A Maximum Effort Clear Dry Erase Board for Coworking Spaces

I needed a new whiteboard for our revitalized ConferEssence room. A whiteboard that was more decoration than utility but still did its job when required. All whiteboards in the whole universe are literally the worst looking things ever or cost many hundreds of dollars.

Most of the time I’m happy to click three times on Amazon Prime and have what I need delivered to Cohere’s coworking doorstep. Other times, I get SUPER frustrated at how corporate everything looks and then do something dumb like believe I can DIY it for 1/8 the price in a week. This project spanned 4? weeks or more. I don’t know. After the 4th trip to different hardware stores AFTER I researched all the clear board paints like IdeaPaint, ReMARKable and DrawIt I really had to lean in to get this board done.

Special shoutout to my friend Meagan L. who turned me on to Writeyboard’s clear dry erase STICKERS. I could dispense with the panic of trying to paint a surface with clear gloppy paint or I could trick a member of Cohere into helping me apply a sticker. Always choose trickery. Always.

Supply list:

  • 4’x8′ 3/8″ birch veneer plywood cut down by Home Depot staff to 4’x6′
  • Borrowed Ford Explorer from mother-in-law to transport wood
  • A quart of the wrong kind of primer
  • A quart of Zinsser brand peel stop clear primer
  • A package of the wrong kind of sanding blocks
  • Power sander and 220 grit sand paper
  • 4’x6′ Writeyboard clear dry erase sticker
  • Blue tape
  • A willing member to help you
  • Reclaimed barn wood (it was ridiculously expensive)
  • A miter saw you barely remember how to use
  • Nails, screws, drywall anchors, metal frame hanging sets, tape measure, pen, you mom to help you do everything
  • Eufy LED copper light string

Total Cost: $200 once I return everything I didn’t need

All told, it turned out awesome and I REALLY love it. This project is best completed over a weekend rather than piece-mealing it bit by bit like I did.

Want help deciding which DIY Coworking projects are worth it? Join my Ultimate Coworking Launch Sequence Cohort Group!

Community Cultivators: Cohere Coworking

I want to take a moment to recognize the FIVE Cohere members who make Cohere run smoothly. Adding several cultivators has really taken our community to the next level. While I still do much of the broader organization for Cohere (see also: Amazon Prime Orders), having this capable crew on tap has made all the difference in my sanity and has distributed responsibility across many people rather than everything landing squarely on my plate.

Alaina Massa: Team Tidy

For those of you who are really paying attention to details, my Cohere Bandwidth staff person is Tim Massa. These two are married and having both on the team is infinitely better than just having only one. Alaina recently took over the big task of keeping Cohere’s space in tip-top shape. She comes under the cover of darkness each week and when we arrive the next morning, everything is sparkling. If you are in need of some clean, contact Choice City Cleaning.

Carrie Lamanna: Copy Editing Magic

Carrie is a writer/editor/professor by trade and I’ve recently had her start copy editing all of my coworking consulting resources. I *know* I’m an average writer and having Carrie as my secret weapon helps me deliver more consistent content that makes more sense. She did NOT edit this post so don’t blame her for my flaws.

Andy Brown: Tours & More

Andy is an expert in e-media analytics and pretty much the nicest human ever. He cares for the basic maintenance around Cohere: finding rare light bulbs for old fixtures, minding the recycling and alerting me when supplies get low. He also does the bulk of our tours and orientations for prospective and new members. Book a date with Andy here. 

Jenny Benton-Fischer: Tours, Sarcasm and Therapy for Angel

Jenny and I have been running into each other for something like 15 years and she’s been a remote member of Cohere for YEARS. Her recent move back to graphic design freelance finally freed her up to be here in person. I knew she was “The One” when we both said a swear in her interview. Book a tour with Jenny.

Kim Kimball: Rocket Ships, Math and Jokes

Kim wanted a way to spend more time in the coworking area vs. his neat little office downstairs so he came on board to help out too. Kim works remotely for the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena under the guise of IT but usually just does hard math a lot. He’s also super good at scrubbing the kitchen sink (which, honestly, is why I had my eye on him to Cultivate anyway). He’ll be giving tours and delighting the members with his quick wit and Roomba jokes.

I do sincerely hope you’ll come visit us and meet our amazing team of Cohere Cultivators. They are equipped to help you meet other coworking members, find a fork or recommend a lunch spot in Downtown Fort Collins.

