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August 13, 2000


A year ago, one of my roommates moved out and I switched from my tiny room to his much larger room.

It being that time of year again, one of my roommates is due to move out, and I have the option of shifting over to his room.

In the past I've shown you little pictures of cut-out pieces of paper representing the furniture and equipment in my room. I didn't make those things just for show-and-tell. I use them as a device for exploring possibilities on paper, without having to move furniture around.

I first recall doing it in college (although I wouldn't be surprised if this was actually something my mother or father did before I was a teenager, to help me arrange my bedroom, but I don't actually remember it), when sharing a dorm room with another person required some planning and agreement between two people. But mainly, it's just a lot easier and quicker to move the pieces of paper around.

Ok, some people might still consider the whole thing a little bit anal, but it came through, this time around. I went and measured the new room.

In total square footage, it's larger, but it's complicated, because the new room is actually two separate rooms with a doorway. On the other hand, I've virtually partitioned my current room into two spaces, a "bedroom" space and a "studio" space. The new room gives the opportunity to make that explicit.

On the same hand, my current room has no closets (a long time ago, it was a living room), whereas the new room has two closets. One thing occupying a bit of space in my current room is a big pseudo-wardrobe which simulates closet space.

If I hadn't had the little pieces of paper which I could move around and verify things, I'm not sure I'd be able to make the decision about whether to switch with much confidence; in fact, I'd probably decide that the space I have now is good enough and it's not worth the effort and the risk of moving to a new space.

However, since I do have the cut-outs, I can pretty straightforwardly just set up the room and see.

I haven't found an optimal setup, but it looks like there's enough space. It's a little odd, though. My current room is about 195 square feet; the new room is about 204 square feet. However, in the new room, I'll have to leave more "corridor" space free, which eats the free space right back up (and a fair amount more).

My current room

The "studio" is the bottom right corner, starting from the guitar parked in the center of the space. There's actually two guitars and a microphone there. The drums (I found the original cutout) are at the bottom, on the right.

Not shown is the wardrobe, which is to the left of the drums, in front of the fireplace. Currently the speaker is blocking one of the doors of the wardrobe, which I simply never open.

The basic design of the space is that the cluster of guitars and microphone, in line with the shelving the computer is on, marks the edge of the "studio". However, to use the microphone, I actually stand in front of the wardrobe, on the left side of the official line. (Thus cleverly repurposing the space, since I shouldn't NEED to get in the wardrobe if I'm currently singing.)

The space at the top on the right, behind the shelves, is dead space. My guitar amp and several guitars live there, not really particularly accessible.

A crucial failure of this design, as it's turned out with my new digital recorder, is that my computer is not easily accessible from the studio, which is unfortunate since I've started using the computer as a MIDI sequencer.

The back room of the new room (yes, this is drawn within the old room, not so you can compare the size, but because I didn't have any more graph paper of the same kind)

This is the proposed layout for the back room. The back room is smaller, so it makes more sense to be the "bedroom" than the studio, although I'd rather put the studio there for better sound isolation.

I could probably fit everything EXCEPT my computer, but that's not a very sound compromise given the complaint expressed above.

As it stands, this room wastes a lot of space by leaving a corridor free to the closet at the top left. I measure it as 36 square feet. In my current room, I manage to leave corridors to things, but those corridors serve double purpose; e.g. half the space along my bed is occupied by my computer-seating space; the aforementioned usage of the space in front of the wardrobe as both a corridor and a mic-usage space, etc.

I can always choose to make one or both closets relatively inaccessible (e.g. require crawling across the bed), but the big limitation is that the vast majority of stuff I have needs to go in one room (e.g. be part of the studio). If I could put my computer in here everything would work so much better, but that'll suck from a MIDI standpoint. (It also might mean I'd need to buy another pair of speakers so I could have some in both rooms--although I might be able to just get by with the studio speakers in the studio.)

The front room of the new room

This is one proposed layout for the front room. Here I've made a corridor into the back room, and arranged everything else in something of a circular pattern. The desk with its back to the doorway at the bottom has my studio monitors, so I tried to find an arrangement so that there's room to stand there with an instrument, and so that I can hear both of them from the drums.

However, I don't really NEED a corridor into the bedroom (it's not like I have people constantly traipsing into the bedroom while I'm trying to record music, or something), so I'll explore pushing stuff into that area and having to detour around it to reach the bedroom.

This would all be a lot simpler if I owned a house.

As long as I have the quickcam set up, here I am:

With the shade up
quickcam-dedicated desk lamp
room light on

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