Wall-to-Wall Work Space!

Hi everyone!  The hubs and I were so busy working on projects last week that I didn’t get a chance to write about any of them, so this week I’ll be playing catch up and have a lot to share!  Up first is the biggest project, our wall-to-wall desk in the office!

Finished

It’s come a long way from the first DIY set-up we did with two filing cabinets and a freebie door when we were in the rental. I started to get a sense of how my dream workspace would function when we expanded the desktop after we moved in to the new house and the recent addition of the industrial style shelves took it up another notch.  Next we stained the raw desktop to match the shelves, which made the desk visually ‘heavy’. Unfortunately, I somehow neglected to take a picture of this stage, but even the hubs agreed that the darker desktop made the entire unit feel a bit big and bulky. Luckily, painting the cabinets was the next step.  To prep, we removed all the hardware and gave the surfaces a light sanding. The hubs taped off the areas around the cabinets and I painted them white. It took a couple of coats, but it definitely brightened the space.

DeskDuringPaint

DeskDuringPaint2

I wasn’t loving the white at first, but decided to live with it for a while before I made any final decisions. A few days later the hubs installed the new hardware we’d purchased to match the pulls on the cabinet nearest the door and that made all the difference. Suddenly I LOVED the white. Maybe I couldn’t see past the displaced clutter before then or maybe I just needed some contrast so they didn’t feel like big white blobs. Whatever it was, I did another happy dance when I saw them together with the white.

Three of the four cabinets went all the way to the floor, but the cabinet nearest the door had legs. Not only did this not match the other cabinets, it was the perfect place for dust bunnies to collect which meant they had to go. The easy option would have been to cut off the legs, but that would have made the cabinet too short, so instead we opted to install molding around the legs. We picked up a plain baseboard molding with a small curve at the top and cut it to size. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite tall enough to cover the entire height of the legs, so we got creative.

Molding
A piece of scrap wood filled the space between the legs, but because the legs stick out from the body of the cabinet a bit, there was a gap between the filler board and the molding. The hubs solved this with a paint stick and some wood filler. Genius! Once everything was painted you’d never notice.

Molding2

FinishedLegs

The hubs also rigged up a shelf for the printer in the middle cabinet. He added a small platform on tracks so it can be pulled out when we need to replace ink cartridges or clear a jam.

FinishedShelf

FinishedShelfOut

Because the space where the shelf was had previously been another drawer there were some odd supports on either side of the interior of the cabinet. Once again the hubs flexed his thinking muscles and came up with a solution. A thin panel attached to the supports made everything flush and quarter round hid the supports from the front.  Luna made sure to inspect his handiwork and apparently approves.

LunaShelf

ShelfPanelCover

ShelfPanelMoldingFinished

I swapped out the blue bag the local shred company provides for a much prettier basket I picked up at Target. The grey material has a bit of white, which plays off the cabinets nicely. I keep the bag tucked behind the basket so I can fill it when I need to take it in, but since we typically use our shred file for fire starter and filler in the fire pit that’s not very often.   This change was also approved by Luna, who loves her new hiding spot. 🙂

LunaBasket

I also stained the cord box so it blends in more with the flooring and is less noticeable. Now that everything is finished, I cleaned up the wires and will soon hide them in a channel that can be painted to match the wall so you’ll never even notice them.  Now that the printer is tucked away, my Silhouette sits in the middle of the desktop and both of us have plenty of room to work.

CordBox

I’m still finessing the accessories on the desktop and shelves, but it’s pretty much done. The top shelf is strictly for photography props (including some room for new items!) and we each took a third of the bottom shelf. The center third is home to models of the planes the hub’s dad flew when he was in the Navy.  On my side, my photography guides and smaller extra gear fit in two decorative storage boxes, which also hide the driveway monitor speaker. Next to that are my books and a basket for a few magazine style guides I keep.