Honorable Mention: Harvey Wallbanger

Named by member Julie Sutter, Harvey is the unsung hero of Cohere. Between the tree seed pods, the cottonwood fluff and spilled coffee grounds, Harvey fires up at midnight each night and keeps our floor spotless. He also often gets trapped or stuck and we have to rescue him. It’s a labor of love though.


DIY Coworking Furniture: IKEA, Craigslist, Garage Sales

Furnishing a coworking space like Cohere in Fort Collins can be overwhelming and costly. It doesn’t have to be! I always furnish my coworking spaces with a mix of new, old and found products. This approach eliminates the threat of having a coworking space that reads like a showroom and instead gives your members lots of nooks and crannies to choose from and creates an eclectic vintage-y vibe.

So Alex Hillman doesn’t panic, here is a picture with people in it since all that follow will just be things–this is a post about furniture after all.


From Draft to Done Blog Group

Before anyone will sit down they want to know where the power is. These wall mountable heavy duty power strips are amazing. They are sturdy and have 8 outlets! Cohere uses one stripper per table.

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In a world where you can drop a grand on a wheely table I always opt for IKEA. Pair this top with these legs to get a table that comfortably seats 2 for $85.99. Wheels make our rooms configurable for events, yoga or plain ole coworking.

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The same goes for chairs. You can spend upwards of $500 or more if you want a fancy label on your chair and ventilation holes for your ass cheeks but we get lots of compliments on this $79.99 model from IKEA. Pro-tip: as cool as the light upholstery looks, avoid it. Denim will stain those chairs.

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If you need larger desks with storage, these are solid though they take FOR. FUCKING. EVER to assemble.

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Assign your most OCD member the joy of this task. $159.99 each.


For softer seating, we enjoy a sofa at each of our locations. Cohere sports a fancier version of this, which was our most expensive purchase in 2010 at $299. Cothere has its cute little sister below which I picked up at a thrift store for $80. Yes, that’s brown velour and a lobster pillow.

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Cothere’s itty conference room has this sturdy IKEA table. With the legs the whole thing costs $79.00. The chairs are craigslist finds, brand new in some guy’s basement for $15 each. In the background you’ll see our big Apple TV ready flat screen for presentations and impromptu dance parties. It’s on wheels. Always put your tv on wheels.

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The beauty below came out of a garage sale for $25. I sanded, primed, then painted it my signature turquoise with a dark grey racing strip. Black spray paint on the legs took this table from scrappy to fabulous!


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This mid-century laminate table came from an estate sale for $75. I got the chairs reupholstered and re-studded for $175. The zebra print is an IKEA bargain at $39.99 for how large it is.


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We want to see your clever coworking furniture finds. Please share your photos or links in the comments!

DIY Coworking Furniture: Storage Cabinets

This week we’ll talk storage. No matter how minimalist your coworking space, you’re going to need a place to stash a few cleaning supplies, some Kleenex and extra cables. Lucikly, Cothere came with a lovely kitchenette with lots of cabinet space. Unfortunately, I’m the only person who can reach anything in the upper cabinets so it limits the utility of our kitchen storage. See Suzi Struggle.



Aside from our kitchen cabinets Cothere has ZERO closets or cubbies in which to store anything. I snagged the below cabinet at an estate sale for $7.50!!! No, the decimal is NOT in the wrong place. I neglected to photo the BEFORE version of this cabinet. It was rough. The whole thing was dirty and the top was a mis-sized particle board nightmare. I removed the hardware and the top, sanded everything and painted it this amazing lime color. It took 6 coats. I’m not lying. We found a perfect solid pine top at Lowe’s and only had to put a few coats of clear polyurethane on it with a super fine grit sanding between coats. We used the nail gun to attach it.

photo 4 (1)

Here’s the breakdown:

  • $7.50 cabinet
  • $15 quart paint
  • $30 pine top
  • Polyurethane from our basement FREE

Total: $52.50

Overall, this little second-hand find was a great deal. It has 4 huge drawers that hold everything from equipment manuals to spare mice(for computers not critters) and headphones. I love it! Have you repurposed furniture at your coworking space? Tell us all about it in the comments!



DIY Coworking Office Furniture: Whiteboards

Anyone who has met me knows I love a good deal. And by good deal I mean really fucking cheap. I recently vacationed in rural Virginia. I should move there because all the prices were stuck in 1983. $2.00 for a box of organic strawberries? Yes, please!

