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Clean lines for a wired home office

September 07, 2006|Janet Eastman | Times Staff Writer

HOME offices are often a mess. Wires tangled like spaghetti on the floor. Computer monitors stuck on top of tables, cables rolling off the sides, more hardware stuffed underneath.

But a simple gadget may be all you need to take control of those wayward wires, says architectural hardware designer Doug Mockett.

His firm, Doug Mockett & Co., with a website at and a showroom in Torrance, offers smart devices that hide cables inside desk legs and direct them around corners and out of sight through channels attached with screws or Velcro.

One of the quickest fixes is slipping wires into J-shaped channels, which start at $2.50 per foot. They can be screwed on or affixed to a desk, baseboard or other surface. The molded-plastic channels can be pried open at the top so wires can be repaired or replaced, then snapped back into place. "The wires are still accessible," says Mockett.

His gadgets look as contemporary as a space shuttle and are finished in brass, chrome, wood or plastic to blend in with furniture.

Or not. The $32 Snake Wire Manager features bendable plastic rectangular blocks that conceal wires under any surface -- a desk, computer or speakers -- by connecting to a round steel base on the floor. It comes in translucent yellow, orange, green and metallic silver, adding a little party flair to an otherwise serious workplace.

Mockett, who started his company in 1984 with his wife, Sonia, a space planner, sells 75 different types of grommets. Grommets are those plastic, wood or metal finishing touches that line the square, round or oval holes for phone and data cords on desks and tables. He has also designed a printer paper grommet -- in black, walnut brown, light grey, putty and white -- to dress up the slot in some desks where paper feeds through the printer.

"The reality is that we have to live with all this equipment and wires, but we don't have to look at them all the time," he says.

Even workhorse shelves get remade in minimalist styling. The $24 Bird's Foot, a sculptural three-pronged bracket to support a shelf, comes in matte black, marbled gray and satin chrome.

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