27 August 2017

Desk Setup 2017

Finally, it is complete. It took a while to put together but it's finally done, my dream desk setup for 2017. Read on to find out what I bought and what I use.

John Lewis Calia Desk

The centrepiece of my setup. This was love at first sight when my eyes fell upon this 4 feet (ish) of solid American white oak. It's rustic looking yet not too antiquated with a textured surface and strong and sturdy with its industrial looking welded iron legs and handles. Like me, it's a bit high maintenance. It requires oiling every three months, it can't be near heat sources, spillages need to be wiped away immediately and grit can get stuck in the ridges but its beauty and presence is worth the hassle. J'adore.

John Lewis Calia Desk
John Lewis Sofa Side Table

Case Robin Day 675 Chair 

This wasn't my first choice. The chair that I really wanted (John Lewis Classico Office/Dining Chair) had been out of stock for ages so I went with this one (annoyingly, the classico chair is back in stock). Still, this is a more than adequate alternative. It is not as 'classy' as the classico but I like the unique back rest and it is comfortable for prolonged sitting sessions.

Case Robin Day 675 Chair

Watercolour Illustrations Wall Art

Inspiration for this came from Jonathan Morrison of TLD (check out his YouTube channel here). The seller (PainterlyDots) has a store on Etsy with a wide range of genres covered. I had to get them imported from the US which obviously brings with it elevated shipping costs. However, it was worth the cost as the unique look and design of them adds a dotting of colour to my otherwise largely monochromatic aesthetic.


IKEA Fado Table Lamp and LIFX Smart LED Bulb

Unfortunately, smart bulbs are not cheap so I had to wait for Amazon Prime day to purchase the final two bulbs to complete my setup. Philips Hue bulbs are probably the most famous of smart bulbs but I didn't want the hassle of buying a bridge to connect the devices. Thankfully, these Colour 1000 smart bulbs from LIFX don't require a bridge to connect to your Wi-Fi and yet still offer great functionality, brightness and connectivity with Alexa or Google Home. And they're cheaper than Philips Hue bulbs.

My experience initially connecting the bulbs was inconsistent, working 3 out of the 4 times. When it doesn't work, I had to reset and start over and eventually it would connect. Once connected though, that's it, you're good to go. There's an app where you can control the bulbs from wherever you are (as long as you have internet) and, as mentioned earlier, you can also control them with an Amazon Alexa or Google Home. You can create specific light combinations for 'scenes', have them trigger when you arrive home and also link them with IFTTT for a smorgasbord of options and capabilities.

To house the bulbs, I bought the FADO table lamp from IKEA which were only £15 each. The lamp takes a maximum 75 watt bulb so keep that in mind. I liked the circular and minimalist design and it does a great job accentuating the colour of the bulbs.

IKEA Fado Table Lamp
LIFX Colour 1000 Smart LED Bulb

Canary All-in-One Smart Home Security Camera

Similar to the LIFX smart bulbs, I didn't go for the obvious choices from Nest or Netgear or Belkin. My main reasons for purchasing the Canary over other, more established brands were twofold: 1) Canary offers a free membership package which still allows for a 24hr history, video downloads within that period, live viewing and motion detection (other membership packages are also available offering more functionality). 2) The camera has a 90 dB siren which I don't believe many other cameras have and can be triggered remotely.

You can set up multiple profiles so it will detect when you (or rather your phone) is at home, it has private mode, night mode, away modes. The camera works in the dark, records in 1080p and also monitors air quality, humidity and temperature. The app is well resourced allowing you to watch live from anywhere, monitor air quality, sound the siren and call the emergency services. It doesn't have face detection (a feature in certain Nest cameras) and it will sometimes send you notifications when it detects movement which turns out to be shadows moving across the window, but overall, it's success rate is good and offers all that I need.

Canary All-in-One Smart Home Security Camera

Apple 21.5" iMac with 4K Retina Display

Another 'not my first choice' but it was my last choice and probably the right choice. Initially, I had set my eyes on the Microsoft Surface Studio but the rather extortionate price (starting at £2,999) immediately made me look elsewhere. Other offerings from PC manufacturers left me feeling lukewarm with their rather lacklustre design and okay-ish specs.

So the iMac it was to be. They're probably going to update the range in the coming months with some super crazy screen and other 'stuff' but that's life as an Apple consumer: you have to accept they're always going to update it at some point so might as well just buy it now.

I couldn't stomach the cost of the 27" model even though I really wanted the extra screen real estate but I definitely wanted to pay extra for the 4K display and futureproof myself. I did upgrade the base model during checkout, opting for the 256GB SSD storage option - there was no way I was going to have a SATA drive in this day and age and the fusion drive is not much better as only a small portion of the drive is actually SSD (the rest is a SATA drive). I deliberated over whether to go for 16GB RAM or stick with the 8GB. In the end, I decided on the 8GB as I don't do any intense editing or gaming. The 8GB has been fine handling the limited 4K video editing that I do.

The machine has been brilliant, handled everything I've thrown at it and the display is gorgeous, even at 'only' 21.5". How they can fit everything into it in such a thin chassis is also engineering excellence at its finest and it hardly makes a sound. This will be my workhorse for many years to come, unless of course I can one day afford a Surface Studio...

Apple iMac

So there's my desk setup of 2017. As you can tell, I have a particularly style and theme I aim for which I feel mirrors my personality and fashion style. Knowing me I'll probably update some of these things in the near future, but as of right now, I'm very happy with what I've been able to put together.

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