Finished

The hub’s side became home to his cookbooks that had previously lived in the pantry. I gave him a storage box and canister so he could also store all of the cords and miscellaneous gear he wanted to have handy. And that means the tub of “stuff” that has sat on the other side of the room since we moved in is now gone!

Finished2

I’m loving the industrial farmhouse look the whole project has and the storage it provides has created so much space in this room. Now it really functions as an office, craft room and studio with style. And that make me very, very happy!

This post linked to Tatertots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza, Knick of Time’s Vintage Inspiration Party and

TDC Before and After

We Have Shelves!

6So remember way back when I told you we planned to add shelves above the wall-to-wall desk in the studio?  Well it’s finally happened.  Although the desk itself hasn’t had any additional progress since you last saw it, the finished shelves give you a sense of what the whole thing will look like when we’re done.  And now that we have some extra storage space, we can organize and move things around to finish the rest of the pieces while we continue using the space.  Here’s a quick recap of how they came together.

1

After much debate and a good deal of Pinterest browsing, I decided to go with the rustic industrial shelves you see everywhere these days.  Yes it’s trendy right now, but both the hubs and I love the look, plus it compliments the craftsman style of our home so we’ll be happy with it long after others move on to the ‘next’ thing.  The first step was gathering enough supplies, which sound simple, but turned out to be a little difficult.  The hubs had to visit several stores and event shop online to find enough of the pipes, nipples and flanges in the right sizes.  And even when he did find enough, it wasn’t always the same color so we ended up painting all the parts to match.  The metal supports start with a flange which screws onto the base of a piece of pipe.  The other end of the pipe is capped with a nipple, which also screws on.  The hubs attached the supports with extra long screws, directly into the studs for additional strength.  You might notice that some of the pieces seem higher than others in the picture above.  That’s because he initially attached each lower support with just one screw and we made them pivot on the single attachment to decide which height we liked best.  We ended up going with the higher option just to give ourselves a little extra space when sitting.

2

Once we had the lower supports lined up and screwed in, he moved on to the top supports, directly above.  We didn’t have a specific height in mind, so we just eyeballed it to decide what would work best with what we planned to have on the lower shelf.  It looked a little strange from across the room without the boards, but this is how it sat for several days while we searched for wood that wasn’t split, bowed or cracked on multiple trips to various local hardware stores.

3

Eventually, the hubs found two decent boards in the right size, length and most importantly, price range.  He set them up in the garage and I got to staining.  I forgot to take a picture before I started, but you get the basic before and after idea.

4

5

I had originally planned to stain the boards, then do a white crackle paint over top and randomly sand areas to create the faux reclaimed barn wood look described here, but once we saw the color of the stain and how it brought out the grain of the pine we fell in love with it and decided to leave it as is.  Realizing that the stain we’d used was a primer, stain and sealer all in one, helped reaffirm that decision – especially when we considered that we wanted the same finish on both the desktop and the shelves.  I was secretly relieved that we wouldn’t be painting and sanding in the house, because my allergies would have kicked into overdrive if that had happened.

6

When the boards were dry the hubs cut them to size and I helped him carry them in.  All we had to do was set them up on the supports with the cut edge hidden against the wall.  It was at this point that I broke out in my happy dance.  Literally.  I’m just giddy with how it turned out.  They provide a TON of storage space for my photography props, which until now have been piled up against the opposite wall.

You might notice that the far end of the shelves don’t go all the way to the wall.  That’s by design.  We will eventually add sliding barn doors to the inside of this doorway so we needed room for the doors to slide open next to the desk.  Since the space is on the hubs side of the desk I rarely even  notice it.

I’ve started organizing things on the shelves and will share the final set up when it’s done.  It’s a process to decide what goes where, but it’s already making the desktop clearer and the room feels larger without the pile of props in the corner.

The next step is staining the desktop, which should happen this week.  After that will be setting up the pull out shelf for the printer and then we’ll move on to finishing the cabinets with paint and new hardware.  And finally, I’ll add some decorative finishing touches to pull it all together and make it cozy.  So stay tuned to see each step in the coming weeks! 🙂