A Multi-Month Search Led Me to the Perfect Desk for My Sloped Floors
The clever modular design is 58% off right now.
Published Oct 6, 2023 1:15 AM
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The home office system featured in this story is currently an extra 30% off with the code OCT30 at California Closets now through October 17 or a total of 58% off at Wayfair. For more editor-vetted deals, check out our weekly roundup.
After the first visit to my soon-to-be-new apartment in Queens, New York, I knew the small foyer would become my quasi-office. My boyfriend’s standing desk was too bulky for the slim walkway—we’d carve out a section of the living room for him, as we both spend most of the week working from home—but an open shelving system would do the trick. My brain immediately started churning through products featured on Domino that doubled as workstations, like the modular Vitsoe from a bibliophile’s paradise in Brooklyn; a custom lavender-painted ladder in an L.A. home; and a handful of IKEA hacks.
However, shortly after moving in, I found that I had been so enamored with the building’s picture-frame molding and herringbone wood floors (complete with an inlay border!), that I had been blind to all of its… quirks. Mainly, comically sloped floors and a few bowing plaster walls, one of which happened to be exactly where I pictured placing my desk. We struggled to hang bookshelves, artwork, and even our television. My initial dream setup would need to be tabled; installing an entire unit would be risky. And so began a four-month-long search for an alternative that could stand level while still taking advantage of and filling up our 11-foot-tall ceilings.
The Drawn-Out Decision
At first, I hemmed and hawed over the decision, opting instead to labor from the sofa and send emails from our dining table. Mind you, my clickety-clackety keyboard sparks the ultimate joy and an extra monitor abates my dizzying tendency to open one too many tabs; hunching over a little laptop is my least favorite position, but I refused to pick any old piece of furniture off Facebook Marketplace. Hoping to avoid more makeshift cardboard shims to level things out, I narrowed my search to wall-mounted storage units—desks with hutches or built-in shelves—that could lean or anchor into the wall without compromising its structural integrity. Unsurprisingly, the pickings were slim. But while perusing Wayfair, I came across a promising listing for a relatively new modular collaboration between California Closets and Martha Stewart: the Everyday System.
One particular review caught my eye—it emphasized not to skip the step of finding the high point of your floors. This shopper assumed their new house would be level, but they had to adjust their system three times to sit right, a statement that proved to me that this thing had built-in levelers that were no joke.
Upon closer inspection, I also discovered another win: The shelf brackets would install into the wall at the top, but would sit out an inch from it, eliminating my worry of things needing to be flush. Finally, its price tag was nearly half off and still is—through October 17, you can take 30% off its full price with the code OCT30 at California Closets, equal to saving $1,435. Wayfair offers the same discount, plus free in-home delivery.
Needles to say, I took the risk and had the white wood and metal style shipped straight to us.
The Worth-It Installation
To be perfectly frank, putting this together is not a one-person job. Roughly half a dozen incredibly heavy boxes arrived over the course of two days, so make sure you have everything needed before you get going. Part way into the initial install, we realized we only had the desk, legs, filing cabinet, and long shelves, but were missing brackets, rails, and smaller shelves (though you’ll never have to worry about running out of screws—they sent more than plenty). Thankfully, the rest arrived within the next 24 hours, so living among the mess was short-lived, though I won’t sugarcoat the moment of panic in between.
I empathize with my fellow shoppers who express frustration with the assembly process. Parts aren’t labeled and the directions are difficult to follow; steps feel skipped, forcing you to fill in the gaps. Without my handyman partner, it likely would have never come together. At some points, it felt worse than wrestling with IKEA furniture, and one shopper who shared the Task Rabbit they hired, said, “It was the hardest piece of furniture he’s put together.”
But in my case, all that headache was worth it for the adjustable legs. I was shocked by how much the levels, on each bottom, expanded to the inch and a half we needed (with more room to spare). It might very well be the only piece of furniture we own that looks normal from all angles. And it’s not just an optical illusion—I’ve been working from it for a little over a month and can’t discern the difference. Nothing threatens to topple over (and for comparison, a pencil on the other desk will more often than not roll off).
The Premium Perks
Aside from being able to stand up to our prewar apartment’s misgivings, this desk comes with a bunch of bells and whistles that make the investment worth it for hybrid remote life. Ample storage was a big draw—two shallow, soft-closing drawers now house my desk organizers, corralling pens, pencils, wires, photography equipment, and an ever-growing collection of notepads and journals. The nearby filing cabinet came in handy more than I would have thought, available to filter mail, paperwork, and bills. I’ve enjoyed rearranging and styling the five adjustable shelves with stacks of tomes, cookbooks, magazines, vintage glass taper holders, and ceramics. At the tippy-top, we’re storing miscellaneous items we hardly ever touch (we’ll put all the Halloween decorations there after October 31!), freeing up space in our formerly cluttered utility closet.
Not to mention, since the thing is totally modular, I can break it down in the future, or even add onto it if we’re lucky enough to live somewhere with even more square footage. It isn’t the only option either: The collection includes a smaller, 4-foot configuration and two 8-foot systems to start. Plus the hidden track system means there’s no visible holes, resulting in one streamlined unit, and there’s even a built-in power socket and USB ports for all the tech it houses beyond what one outlet could have handled without needing to tap extension cords.
The Final Word
So while, yes, it’s definitely a splurge, it was the best fit for an awkward space that would have otherwise remained totally empty. And it’s almost like I never had to compromise on my dream desk setup.