office space

Living in a thriving city means you’re going to probably rent for longer than you’d like.  Making a generic apartment feel like home is daunting…it’s an empty shell with cheap cabinets and carpet.  So, much of what I’ve been working on has been transforming our little love nest into a home filled with our favorite thoughtfully-curated things, but that also functions with our lifestyle.  We both work full weeks, and often bring it home.  Hence, having a little space for a desk was a HUGE deal.

This is what we were dealing with:

IMG_6340Miserable little corner, isn’t it?!  Really, the computer had been on our beautiful inherited mid-century modern china hutch, but there was no leg space.  So I went searching for a solution.  Needs: modern, or retro-modern, could hold the computer and small desk accessories, and could fit into a 30″ wide space.  I figured I’d have to make it, because 30″ wide is SO SMALL.  I searched for hairpin legs, and figured I’d find a nice piece of wood.  The best deal were these, but with paint and shipping they became a little more than I was wanting to spend.  So, solution: buy a table with hairpin legs!  Found this beauty on  I wanted to assemble it to see if it could work, but as you see in that awful “before, it did not.  Also, the top is laminate, not wood or wood veneer, and I just don’t love laminate.

So, on to the table top!  Took a trip to my neighborhood Home Depot, found a 48″x18″ piece of pine with few knots, had them cut it down to 30″ long (one cut is typically free, or at least it is at mine!), took it home and started sanding!


Note, wear eye protection!  Shit gets sandy real fast!  And, everything will be covered with a layer of sawdust, be prepared with wetted paper towels.  Once the wood feels smooth and you don’t see little splinters or rough grain on the top, sides or corners, wipe it down with an ever-so-slightly damp paper towel to get the sawdust off.  Now, it’s stain time!!

Use whatever stain you feel will match your furniture.  I typically use Varathane or Minwax, both found at Home Depot.  This was Varathane’s Red Oak, left over from a previous project.  Put a layer on with a soft, broad brush or a sponge brush, let it sit a minute, then wipe it off.  Repeat until it’s the color or darkness you want.  I only wanted a nice light wash, so I went with one coat this time.

IMG_6336In between sides, let it dry at least a half hour.  Once done, let it dry standing up for a few hours or overnight.  Because I went with only one coat, and I’m impatient, I waited an hour and then wanted to assemble the desk.


Now, I would have happily screwed in the legs myself, but a) my drill was not working with it and b) he offered, so here’s hubs being manly.  Screwed those hairpin legs into the pine and BAM! Desk!  Note: make sure your screws are far less deep than the thickness of your wood top.  My wood top was 3/4″ thick, so I went with 1/2″ long screws.


Now, we have a lovely little desk nook.

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I need to find a cool, tall lamp to peer down onto the keyboard, so I’ll be on the lookout for that!  I was inspired by Russell and Hazel’s gorgeous clear acrylic desktop accessories, but I decided I could not fit them on my tiny desk.  Container store’s square clear acrylic trays in clear and smoke, got a bunch of gold paper clips from Staples, and added a few pencils (they were hub’s, they have his name on them, I’m insanely jealous and have ordered my own).


Add the marble stone sample I borrowed totally took home for keeps from a firm a gazillion years ago (with little Velcro fuzzy-side squares on the bottom so it doesn’t scratch any surface) and the chair I rescued out of a dumpster, sanded and reupholstered with awesome double-sided geometric diamond fabric from G Street Fabrics (their website is terrible so just go find a location), and Voila!  In-home office space!

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One comment

  1. […] Gross.  Hubs loved the map, so that was staying.  I had loved the gray quilted blanket, but it was not working.  It was time to spruce up our room, along with the dressers.  So, for the dressers I sanded them down, painted with a white acrylic-based paint I found at home depot with a foam roller and foam brush for the harder parts, and stained the knobs and legs with a cherry to match our existing Ikea furniture (later used on the desk I made). […]


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