JULIA’s PROPOSAL FOR STAFF ROOM OVERHAUL

Note: no one but those with direct links can see this page. It’s only been sent to staff.




WHY

Our staff room is, to put it in undergrad terms, dank. And to put it in my words DANK. Some things are just universal.
I believe the room where faculty, techs and administrators retreat for coffee, where they eat lunch and bring important visitors needs to feel comfortable, bright and welcoming. Morale will improve and guests will have a favourable impression.

A whole lot of NOPE.

A whole lot of NOPE.

I’m giving this room a time-out so it can think about what it has done.

I’m giving this room a time-out so it can think about what it has done.

OKAY, SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THIS?

I intend to gut the room, I plan to keep three elements: the fridge, the sink (just the sink, a new counter and frame will be built), and the storage cabinet. Everything else will go. It will take approximately one week, to be completed in the summer.


PROPOSAL

This is the fun part: the material breakdown.

bright colour, deep texture of metal finishes, wood grain, soft whites and the vibrant variations of plants.

bright colour, deep texture of metal finishes, wood grain, soft whites and the vibrant variations of plants.



ROOM COLOUR

White for the staff room will brighten the area, bounce light from the back corner window and will act as a foundation for the other materials in the space. It will not look institutional when combined with the items I am proposing.

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TABLE

We need a table to eat and meet at. However, what we have now is a conference table with a power bar in the center. This is strictly a work table, it does not say “come sit and eat!” it says “do not spill liquids anywhere near me or I will electrocute you”. Additionally, the width is approximately 4 feet. That is a wide gulf even for meetings, but a bit absurd when eating lunch with someone.


We would make a more evenly-planed wood top for a table—we don’t want crumb canyons, crumbs are how we get ants. However, I suggest a similar steel structure.

We would make a more evenly-planed wood top for a table—we don’t want crumb canyons, crumbs are how we get ants. However, I suggest a similar steel structure.

table inspo.jpg

here is an example of a plank table built on top of a 2” hollow steel frame. We have a Wood Shop. We have a Metal Shop. I have a commercial account with KJP Hardwoods. We can build this and it will be a reflection of what we CAN do in our department for ourselves with our own abilities. I propose a lighter wood for the top (similar to the image below), sealed with a food-safe wax. The benches are also a cost effective way to replace the mismatched office chairs and encourage good posture. Optionally, the new high, flexible white plastic chairs in the sculpture studio would also suit this space, and it may be easy to order 8-12 more from that vendor. I believe this style still allows for more formal discussions to be had in the staff room.
Beyond the table, I propose a counter and stools away from the main table for use should the table be full, or if work needs to be done apart from those at the table. Without the massive conference table and couch, there is room for this. As for the couch— Someone once caught students making… use of the couch.
The couch has to go.

LIGHTING

Much like Joe, in Joe vs The Volcano, I believe that fluorescent lighting is going to eventually drive us all insane. Floor lamps are not quite appropriate for the space (and can be moved to the part time office) I propose we get two of these plug-in pendants, with warm tinted LED lights (energy efficient!). We may not be able to suspend them from the ceiling, but I have a solution for this should we move forward.

Pretend that sad looking plant is not there.

Pretend that sad looking plant is not there.

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Additionally, I suggest a few of these for around the shelves for task lighting.

Additionally, I suggest a few of these for around the shelves for task lighting.

OPEN, WOOD SHELVING

We need to scale back clutter in the staff room shelves, this will do it. Again, the warmth of wood will bring a cosy feel to the staff room. It’s a durable and lasting material we have easy access to.

open2.jpg
We can probably make these

We can probably make these

or definitely buy these

or definitely buy these

BASIC, MATCHING DISHWARE

Uniform dishware. All second-hand plates, dishes and cutlery will be replaced with uniform white, durable stoneware and plain stainless steel cutlery—1. it eliminates the idea of “the good mug” and equalizes the eating experience. It looks professional and neat to guests. On the open shelving, it will also reflect light and even when when not arranged perfectly, will still look tidy. It’s easy to tell even in low light of the staff room when a dish is still dirty.

Basic. Functional.

Basic. Functional.

PLANTS!

We need some living, green things to keep us going through the winter months. The staff room has a window, and if painted white, the room will bounce light. Plants are easy to come by, affordable and are proven to boost morale. I’m not going to cite studies, this is informal.

plants happy.jpg

STORAGE

We need it for our event supplies, but it could be brighter and more cheerful. We can spray paint the one we have, I suggest a bright yellow.

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ART

I propose for a mural piece commissioned from Emily Neufeld, a fourth year student who has done numerous interventions in our building. She will be going somewhere with her practice. We should support her in her young career and also enjoy her humorous work in our more casual space. 

Please see examples below.

emily.jpg
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Emily+Neufeld+2018+-1.jpg


ACCESSORIES

French press. Environmentally friendly coffee-making. No filters, no paper cups and plastic lids, no keurig cups. Easily make coffee in the break room for invited guests.

