OHMYGOSH. I am pleased to report that we have come to a consensus on the office design. I don't love it, but it will work and I can move forward with it. Phew!
HOWEVER, another layer of work has asserted itself. Our walls are not drywalled - they are super-groovy 1971-era 1/8-inch-thick wooden paneling. They have been painted though, so they look pretty nice. I had been waffling about maybe eventually drywalling the house, one of those "in the future" ideas. Then, Monday night, our neighbor's house burned down. Everybody got out alive, with only minor injuries. But the house burned down so quickly it was stunning. I mean, that thing just burned and burned and burned. And burned and burned. And I looked inside my house, at those 1/8-inch thick panels, and my first thought was "tinder."
So Tuesday I bought three new smoke/fire alarms, replaced all the batteries in the existing alarms, and bought two additional fire extinguishers - one for each bedroom. Drywall and new windows (the one in the boys room would be difficult for them to escape through in a fire, because it's too high) have rocketed to the top of the list. Soooooooo, today I'm pulling paneling off the walls in the dining room/office. Tomorrow Dan will help me cut and install our first sheets of drywall. I will hire out the taping & mudding, because that seems like the sort of thing you need experience for. Then priming, then cabinet installation. I'll paint after the cabinets are installed, becasue I'm going to use a super non-toxic paint that has to be special-ordered AND I haven't even picked out the colors yet! I think we'll be able to get the whole office put together for about $1200 (not including the drywall costs), but we may have to split that up over two months. The cabinets will come first (because they're on sale this month) and we'll make do with the tables we have until next month when we can put together everybody's workspace.