Secret Server Space

rweait's picture

Just some normal book shelves. Nothing to see here.
It was time to make a change. The living room was becoming a shrine to technology. It was more a place for computing and less a place for living and that was a problem. So how do you make better use of available space, make your technology serve you better, and keep it from overwhelming your human plans for your space?

The challenge was to get the computers out of the living spaces. An additional challenge was to reduce the visual impact of the audio equipment. Space was limited. And the plan was to implement these changes without breaking the bank. The Secret Server Space was the solution. Here's what happened.

The Problem

The problem was that the computers were taking up too much space. The living room is for people to live in, not for computers to occupy. A computer desk was out of place in the living room.

The component-style audio equiment was too obvious and creating something of a shrine to powder-coated aluminum boxes. The existing shelves were too shallow for the depth of the audio equiment. Adding a purpose-built media shelf would reduce the remaining space for things that are more important than audio amplification. So the goals for the project became:

  • Hide the computers.
  • Hide the audio gear.
  • Keep everything working.
  • Moar! Books!
  • Don't break the bank.

The Breakthrough

The breakthrough came from a conversation about hidden rooms, secret doors and sliding bookcases. Everybody loves a good secret door. Everybody except an architect friend of mine who informs me that secret doors and sliding bookcases are cliché. Bummer. A secret room is called for in this case, so a secret room it shall be.

The dead space behind a corner bookcase was used to hold the computers. The extra support for the computers also provided the opportunity to extend the audio equipment beyond the back of the bookcase, without the risk of toppling. The entire assembly, bookcase, computer supports and all, were put on wheels for access to the back of the bookcase.

The secret server space, open, closed and in between.

The Parts

The parts couldn't be much simpler. A bit of wood. Some fasteners and wheels. An awesome friend with a table saw is highly recommended.

  • Existing bookshelf.
  • One piece of plywood.
  • Three pieces of dimensional lumber.
  • Wheels.
  • Fasteners.
  • Adhesive tape.

The Results

The results are positive. The computers still carry out their tasks. Several tasks were relocated from other computers to a single box. While all of the original functions are still available, two computers have been switched off, saving some energy. The audio equipment is easier to access and doesn't dominate the room the way it did previously. The room has more space for books.

So far, no guest has noticed the secret server space, or asked about all of the computers and audio equipment in the living room, unprompted[1]. So the visual impact of the technology has been reduced.

The next step

Obviously, the next step is to motorize the bookcase. And add some blue LEDs.

1 clarification added on 02 March 2013. :-)