Furniture

DIY Poplar Trestle Desk

A couple of months ago I wrote about starting up my Etsy shop. I got great feedback on my designs, and even better advice for opening up a shop. I was inspired to buy myself a large format printer so I can start designing and selling prints on Etsy! Woo!

So I bought my printer, then quickly realized I have no place to set it up. As our office was set up, there was a desk for Brian, then a reading nook for me. I made the (surprisingly hard) decision to sell my comfy red chair and ottoman to make room and fund a desk.

Reading Nook

I had so many ideas when it came to building the desk — so much so that I acted too quickly on one of them.

Let’s start with the top:

At first I wanted to get a butcher block countertop from either Restore or Ikea. My coworker and friend Carrie talked me out of that, encouraging me to instead build the top myself. She let me borrow her Kreg Jig so I could join two pieces of wood to make one nice top.

Once I scrapped the butcher block idea, I went to Home Depot to select wood for the project. I’d used pine before on my console table, so I knew how soft of a wood pine is. Not my best bet for a desk top. I had two additional selections: Poplar and Oak. Oak would have been the best choice, but at $12/foot, so not affordable. I opted to buy 12 feet (cut into two 6-foot pieces) of poplar at $5.XX (can’t remember exactly) per linear foot. Sidenote: Thank goodness for the Home Depot employee and a fellow customer who helped me make the decision to go with poplar. I was heading down a whole other route and they steered me clear or that disaster.

I got the poplar home and broke out the Kreg Jig — take your time and make sure you measure correctly, then have at it. It is a super easy tool to use and I loved it. It’s on my wishlist 🙂 For those who don’t know, the Kreg Jig is a tool that allows you to drill angled pocket holes into wood. For the top, I drilled pocket hole into both pieces of poplar for extra strength. (I swear I took a photo of this, but I cannot find itanywhere. Le sigh.) I clamped the two boards together, then screwed them together using Kreg screws.

Poplar_Unjoined

I ended up with a top for my desk that was sturdy, but needed a lot of sanding. I cut down the ends so the boars were even, then got to work sanding. You can see in the photo in the middle of the two boards where one board was a little bowed compared to the other. I spent hours sanding away to make the whole top flat.

Desk_temporary set up

I finally got the top sanded so the seam was flush. Then I stained it a mixture of black and walnut. I only left the stain on for about 30 seconds because I didn’t want a dark finish on the desk. After that dried, I did three coats of poly.

Check out this color and wood grain. Yowza!

stain

Now for the legs:

Ideally, my desk would have four hairpin legs. And in reality, I’m not convinced I won’t eventually splurge and buy them. Brian hates them, and they are pricey — so that was enough for me to avoid them for now.

I thought instead of hairpin legs I’d buy cabinets for the base of the desk, so I hunted and hunted and found two 30-inch cabinets from Restore. Ugh, best of intentions. They were the right height, but the depth so did not work. I quickly realized this and promptly abandoned ship. Anyone want two old, crappy cabinets that have been rained on a few times? No? Yeah, me either.

Base Cabinet

I cut my losses with that idea pretty quickly, moving on to plan b: Ikea trestle legs.

Desk_temporary set up

You can see in this image the legs I bought from Ikea. $10 each, $20 total. Not too bad. The downside: They are a little shorter than I’d like, the middle leg kinda gets in the way, they don’t screw into the desk and the color.

Well, I fixed the color pretty quickly, and tried to fix the screwing in issue:

Legs_Before and AFter

Gold legs! Oww owwwww! And some freshly drilled holes in the top bar. For some reason, I still couldn’t get a screw to stay in the poplar from that angle, so they are only screwed in with one screw… total. Haha oh well!

Ready for the reveal?

Desk_Sideview

Check out that pretty desk!

Desk_New1

If you look to the right, you’ll notice a smaller side table with my printer on it! Originally, I thought I’d have the printer on the desk. But it takes up a ton a room (26-inches wide). Plus, with the legs not screwed in I’m wary of having the expensive printer on it (not that I think the desk is about to fall apart). Now I can set up my printer and my shop 🙂

OK, one more view of the desk:

Desk_Side

You can see my turtle print I got at graduation and my Maryland quilt. Go Terps! It’s basically like I’m still on campus when I’m working from home. Except my view from home is sweeter.

I also took my office invasion as an opportunity to purge items from our closet and refresh our bookshelves. Hello, rainbow books 🙂

ShelfThere’s a special place in heaven for husbands who let their wives organize their bookshelves by color. And yes, my Harry Potter books get their own spot on the bottom shelf. Duh.

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Furniture

Mini chalkboard table

I saw this abandoned kid’s table on the side of the road on my way home from taking the pup to the groomer. Of course I had to stop and pick it up. It’s not all that often that I see gems on the side of the road, and when I do it’s even less often that I am able to stop and pick them up. So when I saw this table and I wasn’t on my way to work, I had no passengers and I didn’t have a car full of crap, I quickly made a U-turn to pick it up.

Chalkboard Before

 

As most things on the side of the road do, the table needed love. I gave it a good scrubbing and tightened all of the screws so it wouldn’t wobble.

Then, I removed the slide-out white board top and painted the opposite side with chalkboard paint. I figured a duel-use table would be ideal when you have small kids.

To finish the piece off, I spray painted the frame black. To me, it looks much nicer than the yellowy oak color before.

Chalkboard Desk mini

I’d much rather see this little guy in my house than it’s trash-bound alter ego.

chalboard kids table

 

Furniture

Before & After: Child’s Desk

One of the big furniture projects I recently tackled was an overhaul of a kids’s desk. I found this awesome desk at a thrift store, but boy did it need some love.

Child's Desk_Before

I immediately had grand visions for this desk and let me tell you, they didn’t include the mermaid blue, shabby shic look.

So I painted, painted and painted some more. Again, I used a flat white paint and mixed in some Paint Minerals. This stuff gives the paint a chalky finish to it and leaves the surface very smooth. So far, I’m really pleased with how the Paint Minerals works with the paint. You don’t need to sand or prime and it covers really well.

I wanted the book shelves on each side of the piece to pop, so I painted a metallic glaze inside each shelf and then wiped each shelf down with a rag. It created a messy-ish sort of look in each cubby that I really like.

For the top, I painted with a gray-brown chalkboard paint. Some kid is gonna love this desk.

I waxed the whole piece using Johnson Paste Wax. This was my first time using a furniture wax and it left my piece feeling so smooth to the touch.

Check out these after pictures:

Love.

Child's Desk

Love.

Child's Desk Open

Love.Child's Desk shelves

I think this desk was definitely transformed for the better.