Here's recipe for kitchen office Computer and files can fit into food preparation area.

By Design

November 12, 1995|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

I want to set aside a small portion of my large kitchen for use as a home office. The idea is to remove a section of the plastic laminate counter that wraps around two walls. What type of surface should be installed there to accommodate a computer and some files? How should this area be lighted?

Funny you should ask, since I write many of these columns in a portion of my kitchen that serves as a home office.

Keep in mind, first of all, that your computer and files have got to be physically separate from the kitchen equipment. You don't want grease on your keyboard or crumbs in your folders.

The two sections will need to be at different heights. A standard kitchen counter is 36 inches high, while a significantly lower level is needed for comfortable typing. Something between 25 and 28 inches should be right

It will also make sense to install a different kind of surfacing for the lower section. Since the kitchen has plastic laminate counters, a natural wood would make a warm and welcoming change.

If you prefer more color and decoration, the tile top and border shown in the photo may be something to consider.

Note that this arrangement includes a backsplash -- essential for a desk top bordering a food preparation area. With a removable writing pad, this surface will be practical as well as decorative.

You're wise to be thinking about lighting. I'd suggest a combination of sources.

A fluorescent valance unit could be placed under a shelf or cabinet. Pendant lights suspended from the ceiling could illuminate the adjacent kitchen countertop. I'd choose well-shielded halogen lamps because they provide a maximum spread of light.

By adding your own distinctive touches, of course, you'll wind up with a functional and friendly office area that fits comfortably into your kitchen.

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