPad, though, and doesn’t support Word or other programs that would enable me to do some real work. I spend a good part of my day writing and need uninterrupted time in which to do it; plus, I’m sensitive to noise.

Designing a house from scratch poses a lot of interesting possibilities. Estes pointed out that not everybody wants an office right by the front door, unless they receive clients at home. I’d love to have a detached guest house in the back, but alternately, the office would be in some other low-traffic location, perhaps on the second floor or on the lower level. The office (fully soundproofed) would be the dedicated room for telephone interviews, but there would also be a second workstation where I could do tasks that don’t require as much intensive concentration as writing, or take business calls when I’m not actually in my office. Something like an old-fashioned phone booth, but bigger.

Then there’s the matter of interruptions during the day. To screen out the time-wasters, I might need to install a video camera by the front door and monitor things from my desk. I’m also going to need a new tablet so I can really go mobile with my work. And while I’m at it, I should upgrade to a faster Internet connection. This is going to cost some money. I’d better get a job. 

Senior Editor

Susan Bady has been writing about the housing industry for 30 years. She is senior editor of Professional Builder and Custom Builder magazines, and produces the Design Innovation e-newsletter.  Bady has also written for such consumer magazines as Cabin Life and Better Homes and Gardens’ Home Plan Ideas