»  Attic — Completed


The attic in its completed state.

Door from outside My house has a basement, a first floor, a second floor, and an attic. To get to the attic, you go through my son's bedroom on the second floor, into a closet, and up some stairs. This is what you see at the top of the stairs.

The orange door is the door to my study. The region outside the study — about a third of the attic space — is used for storing junk in the usual way.

Guarding the door is Queen Hatshepsut, one of my daughter's fifth-grade school projects that I haven't had the heart to throw out, though she (the Queen, not my daughter) is getting a little the worse for wear.

Note the chimney coming up through the left of the picture. When I came to hang the door I discovered that the chimney is well off plumb. I grumbled about this to an elderly neighbor, who in his childhood had actually known Albert Peterson, the man who built my house, circa 1930. Neighbor: "Whaddya want? Peterson was a carpenter, not a bricklayer." Which seems to me a pretty good answer.**

** Though perhaps not a dispositive one. A reader has told me that chimneys are often deliberately built off the vertical, the better to cope (somehow — I forget the details) with rainfall.
Here is that same door, seen from inside the study. This is the east wall. Note the chimney again. I swear, my verticals are all vertical and my horizontals all horizontal; it's just the off-plumb chimney that makes everything else look skew-whiff. Door from inside
North wall Scanning round counterclockwise inside the study, here is the north wall, a kneewall. Note the little printer cart, which I just use as a place to put books and stuff. I love these things — there are three of them in the room, only one actually used to carry a printer. They are on little wheels, so you can just pile stuff on them and roll them out of the way. Sixty bucks each from Staples.
Still scanning round counterclockwise, here is the northwest corner. Note the custom window blind — the color precisely matches the door opposite. NW corner
SW corner Looking over the desk to the west wall and southwest corner. Note that the computer monitor is mounted on a …
 …lazy susan. I made this myself — it's hard to find one exactly the way you want it. What you do is, google on "lazy susan bearing" — mine cost $13.99. Then you cut two disks and fix them to the bearing. The only trick is, to fix the bottom disk to the bearing first, then drill access holes up through it so you can fix the top disk. The disks I made are actually regular heptadecagons — my own small personal tribute to Carl Friedrich Gauss.

But why did I mount my monitor on a lazy susan? So that with one finger I could turn it round …
Lazy susan
Lazy susan  … through 180 degrees …
 … then sit in my armchair and watch TV or DVDs on it. Armchair and footstool from IKEA, about $80 and $40 respectively. Note a second printer cart — I love these things. SW corner
South wall The south wall. At the left is a 4′×4′ access panel for the a/c equipment serving the second floor. The access panel is 3″ thick, filled with insulation. The entire study is surrounded by insulation — walls, ceiling, floor. It's a cocoon. I'm hoping this will help in the summer. My attic is just as hot in summer as every other attic. I shall put a small a/c unit in the window (the house central a/c doesn't serve the attic), blast the room full of cold air for a half hour, then hope that with all that insulation, it'll stay cool for a while. I haven't yet inhabited it in the summer, so I don't know if this will work. If it doesn't, I'll just have to keep the a/c running.
Here's the southeast corner. The kids have started coming up here to do their homework, so to accommodate them I bought a cheap ($40) folding table-chair set from The Home Depot. I intended to keep table & chairs folded up against the wall & secured by a bungee, since I'm short of space here, but of course I have started using the table myself and it now stays out all the time. SE corner
Ceiling The ceiling. Yes, you can see where the sheetrock panels join. This was the first time I've worked with sheetrock, and I still have stuff to learn.
Here's my desk. Another Staples buy — $140, and just right for my purposes. Great minds think alike: Steve Sailer tells me he has precisely the same item. Desk
Cable hatch The problem with a small attic room is that you are mainly going to inhabit the center of it. With your desk in the center, though, and a computer, with the usual rats-nest of wires and cables coming out of it, you don't want to be plugging everything into wall receptacles, or you'll be tripping a lot.

Solution: I cut a small hatch in the floorboards in the precise center of the room, installed a bank of receptacles in there for electricity, phone, and cable, and feed all wires into that hatch. (The one loose wire snaking off at the bottom of the picture is for my digital camera.)

At bottom right you can just see one corner of …
 … a trapdoor in the study floor. Main access to the attic is, as I said, through my son's bedroom. This is a bit of an imposition on him, though, especially if I want to work late at night, so I cut a trapdoor down into … Trapdoor closed
Trapdoor open  … the linen closet on the second floor landing. Note the light switch on the wall at right. That switches on the study lights (i.e. the study lights are on a three-way switch). So if you come up through the linen closet at night, you can switch the lights on as you come, and off as you go down.
Here you are on the second floor landing, looking into the linen closet, with the access ladder to the study on the right. Linen closet
Trapdoor from below Inside the linen closet, looking up the ladder at the trapdoor.
Back up in the study, here is the third printer cart, this one actually supporting a printer (HP OfficeJet 6110 printer/copier/fax — a neat little machine that serves me well, though the ink cartridges don't seem to last long). Printer
Tchotchkes One good thing about an attic room lined with bookshelves is that you get a lot of little angle spaces good for nothing much but tchotchkes. Since I have lots of tchotchkes, I'm fine with this. Although, speaking of tchotchkes …
 … I am building up one of the world's finest collections of elephant tchotchkes, which deserve a proper tchotchke shelf of their own, over the window. This is in support of a family joke, based somehow on the preposterous idea that I am slow, lumbering, and clumsy. Tchotchkes
Gun safe In the event that while viewing these pages you passed from admiration, to gnawing envy, to unappeasable rage, note the handgun safe in the northeast corner of the study.

Knock before entering!