Office Light

August 5th, 2010

The office part of the den is my constant nemesis. It used to look like THIS, no wait, lets look at THIS really old version.

I hate the built in desk – which we can’t rip out, or else I seriously would. I hate the stupid half wall of wainscoting that is actually inset in the plaster and therefore makes up half the wall (structurally). I hate the stupid oddly placed hardwired light thing. HATE. I hate the stupid high electrical sockets. I hate that there is nowhere to hide cords since the desk is built into the wall.

Not going to change it though. Costs too much and its not worth it in the long run.

Anyhow, I wanted to try out a simple lighting solution with a basic lamp holder and half chrome bulb. This is sort of a test run for an idea I have for the bathroom.

Hey. It works.

I can’t decide if I want to paint it white or black, I’m feeling very blah and uninspired right now about everything and kind of need a break deciding about things. I’m not totally Debbie Downer though, I do like the light it gives off at night. Also, since it’s a half chrome bulb it doesn’t blind you – which is always a plus with a wall mounted light.

Ugh. I hate you desk.

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  1. kim on 08/05/2010:

    i truly don’t think it looks that bad. but maybe try to go over the vertical wainscott with horizontal boards. home depot has these super thin real wood boards that are pre-primed and paintable, sort of like a tongue and groove paneling . that would cover up the outlets too. you could then move one outlet into that cabinet and snake the wires through a pilot hole in the desktop through to the cabinet. finish with wood drawer hardware that you could paint white (similar to the ones you used in your living room, from ikea i think)

    might make it all recede into the wall

  2. Ana on 08/05/2010:

    Morgan, it looks great.

  3. Tonia on 08/05/2010:

    I’m torn, it’s looks cool, but does it provide enough light?

  4. The brick house on 08/05/2010:

    Oh yeah, plenty of light. White or black though? I’m leaning white…

  5. Dan on 08/05/2010:

    Oh, I know it bugs you but you really have made this quite a nice workspace. I actually really liked the formulation with the black bertoia and the woman portrait just covering the light (when you linked to the REALLY old one, I thought it would be when there were needlepoints everywhere!), but if you like this light I’d probably go white… I like black in theory but I think the fixture is too small for it look right on the wall.

    Have you considered more of a desk lamp type fixture? Like with a swinging/adjustable arm? Like these but less massive? Wow, I’m annoying.

    p.s. I’m like really jealous of the color of your eames chair.

  6. Sammy on 08/05/2010:

    Surely it’s not that bad? You could always drill a hole and run the cords inside to an internal powerpoint. Hate is such a harsh word Morgan, don’t let it get to you =P It’s only a freakin desk!

  7. Anna @ D16 on 08/05/2010:

    I was going to say the same thing as Sammy regarding the internal power source/drilled hole. Also, if you need to use that outlet for a power strip or whatever, you can get one of those ones with a swivel-plug (Belkin makes them) so it all lies nice and flat against the wall.

    Also, white. Definitely.

  8. Tara on 08/05/2010:

    I feel like a bit of a dork saying that I like it given that you have fab taste and you really don’t like it all that much, but I do. My vote is for the white.

  9. Kris on 08/05/2010:

    White for sure, and if you cant be bothered with too much drilling for the cords, just get some white wiremold, cordmate thingie, like maybe this:
    they have bunch of other types as well and should just stick to the wall.

  10. kim on 08/05/2010:

    are you a wallpaper gal at all? i could see some wallpaper above the half-wall. no?

  11. Deborah on 08/05/2010:

    White definitely.

    I was just thinking about your, and many others that I’ve seen, office setups. How on earth do you all keep everything so orderly and neat?

    I have the same computer (even the screensaver, which is so crazy – had it for years), but I have random crap sticking out everywhere. My speakers, extra USB hub, a lukewarm mess to be sure.

    I’ve said it a million times, but I crave your entire everything.

  12. tx Sarah on 08/05/2010:

    It looks superfine. When the rest of your house is so utterly perfect and you’re used to focusing on that, a few wires can really jump out at you.

  13. Kate on 08/05/2010:

    I think it looks great – I’m not so into the wallpaper idea, BUT I do like the idea of making it feel more separate from the rest of the room. Small rug on the ground. Might give it some definition from the rest of the room.

    Maybe for some outlet coverage Layer some framed pictures over the outlet/along that side of the wall.

  14. Jean on 08/05/2010:

    I’m with the “like it” contingent. But don’t feel trapped to the desk. If you have enough room in there, you could put a table to use as a desk in front of the magazine thingy. So it’s a U shape: you’d be sitting facing out to the room, with the old desk at your back, magazine thingy to your right. Make the old desk into a credenza by filling in the leg hole with a file cabinet or something.

  15. THE BRICK HOUSE on 08/05/2010:

    maybe I could just declutter it a bit more. possibly make a door for that opening and move the outlet inside the cupboard.

    so much work, and I’m so unmotivated. whiny whiny bitch bitch.

    sorry all, I’m in a funky crappy mood.

