With five children ranging in age from 6 to 17, Ann Meade Trahan sees the importance of order in the home.
“The more structure and more routine you give your kids, the more comfortable they are,” she says.
That’s why Trahan asked H.J. Holtz & Son’s carpentry division to craft a desk that would accommodate her kids’ electronic devices, in a very public spot adjacent to the kitchen.
“As someone who was trained and worked as a therapist, I understand the effects of the internet and social media, and unfettered access of both on children,” Trahan says. “I didn’t want laptops in bedrooms, no hiding away to lose hours on YouTube.”
Trahan was familiar with the company because a Holtz team painted and hung wallpaper throughout the family’s Richmond home. For the new desk, Trahan worked with Holtz Built carpenter Josh Hastings to design a table to fit the location with the features she wanted.
The outcome is a maple desk, 40 inches high, 22 inches deep, and more than eight feet long. The height allows the “Internet bar” to serve double duty as a workstation while the children are seated or as a standing bar when the family hosts friends. Built-in electrical outlets and USB ports ensure cords are contained, and two drawers offer subtle storage. The desk is hung with French cleats, so it sits flush to the wall. Two front legs are tapered, and the drawers spring open when pushed. An inlay strip of brass adds to the elegance.
“Josh was able to really finesse those details,” Trahan says.
Hastings says he enjoyed working through the design with Trahan.
“She had a table she really liked that was black with brass trim accents,” Hastings says. “We talked about the [drawer] storage and decided to go with drawers that didn’t have any hardware to open. That gives a nice clean front. The brass inlay is under the surface lip all the way around; it’s also on the top edge of the drawers when they’re open.”
So far, the desk is doing what it was designed to do.
“I took out a huge armoire – almost a butler’s pantry – which was a loss in storage for me, but I wanted to have a zone and a place that is established for the children’s devices,” Trahan says. “It helps us negotiate the relationship with technology. And it can serve a variety of purposes; I can clear everything off and it becomes a casual place where people can hang out. Josh came and really got what I was talking about.”