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Studio progress: there is an unexpected hiccup in the design plan

I set up a temporary desk in the studio last week and have loved working in this new space. The light is so good, it is quiet, big and open and the perfect backdrop for creative work.

Spending more time up there made me extra excited to get working on putting the studio together.

After we came up with the design plan, I ordered the dressers, countertops, lights, chairs, hardware, and diy whiteboard supplies to get this space organized and looking good.

The first step was putting together the IKEA dressers, which took me forever. Like at least two hours each. At one point, my 9 year old was helping me and doing a much better job at understanding the directions than I. I’ll chalk that up to his mad lego-building skills.

The third and final one was finished on Friday, just in time for the gorgeous leather chairs to be delivered on Saturday. So my weekend plans pretty much centered around pulling the rest of the room together.

As per the original desk idea, Ryan cut off the legs of the dressers to reduce the height and we topped the three with the wood countertops.

All was great until I pulled up the new chair to try it out.

The seat height was too short. BOOO! 

We knew it was going to be close, but with the adjustable height chairs and with the estimated measurement of the desk, we thought it would work. Unfortunately, the chairs are just too short.

Or the desk is too high.

Time for Plan B.

I’ll be honest: I don’t always do well with changing plans once I have something in my head. What I have in my head is what I drew on paper before ordering all the items to put it together:

And what I drew on paper is pretty much what it looks like with the dressers/counter tops/chairs in place.

I like the visual weight of the dressers. I like the symmetry. I like the double work areas and storage the drawers offer.

I don’t like that the configuration doesn’t go all the way to the wall on the right or that there is a seam in the wood countertop right in the center. Neither are total deal-breakers for me, but it opened up the door to explore new options.

The first option is to keep the desks as-is and just switch out the chairs. The ones we ordered are beautiful, functional, comfortable and I’m a little bummed to have to loose them. As a close alternative, I could use these counter stools. The 24″ seat height should work and it would keep the warm leather, which is what I was hoping for.

The second option is to change the desk.

So we started moving things around and brainstorming new ideas.

SIDENOTE: When I say ‘we‘, what I really mean is Ryan. He is flexible and a problem-solver and balances out my stubbornness and indecisiveness in situations like these.

Anyway, back to the desk. Here is one scenario we tried:

We could put one dresser in the center under the window with the wood countertops mounted on either side at a typical desk height (we pulled barstools from the house to get the idea. The desk would be mounted to the wall and up a little higher). Picture both sides having wood desks with the dresser slightly higher in the center.

A third option could be to remove the dressers altogether (and use them elsewhere in the room) and attach minimal table legs (like these) under the wood counters to create two side-by-side desks (similar to my old office desk as seen in the first photo above). They wouldn’t run the whole width of the wall, but it would allow for one solid desk surface. This option could work. I just really liked the idea of drawers at the desks and the way they anchor the end of the studio.

I don’t know, you guys. Why can’t I just decide?!

I told you that I would share the process of designing the studio each step of the way and this hiccup is a very real step in most design projects. Flexibility and creative problem-solving are good skills to have when you run into little issues like too-high desks and unfortunately, I don’t possess large amounts of either of those skills. At least not for this project where I had my mind set on the original plan.

And that is where we left off.

Ryan did get the can lights installed and I managed to bring up a million boxes of storage and office things that have been temporarily stacked up in the garage. At least that feels nice to have those parts finished.

But I’m still stumped about the desk and a bit bummed that the plans are not working as I hoped.

Hmmmm … what to do, what to do …

134 Responses to Studio progress: there is an unexpected hiccup in the design plan

  1. Nicola March 6, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    Absolutely love what you have done. I know you will come up with a great solution to make it work. Am curious with the seam for the counters…did you glue it all together/seal it or are they just resting together?! Am wanting something similar for my kids work station and am not really sure how much work will be involved!

    • emily March 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

      The counters are currently just resting in place, but our plan is to secure them to the dressers. I will post about it when it happens!

  2. Marcia February 5, 2017 at 8:55 pm #

    Hi! First, my apologies if I repeat a previous suggestion…I didn’t take the time to read all of the comments.

    For your first suggested solution to order new chairs, I would also add a built-in storage unit at the right end of the desk (open shelves or cubbies for rolled-up prints, etc) that matches the height of the knee wall on the left and fills the gap at the right end of the desk.

    For your second suggested solution, I would also make sure to extend the worktop on the right side all the way to the sloped ceiling to provide a perceived, if not actual, symmetry.

    Another solution would be to purchase lateral file cabinets to use in lieu of the dressers and use the dressers elsewhere. Lateral files are available in a variety of heights, including 2-drawers high that are specifically designed for this application, and provide a finished desk height of the standard 29″H to 30″H. Assuming the chairs you purchased are designed for standard desk heights – this solution would work.

    Best of luck!

  3. Debbie February 2, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    Hi, Emily, from the looks of the height at which the counter sits on the stools, is it possible to take the first drawer off at optimal height, might even produce a cubby hole, and use them another place in the room, I am confident Ryan can build something and use the drawers ;) – you will have three less drawers under the counter but your design in tact ;)

  4. Julie February 1, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

    I do kitchen and bath design, I totally understand not wanting to stray from an original plan. I thought of an idea I’ve seen, and actually plan to use for myself soon. Consider using a side or dining type chair, maybe even upholstered, and add casters to the bottom. It may raise the seat up enough for use with the dressers as planned. I have a fun vintage chair I plan to use, mostly to avoid a typical office looking chair. Good luck with solving the problem!

