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Im designing a long desk with a section that has hidden working space underneath. There will be an space (like a drawer) then you can remove the desk surface and access the space underneath. There I can do my electronics work and when people is visiting I put the cover back in place and the desk look like a tidy desk.

The desk is in the main room (open concept house) and is against the back of the sofa, so no wall around the desk. The desk itself is rather long (L shaped with 2.5+m in the long side) but I don't need the whole surface to have hidden space.

Main source of inspiration are board gaming tables like this one: CoveredBoardGame

Approaches I came with so far are :

  1. Removable top lid, like in the boardgame: A removable cover that you take away and put "somewhere". Not acceptable by my wife :)

  2. Hinged cover: the cover will be too big and there is no wall to lean it against so... It will need to stay in the air.. not realistic.

  3. Sliding mechanism that allow the cover to slide between the desk and the sofa. Sounds cool but sounds also hard to put back and forth. Not sure

  4. Mechanism to slide the cover under the remaining part of the desk. To me looks like the better approach.. But construction will be "funny".

Does anyone has another idea? Have you ever seen something similar ??

  • Hi, welcome to StackExchange. Your Question is a little broad which is a problem for here, SE's format benefits from queries that can generate briefer, more focussed Answers. – Graphus May 9 at 7:50
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    This is probably a better fit for a forum such as the woodworking subreddit. It sounds like a very cool project, though! This site is better for questions which have definite answers, as opposed to questions that generate open-ended discussion such as this one. Should you come across questions that are a better fit here, please come back and ask! – Charlie Kilian May 9 at 13:50
  • Yup, I agree but sometimes you just need to know what's the best approach, the best language to implement something or the best design . – javirs May 9 at 17:21
  • I'm joining the rèdit right now! Thanks ! – javirs May 9 at 17:21
  • Consider the top as a horizontal bi-folding door. You can open desktop segments and accordion fold the top towards the sides opening the center – Ashlar May 10 at 0:27
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You need a garage or a basement. {grin}

One traditional approach would be a roll top desk. Also called a 'tambour door' This might be unwieldy for the large desk you describe, and would look odd if done for only a section.

Another approach would be to have a work tray that you brought in when you wanted it from some other part of the house. Contents would vary.

A recessed top will be the wrong height for working. Desktops meant for writing are already marginal for hand work at close visual distances. Most work benches in labs are 36" high, with users perched on stools or standing.

If you are a serious electron pusher you will have a bunch of stuff that doesn't fit in a drawer. Power supplies, test instrument. Partially disassembled stuff. Closing up over a hot soldering iron could make your open concept house a lot more open.

I have seen "Computer Armoires" where you open two doors, and a shelf slides out far enough that your knees don't hit the lower shelves, but even this, I think, would be cramped. In a previous life as a system administrator, I had two ikea storage shelves open on both sides. One shelf on was at 40 inches, and I had a solid core door on it. So I had a 3 x 7 table (public building door) and 2 18" x 36" shelving units. This was none too big.

You may want to revisit the whole idea, and review all the projects you have done, or want to do, and see how they shoehorn into that space.

In passing: I think you will get pushback about working on things while visiting. If they are seriously interested, invite them to your shop. If not, pay attention to them for a while, then make your excuses and leave. I know I get irritated even if people surf on their phone while I'm visiting.

  • Thanks for the careful ciments – javirs May 10 at 21:04
  • Thanks for your carefully crafted answer. You opened my mind to the hight problem... About the ignoring visits... No problem, i actually want to cover the thing when people comes so I can pay full attention to them :) – javirs May 10 at 21:06
  • I've been considering the height problem .. I think I came with a compromise. I may end up doing a hinged lid that folds OVER the static part of the Desk. This lid will unveil the storage space and will expose a cutting mat to work on. This will allow for hidden space + working surface + arise some cm the working height. Now I need to figure out the best hinging solution for such a thing :) – javirs May 13 at 6:53
  • Look at Barrel hinges. See:leevalley.com/en/Hardware/page.aspx?p=41265&cat=3,41241 You also may be able to make the bottom face of the lid be a tool rack. – Sherwood Botsford May 14 at 15:52
  • oh, that's a handy hinge for sure, looks robust and discreet :) – javirs May 15 at 12:24

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