Next to the family room, the home office is where Mr. Jane and I spend the majority of our waking hours. Ironically, it's also the room in which we've spent the least amount of time, money, and energy decorating. Our office furniture is old (not all, but for the most part), mismatched, and not functional for our needs. It's a great space, but we are not making the most of it. We have a zillion computers in here, but only use a fraction of them. The closet is full of odd, mismatched, and unorganized things. And so on.
Recently, we decided to redo the office. There is a really good chance that one or both of us may be working primarily from home within the next year or so, so there is extra incentive to make the space into something that works for both of us. Luckily, we are happy with the paint job, carpeting, and window treatments, so we just have to address the furniture and organization issues.
That, however, is proving to be more difficult that we first anticipated.
One of the big challenges in this redo is that Mr. Jane and I work in two entirely different modes. I am very much a neat freak. (More than one person has, upon seeing my desk at school, declared that I can't possibly be a professor because it is "too neat".) Having anything stacked on my desk that is not immediately related to the task at hand bugs the heck out of me. Yesterday, for instance, I brought a bunch of books and folders home related to stuff I wanted to work on today....and I could not start working today until I had organized and stacked the books and folders on my shelves, off of my desk! Mr. Jane, on the other hand, is more of a "visual" person---if it's not out in front of him, it might as well not exist. I am looking over at his desk right now, and there are random piles of things everywhere. Some of them, I'm sure, have been there for months, untouched. It's not messy, per se, but the fact that anything is out on his desk bugs me. (Before you start thinking that I'm a real freak, I will say in my defense that sometimes I have to work at his desk, when I'm using one of the other computers; so, I have to move his stuff out of the way before I can start working there.)
As a result, both of us are having some difficulty in envisioning what we want the space to look like. How can we incorporate both of our modes of working within the space we have? How should the office be organized? How should we deal with clutter? What should we get rid of? (This last question has already caused contention between us. I'm of the "if I haven't used it in a year, toss it" school, while Mr. Jane subscribes to the "I might need this someday" philosophy.)
I'm thinking that we both need to take a step back and figure out what works for each of us, individually---what would our separate ideal offices look like? Then, we can work on hopefully merging those pictures into one unified picture. I have no idea if this would work, but it's worth a shot.
So now I'm curious. What does you own workspace look like? Is it ideal for you? If not, what would be your ideal workspace? And have any of you dealt with this sort of issue before---designing an office for two totally different people---and how did you work everything out?