  5. Jen R January 31, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

    If the cylinder replacement idea mentioned earlier isn’t an option (may need a stool at your feet to avoid back issues if your legs don’t reach the floor comfortably), I think it would look amazing to have the two wooden desks done on either side of one set of drawers and add a wood or granite top to that chest, installing the wooden table tops with brackets underneath. Yes, the right side would be a bit longer but I think with the chest in the center, your eye will be drawn more there and you won’t notice the slightly longer desk on the right. You’ll have to utilize the other two chests elsewhere but that’s always something that could easily be used even in a closet for a kiddo :) I can’t wait to see what you finally decide to do. Thanks for sharing the whole process!

  6. Kim Kelley January 31, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    Hi Emily,

    I LOVE a good design problem! I would keep the Center dresser, and move the remaining 2 dressers elsewhere. Then mount the wood countertop on each side of the Center dresser, at the correct working height (slightly lower than the height of the dresser.) This accomplishes three things: 1) Eliminates the awkward space on the right side between the dresser and the wall, giving the illusion of symmetry 2) eliminates the countertop seam all together. 3) allows you to keep the beautiful leather chairs 😊 (Also, I personally like the look of the desks stepping down a bit from the dresser height. It gives a little more interest and also helps give privacy to each desk area, rather then the work spaces bleeding into each other) Looking forward to seeing the finished space!

    • Casey February 2, 2017 at 9:40 am #

      This is my favorite idea, Kim! I need you to come solve all my life problems!

  7. Linne January 31, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    Can you install a keyboard tray under the countertop? Then your computer monitor would be eye level and your posture is correct.

  8. Laura January 31, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    So, I do interior design professionally, and the first step I would try (and this may have been mentioned above, so forgive me if it is… I didn’t read through all the comments) would be to contact the maker of the chairs and see if they have different Cylinders for the chairs that would allow them to be taller. If not, you can buy a new Cylinder off amazon and then watch a youtube video on how to change it out. That keeps everything just the way you envisioned and keeps the chairs you fell in love with, but now at a working height.

  9. Meg January 31, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    I didn’t even begin to read anyone else’s comments, so pardon the possible repeat… I love the idea of floating desks on either side of the centered dresser. My husband built me a floating desk for the kids to do their homework at and I absolutely LOVE the look and functionality. We installed cabinets above for storage, based on our usable space, but I love the idea of the dresser offering that storage solution. Also, the fact that you can give the appearance of both sides of the window being equal in length by filling the space completely with desk surface would make my symmetry-loving- heart so happy. :) Best of luck to you as you move ahead. I know it will be great when you’re done.

  10. Sharon Krogseth January 31, 2017 at 9:38 am #

    I’d keep looking for different chairs rather than redo the work surface. I’m curious what your heat/AC source is to your office area? Most garage/apartment areas do not have furnace/heat pumps installed.

    • emily January 31, 2017 at 10:47 am #

      We have a small space heater for the winter and ac for the summer. So far it is working well!

  11. Evelina January 31, 2017 at 9:21 am #

    Attach a strip of wood/bracket to the sides of the dressers and cut down the desk tops. Attach the brackets to the desired height for your chairs and put the cut down desk tops on top of the brackets. Not a clean line all the way across, but a nice and easy solution! I’d put granite/marble slabs on the tops of the dressers and keep the desktops wood. Good luck!

  12. Katie Morene January 31, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    My husband and I have been running our consulting business from home for 15+ years. Must haves for me are drawers next to me (I don’t want to get up every time I need something), a good desk chair on wheels (no way would the bar stools work).

    The aesthetics are important (our office space is opposite our dining room when you walk in the front door) but we spend the majority of our days working in this space so functionality is critical. I suggest figuring out your functional work needs then adjusting the design accordingly.

    Good luck!

  13. Melissa P. January 31, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    The stools that you are thinking of getting are lovely, but from someone who tried using a non-rolling chair in my sewing space…I think you will get tired of not having the functionality of the wheels.

  14. R January 31, 2017 at 6:51 am #

    I bought a big and tall desk chair because it was comfortable and I am very tall, not realizing they sit much further off the ground and it would not adjust low enough to fit my knees under my center desk drawer. Just a thought. There are so many desk chair options out there today, I and sure you can find another equally beautiful option. I think a stool might be less comfy. I also really like the option with the center cabinet and the two floating desks on either side. And it solves the wall to wall issue as well as the counter seam issue.

  15. Karen Valania January 31, 2017 at 6:50 am #

    The height of your chairs will be key to your comfort level so I would say keep the chairs. You could possibly use the dressers in an “island” type formation so you could turn from the desk at the window and easily access the dressers and even use them as more workspace, always a plus! Ikea has some interesting A-frame desk legs that offer a lot of flexibility for the length of your desks and you could even separate them with a bookcase or dresser (then your desks could go all the way to the wall.) Good luck, I know you will find what works for you!

  16. Marie-Maguelone January 31, 2017 at 3:00 am #

    Hi Emily
    For me, you have to change the chairs because the office line with the dressers is very beautiful and practical, I dream !!
    But I understand the problem! I think you will find nice stools or adjustable chairs in height, there is probably a solution in the material for the professionals. Like drawer seats, adjustable.
    Have a good day and a good week. I’m looking for solutions for my workshop too!
    Good luck !!
    Marie-Maguelone
    http://mariemaguelonecreations.com

  17. Lara January 31, 2017 at 1:10 am #

    I don’t understand why one would worry so much about whether the height of the chairs corresponds to that of the desks or vice-versa, instead of prioritising they both enable working with a correct sitting posture, and then working from there (as there are endless possibilities). Assuming you spend a good amount of time sitting down at work every day, of course! Perhaps it’s not so important otherwise.

