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.


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!


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?


Check out that pretty desk!


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:


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.

Home Improvement, Paint

Office update

As promised, here are photos of the office with its new, blue paint! It looks much better in person than in these photos.

**Side note: The hubby had to take these on his iPhone because my camera was missing its memory card. Dang. If I ever get my act together, I’ll post better photos.**

I went over after work to finish painting this nook. Thankfully, it didn’t take too long.

It’s pretty cozy in there! Here are a few more photos of the office:

Next step is to paint the lower half of the room white!

After I finished painting, the hubby and I went to Home Depot and Lowe’s to compare laminate flooring for our family room. We found three different floors that we really liked and we’ll choose tomorrow. *Fingers crossed that I remember my camera.*

We then proceeded to Best Buy to buy a dryer. Can I just say lamest purchase ever. There are so many other things I’d rather spend money on than  a dryer. Yuck. I hate laundry and I hate buying dryers. But, it needed to be purchased, so at least we can check that off our list!

Tomorrow evening we’re going to choose our flooring and material for a new hearth for the fireplace. Decisions, decisions.

Home Improvement

Demo update

We spent all day at the house today getting things move-in ready. My parents came over again today and were a huge help. Dad and the hubby did a ton of landscaping again. Our yard is starting to look really great. The entire back of the yard has been cleaned up. They chopped all of the low branches of the pine trees down and cleaned all of the brush and limbs up. And, they cleaned up the brush and stumps from the side of our yard. The best part was we inspired our neighbors to get out and clean their yard where our fence lines will meet. They cleaned up a bunch of ivy in their yard and removed a section of wiring and a section of an old split-rail fence. Now on Friday our fence can go up super easy. Can’t wait.

Jill and I tackled our office:

I love this room. It gets a ton of natural light and the picture frame molding is beautiful. Today, Jill and I painted the top half of the room a darkish blue… kind of like this:

It took forever to tape out the room, which Jill tackled while I spackled and sanded. But it was worth it — it looks great so far! I wasn’t able to paint the nook yet because I had to spackle four rather large holes, but I’m going to head on over there after work tomorrow to finish it up.

We’re gonna paint the bottom half all white to brighten the room a bit.

As for the demo update, we are moving ahead. We’re going to finish tearing down paneling this week and hope to remove all of the debris by the end of the week. ** Fingers crossed**

Hopefully I’ll remember to bring my camera next time so I can post more photos.