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Sunday, February 19, 2012

How I Made My Custom Desktop!

A few months ago I found myself incredibly irritated with the layout of my office.  I didn't have very much space to cut my fabric and I felt like my corner desk was taking up a lot of unnecessary space.  I often found myself cutting fabric on the dining room table, ironing in the hallway, and sewing in my office.  I was spread out everywhere and completely disorganized.  I made up my mind to build a new desktop and that was the end of that.

I wanted to repaint my office, but I wasn't sure if I wanted a light or dark gray.  Then I saw this photo from The... Late, Young Family.  I loved the contrast of the vibrant turquoise with the dark gray.

Once I had my wall color picked out, it all snowballed from there.

I wanted a long desktop space along the wall where I could sew, use my computer, and have storage and workspace on the desktop.  Originally I was going to have the long desktop on the back wall against the window.  But with that layout I couldn't figure out how to work in another desktop to cut my fabric.  Then I had my lightbulb moment and decided to make a T-shaped desk on the other wall!  Perfect!

I bought three 2x8x12 pine boards from Lowes.  I think they were around $6-7 a piece, I can't remember.  For the "T" section of the desktop I bought two 2x6x15 (I think) pieces of pine. 

My room is a little over 10 feet wide, so I had Lowes trim the 12ft boards down to size.  Same for the two long boards - Lowes cut them each into three equal sizes, making six boards for the "T" part of the desktop.

Now for the tedious part - sanding, staining, and sealing.

In the photo on the left you can see how I propped all the boards up on paint cans so I could sand, stain, and seal off the ground.  The smaller boards were all propped up behind me.

I sanded with 80, 120, and finally 220 grit sandpaper.  This part took what felt like forever.  I rushed on the smaller boards because I got sick of sanding, so they aren't quite as smooth as the larger boards.

The photo on the right shows the difference between the two boards with one coat of stain.  The board on the left does not have stain, the board on the right does.

For the stain I made a custom mix using Natural stain and adding in Ipswich Pine until it produced a color I liked.  I normally love Dark Walnut, but the paint was already so dark I wanted to maintain a more natural look of the wood to warm the room.  I applied two coats of stain and one coat of Minwax Satin Poly to all the boards.

Once everything had dried for 24 hours the hubby and I brought it all inside to install.

We used a clamp to hold all three pieces of the large wood together, then the hubby put flat metal brackets underneath to help hold the three pieces together and stabilize the wood.

Once that was finished we flipped the piece over and set it on top of the filing cabinets and bookcase.  In the future I'll likely replace the bookcase with a metal pole to allow more foot room under the long boards, but I didn't want to spend any more money and just used what I had on hand.

We used similar, but smaller, brackets to secure the smaller boards together.  After making sure the two bookcases were in line, we set the smaller boards on top of the two bookcases.  Hubby used wood screws to secure the boards to the bookcase from inside the upper part of the bookcase.  DONE!

I hope this all makes sense - I didn't get many pictures of the installation process, we both had our hands full for the most part.

Now I have an area dedicated to my sewing, and a huge space to cut fabric on.  I can work so much more efficiently now!  Everything has its place, so I don't waste time searching for materials I need!

I use the bookshelves under the desktop to store books, storage bins, my trash bin, and my iron.

Really all I have left to do is strip and stain my chairs.  At least now my office is fully functional!  I love my new desktop!

The lumber cost $40, and the brackets cost $20.  I probably spent around $10 on the little sizes of stain and I already had the sealer.

In total, I spent about $70 on my desktop.  Not bad for a custom workspace! :)

Just a few tips that I learned along the way:

1.  BRING YOUR TAPE MEASURER to the store!  The wood is never the same size as the advertised size.  This can result in big errors, so always measure and know the exact dimensions of the space you're updating.

2.  Lay out the lumber you are selecting next to each other.  The are a lot of curves and variations in the wood, and you'll have to look through at least a dozen pieces of wood before you find multiple straight pieces.

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  1. What a great work surface Katie! I can just see you laying out and cutting fabric here. It's so pretty and wondefully organized. You will so enjoy working in this space. Plus you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you created it. I love it!

  2. i love the planked look it created! looks fantastic! and i love the warmth it adds to the room. :)

  3. That's great! I'm trying to figure out a desk space for my kids' in the loft, and this is awesome inspiration! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love the wood! It's truly awesome!!!! Great job to you both!!!

  5. What an awesome custom workspace. I love all the storage too.

  6. I love this desktop! So functional and spacious! And your stain color came out awesome. :)

  7. Thank you Maria!! I was happy with how the color came out too!

  8. I had been waiting for you to post about that desktop. it looks amazing and i love all the usable space. i love it!

  9. Well, I'm very flattered! And jealous in the nicest of ways about your office! It looks amazing! I pinned your curio cabinet a few days ago, and everyone and their mother repinned it! Enough said. :D Thanks so much!

    The...Late, Young Family

  10. Custom work spaces are awesome, and yours is NO exception! I'm working on one right now for our family can NEVER have enough surface area!

  11. Wow...I am jealous!! that is an amazing workspace! Would LOVE for you to link up to our "Uncommonly Yours" link party! :)

  12. What a great work top! I end up in the dining room quite a bit for cutting big pieces of fabric since I have a very small old dining table as my work surface in my studio. This looks like an amazing project to fix that right up. It turned out really great! Thanks for the inspiration! I am now following you :)

  13. This is pretty damn awesome--I love it!

  14. I wish that I had seen this before. What an awesome job! it turned out great, puts mine to shame. Mine is pretty rustic and still int he raw wood stage. haven' had the opportunity to paint it. Thank you for sharing this, love it!
    Thank you for stopping by my site for a visit.

  15. looks great! love the simplicity of the wood. Can I ask if you've had any issues with the grooves while crafting/sewing?

    1. Thanks Christi!! For the most part I didn't have any problems using my table while crafting. The biggest problem with the grooves in that little threads and debris can easily get trapped - but nothing a vacuum cleaner couldn't get out. Occasionally any unevenness from the boards could cause my rotary cutter to not cut a piece of fabric, but I would just slide my cutting board a little and recut. No biggie.

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