A neatly organised office space featuring a wooden desk with a computer, speakers, and various accessories

Tiny Home Office in New Hampshire, US

“I like it, because it forces me to be choosy about the stuff I keep in here”

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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Name: Peter Beardsley

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA

Occupation: eCommerce Technical Architect

Room size: 3 m² (35 ft²)

Cost of setup: ~$1,5K

Social media: mastodon

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself

I currently work as a technical architect at a web agency specialising in eCommerce site development.

I work with clients to determine their needs, document the solution, and assist devs working on the project.

I attended college in the early-to-mid nineties, just as the web was taking off. It was a fantastic time to be a student, as everything was moving so fast.

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My school’s curriculum was still mostly focused on C++/Java development, but I was lucky enough to have a professor who recognised the web’s potential and allowed us to work on web-based personal projects for class credit.

At the time, email was exploding in popularity, and not many students had dial-up internet access.

You’d often need to put your name on a waiting list to use one of the school’s terminals.

A home office with a record player and bookshelf under the window, ergonomic chair, and desk with computer and speakers, with a view of the outdoors and framed artwork on the walls

The computer science department had a lab for CS students to work on assignments, but non-CS students were coming into the lab to check their email, making CS students wait for an open spot.

I implemented a sign-in app that would display a map of the lab showing who was assigned to which workstation, helping us to better manage the lab usage and reserve the workstations for the CS students who needed them.

After that, I was hooked, and have continued working on the web throughout my career (with a few detours here and there).

I did general web development throughout the aughts, working with the typical CMSes of the time (Drupal, WordPress), but the company I was working for pivoted into eCommerce.

I enjoy working in eCom because the stakes are higher when you need to take payments and do fulfilment.

It’s also rewarding to see how our work helps our clients grow their businesses.

Take us through your setup

Item Model
Monitor LG 27UN880-B
Laptop MacBook Pro M1
Speakers Sanyun S208 Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Headphones Grado SR80
Keyboard CIY TESTER 84
Mouse Logitech Pebble
Desk mat Felt desk mat from Etsy
Chair Herman Miller Celle
Laptop stand osseph
Web camera Logitech 1080p
Desk lamp AmazLit LED Desk Lamp
Table top Butcher block countertop
Organiser IKEA SKÅDIS pegboard
Standing desk legs Monoprice

The main feature of my workspace is that it’s fairly small, essentially a closet with a window.

I like it, because it forces me to be choosy about the stuff I keep in here.

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Basically, just the stuff I need to do my job, some music to listen to, and a selection of books that have resonated with me over the years and I’ve wanted to hold onto.

When we first moved into this house, our kids were pretty young, so the room was used to store toys and other ephemera.

But when COVID hit, it was the only spare room with a door, so I took it over.

View from a hallway into a sunlit home office with a bookshelf, desk and chair by the window, and a hanging light fixture above

At first, all I had was a beat-up old IKEA desk left over from college.

The walls were in rough shape — the house was built in the 1920s and some of the rooms still had lath and plaster walls with multiple layers of wallpaper.

They were pretty beat-up with a rushed paint job.

As was the tradition, I would get on Zoom calls with friends to socialise. I would work on repairing and repainting the walls while we talked.

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When I was in my twenties, used records were much more affordable, and I did quite a bit of collecting.

They were all just sitting in storage bins in the attic, and I wanted to get back into listening to them.

So, I got some display racks and dedicated a wall to displaying them.

I go up into the attic, grab a stack of twelve, then swap them out when I get bored of them.

A wall decorated with a collection of vinyl record covers displayed in frames, above a hardwood floor and to the side of a record player

Over time, I’ve purchased a standing desk, various things to help keep the space organised, and some prints for the walls.

At one point, I bought a pachinko machine on Craigslist and mounted it to the wall to the right of the desk.

It looked cool, but it stuck out too far and made the space feel cramped.

A standing desk with a computer monitor and speakers in a cosy corner, complemented by wall-mounted artwork and an organised pegboard for headphones and supplies

There are actually two computers in my office — a work-issued MacBook and a Mac Mini mounted under the desk, out of sight.

My new year’s resolution was to keep a better separation of my work/home computing environments, and my current setup really helps with that, as there’s a KVM switch mounted behind the monitor making it quick and easy to switch between the two.

The Mac Mini runs a Plex server and acts as a repository for my photo collection, so it can be backed up to Backblaze.

There’s also a Raspberry Pi 4 running Home Assistant to manage the various smart switches and thermostats around the house.

A home office corner with a height-adjustable desk holding a computer monitor and speakers, flanked by framed artwork on the walls

I’m pretty happy with my current desk setup.

