Off-limits basement now a comfy place to hang out
April 8, 2006 - The word “den” probably conjures up images out of “Leave it to Beaver,” where Ward Cleaver sat in a stately leather chair behind a desk, surrounded by books and smoking a pipe.
But these days, dens are more commonly referred to as “home offices,” or simply, “offices.”
Most of us have one, whether it houses the computer and file cabinets stuffed with bills and tax information, or simply serves as a place where the kids can watch television or play games on a rainy day.
Home offices seem to be the millennia's new dens; that is, a place to keep the computer, do home finances, and in general, keep the clutter associated with these things out of sight in its own room.
A Google search for “home office” yielded 95.7 million results that included books, designers, ideas for removing clutter, ways to organize and sites that help consumers find inexpensive storage.
Yuba City resident Jolie Carreon has a spacious office in her four-bedroom home in Yuba City. The office was complete with built-in bookshelves and a variety of storage compartments when she and her husband, Ramiro, bought the home three years ago.
It provides space for Carreon, her husband and their 11- and 4-year-old sons to do school work, surf the Web, read quietly or watch television.
“Ramiro especially uses it to do work at night, and it's nice to have a spare room because there's not enough space in the other rooms to have all the computer stuff and everything you need to work at night,” Carreon said. “It's also nice too, because you can close the door and nobody can see the mess, if you have all of your filling stuff and bills and stuff you don't want people to see.”
Carreon said the office is where the ironing board also is set up, so she and her husband don't have to constantly drag it out or hide it. They also have a couch and a television in it for those times she or her husband has to work in the evening or on a weekend - so their sons can be with them.
“That way, while you're working, you also have some kind of contact with your kids. If you've been at work all day, you feel better having them close by, even though you're working,” she said.
Rick DeAguiar, a real estate agent with Heritage House Real Estate in Yuba City, said in his year of experience, he has heard more people discussing turning a bedroom into an office, rather than looking for an extra room.
“Some people are looking for an extra room, but I've heard people say, ‘Oh, I'm going to turn this room into an office,' when they're looking at a house,” DeAguiar said. “I have to say, mostly they're concerned about the kids first, getting a good value, then if there's an extra room, they definitely want an office.”
Of 15 Appeal-Democrat associates asked if they had a room at home designated specifically as an office or den, nine answered in the affirmative.
DeAguiar added that in the larger or luxury home market, where buyers are willing and able to spend $600,000 or more, “you'll get somebody who will want a room specifically for an office. You hear that more in the higher-priced areas.”