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.
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.
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.
This is the fun part: the material breakdown.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I suggest a budget of 2800. This is on the higher end with padding for safety. Budget breakdown:
wood $450 (table, counter and shelving)
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
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:
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.
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.
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.