Nicole and Tyler's Geek Underground

Tech Tour


Name: Nicole and Tyler Baker, with puppy son, Blayde
Location: Columbus, Georgia
Size: 700 square feet (basement level of a loft building)
Years lived in: 4 month

Before you even cross through the doorway, it's very evident this loft space is occupied by a couple who both wear their geek cred proudly. Nicole and Tyler of Columbus, Georgia have recently moved into this 700 square feet basement level loft space and have decked it out in a mix of affordable IKEA furnishings and tech-oriented accessories. Instead of hiding their tech, they've made each piece of gear and related furnishings a visual component of their decor, right down to the door mat.

AT Survey:

My/our style: Geek underground

The inspiration for our space: Our personalities! I am a computer geek. I am working on a bachelor’s degree in information systems security and want to follow that up with a MS in computer forensics. I am also a bit of a motorhead. Tyler is a gamer and an avid reader. We both like anime. I got a few decor ideas from the Apple Store and Tumidei.it. The TV/gaming area was meant to have a futuristic cyberpunk feel with a touch of Japanese-inspired elements.

Favorite element in your space: I absolutely love my pink toolbox! It is sturdy, portable, versatile, and it provides a place to lock away my electronics. It also functions as a makeshift desk, giving new meaning to “mobile workspace”.

Biggest challenge in designing my space:

  1. Starting from scratch on a budget. I used Photoshop to do a mockup of how I thought everything would look. We came to GA with only what would fit in my Mini Cooper, and we made a second trip to retrieve our TV and entertainment center from storage. Almost everything else was purchased after we moved.
  2. No color. We are renting and are not allowed to paint. We used curtains to hide the heinous closet doors. The pink accents add some much-needed color to the room and break up what would otherwise be a rather sterile space.

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What friends say about my space: They are fascinated by the entertainment center. Several people thought using the toolbox as furniture was pretty cool. One friend commented on how tidy and precise everything is. People often think everything looks more expensive than it actually is.

Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: We definitely want to get Apple TV, as we have been purchasing more anime downloads than DVDs lately. We also want to get surround sound for a more awesome gaming experience. Tyler will probably get Xbox Kinect. We may add a Lego Mindstorms NXT robot to the family as well. A more longterm project is to dabble in home automation.

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: Definitely the entertainment center. Although most people try to minimize attention to the TV, we made it a focal point. The basic unit, legs, and doors are from the IKEA Besta series. I used window film to give the doors a frosted glass look. IKEA Dioder light strips to give the entertainment center a futuristic glow, and the white storage bins and silver media boxes help reflect the light. I needed to accommodate all the necessary wires and cables for the entertainment center and to provide adequate ventilation for the Xbox 360.

The solution to the wiring issue was to mount a power strip in the small area above the Xbox then cut holes in the back of the entertainment center that allow the power cords to run from the power strip to the Xbox, TV, and other components. The excess lengths of cord are gathered into bundles on the back of the entertainment center. I used various cable ties and 3M Command adhesive strips and clips to secure the wires. To solve the ventilation issue, I purchased a case fan and attached it to an old 12V power supply. I mounted the fan in the back of the entertainment center behind the Xbox 360.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my space: Most of our stuff was not very expensive. My splurge item was the Original Pink Box toolbox. Tyler’s splurge was the IKEA Karlstad swivel chair. Our joint splurge was a comfy latex mattress.

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: There is no shame in being a geek. Rather than hiding your tech, dare to make it a focal point. Elements such as LED lighting, a custom entertainment center or desk, and creatively arranging your components and media are great ways to showcase your love of technology. Just be sure to tame the wires.

Dream source for stuff: Bose - surround sound
Smarthome - home automation components
Colorware PC - to color-coordinate some of our gadgets

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Resources

Home Tech Hardware: 32” Sony Bravia TV (Best Buy)

  • Xbox 360 (Best Buy)
  • Xbox 360 wireless adapter (Best Buy)
  • Xbox 360 wireless controller and charger (Best Buy)
  • Monster power strip (Best Buy)
  • Case fan with blue LEDs (Best Buy)
  • 13” Apple MacBook
  • 13” Apple MacBook Pro
  • Apple iPhone 3G
  • Apple Airport Express
  • Apple iPad
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Asus Eee PC
  • Western Digital Passport Essential external hard drive
  • Hello Kitty 8GB Mimobot USB storage device (from Mimoco.com)

Appliances:

  • Frigidaire Washer and Dryer (Sears)
  • Keurig mini coffeemaker

Furniture:

  • Heimdal bed (IKEA)
  • Mattress (IKEA)
  • Lack side table (IKEA)
  • Karlstad swivel chair (IKEA)
  • Besta parts for the entertainment center (IKEA)
  • Expedit bookcase, doors, drawers, casters (IKEA)
  • The Original Pink Box” tool box

Accessories:

  • Doormat from thinkgeek.com
  • Bamboo (IKEA)
  • Charlotta anime/manga-style fabric (IKEA)
  • Small round rug (IKEA)
  • Pillow forms (IKEA)
  • Ung Drill frame (IKEA)
  • Dignitet curtain wire (IKEA)
  • Gear votive holder (CB2)
  • Erlenmeyer flask for vase (Macnan Science Supplies)
  • Black shag rug (JC Penney)
  • Silver pillow (Walmart)
  • Bath rug, towels (PB Teen)
  • Shower curtain (Target)
  • Zebra bedding, pink throw, curtains (Target)
  • Wings, gears, and gear stencils for steampunk box, vinyl toy blanks, various paints and craft supplies (Michael’s)
  • Zebra dog bank, unfinished box for steampunk box (Hobby Lobby)
  • Black crushed velvet fabric for pillow covers (JoAnn)
  • Tachikoma Action figure (AK Toy Collectibles via Amazon)
  • Magnetic paper (Staples)
  • Curtain clips, coffee carousel (Bed, Bath, & Beyond)
  • Steampunk box, anime/Godzilla pillow, zebra and black velvet pillow covers, paintings, vinyl toys (custom by AgentDarkApple)

Lighting:

  • Floor lamp from Target
  • Jansjo clamp task lamp (IKEA)
  • Dioder LED lighting (IKEA)
  • Spoka night light (IKEA)

Organizing Tools/Accessories:

  • White metal storage bins (PB Teen)
  • Emu media boxes (IKEA)
  • Cable ties, 3M Command adhesive cord clips (Target)
  • Harajuku Lovers padded gadget bag
  • White metal “first aid” box (Plasticland)

Additional Elements:

  • Frosted window film from Home Depot)
  • Bears (Build-a-Bear)

Photos by Nicole and Tyler Baker

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