Telecommuting in Style
by Joe Ashbrook Nickell for Digital Living Today

In recent years, the telecommuting boom and the appearance of the desktop computer as an all-but-mandatory fixture of the den or home office, has brought about a radical redesign of not only the computer itself (witness the iMac and its many imitators), but of the home office desk it sits on. The finest writing desks of yore, with their high, flat surfaces, make the worst computer desks, and bland particle board office furniture can ruin many a hip home decorating scheme. But where there's a want, there's a way. Today, the fashion- and function-conscious telecommuter can have it both ways.

Leading the pack of cutting-edge home office desks is the Biomorph line from I.D/Design. Biomorphs are built around a concept the company calls the "center of power." Cheesily named but elegantly executed, the idea is that the desk curves organically around the user, situating everything radially within arm's reach. The keyboard and monitor surfaces crank to the ideal height for all but the most hulking or diminutive user. Some models even allow users to adjust from sitting to standing modes. Space-age beautiful and ergonomically intelligent, the Biomorph designs have shown up in industrial design exhibitions and museum shows. Prices range from a $695 basic desk to over $4,000 for a fully accessorized, "my-workstation-has-more-knobs-and-doodads-than-your workstation" model.

Similarly groovy styling and functionality can be found at Office Organix, which offers a wide range of den- and home-office-friendly desks, from the computer-concealing, conventionally styled Nova viewport line, to the jet-ski-cum-moonlander Netsurfer Classic. Particularly appealing for the SOHO user is the Bubble workstation, an organically shaped desk which would look great under that Alexander Calder mobile replica but wouldn't make your boss think you're having too much fun working at home. It offers high-end features such as adjustable-angle keyboard tray and motor-driven, full-range height adjustment. Models range in price from $1,540 to $2,170.

For those seeking something more in a classic vein, Teak Emporium offers a solid oak digital age version of the rolltop desk. Featuring a granite writing surface in addition to all of the usual adjustable ergonomic features, this unit won't look out of place amidst the antique furniture you just inherited from grandma. Desks start at $4,000.

On the opposite end of the style spectrum is the iCart ($150-$200) from Anthro Designs. This tiny but perfectly functional computer cart is built specifically for the iMac, and matches not only the Jetsonian style of the Apple bestseller, but the colors as well -- right down to Blueberry. While it may not be a top choice for those seeking an all-in-one desk due to limited non-computer workspace, the iCart is a perfect hide-away computer station.

The time-honored desk has entered the digital age. Whatever your personal tastes and needs are in terms of style, size and configuration, there's a desk available to make your home office both efficient and an integral part of your home's overall decor.

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