Every since I moved into our home I decided that the back bedroom of our house - totaling approximately 120 sq ft - would become my Nerd Cave. Allow me a moment to explain.
When I was a kid, my dad had the back bedroom of the house dedicated as a home office. It's where I would go to play on the PCjr and my dad would run word processing, spreadsheet and later, database applications. I didn't appreciate it much as a kid and what kid would? I thought of it as a place to come home from school and play game (albeit, educational games).
As I got older, I grew to appreciate it more. During the summer months, when school was out, I remember sweltering in the heat (our house had no air condition, as was common with Philly row homes) surfing the Internet, chatting with friends, and working on upgrading my PC. I remember using the original sneakernet, walking floppy disks back and forth to share Lotus Approach files with my dad, as I would frequently help build and enhance the design of his data sets with macros and other GUI-oriented objects. I remember helping my dad build (what was then a blazing fast) 10/100 Ethernet network, with an eight-port Netgear switch and hand-crimped Cat5 cables. We even helped each other do some minor wall fish, since my room was right next door to his office.
I have so many fond memories of summers spent with my dad in those sweltering rooms, working on websites, building computers, fine-tuning network gear and just bonding. It's part of the reason I wanted to build my own Nerd Cave - to have something that could remind me of those times and to have a dedicated workspace at home for the design and hosting business I have with my wife. Since we're both raging huge mega-nerds, it was the perfect project for us to take on together.
The first thing we did was decide that we each needed a dedicated work space to get our respective tasks done. Luckily, we have two IKEA stores not too far from us, so getting quality, inexpensive office furniture wasn't too difficult. We elected to go with the VIKA AMON desktops and legs. The dimensions fit the room size rather nicely and it fills the space well.
Next, I had to design my workspace with a smart eye. I've always wanted massive displays floating above my desk and I finally had a chance to execute that vision. Five displays later, I finally achieved insanity. You'll notice the backlighting, which was a subtle must-have, as the Cave can get pretty dark in the wee morning hours and it's nice to soften the strain on the eyes with some subdued light.
The advantage to mounting the displays above the desk is that it frees up space on the desktop for other items like the Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 DAC. That baby is awesome and I have it feeding all the sources that go into my dad's old Pioneer audio receiver. Coupled with two Sony tower speakers, and this room really rocks when I'm coding or managing multiple SSH sessions at once.
My wife's needs were a little less demanding than mine. I was willing to install multiple displays for her as well, but she refused to have her desk look like my desk's twin. I guess she's not as fond of Stonehenge as I am. Her desk has one display and a TwelveSouth Book Arc for a docking station. She likes the number pad on her keyboards, so she has the Apple Wired Keyboard.
After her desk space was planned and complete, it was time for some wall art. I found this poster on ThinkGeek as a limited edition retro print of the Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back movie poster. Couldn't pass that up, as it was the perfect addition to our Cave.
I've put a profile up on Desktopped.com with more photos of the Cave. If you're curious how I did something a certain way or want to know what product I used for something, you can probably find that information there. If not, just leave a note in the comments and I'll be happy to answer. [EDIT: Desktopped.com no longer functions, due to the ignorance of it's creators, OneMightyRoar. However, you can view a Wayback Machine link of the page - minus several photos.]
Moving back to Philadelphia was a mixed bag of emotions for me. Prior, I spent just short of nine years in Indiana. When I left it wasn't under the best of circumstances and coming back home wasn't under the best of circumstances either. I had always hoped that coming back to Philly would have me making amends with my dad and us picking back up where we left off. I realize now just how naive that line of thinking was. That's why it was so important to me to build a room that my dad would have been proud to call his own.
This may be the room I call my home office - my Nerd Cave - but it's so much more to me than that.