Name: Detrik Vanderlinden

Location: Washington, US

Occupation: Carpenter

Room size: 7,9 m² (85 ft²)

Cost of the setup: Computer setup: $1,7K. Room setup estimate: $1-2K

Hey, Detrik! Tell us a bit about yourself

I work as a private carpentry contractor — designing and building have always been a passion of mine.

That is why utilising my job experience for my own office space has been satisfying and enjoyable.

Zen gaming setup
Detrik’s zen gaming setup has many oddities and curiosities. For example, the top part of the cairn (above the Poké Ball) is a Google Mini that plays music for meditation, sounds of nature or lo-fi songs. There’s also a sloth hiding in the leaves above the monitor — can you spot it?

Can you describe your zen setup?

I wanted to have a home office that felt serene and calming. And for me, that means lots of nature, clean white surfaces, and cosy lighting.

Some may say I went overboard with greenery. However, as someone whose favourite activities are hiking and being outside, having a space that reflects where I most like to be is crucial.

It helps me reduce stress when I’m working in my office — what can be more valuable?

Laptop: Omen 15 Ryzen 7 2020. Monitor: Spectre 24-inch Curve 144 Hz. Monitor and laptop mount: Viozon. Keyboard: Anne Pro 2. Mouse: Razer Basilisk x Hyperspeed. Headphones: Sennheiser RS 175 RF
Laptop: Omen 15 Ryzen 7 2020. Monitor: Spectre 24-inch Curve 144 Hz. Monitor and laptop mount: Viozon. Keyboard: Anne Pro 2. Mouse: Razer Basilisk x Hyperspeed. Headphones: Sennheiser RS 175 RF

It took me a couple of years to get my office just right. I’ve always been a fan of interior design and for me, the process is as enjoyable as the final result.

I love imagining what to improve in my head, then slowly working towards it as I find materials and decorations over time.

I have been able to minimise a lot of the costs due to patience.

For example, I found my corner desk for free on the side of the road. Then a few months later, I received some white laminated plywood for free from work. I used it to expand the right side of my desk.

I’ve tried a lot of random chairs in the past, but Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair from FlexiSpot is by far my favourite. They were kind enough to send me this chair in return for feedback. Had I known of their quality and pricing I would’ve bought one for myself a long time ago. It’s saving my back.

Everything else such was either picked up for cheap on Facebook Marketplace or during a store sale.

What’s your favourite item on your desk?

I keep my desk fairly clear and minimalistic, but I do display a few items that bring me joy.

My favourite item by far is my homemade natural terrarium. I wanted to create something that emphasises nature’s power over technology, while also expresses a sense of peacefulness.

Plants terrarium in an old Nintendo DS Lite
An old Nintendo DS Lite serves as a foundation for the terrarium. It’s a smart and eco-friendly way to give a new lease of life to the console instead of simply putting it into the bin

To achieve this, I decided to use an old Nintendo DS Lite. I spray-painted it green to represent technology and housed it in a glass terrarium I bought online.

Then I simply surrounded it with a combination of moss, rocks, flowers, and artificial ladybugs and mushrooms.

I wanted the gaming handheld to look like it had been left in the forest for ages and that nature had slowly reclaimed it.

For the centrepiece, I decided to use a figurine of a meditating sloth that my S/O gifted to me. Displaying this gift not only reminds me of my S/O often.

It also conveys the peaceful nature that I was aiming for with both this terrarium and my office as a whole.

Overall, it was a fun art project that has a lot of meaning to me.

What does your typical day look like?

I wake up at 5:30 am so that I can have a couple of hours to myself before leaving for work.

I use this time to clean up, shower, do some light workouts, and have a cup of coffee to get myself going.

Urban Jungle home setup in Washington
Whenever Detrik is asked about the ratio of living and faux plants, he answers it’s about fifty-fifty. “The smaller potted ones are real, and I have a lot of those are outside of the shot. The stuff closer to PC and where I keep tech are fake for obvious reasons,” he says

I check my email and text messages to see if I have anything urgent. Other than that, I usually try to avoid apps like Twitter, Reddit, or YouTube first thing in the morning.

They’re easy to lose track of time with and I want my morning hours to be dedicated to myself.

I do carpentry for a living which can be exhausting.

So when I get home it’s important to have a stress free environment such as my office to relax in.

I use my office for the occasional games, but mostly I enjoy editing photos that I’ve taken during hikes, watching YouTube and streams, designing logos and other types of graphic design, as well as tinker on my hobby projects.

The Anne Pro 2 mechanical keyboard features custom artisan keycaps from Etsy. These caps are 3D printed in mint and white resin for Cherry MX style switches
The Anne Pro 2 mechanical keyboard features custom artisan keycaps from Etsy. These caps are 3D printed in mint and white resin for Cherry MX style switches

For example, last week, I used my office space to customise some Game Boy Colors, and before that, I used it to create a natural terrarium.

My home office has no one specific use, but having a peaceful and worry-free space that I know I can use to work on something I enjoy is a great feeling.

Your tips for working from home?

If I have a large project I’m working on, keeping my home office and workspace clean and tidy minimises stress.

The fewer things I have to worry about in my immediate environment, the more mental clarity I have to work on my primary project.

If I’m having trouble staying focused, I set a timer for 20 or 30-minute intervals, giving myself a few minutes of rest after each interval.

A WFH setup with lots of plants and an alpaca wearing a hat and sunglasses
It’s hard to go wrong with an alpaca wearing a hat, a bowtie and sunglasses. These toys are handmade by the Dutch company called Inkari

I have also found that limiting my work to a set period of time helps me avoid procrastination, even if I know I should work on it longer.

When I have to start an overwhelming project, I only handle a small bite-sized piece of it at a time to overcome the mental hurdle.

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Quite often, this is all I need because once I get into the swing of things, it no longer seems as daunting as it did before I started.

In fact, I usually accomplish a lot more than the small bite-sized chunk of work I gave myself without even thinking about it at the beginning.

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