Like almost every room in our home, over time, we find that there are things we need, things we didn’t need after all, and, of course, things we’d like to have. But no matter what, we always find ourselves needing a solution for just a smidge more space. As you can imagine, the studio was no exception.
Even if I’m not painting, I’ll work from the painting table. I hide my drop cloth in Skar, keep my portrait supplies on the shelves, and I’ll bring my laptop from it’s resting place on the fauxdenza to my larger table. I strategize my portraits for the week, catch up on my accounting, and wrap up any bloggie loose ends.
Lately, though, I’ve felt as if the fauxdenza (also dubbed the task station) has been under utilized. If it’s the kind of day that I’m up and about, running between the studio and kitchen, the kitchen and back patio and the patio back to the studio (yes, those days happen!), I’ll often stick to working from the faux – erm, task station, if only for its eas(ier) access to the door.
A few weeks ago, I realized things would make much more sense if we added a pull-out drawer to the fauxdenza – a keyboard tray of sorts – to allow extra space for my laptop and drawing tablet. If we did so, I’d also be able to tuck everything away during my shipping process – a process that uses every single surface in this whole room. (It’s like a tissue paper, brown-box, label printing bonanza.)
Thinking I could easily buy one on Amazon, further research proved that keyboard trays are f*ing expensive! We had 36″ of width to play with, and – you guessed it – we wanted to utilize every last inch of it. The problem was that we only had a 12″ depth. A standard tray had an average depth of at least 14″ and an average cost of $80+ (and that’s on the low end).
So, we made one! And it was easy! Scott ordered these variable height platform slides from Rockler in the 12″ depth, and we picked up a yard of solid, sturdy red oak from Home Depot. After a quick sand to smooth the edges, I painted this guy Behr’s Juicy Passionfruit the same day I prepped our printer station:
A bit of math proved that we could have a tray of 32″ wide, as the slides took up about 1.5″ on each side. We actually had Home Depot cut our 12″d oak to 31″w, so no additional cuts were needed when we got home.
After Scott showed me how our sliders would work (above), we held each side of the slider on the ends of our “tray,” and marked the spots where our screws would go. After pilot holes were drilled…
… we were ready to attach the platform slides:
When it was done, it looked like a keyboard tray I’d buy myself – only, we paid less than $40, it was completely custom to our needs, and it was Juicy Passionfruit!
Scott eyeballed the placement, and I did some quick measurements until it was centered. After quickly marking the spots where it would be screwed into the fauxdenza, Scott secured everything in place.
That’s it! The red oak is sturdy enough for pressure from my elbows, and it’s a great little hiding nook for my laptop when not in use.
I’ve been working and practicing with a drawing tablet, and on those days, I slip my laptop on top of the task station, and I work with the tablet on the tray. (We even scored an external display on Craigslist for a steal, and we’ll eventually mount that to the wall. Nothing will actually lay on the faux-top itself, allowing us to gain precious workspace!)
Similar to our pull-out record player on the media wall, we love the subtle hint of color the tray provides. It mimics Grandma’s chair on the opposite side of the room, and it even picks up on the other orange-y accents on our shelves.
The only downfall we can find (and we’re thinking this should have seemed obvious) is that while the sliders themselves are 12,” the tray does not pull out a full 12.” There’s about 2 inches where the rails overlap with the brackets for stability and safety. We could have counteracted this by installing the entire system a few inches forward under the fauxdenza, but by doing so, the front of the tray would have stuck out. We debated this for a few minutes, but ultimately decided to stick with a flush front (and the loss of inches doesn’t affect my work flow in the least).
I’ve been trying to convince Scott that we need to add a pull-out tray to the painting table, and this room will be bursting with tricks – the rolling printer, our table on casters, a filing cabinet on wheels, and trays pulling out from every which angle – oh, the possibilities!
Where are you finding and adding extra space?