“Just like Charles Dickens,” they might say. Or, “just like Ernest Hemingway.”
And more often than not, the elevated setup has been constructed with overturned wastebaskets and empty cardboard boxes. Just like Ernest Hemingway.
In 1954, The Paris Review provided a look at the writer's workspace. “It is on top of one of these cluttered bookcases,” they reported, “that Hemingway has his ‘work desk’... There is just enough space left on top of the bookcase for a typewriter, surmounted by a wooden reading board, five or six pencils, and a chunk of copper ore to weight down papers when the wind blows in from the east window.”
And at about this time last year, Shaunacy Ferro from Popular Science wrote, “Sitting is the new Smoking,” linking hours of inactivity to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Since standing while writing has been such a far-reaching and ongoing issue, it’s puzzling that so many professionals are still making a living on a foundation of old telephone books rather than proper furniture.
Part of the problem, notes Andy Tracewell from Caretta Workspace, is that nobody has really set out to create heirloom-quality desks specifically for people who prefer to stand while working at a computer.
All of the furniture items at Caretta Workspace are born from this very formula: a solution to a problem. An engineer by profession, founder Larry Tracewell began building desks for customers who wanted to conceal their laptops when not in use.
Caretta’s desks all minimize the presence of tech clutter by integrating the computer into the furniture itself. All of the cables and wires are concealed in hidden passageways throughout the desk and connected to an integrated, 12-position power strip.
And the desks are crafted from solid cherry hardwood, harvested locally in Ohio. As a commitment to sustainability, Caretta only purchases the material from local suppliers who carry the Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody certification from the Rainforest Alliance’s Smartwood Program.
Andy adds that he also just loves working with cherry. He favors the swirling grain patterns in each piece, and he finds it easier to work with than other woods Caretta has used, like walnut.
The bull-nose desktop edges and bent leg pieces are all cut on a CNC router and finished with a durable, bright, natural cherry finish. And the desktop features a soft and durable synthetic leather inlay material, which has even been used by Mercedes in some of their interiors.
Like all of Caretta Workspace’s furniture, the standup desks tackle several obstacles for the specific user. They conceal cables to prevent tripping and they feature adjustable tops to prevent shoulder discomfort.
They can also be customized, since Caretta works directly with its customers from its own shop. Andy notes he has taken orders from office buildings that wanted all of the desks fixed at a matching height. He has also sent wood samples with different finishes to customers who wanted to match their existing office furniture. With laser engraving, Caretta also customizes pieces to include a company logo or something personal like a college sports mascot.
And every now and then, a customer will approach Caretta with a new problem. Like the first desk the company ever received an order for, Caretta still develops pieces to solve problems. Currently, the team is working on a desk with a lectern top for a client whose work involves a lot of reading documents. The client had developed neck problems from hunching over his flat desktop, and so he approached Caretta with the opportunity to keep others from developing a similar issue.
Andy says the company plans on continuing to develop pieces as new problems and new technology emerges. The team is also looking forward to integrate tablet features in its desks. Perhaps, sometime in the future, one might be able to find these features around an office, with proud employees pointing them out and saying, “Just like Caretta did back in 2014.”