    • Holly February 2, 2017 at 5:58 am #

      I agree with you. It has to be ergonomically correct. I’ve been doing some work from home on a temporary basis. None of the places I’ve tried to work in my home are setup for computer work and I really feel it in my neck and/or back after an hour. My setup at work has the desk and chair adjusted for my height and I can work there comfortably all day.

  18. Jolie Klassen January 31, 2017 at 12:46 am #

    That stinks! I think that whatever you decide it will be lovely!!

    We went with the ikea Alex drawers for our office redo and I love them! I was really surprised with the amount of storage! Not as much as the hemmed, but still a lot. our weekend was spent building…my 8 year old took over my job as helper and told my husband it was just like building Legos!!!

  19. Heather January 30, 2017 at 11:48 pm #

    I’d work on trying to modify the chairs you love. There must be some sort of tradesmen that could possibly do that.

  20. Melany van Eck January 30, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

    Hi Em,

    I think you need to keep the original idea, and get new chairs if you are unable to raise the current ones slightly.

    Good luck!

  21. sarah January 30, 2017 at 10:37 pm #

    Would you consider keeping your original plan, just lowering the countertops and mounting them to the wall in between the drawers? you would lose the functionality and look of a continuous long piece of countertop (which I love), but maybe that’s not that important to you. It would still look symmetrical, you would still have a double work space, and I think it would still look really good, too.

    • Geneva Bear January 31, 2017 at 7:27 am #

      That’s my idea also. You would only be using two of the dressers and you would have a nice long desk area in the center. Also, instead of mounting the wood desk to the wall, you could use the plain metal legs from IKEA. You would still use the two chairs you have.

  22. NJ January 30, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

    Sorry to see that the chairs aren’t going to work, but switching them out seems to be the easiest and fastest solve. I also liked the idea someone gave about “lifting” the chairs with a kit. Good luck!!

  23. Esther January 30, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Go with the first option. It will look nicely balanced and save you time and hassle. You won’t have to change out the chairs that you love and you can use the other dressers in another area of the room.

  24. Traci January 30, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    have you considered a lift kit for those chairs? I converted from a standard height desk to a standing desk at work, and our facility guy just came and installed a lift kit on to my existing desk chair to make it taller. He just swapped out the base and the ring on the bottom of the chair- no hardware needed. Voila! It works great! It’s adjustable, too. You could check with an office supply store.

    • Kim B January 31, 2017 at 10:35 am #

      This is what I was thinking. As long as raising the chairs wont cause issues with the comfort this would give you the option to sick with your original plan. I do have to say I also like the look for the one dresser and two desk, it breaks it up a bit.
      Are there drawer options that are shorter in height that could go on both ends yet keep the higher dresser in the middle to make two desks?

  25. Jennifer January 30, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    I say put a Sears catalog on the chair and sit on that! Problem solved! Lol

    Sorry…I couldn’t resist. I’m sure you’ll come up with a good solution!

  26. Donita January 30, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    Wow! These ladies are design and idea geniuses!

    • Paula January 31, 2017 at 1:26 am #

      I’m pretty sure that you will be able to raise the chairs with a kit or casters. I love your original plan and the desk not meeting the one wall does not bother mea at all because of the angel of the wall.
      PS I have these dressers and they have lasted a long time!

  27. Audrey January 30, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

    Dear Emily,
    As a former commercial interior designer, I can see a perfectly simple solution: Keep your original design in place as is, and add lower matching work surfaces perpendicular to the open spaces between the IKEA dressers. You could attach them with simple brackets to the existing long work surface at the ideal desk height of 29 1/2″, and support the open ends with a sawhorse type base or bookcase for additional storage.

    You could also use two tables perpendicular to the main work surface as your desks, then move them together for larger projects or meetings. With locking casters on the tables, and even getting tables with adjustable height, you have maximum flexibility with minimal furniture purchases, and you can keep your wonderful chairs!

    Please let me know if any of these ideas will work for you in your dreamy home office!

    Blessings, Audrey

  28. Jana January 30, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

    #1You could raise the seats with firm foam upholstered, stick it under existing cushion. #2 or can you cut the dressers down by one drawer? Looks like by removing to top drawer it’s the correct height. #3Or use center dresser or stack 2 dressers in the center and float the desk on the wall on each side.

  29. Kelli January 30, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

    Loose the chest and have someone do built-ins to fit your space and your chairs. Super chairs!

  30. Janne January 30, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

    I love all of it….and I’m not sure if someone already mentioned it, but would a large middle table workspace be an option? There is a homeschool momma blogger who actually had similar stuff from IKEA and did a ginormous table in the middle of her room/office and had the storage along the walls. So she anchored the table tops with four cabinets/drawers and there were enough pockets for four chairs or to place wheelie carts underneath….It might open up that beautiful light nook area to be a cozy chair/ mini table area to rest and sit with your laptop if need be…and the large table could host a table of crafting projects, round (square) table discussions;)…plus research has proven that sitting in a more round table format (think The Office) helps boost morale, creativity, productivity when it comes to office spaces vs. one long line against a wall. I love both for different reasons!!! I can’t wait to see what you come up with:)

    • emily January 31, 2017 at 10:49 am #

      Yes, we will have a big work table in the center of the room for extra space, crafts, spreading out projects and meeting with cients.

  31. Linsay January 30, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

    I love what you have going & I too would be a little bothered by the desk not going fully to the walls on each end. What if you cut the wood top and mount it flush to the insides of the IKEA dressers with simple L brackets like the ones you used in the new kitchen. This would allow you to extend your work space to the walks, keep the dressers and chairs and have it low enough to be a good height. You would have multiple seams in your counter top which could be annoying but might not be a deal breaker??? Good luck! I’m sure you will find a great solution.