I would love more storage, but the only way to go is up.

I’d like to see how some shelves mounted up high near the ceiling would work. I’m just worried it would make the space feel cramped.

I really need to introduce some greenery to the environment, but my track record with keeping plants alive is less than stellar.

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What’s your favourite item on your desk?

It’s got to be the keyboard.

As far as mechanical keyboards go, there’s nothing particularly special about this one — I bought it on AliExpress for well under $100.

Typing is still the most efficient way for me to get stuff out of my head and into the computer.

Maybe some day AI will make keyboards obsolete, but until that time comes, I’m going to stick with typing.

A white mechanical keyboard with a coiled cable next to a white Logitech mouse, both resting on a grey desk mat

I like this keyboard because it’s compact while still having a dedicated function/media key row — I love being able to pause/unpause and control volume with a single keypress.

I love the relatively recent development of hot-swappable key switches in mechanical keyboards.

It’s great being able to experiment with different switch types without buying a whole new keyboard.

I also have a collection of keycap sets and love being able to swap them out for a different look/feel.

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What apps or tools do you use to get things done?

I build websites for a living, so most of my time is spent in Chrome, Visual Studio Code, and iTerm2.

On the command line, I use the tmux terminal multiplexer to quickly switch between projects.

I am a huge fan of CleanShot X for screenshots and screen recordings.

Outside of a browser and text editor, it’s by far my most used app.

I also use the following in the course of my day-to-day work:

What books, blogs, or podcasts recently caught your attention?


A bookshelf with a varied collection of books ranging from design to basketball almanacs and a white printer on the second shelf, situated next to a window


  • Krebs on Security: Not a new one, but the one I read most consistently. Brian does amazing work, giving a look into how the online criminal underworld operates.
  • Can’t go wrong with Anime Floppies. I love fictional media formats.


Any tips for other makers who want to improve their workspaces?

You don’t need to spend a ton of money.

Start small.

Ninety percent of it is getting rid of stuff you don’t really need, and arranging the stuff you actually do like in a pleasant way.

What does your typical day look like?

I’ve been working from home since the start of COVID, almost three years now.

I used to think it wasn’t for me, now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Having my own space set up just the way I want it, the flexibility it offers, the list goes on.

Occasionally, I’ll stop by the office to say hi to folks, but I’m a creature of habit.

My alarm goes off at 6:30 am.

I get cleaned up and take my dog outside.

Then I harass my kids until they finally get out of bed, feed them breakfast, and get them to school.

If I have a minute, I’ll maybe check Reddit and/or Mastodon just to see what’s going on in the world.

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After my kids are dropped off, I have a series of calls.

Team stand-ups, screen shares to help troubleshoot an issue or collaborate on a solution.

After that, I try to block out at least an hour to do pull request reviews, merge code, and check the current state of whatever project I’m working on.

At lunchtime, I take my dog out again and try to fit in a bike ride or walk. After lunch, it’s more of the same.

I tend to work in my office pretty much all day, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

A small home office featuring a wooden desk with a computer, speakers, and various accessories, and decorated with framed artwork on the walls

I like having an external monitor because I find it cramped and awkward to use a web inspector on a laptop screen.

Working for long periods in one place might drive some people stir-crazy, but it doesn’t bother me.

I attribute this to switching between sitting and standing throughout the day.

When I’m not working, I spend time with my family and enjoy the outdoors, mostly cycling and hiking.

I enjoy console gaming in moderation.

I like open-world exploration type games like Zelda or the GTA series. I love trying to figure out how to get to places on the map you're maybe not supposed to.

Your tips for working from home?

Like many people, I came to WFH under the less than ideal circumstances of COVID.

Anxiety and stress were high, so I was probably not at my most productive.

But as time went on, I found that having a set routine for breaking points was helpful.

At exactly 10:30 am, I take the dog out.

At exactly 2:30 pm, I make a cup of tea.

My brain kind of fell into those rhythms, and I was able to stay heads-down and concentrate during the periods in between, knowing there was a “reward” coming up.

The hardest part for me of WFH was the social aspect. Yes, it’s much easier to get to know people in person.

But it’s definitely possible to forge real connections and even friendships over Slack.

It just takes time, effort, and being willing to open yourself up a little to your co-workers.

My “system” for keeping myself organised has probably been around in some form since the 70s. I have a file called TODO.txt that has one line for each thing on my plate.

I move lines around as priorities shift.

When an item is completed, I delete the line.

That’s all there is to it.

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We’re a reader-supported publication. This article might contain affiliate links. It means we may receive a commission if you click a link and buy a product that our maker has recommended. The interview was done independently.

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