If you’re starting a coworking space you’re probably really turned on by furniture from Turnstone and Poppin’ and the like. Their wheelie furniture in fun colors is enough to make a bootstrapping coworking catalyst ball up protectively around her fashionably green nest egg. This is why I DIY or DIKEA for almost everything at Cohere and Cothere.

Most recently, I re-purposed some clear boards from our 1st space that have been sitting in storage as we didn’t have enough wall space at Cohere to hang them.

  • Materials:
  • 1/8″ clear Lexan in 4’x8′ sheets $104 each
  • 1 quart interior latex paint in flat or eggshell sheen $0-15 depending on what you have laying around
  • Paintbrush-Captain Obvious here. Seriously? You don’t own a paintbrush? $5
  • Green frog tape. DO NOT use blue tape. That shit does not work. $6
  • Measuring tape
  • Dry erase marker
  • Windex and paper towels
  • Command Adhesive picture hanging velcro strips. A set of 4 for each board $8

Start with a 4’x8′ sheet of 1/8″ clear Lexan. We got ours from a wholesaler in Denver. If you can, have them cut it to your size needs. We cut most of our sheets in half for 4’x4′ clear boards but did make one smaller one 4’x2′ for our entry way wayfinding sign.

If you have to cut your boards, put masking tape in a straight line and cut through that so you don’t shatter your edges with a circular saw.

Don’t try to paint your clear boards on top of plastic. Turns out this renders them invisible as seen below.

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I wanted a 4″ strip of turquoise on the top and bottom of my boards for visual interest and so they wouldn’t be invisible on the wall, like Wonder Woman’s plane. Start by marking where 4″ is at frequent intervals with your dry erase marker. Use your green tape to make a straight line. Fold tape over the edges and run your fingernail down the to be painted tape edge to seal it completely.

It usually takes 3-4 coats to achieve desired opacity.

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Mount to wall with Command Adhesives. Hint: use a level or a measuring tape and a friend to complete this. Lexan boards never shadow or stain and can be cleaned with Windex and paper towels.

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Here’s a bonus shot of our entry way board in Old Town. I painted the entire back of this one with the exception of a racing stripe because it’s mounted on brick. This little DIY board in our entry way has changed our lives. No more people wandering around lost across our various levels. Low tech and brilliant.


Grand total for two DIY 4’x4′ clear boards (assuming you have to buy every single thing) is $130. The more you make the more the cost goes down since a quart of paint would cover all of them and you only have to buy the brush and tape once etc etc etc. Compared to this, it’s a real bargain! Plus you get to customize the colors to match your logo or whatever.

We also have our logo on a piece of clear Lexan at Cohere Old Town. It’s snappy looking and easy to do.


Mark Your Calendars! NoCo Mini Maker Faire Happening October 5th

NoCo Mini Maker Faire

Calling all DIY, tinker, artisan, crafty, builder types!!!

It was recently announced that Fort Collins will host its very own Maker Faire–an event created by Make Magazine that celebrates the quickly disappearing skill of making things with our hands.

Massive, international Maker Faires happen annually in Big Cities, but there’s no reason that Fort Collins, a city rife with creativity and people who like to DIY, can’t get in on the action.

To that end, a team of intrepid volunteers is planning the first-ever NoCo Mini Maker Faire, which will take place at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology in Loveland on October 5th.

The Maker Faire is intended to be live a giant show-and-tell for all ages. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning. And more often than not, there’s a lot of interactive making and learning that happens during the Faire itself!

Interested in showing, telling, or learning at this event? The NoCo Mini Maker Faire team has issued an official Call for Makers, which will remain open until August 1, 2013 (that’s only a few weeks away!!).

The organizers are looking for three main types of Maker booths:

  • Show and Tell – show us what you do and tell us how to do it
  • Make and Take – create a demonstration where attendees can make something to take home
  • Show and Sell – show us what you do and sell a kit or finished product

Maker booths may be from creative individuals, hobbyist groups, school projects, commercial organizations, labs and businesses, community groups and more.  Makers and Maker organizations that do not sell a product are provided with free booths.

See ideas from past Maker Faires and access the Google Doc sign up sheet here. We hope to see some of you super creative Coherians showing off your talents in October! Even if you don’t want to make anything, be sure to get out there and support your local Makers!

Image: maltman23

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