  32. Diann January 30, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

    Sorry it didn’t work out. Why don’t you change to 5″ wheels like here on Amazon. They have lots of them to choose from.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dtools&field-keywords=5+inch+stem+wheels&rh=n%3A228013%2Ck%3A5+inch+stem+wheels

  33. Angie - Stylish Livable Spaces January 30, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    Gosh I noticed that when you posted the pic the other week. I wish I had of commented to say that it looked too high for any chair with gas lift or arms. I bet it turns out the a great stroke of luck because you change the design to something your like more. Good luck Emily.

  34. Kelly Early January 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    Ok, this is something that happens at EarlyHouse all the time. My hubby likes to say that I drop everything and do the “stand and stare” (you totally know what I mean), and he can tell that I’m just needing a break to mentally work it out in my head before moving everything around. Or I need to take a minute so that I don’t fall in a heap crying that it DIDN’T work. You’ve already cut the legs off of your Ikea drawers, so those can’t be returned and need to be utilized. My thoughts only involve purchasing two more countertops. Which I’m sure weren’t cheap. But you get to keep those GORGEOUS chairs. My humble design opinion follows…

    I love the idea of a center drawer with two desks on either side. Benefits: (1) reaching the wall on both ends (not doing that would drive me crazy too), (2) each of you has a dedicated space and can’t easily encroach on the other, and (3) you have a nice center platform to keep a few frames, a little silver dish of odds & ends, and the mandatory plant.

    Then, with the other two drawers, I would put one in each dormer with a counter top running edge to edge inside that nook. You would have a balanced, cohesive look, and could keep a basket of fabrics/extra blankets/maybe a stool or four in the space on either side of the drawers. More plants, maybe some books or cute file containers on top, and you’ve got a little extra counter space for inspirational things or spreading out during a big project. Side note: that would create four seating areas in case your kids crept upstairs to do homework or a school project…

    Good luck with the room… the house looks amazing (I feel slightly stalker-ish saying that. I feel like I’ve walked through your house before because of this blog!). We’ve got you on our prayer board for success, contentment with the results, and for shining like a light for Him in this world.

  35. Paula B January 30, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    In my experience, if I have to change my original idea, I never FULLY love it! I vote on desks that are shorter, keep the original idea you had in mind. Use the taller desks elsewhere in your house for storage. SURELY IKEA has drawer units that aren’t as tall. Worst case scenario: get some drawer units custom built. This is YOUR design space. Make it exactly as you imagined!

  36. Beverly January 30, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    I would put the desk in the middle at a comfortable height with a dresser on each end. IKEA may have desk legs?Third dresser could be used for storage somewhere else in the room.

    • Lora January 30, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

      reinforce the attachment of the sides and back of each desk below the level ot the top drawer. Cut off the top of each chest to the depth of the top drawer of the chest and reattach the top. Although Lucy has quite a point with using the middle chest to divide the work spaces.

      • Lora January 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

        OOPS I meant: ‘reinforce the attachment of the sides and back of each CHEST’

  37. Hope January 30, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    If you used three filing cabinets with locks- storage of documents etc.. would be seced ure,and you could still use the long piece of wood, and the chairs.
    The Ikea cabinets could be used elsewhere.
    Just a thought-don’t know the heights of all the filing cabinets out there- but I have seen them in beautiful colors. Best of luck.

  38. Kathy Harrison January 30, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    How about building solid wood bases for the dressers to raise the whole thing up and still have them look substantial?

  39. Mila January 30, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    Hi, I love it so much that I will copy your concept idea…Now regarding to your problem I have tow options for you…

    1) Eliminate the top drawer of the dressers(leaving only two drawers in use)…or simply cut the top drawer as needed to make it more narrow.
    2) Make the chairs taller by trying to adapt a more bold( and industrial look maybe) wheels.
    Go to a hardware store for availability and inspiration…
    3) Ask to someone that can do welding work can help, maybe they can extend the base some how… at the end, spray paint can cover any not matching adaptation.

    Hope it help you.!

  40. Marva January 30, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    Hi Emily, I love your original design. Are you able to replace the chairs’ lift system (legs) for ones that raise higher up?

  41. Stef Baker January 30, 2017 at 5:14 pm #

    Can you raise the chairs? I LOVE the desk as is. Also is perfect for standing work, which if you have large projects is perfect. Or, get new chairs, and use the exsisting ones elsewhere.

  42. Nicole S. January 30, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

    I have nearly this same setup in my office. The counters that house our computers sit 5 inches lower than the counters over our shelving and are mounted on the sides of our cabinetry. I thought I would hate it but the separation it creates has been key in keeping our spaces organized. And to my eye, we still have the clean line we envisioned. This may also solve the chair debacle and the middle seam issue as you would be cutting the counters accordingly. I can’t wait to see what you decide to do!

  43. Lucy January 30, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    If I were sharing a desk space with my husband I would go with the chest in the center and 2 lower desks to either side to prevent him from slowly, but most definitely surely, encroaching on my space. I’m extremely territorial when it comes to desktops or bathroom counter tops and he never seems to have enough space. I am also bothered by the desktop not going all the way to the wall on the right. The seem in the middle isn’t a deal breaker though. That could easily be hidden under a pretty tray corralling office supplies and of course a lovely plant.

  44. Jason January 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    All niffty ideas, rebuild the chair bases with larger casters and bases with foot rests. Then you are working with counter height stuff.