  16. heather on 08/05/2010:

    love that the desk has a built in magazine shelf. i like it open.
    hmmm. you could drop the outlets down to desk level but then there would be those gaping holes in the panelling. how good are you with ready patch?

  17. heather on 08/05/2010:

    oh and lay the outlets horizontal. i did that in my kitchen backsplash.

  18. Julie on 08/05/2010:

    Isn’t it already painted white?

  19. THE BRICK HOUSE on 08/05/2010:

    no, it’s just standard. it needs paint.

  20. modernhaus on 08/05/2010:

    Let’s grasscloth over that “wainscoting” some day…..

  21. rick on 08/05/2010:

    i don’t mind the less then modern details but if you reallly can’t stand them…sheet over the tongue and groove and put a six inch floating shelf at the molding edge of your half wall (hiding the chairrail detail and the depth difference) – perfect for leaning art for someone with a buying problem.

  22. Ashley Weber on 08/05/2010:

    i actually liked the desk area when i first saw it… and i still do.. but i did really love it with the wire chair better.. have you tried something kinda like a sonneman orbital wall lamp or something of that sort that you coulds have some weird 1/2 hanging 1/2 wall light?
    and for sure, go white.

  23. Megan on 08/05/2010:

    you could also use either wood filler or caulk and fill the wainscoting above and below the desktop and then paint over it with white… it may look more clean and slightly more in line with the time period of the house… i also agree about drilling holes for the cords… good luck!

  24. Nat on 08/06/2010:

    love the new light, much much better than before 🙂

  25. Cortny on 08/06/2010:

    I’ve been looking for a lightbulb like that for months! Please, where did you find that chrome/light bulb beauty?

  26. Tamisha on 08/06/2010:

    The desk isn’t so bad. Admittedly, I can see how it can but you though. It doesn’t quite jibe with the rest of your aesthetic. I think the all white desk with the white wall is a bit too stark and cold. I think it would be more in keeping with the rest of the house if the desktop was dark (kind of like your pipe shelving unit, dark against the white).

    I have that same porcelain socket with chrome bulb in the bar between the dining room and kitchen. It replaced the horrid french fry lights that came with the house.


  27. Amanda on 08/06/2010:

    I’m thinking white for the light. Looks good to me! I wish I had a designated desk… I work on the couch or kitchen table normally.

  28. Logan on 08/06/2010:
  29. Bob Borson on 08/06/2010:


    I understand your pain on the desk. I had the same issue on my first house and if I showed everyone a picture they would say it looked fine. But sitting there, all up close and everything, every dent, ding, brush stroke of flat white paint – I just cringed and dreamed of the day I would rip it all out.

    I never did, it wasn’t the biggest battle I had to fight. The funny thing is that I dealt with my problem the same you are are dealing with yours – distraction. I put a groovy light fixture over the desk – and everyone focused on that instead of my sucky desk.

    ps – you have to keep it white, otherwise the whole distraction thing goes away and the focus becomes the black thing in the room

  30. THE BRICK HOUSE on 08/06/2010:

    Bob, you are so pro. Mostly I am horrified by the wainscoting throughout the den. It was such a weird choice when they built it and is only installed throughout three quarters of the room.

    We have way bigger battles than the desk!

    White is the verdict, but we are going black in the bathroom…maybe. Maybe white.

  31. Alex on 08/06/2010:

    Looks good, I’m so excited all my furniture is coming in like 3 weeks…I ordered all sorts

  32. Coletta on 08/06/2010:

    don’t hate me..but I like the desk!

  33. Amanda on 08/08/2010:

    Regarding the cords, would you consider going wireless? We did that with our Mac, and it looks so clean. We have a wireless keyboard and mouse, a time capsule which that runs our printer and serves as a backup hard drive, and an airport because we needed an additional audio output. That leaves us with just one power cord.

    Your home is amazing-enjoy it!

  34. Conan on 08/09/2010:

    My wife and I used the exact same fixture and bulb for our bedroom ceiling light. Looks awesome.

  35. La Résidence! on 08/09/2010:

    I don’t think your desk is so bad at all. Love the bulb. I like black but white is just as good.

  36. diana on 08/10/2010:

    hmmm not sure why this desk bugs you so much. think it’s uber charming.

  37. Carol on 08/10/2010:

    I know you said you’re busy with work but hurry up and post something new. What’s going on in your bathroom?

  38. Daniel Bartelson on 08/11/2010:

    @ DEBORA what is that screen saver anyhow? I want it, but my Mac ain’t got it.

  39. THE BRICK HOUSE on 08/11/2010:
  40. DonnaG on 08/26/2010:

    noooooo – not likin’ that… 🙁 makes your room look like an interrogation cell… huh? Please consider a slightly different touch; I dunno what that is right now but that ain’t it hon.

  41. 355 on 10/08/2013:

    I’ve been looking for a plain front light socket fixture like that. Would you mind sharing where you found it? Thanks!

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