Home Office – DIY Desk

Home Office – DIY Desk | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

The desk is in!  A very exciting and big step forward (we’ve been maneuvering our way around the massive desk in the garage for weeks now).  Matt did SUCH an amazing job being a teach-yourself-carpenter in progress.  Here are some details on what we’ve done so far and our next steps.

Home Office - DIY Desk | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

The “Desktop”:  Making big boards out of little boards
This is a saying my Dad (who is a carpenter) always says (mostly when he is cutting wood, then making “little boards out of big boards”).  Anywho, we went to Home Depot to pick out our material of choice for the desk and came across common board.  Now, here is what sold us on this type of wood:

1) Price
Each 10′ x 10″ x 3/4″ piece of common board was about $7.  At this price, we felt pretty good about our first crack at making a DIY countertop with the kreg jig.

2) Look
I liked the natural grain and look of the wood.  Unlike Doug wood, it didn’t have any weird red undertones and it looked like it would take to stain nicely if we decided to go down that path.

To create the countertop, Matt took each board and kreg screwed holes to attach it to the next board.  Then, he used wood glue and clamps to make a nice tight fit and to get rid of the seams.  Then, he sanded.  A lot.  Like a lot a lot.  But it was totally worth the time.  The seams melted away like magic and when you run your hand over the top, you can’t tell or feel at all where the separate boards are (such a proud wifey moment!).  Then, he ripped more common board down to make it into the trim to match.  He 45-ed the edges for a nice finished look (again, so proud.)

We attached a cleat to the wall and then attached the long section of the “T” that fit in the wall to the cleat (which actually turned out to be pretty sturdy).  Then, we used the legs and blocks to help support the corners.  Finally, we attached the island of the “T” (which I got to screw in, laying on the floor while Matt hulk-hogan style held it together), and again put the legs for corner support.

The Legs
Oh yeah, these guys?  Well, we ripped ‘em off an old table from Craigslist.  Scraped off a bunch of “gunk” for lack of a better term, primed, and painted them.  To attach them to the desk, we needed some more height, so we used another block and drilled a hole into it to attach the legs to the desk.  I think they do the perfect job of bringing a little character and rustic to our desk system. 🙂

Home Office - DIY Desk | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Now, I thought once I had made the decision to keep the desk natural that the decision work was done.  Ha!  Nope, welcome our world/introduction to polyurithane/lacquer.  Now, we could have done some research, but we just kind of dove right in.  We had purchased the oil-based high gloss lacquer for another project, an outdoor bar cart that had to be super durable since we plan to keep it on our deck.  We have a gallon of it with a lot left, so initially we though we’d use it on the desk.  LUCKILY, we tested it.  Blech!  Did not like at all. The oil-based lacquer although super durable, gave the pretty, raw, rustic wood a yellow/shiny coat that totally changed it’s look.  Strike 1-nope.  Second try was a water-based poly in a satin finish.  LOVED the look.  But we tested our test piece with a cold glass of water to see if the seal would hold up to a water ring…results weren’t that great.  🙁  Finally, we tried an oil-based satin poly, and the smell almost killed Matt (OK, that may be a stretch, but for some reason it really did smell awful).  That was still too shiny for me and the layer didn’t go on very evenly.  Despite our test, we are going with the water-based satin sealer, we will just be doing a lot of layers, and then using coasters (like, I will be a coaster natzi).  Then again, I’m not all about keeping everything in prestine condition.  I like to live in my spaces and not have them be showroom ready.  That’s just us.  Keepin’ it real.

Home Office - DIY Desk | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Home Office - DIY Desk | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

 EEEeee!!  We are getting closer!  Things to plan next are wall shelving, storage, and colors/ mood board.  Some FUN stuff if you ask me!! 🙂 I’m so excited to be organized and up and running in our space.


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