  45. Beverly January 30, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

    Those chairs are gorgeous, the dressers look cheap and heavy. As you want two workspaces, and being rift in front of a window is not conducive to looking at a screen, consider saving on of those IKEA things for under the window, then dropping the height, waterfall style, for the workspaces. You can go wall to wall that way and lose some of the weight of THREE drawer units.

  46. Judy Caywood January 30, 2017 at 4:30 pm #

    Your home is beautiful and you and Ryan will get this figured out. I am having this desk with drawers delivered tomorrow. I wanted a longer area so I could have my MAC at one end and my sewing machine at the other.

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S59932698/

  47. Linda January 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    I hate when that happens!!!

    What if you put one dresser at each end and the long desk dropped down to the right height for the both chairs in the middle., Centering the whole set up equally from the wall at each end. Use the other dresser somewhere else in the room.

  48. Amanda January 30, 2017 at 4:24 pm #

    I am bummed for you. I totally understand disappointment after the “perfect” plan. If I were in your shoes I think I would go with option two. I like the dresser with the desks on the sides. The chairs look so comfortable and it would be a shame to loose them. :)

  49. Jill January 30, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

    New chairs- I think you’ll like the continuity of the desktop… at least I would. Good luck! Also, can you keep the chairs for a conference/ meeting table?

  50. Jenny January 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    What to do, what to do… STEP AWAY from that room for at least a day. Do something fun. Let your mind relax. You will figure it out, but you need to step away & breathe….

  51. lisa January 30, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

    If you absolutely love the chairs, perhaps there’s a way to tweak them so they’d be the right height? They do look like they would be much more comfortable than using a stool, and comfort is important for a functional workspace! I did a quick google search and found some kits that convert regular office chairs to drafting height … you’d have to see whether they would work with your specific West Elm chairs. Larger casters would help too. I also saw the YouTube video where someone stuffed the chair base with paper towels, and I wondered if a simple PVC pipe cut to the right height would make more sense there. I think the long bank of countertops is lovely and I would want to preserve that.

  52. Ellen Nilsen January 30, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    here’s an alternative to option #2. put the dressers on each side (up to the wall) and then mount the desk to the wall between them. so you wouldn’t have a dresser under the window, just the desk. kind of the opposite of #2.

  53. Lona Lee January 30, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    Would you ever consider having shelves on the wall? Mounted like you do for your kitchen on either side of the window? And then having one long wood piece mounted as a desk at a height that is good for the chairs? You would loose the drawers in that area but would have nice shelf space on the sides of the window? Best of luck!

  54. Jennifer January 30, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    Can you get different casters for the chairs? Ones with a longer stem? Not sure they are out there, but it may be worth a look.

  55. Abi Monroe January 30, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

    I would cut the dressers down to the right height – loose the top drawer. Then I would put the middle dresser under the window, but to get the work top equal distance from the walls, I would put the other dressers at the ends, like you originally did; there would just be a slight width reduction for one chair space… with the chairs in place, it may not notice. Does that make sense?!
    If you were able to loose the top drawer on each, you could then make a frame, and use the drawers to create another dresser :)

  56. CeCe January 30, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    I do not have long so have not thought a lot about this….my husband is planting flowers outside and I am to be working on upholstery on a sofa inside……….but here I am reading your post!
    My very first suggestion is to make decorative pillows to fit the chairs….copy the cushions on the chairs but use a print and make sure you use the print two other places in the room.
    That should solve the chairs being too low. I did read the caster idea above and would also give that a try! Will read more of the suggestions later and see if I come up with anything different! Don’t get those stools!

  57. Chris T. January 30, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    Such beautiful light! Keep the original design. It works. If you can’t tweek the chairs w/lift cushion or higher casters, replace them. There are great chairs w/backs for artist desks. Higher and stand up. That long counter rules. I’d put a recycle bin and trash can on that end. And a plant. 🌿

  58. Julie January 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

    Tough situation! This is what I’d do… No dresser in the middle. It’s too high and covers the window trim and looks like a mistake to begin with.
    Space (as far apart as you’d like) 2 dressers symmetrically one on each side of the window – use those as your table legs with one board reaching across those both.
    Use your leather chairs.
    The table top board is going to also cover the bottom trim piece of the window, but it wont look as bad as the dresser in front of it.
    You don’t need to have each corner of the room filled. It’ll probably end up feeling bigger and less cluttered with some visual space on the ends.

  59. Michelle January 30, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    Hi Emily,

    I think your original plan is wonderful, it is so beautifully light and a perfect working space, well done.

    Is it an option to add a booster cushion to the chairs? Perhaps have custom cushions made to fit, same leather, or animal hide, or one of your own designs. Also was thinking about that join in the middle, that would drive me crazy…can you put a short runner in the middle and make it the only place (a rest station) to put cups, 1/4 plates or any other debris that is not work related on?

    Anyway…It is a beautiful space, I’m sure you will work it out:)

    Have a great day with kindest regards,

    • Becky January 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

      I would keep your original plan but use a pull-out keyboard tray under the counter that’s adjustable for working.

  60. Pam January 30, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    You are so clever, I love following you!

  61. Lori T. January 30, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    I would leave everything as per your original plan and install keyboard trays underneath. That way you could push them in when not in use and you’d have the entire desk top for use.

  62. J Stefanacci January 30, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    I did a very similar idea using Ikea’s BESTA cabinets, and their adjustable OLIV desk legs. The cabinets are not as deep as the tabletop so the tops rest on the cabinets at the front and I used the legs in the back. Maybe something likd that would work and you could still use the dressers elsewhere in the room?

  63. Georgina January 30, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

    Have you tried splitting the stations into Two symmetrical ones facing each other in the middle of the space? You can always anchor with an arearug.