French press. Environmentally friendly coffee-making. No filters, no paper cups and plastic lids, no keurig cups. Easily make coffee in the break room for invited guests.

Good coffee.

Good coffee.

The one instance in which white is not the best options: Microwaves start to look filthy fast. This matte black option is the best way to keep the function of the microwave, without the staining that occurs.

The one instance in which white is not the best options: Microwaves start to look filthy fast. This matte black option is the best way to keep the function of the microwave, without the staining that occurs.

Our plastic kettle is actually disintegrating. Stainless steel is safe and easy to clean. We do not have to buy this, I bought one for the store. I will move it to the break room.

Our plastic kettle is actually disintegrating. Stainless steel is safe and easy to clean. We do not have to buy this, I bought one for the store. I will move it to the break room.

Some healthy fruit for snacking. A piggy bank (I will donate mine) for contributions to the coffee and fruit fund.

Some healthy fruit for snacking. A piggy bank (I will donate mine) for contributions to the coffee and fruit fund.

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BUDGET

I suggest a budget of 2800. This is on the higher end with padding for safety. Budget breakdown:

  1. lights $280

  2. wood $450 (table, counter and shelving)

  3. steel $150

  4. paint $100

  5. plants $100

  6. dishes $150

  7. chairs $600-800

  8. art $500

THE BUDGET-BUDGET:

I understand the above is a lot. I think I can still accomplish a lot with 1500-2000. I just need to physically visit KJP woods first, and then go from there.
If we opt for benches, I think the above is all mostly still within budget.

ISN’T THIS FRIVOLOUS

Yes.

But also no, we’re the Visual Arts Department. Our spaces should reflect the importance of aesthetics.

 

WHY—AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME WHY YOU?

So glad you asked, me, posing as you asking this question.
I’m good at a few things, and besides my dead-on Gollum impression, I am really good at this.
I grew up in a hoarder house, and have since overcompensated with aesthetically pleasing and efficient spaces.
Let’s look at some before and after’s, keeping in mind I work part time, and freelance sometimes. Which is to say: my budget is… not much. So I know how to accomplish a lot with a little.
I know what you’re thinking you must spend a lot of time on pinterest. No, in fact I don’t even have a pinterest. Instead, I spend a lot of time watching shows on architecture because that is what is fun for me.
I… don’t get out much.
And why would I? My place now looks like the after photos:

Bathroom, before. Particle board side shelf, storage cupboard blocking view when in bath.

Bathroom, before. Particle board side shelf, storage cupboard blocking view when in bath.

Bathroom painted soft white, addition of two cherry wood shelves, cork stool so I can watch cartoons in the bath, quartz cabinet pulls and plants.

Bathroom painted soft white, addition of two cherry wood shelves, cork stool so I can watch cartoons in the bath, quartz cabinet pulls and plants.

PLANTS! Cherry wood shelf, made in the wood shop with IKEA brackets.

PLANTS! Cherry wood shelf, made in the wood shop with IKEA brackets.


This is the only before image I have of my kitchen. I painted it grey when I moved in, and a year later, repainted it white. I love green, but I hate this green because I have too frequently seen it in hospitals and nursing homes. Plain palettes with layers of intense colour and natural materials can really age well.

This is the only before image I have of my kitchen. I painted it grey when I moved in, and a year later, repainted it white. I love green, but I hate this green because I have too frequently seen it in hospitals and nursing homes. Plain palettes with layers of intense colour and natural materials can really age well.

Kitchen after: I took this having not done the dishes or fed Bill. I replaced the countertop, this involved me dragging a 90lb 80” plank down two flights of stairs from the Wood Shop and up three flights of stairs to my apartment. I also replaced the faucet, part of the plumbing and wired the pendant light, replacing a cheap track light.

Kitchen after: I took this having not done the dishes or fed Bill.
I replaced the countertop, this involved me dragging a 90lb 80” plank down two flights of stairs from the Wood Shop and up three flights of stairs to my apartment. I also replaced the faucet, part of the plumbing and wired the pendant light, replacing a cheap track light.

A video with some of the process. Aside from the first cut in the Wood Shop, I did all of this alone. I am not afraid of hard work.

My kitchen is also my library, complete with cat nook.

My kitchen is also my library, complete with cat nook.

A DISCLAIMER

Please note: I have put a lot of work into my apartment over the last four years, knowing that as an older millennial, from a poor family without property or savings, I am unlikely to ever own a house, so my rental has to be my home. I make a project of fixing something in it every few months, but… it’s done now, and I have no projects which is why you should let me have this one, because I finished the store when I ripped out the back room carpeting last summer and put in an industrial palett shelf, and I’m fairly certain I might go a little crazy if I don’t have something to do this summer. Help me. Help me help you.

IN CONCLUSION

I am ultimately interested in boosting the health and morale of the staff in our department. Ensuring that faculty, techs and administrators all have a quiet, peaceful space away from their working areas to break for meals, coffee and socializing.