Chris’ Crafty Home Office Makeover

published Feb 8, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Chris Gardner Editor in Chief of Curbly
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Size: 12 x 10′ home office and craft room
Years: 2

Even though Chris is the editor-in-chief of Curbly and also the man behind the crafting for guys site, ManMade, he found himself falling under the stereotype of the typical guy, working within a space that focused on function, but skimped on the aesthetic. Recently, Chris found the resolve to take the steps to invigorate his home office and craft room, converting a 2nd bedroom into something special. The once cluttered space is now a stylish space to work, craft, make music, experiment and even entertain. A “makeover” seems like an understatement…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“For a year and a half, I had a spare bedroom that was more-or-less the kind of of place where you shut the door when you had company over. Heck, I didn’t even like spending time in there, opting to do most of my work on the sofa instead.

So, I toughened up, made a few trips to the hardware and craft store, came up with a few original IKEA hacks, vowed to keep my space organized, and created a space where I spend more time than in any other room. Sometimes I even entertain in here!”

AT Survey:

My/our style: Handmade modern.

The inspiration for my home office: Scandanavian: white with bursts of color.

Favorite element in your space: The multiple desks/work surfaces.

Biggest challenge in designing my space: Adequate storage and organization solutions to keep surfaces clean.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What friends say about my space: Very conducive to creativity. My friends often want to hang out in here. I’ll try to entertain in the dining and kitchen spaces, and the party often moves upstairs to the office.

Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: Finding a place to store “in process” projects that keeps the space cleaned, but doesn’t allow them to be forgotten.

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: Coming up with a way to convert a standard desktop into a tilting drafting table with hardware store parts.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my space: Eames lounge chair, 22″ inch Apple Cinema display.

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: Find a way to conceal wires and cables that still allows you to adjust your setup as necessary.

Dream source for stuff: Apple store, Design Within Reach.

Computers and Gear:

  • 15″ Apple MacBook Pro
  • 22″ Apple Cinema Display
  • Apple Mac Mini as media computer/server
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • Western Digital external hard drives
  • Canon MP520 Scanner/Printer


  • Nikon D90 DSLR and assorted Nikon/NIkkormat lenses
  • Canon 7.8MP Digital ELPH point-and-shoot
  • Canon HV20 video camera


  • Frank Doerner Eames lounge copy (Craigslist)
  • Jacobson Series-7 chair
  • The rest are mostly hacked IKEA and homemade pieces

Craft, Art, Design Equipment:

  • Adobe CS4 Creative Suite
  • Wacom Bambook digital tablet
  • Vintage White sewing machine
  • Sillhouette SD digital paper cutter
  • Power tools and saws (in basement): Bosch table saw, Grizzly bandsaw, Dewalt miter saw and planer, Craftsman Drill press, Milwaukee cordless hand tools, Porter Cable router, air compressor, and nailers, assorted powered and traditional hand tools

Music Gear:

  • M-Audio Axiom 61 MIDI controller
  • Korg MicroKorg synthesizer
  • Clavia Nord Rack 2
  • Joe Meek VC6Qcs pre-amp/compressor
  • Soundcraft Spirit Folio F1 16-channel audio mixer
  • Vox Tonelab
  • Yorkville YSM-1 Studio monitors
  • Other processing and effects rack gear, including Line 6 POD, Electrix Filter Factory, Roland Space Echo
  • Assorted vintage keyboards
  • Assorted electric guitars, acoustic guitars, ukuleles, and percussion instruments


  • Daylight from window whenever possible (diffused with DIY muslin curtain for photos) installed overhead
  • IKEA Tertial lamp (painted yellow)
  • Homemade pipe fitting lamp
  • Clamp lights for tracing table

Organizing Tools/Accessories::

  • Rotating art supply caddy
  • IKEA Alex flat file
  • Media boxes and magazine files
  • Five vintage file cabinets stacked in closet (via Freecycle)
  • Lots of in and out trays and file folders

Chris has documented the whole process of his home office makeover over at Curbly in a series called My Total Office Makeover, with details the process of building his DIY desk, creating an inspiration board and fashioning his own magnetic memo board. Check it out and get inspired to get started on your own home office makeover.

Photos by Chris Gardner
And check our archives of Unplggd’s past tech tours HERE
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)