  64. Dottye Wescoatt January 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    Love your original plan, raise the dressers so that the chairs will work.

  65. Krystal Wight Armstrong January 30, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

    Aw, that is so frustrating when the ideal plan doesn’t work. I totally empathize! I’m not great in those scenarios either.
    I was kinda surprised, when you shared the dressers you picked, thinking they seemed too high, but I assumed without the legs you might prefer a higher desk surface like that. I like taller countertops, sinks, etc, so I don’t have to bend over too far to use them if I’m standing. I can’t tell, without seeing a person in the chairs, but my first thought was to ask if you couldn’t just use the chairs as-is with the taller desktop…are they just too,too high for those chairs?

    Assuming they are, my favorite solution is: the one, centered dresser under the window. I think it’s the best balance of all the things you want. I’m also hoping that that would make the two desktops long enough to have the one on the right reach all the way to that slanted wall. Because I agree, that would kill me, having that visually not-quite-reach the end of that wall.
    Then if possible I’d want to suggest maybe some wall brackets that might let the desktops look more like floating surfaces…kinda like your ‘floating’ shelf solution in the kitchen, where they are still visible but barely (I didn’t see the kitchen ones til your text pointed them out to me)….that is assuming you can’t just invisibly float them and need some stronger, slightly-visible hardware back there.
    This way, you still get your chairs, you get *some* drawer storage you can reach, like you wanted, and you technically get the bonus of a little more room to roll and spread out on the long desk surfaces, without the other 2 dressers stopping you on either end. I think it’ll look really good!

    We all know you’ll end up with a really clever solution that you’ll ultimately be super happy with in the end. Here’s hoping you find that right answer sooner than later. : )

    • Brooke January 30, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

      If I were you, I’d suggest selling the IKEA dressers and getting better quality ones elsewhere. I’ve had two of the same Hemnes dressers, and they are definitely NOT built to last. The drawers constantly come off-rail, and the drawer bases are super thin and cannot hold much weight. I’ve even added extra supports and the mdf just buckles. Such a bummer bc the price and style is great!!! Get what you pay for here :-(

  66. Hilary January 30, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    Have you seen the standing desk made by Chris Loves Julia? They cut down IKEA cabinets to get the exact right height. Not sure if it would work the same with a dresser or not. Also, they ordered custom cabinet fronts so they didn’t need to worry about patching the laminate on any cut edges.

    http://www.chrislovesjulia.com/2016/11/building-custom-standing-desk-using-ikea-cabinets.html

  67. Marie January 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

    I would keep your original design idea with 3 dressers and the chairs but lower the desk heights in between. I think the division will work best in keeping his and hers desk piles separated. You can easily add a bracket (or length of 1×1 to support the desk) to the side of the dressers or to the back wall to suspend the desks.

  68. Ginny January 30, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    Your original plan is best with lots of space and the drawers to organize everything in. Exchange the chairs or put them in the kids rooms with their desks. Get comfortable chairs that can swivel, tilt, turn, and roll around.

  69. rachel January 30, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    I have a couple thoughts…
    Option 1 –
    If you change out the chairs to a height that works you can move the two end dressers to the end of the room and just space everything apart a little more. You can cut another chunk of the countertop out of the wood and just have 2 seams (6″ apart) in the middle of the center desk so you get your symmetry. Maybe put a pretty tray or plant on top where the seams are.

    Option 2 –
    I like the idea of having a lot of countertop space to work at, but I also like to work standing up. If you go with your idea of having one of the dressers in the middle and build open desks on the sides you could push the remaining 2 dressers together in another area and have a nice “working” height in that area.

    Hopefully those both make sense. I haven’t read through everyones comments, but if I have any other thoughts once I do, I’ll let ya know. :)

  70. Heidi N. January 30, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    Miracle casters sold on Amazon are extra large and possibly will give you just enough lift you seek.

  71. Kim R January 30, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    I would leave everything where it is except cut the wood top into 5 sections. Put two lower sections between each dresser and the 3 other sections on top of the dresser. I like having the papers, etc I am referring to higher than my keyboard/mouse. Your desk width is plenty wide for your keyboard, computer and screen(s).
    OR you could modify the dressers by removing the top drawer on each one, cutting off the top and have the two lower drawers and an open shelf in each dresser.

    • Belinda Smith January 30, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

      I really really love this idea. While I do like one long solid surface there’s something about creating little drop-down step-up cubbies that really appeals to me. Great idea!!!

  72. Melissa January 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    What about cutting the long board, so that you only have pieces long enough to fit between each dresser. Lower each piece down a bit lower than the dresser so it hits the correct height for the chairs, and then secure the board. It still may allow you too keep the chairs while still keeping your original look with the dressers. Loved your original idea, very nice.

    • Lois January 30, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      This is what I came up with as well. It would visually interesting.

  73. Charlie January 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

    In my (humble) opinion, the problem lies in the fact that your chairs have arms. I find it very difficult to work at a surface tall enough for a desk in a chair with arms. I spend a great deal of time at a work surface either crafting or at the computer and the chair is always the key to my success. Good luck. I love the original look.

  74. Kim January 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

    Have you seen the sunroom office over at The Cow Spot? They made custom desks with hinged tops that can adjust from standard to standing height. I’m not sure if there’s any wiggle room there or if it’s something you’d even consider but it’s a cool idea.

  75. Tara D. January 30, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    First option seems the best use of space and you can always find new chairs. Having drawer space will be very helpful for keeping the area clutter free and workable.

  76. Allison January 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

    I’m also wondering about pillows. The pillow could be upright when not in use, but laying flat for a boost when in use. That way, you save the chairs, you save the desk and you get a pretty accent!

