My First Day of Winter Break

Rebuilt desk. I built the white desktop to replace the portion of the oak desktop above that I cut down and refaced before reinstalling it at standing height.

While I assume most of our staff were out having a great time on the first day of winter break (we close the office for the week between Christmas and New Year’s), I rebuilt the desk in Andy’s office so I could make it standing height (lead photo).

Old buildings are full of surprises. Two weeks ago, a wet spot developed under Andy’s desk. At first he thought someone had spilled water on the carpet at the holiday party, but when the wet spot grew and soaked the carpet under his desk, it was obviously not a spill.

I pulled everything on the floor out of the office, pulled out the desk I had built-in the office several years ago, and pulled up the carpet to expose the slab. The building owners had the slab torn up and they found an uncapped floor drain under the slab that had backed up and the water eventually worked its way up through the slab and soaked the carpet. They capped the drain, replaced the wet dirt with dry fill, poured new concrete, and replaced the pad under the carpet. We left the carpet to dry for a week, got it cleaned, and then I spent yesterday rebuilding the desk so it could be raised to standing height.

I have now raised six desks at the office to standing height, as staff members want to vary between sitting on a stool or drafting chair and standing while they work. Since I had built-in most of the desks at the office between 2004 and 2008, raising the desks requires taking the desktops out, raising the frames, and reinstalling the desktops. The “L” shaped desktops are relativity easy, but the “U” shaped desktops require a certain amount of rebuilding before they can be raised to standing height (in a former life I was a cabinet and furniture maker and I also worked in construction). The last two photos show the two “U” shaped desks I raised a couple of months ago.  These two were complex projects because of the shape of the desks, and the height differences between the staff members who occupy them.

Two “U” shaped desktops I modified and raised to standing height. My desk is at the back of the room. My desktop wraps around and turns into Bruce’s desktop — we sit with our backs to each other. Our desk is made up of 44 feet of oak desktop held up by five walls, and there is only one point between the two ends of the desk where there is support between the frame and the floor. Raising our desk to standing height will be a major project, so I’m thinking about alternatives for raising our workstations to standing height.


Panorama showing the differences in the heights of the desktops.



33 thoughts on “My First Day of Winter Break

  1. Beautiful work! Those are great skills to have and you are a Jack of All Trades! Yes, old buildings are full of surprises. I’ve been finding that out with the old garage here.

    • Thanks, Lavinia! I keep trying to become a retired handyman, but I haven’t been very successful. Laurie says handymen never get to retire. I suppose we only get to expire at some point! 🙂

  2. Back at t-mobile I had what they called a “sit-stand” station, where the desk was motorized and would raise for standing. Apparently they thought that was cheaper than just getting a taller chair. Those desks maxed out at 46 inches, which I frequently did. I forget what you set my desk to at the office, but that’s what you get for having tall staff! (My desk is the tall U shape.)

    • Before I raised Jay’s desk a couple of years ago we looked at the adjusted “sit-stand” desks, and they were very expensive at that time. especially if we got one that was close to the same shape, but I didn’t see they made any of them that were close to the same size as Jay’s desk.

      • yeah no, sit-stand stations are not exactly nice. They are designed as close as possible to punish you for daring to not want to sit at a desk too low for your height or anything like that. Stupid call centers.

  3. Good job. I’ve been wondering about standing desk for home but can’t work out where I’d put it. Mind you, have no skills to make big modifications myself.

    • Thanks, Olga! Standing desks are becoming quite popular, and I noticed there is now a fairly large selection of adjustable standing desks available at much lower prices then there was a couple of years ago. Once you find the space, you can probably find a standing desk to fit the space.

  4. So much for a Christmas break! Looking good though, and I bet you’re happy to have got it done. Now for some r and r …

  5. Oh wow this is so cool! I am getting a standing desk too! I think it will help with the fatigue from sitting all day! My only problem is i listening to music while I work so I could be dancing! Ya Ya! Sorry I had to say that! 😄😄

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