  77. Jeanette January 30, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

    Call the chair manufacturer, they may have a suggestion. Also, would sitting on a pretty cushion bother you :)

  78. Ellen January 30, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    Whatever you do, make sure your chair height/desk height are in agreement. I made myself a desk out of threaded pipes & flanges (like you see all over Pinterest) and ordered the most gorgeous white leather desk chair (that, like you, I knew would be close to too short). It was all so beautiful and like you, I didn’t want to deviate from the plan. It is like 6 months later & I have developed an EXTREME case of “computer elbow” (like tennis elbow). I have since had to re-make my desk, buy myself a brace, a new mouse pad, ice packs, heating pads, etc. Hoping I don’t have to take time off from work to heal :( Good luck!!!

    • Becky January 30, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      I’d suggest swapping out the dressers for the Kullen from Ikea. They have two drawers (so will allow you to store/organize/etc.); they will need feet to help them finish out at the correct height. Or, if you are super tall, you could always swap out the casters for ones with larger wheels. If you don’t get the ergonomics of the work space correct, unfortunately you will eventually end up with back/neck/hip issues. Besides, I think you’ll like the clean expanse of countertop/workspace. Good luck!

      • janet January 30, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

        I agree! I used to have only a counter-height place to work and it became not only uncomfortable and annoying, but painful, to not be able to work with my feet on the floor. I suggest changing the desk, not the chairs. Think of the ergonomics first!

  79. Julie Bednarski January 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    I would keep the dressers as they add nice weight. Maybe wrap the wood around the tops (ie. Wood on the top of the far left dresser, down the side to desk height, across to form your desktop, then up the left side of the middle dresser, across the top, down the right side of the middle dresser, etc!). That would eliminate the seams, allow you keep the lovely chairs and create an interesting custom look.

  80. Paula G January 30, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    The dressers are the problem….they are too high. And actually, I think too big for the space…I don’t like that they sit so solid on the floor. Keep the chairs and find a different desk. Stools will be uncomfortable for any long stretches of work.

  81. Debbie C January 30, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

    I like the original plan with a full length of desk space. I am a creative type and when I work I need all the space I can get! If you allow the dressers to bump up you will have a lot less continual space. In short, I vote for new chairs, but with casters.

  82. Nicole Berset January 30, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    I love the original design with the dressers topped with the wood counter tops. I agree with those who suggested you stick with that design and search for chairs that will work better! Keep looking you will find something! :) Love seeing the progress you are making in your new home!

  83. Michelle January 30, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    I found you because of your casters! So, you could try that. Some vintage, antique-y looking ones could add a teensy bit more character to the chairs. I like them, but I wouldn’t redesign the whole space around them. The casters I added to my chair are fantastic. but I still feel a little short at my desk at 5’6″. A simple pillow solved the problem. ;-)

  84. Amy January 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    What if you kept the three dressers, pushed each to the wall as you mentioned, and used the wood desktop as is but mounted them flush with the dresser tops, or even slightly lower, with L brackets or hidden mounts underneath. That way, the chairs can stay, you have no seam in the countertop to deal with and you will get to keep the storage at a convenient arms length. Someone had mentioned varying heights, which I normally I stray from but having a separate height (slightly taller dressers) allows you to keep your beverages away from the computers.

  85. Tami Walsh January 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    Emily, I feel your pain!!! IKEA makes those storage cubes … they are perfect desk height (I have them with an IKEA tabletop) and I’d be happy to email you a picture. You could do those on the ends with cute baskets and then support the desk top on the side of the dresser somehow. It might give you a little more flexibility for decorating as well. More like mini bookshelves. Then use your extra dressers somewhere else in the room to carry the style across.

  86. Marley M. January 30, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

    I like what Rebecca said;) A “built in” knee wall with storage looks custom and it’s practical. I would stick with a rolling type chair. If you are anything like me I can’t stand a hard stool for working. I need something movable and “comfy”. Also, with casters, you can “roll” to see what Ryan is working on if he needs for you to see something etc… Or go to the white board etc. Hope this helps! You’ll figure it out;) Oh, and we are TOTALLY alike when it comes to problem solving etc. I am the creative, my husband the pragmatist and problem solver! We balance ea. other out! LOL! Good luck Emily!

  87. Jennifer January 30, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    I love the chairs and recently bought my husband a new office chair and know how hard it is to find nice looking office chairs. If it was me, I would leave all 3 dressers where they are, cut the table top into 2 pieces long enough to fit between them and mount them with simple metal brackets that aren’t very noticeable. You could put brackets on the wall and one on either side and they would support the desktop well. I just reread comments and I think this is what Colleen is suggesting too! I like the convenience and look of so much work space and storage on one wall!

  88. Monica January 30, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    Just switch the chairs! The original design is what you wanted (and looks right), plus the space on the right is perfect for a trash can (which you don’t have room for under the desk anyway.)

    I admire the ability to change it up when things don’t work, but this one is a no-brainer to me.

  89. Vonne January 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    Are there coaster wheels that would provide height??

    • emily January 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

      Yes, the chairs already have casters :)

  90. Melissa January 30, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    I like the original idea and LOVE those chairs. I googled making an adjustable chair taller and if they are hydraulic it looks like you can buy a new piece to make them higher. I just glanced through stuff and found this. Not sure if it will work. http://www.oodlesofpartsplus.com/gas_cylinders.htm

    • emily January 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

      Thanks for the link … that seems to be the direction we’re headed …

  91. Beau Jean January 30, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    I echo Rebecca’s idea. I like the dresser in the middle with lower desk tops on each side all the way to the wall. Those chairs are beautiful; I wouldn’t want to return them either. It would also allow room for two chairs side by side if you or your hubby wanted to roll over next to each other occasionally.

  92. Hilary January 30, 2017 at 10:34 am #

    This might not work with dressers, but at Chris Loves Julia they recently cut down IKEA cabinets to make a standing desk the exact height they wanted.
    http://www.chrislovesjulia.com/2016/11/building-custom-standing-desk-using-ikea-cabinets.html
    The big difference is that they used custom cabinet fronts. So they didn’t have to cut down the drawer front and apply laminate to the cut edge.

  93. Colleen January 30, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    Okay, how about a terraced desk space? I really love your initial layout as well. Perhaps everything remains as is, but the space between the cabinets is lowered to be desk height. You’d have to cut the counter tops, but you’d be able to eliminate the seam!
    I think the terraced look will be slightly more pleasing to the eye too instead of the straight line…maybe even more custom looking!?!

    And then we all pray to the Ikea gods to make some serious modular desk height cabinetry! Is 28″ that hard??? = )

  94. Shirley Elliott January 30, 2017 at 10:01 am #

    I like your first option best and would look for different chairs. Even with the space where the top does not go all the way to the wall, it’s still my favorite. Also, once you start getting everything in place, that bit of space may be perfect for something. Looking forward to seeing your solution. Whatever you decide, it will be a wonderful studio/office.

  95. Bethany January 30, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    Have you considered altering the chairs? You could research larger casters, buying alternate chair bases that are taller or even rigging them. I saw a YouTube video where they stuffed paper towel in the base to allow the chair to screw in higher (similar to stuffing tissue in shoes that are too big).

    • TJ January 30, 2017 at 10:33 am #

      Along those lines, are the chair bases screwed on to the bottom… if so, perhaps you could add thick wood to the bottom painted or stained to match your palette and then reattach the bases to that,

      • emily January 30, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

        this is just what Ryan thought of a few minutes ago! Might be just the right solution.

  96. Teresa January 30, 2017 at 9:43 am #

    I like the original design too. Build a knee wall on the right to match the left, but only to the depth of the dresser. Add some shelves for flat paper storage and call it done. That will alleviate the countertop not going to the wall and finalize the symmetry. Then order new chairs and call it done :)

    • emily January 30, 2017 at 10:32 am #

      Oooh, I like that idea.

  97. kari January 30, 2017 at 9:41 am #

    I like the dresser in the middle, a different height to keep coffee and water cups so they don’t spill on your computers….other dressers elsewhere in room with a desk top for laying out plans/bigger work area for standing over or use with counter stools…

    • Corinna January 30, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

      Totally agree

  98. Jenny January 30, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    I really like the first one. What if you got longer boards and ran the desk top all the way to the end of the wall on the right side, with maybe a leg or two for support?! Can’t wait to see what you decide to do.

  99. Rebecca January 30, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    I would do the wall mounted desks with one dresser in the center, it solves three design flaws! The desks will extend wall to wall, no more seam in the center and standard height desks!

    I tried working at counter height stools for about 6 months and hated ut: not being able to put your feet on the floor is really tiring and gets uncomfortable.

    Looking good!

  100. JackieDawn January 30, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    Could you cut off the top of the dresser, right under the top drawer?

  101. melissa January 30, 2017 at 8:26 am #

    I would probably use the dressers elsewhere and mount the desk to the wall. You could get a rolling drawer unit if you want to have an easy to grab place pads, pens, tape, etc. That also keeps it more flexible for our how much desk space you are going to need for each person. I LOVE this space!!

  102. KK January 30, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    Search Drafting Chair….it’s a taller office chair :)

  103. Marie January 30, 2017 at 7:54 am #

    I love the look, so I would just swap out the chairs! The barstool chairs are beautiful and I like the leather

  104. Patty January 30, 2017 at 7:54 am #

    Could you lose one of the dresser drawers? Since you’re having the counter top go over the top of the dressers, the modification wouldn’t show. Looks like from your last picture that would make them the perfect height.

  105. pamela January 30, 2017 at 7:35 am #

    Ditch the chairs!

  106. Kathleen January 30, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    Swap the chairs. Done!!

  107. Erin January 30, 2017 at 7:09 am #

    I actually love trying to sort out these types of puzzles! Here’s what I’d try: Put one dresser on each far side like you had planned, but box them in so they are essentially built-ins. Then you can have your desk span the space in between them at any height you want. You’d be able to keep the storage and the built in look might feel super cozy.
    It’s always hard to explain visual stuff, do I did a super quick – and kinda lame – drawing on top of your photo: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bfe08ul288dpqck/jonesdesign_desksetup.jpg?dl=0
    And here’s a sort-of similar image from Pinterest where you can see the height of the drawer unit is taller than the desk surface: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/334533078545901111/
    I hope you don’t mind that I’m sending this. I’m sure whatever you do will be amazing!

  108. Debbie January 30, 2017 at 7:02 am #

    Stick with your design plan. You like it; and there’s hundreds of chair choices!

  109. Cindy B. January 30, 2017 at 5:47 am #

    I would keep the original design, and swap out the chairs, but then I love long continuous work counters! Have you looked at Home Decorators Collection? They always have lots of furniture in leather of many hues! I haven’t purchased anything from them in years (I keep inheriting antique furniture!) but the 2 or 3 pièces I did buy were of very good quality.

    • Katie January 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

      Agree. Just get different chairs. Love the look of the continuous workspace and higher desk means maybe you can work standing in some areas. Go 36″/ counter height and get counter height chairs. Prob solved!

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