Monday, April 21, 2014

Desk do over

Hello all! Hope your weekend and holiday was wonderful! Our Easter ended up being a lot more low key than we planned and it was great! My boy played outside pretty much all day long yesterday and it was fabulous – this is the weather we’ve been waiting for!

So the project I’m sharing today was frustrating – sometimes you put a lot of time into something and it ends up not working. Well, it may work great – but it just isn’t what you envisioned. It’ll make more sense in a bit. :)

I mentioned last week that I’d like a smaller desk in my office. We have a couple options in the house that I thought would work as a replacement – I tried the first and it was way too big (too long). The second was this small desk I got from HomeGoods years back:

decorative desk

In that spot it was mostly decorative – you can tell by the height of the chair that there wasn’t a lot of leg room there to sit. The desk was low and the middle section was in the way. I tried a couple different chairs and that one is actually the only one low enough for it – the desk just isn’t made to function I guess? (Which I didn’t realize till getting hit home and taking off all the tags, of course.) Weird.

So I pulled it into the office to see if I liked the size. It’s about half the width of my current table and I LOVED how it opened up the space. I actually placed it at an angle in the room and loved how it looked in there.

But as I mentioned, I couldn’t really sit at it. So I did some checking – first to see how much I would need to raise the desk to make it work for me. Then I looked at the legs closer and figured out that everything came off easily – the feet first, then the cross bars:

Then I was able to take the legs off as well. This was going so well! :)

I ran to the hardware store and grabbed a 2 1/2 by 2 1/2 board – when I got home I cut it down to size and installed it on the bottom of the desk:

extending legs on desk

Then I reinstalled these little doodads that the legs screwed into:

extending legs on desk

I was making a mess, as you can see. :)

So far so good – it was actually going fast and easy and I put the legs back on and the height was great!

Little issue. When I sit at my desk I rarely sit with two legs on the floor. I pull them up and tuck them under, or sit criss cross, whatever – I LOVE to have my legs up. Because of that I need extra space under the desk that normally wouldn’t be needed. My current table/desk works great because it has a small apron that doesn’t get in the way of my legs.

I tried sitting at the desk as it was but couldn’t handle not being able to pull my legs up. It’s my thing I guess. So…plan B happened. It got ugly before it got better:

repurposing desk

I cut the middle section away with a jigsaw (it was just thin particle board) – not all the way back, but enough for my legs to be able to fit in. The photo above was a rough cut – I evened it all out and then used some small trim molding to cover up the rough edges.

It actually worked out great! I wanted to paint the desk anyway so these changes weren’t any big deal. The painting is where things went downhill. ;)

We took it outside so I could spray paint it – with all the detail on the legs and the grooves in the top I knew that would be the best option. I sanded it down lightly first, then spray primed it, then started painting the final color.

I loved my navy blue lamps in the master bedroom so much, I figured a navy blue desk would look great. My office is light but I thought having more of a statement in the desk would work.

It did not. :)

I didn’t even take pics of it in the room – we put it in there and I had to pull it back out immediately. HATED it. Don’t hate the desk, hate in in the room:

navy blue desk

Did I mention I ran to the hardware store ten minutes before closing to get more spray paint cause I ran out? And then the color didn’t even work. GAH. (I wasn’t 100 percent sold on it outside in the sun but thought it would look different inside.)

And the spray paint covered really crappy. It can get a cloudy look if you don’t apply it just so – this was user error though. When you’re painting smaller projects this won’t happen as badly because it’s easier to get good coverage. With larger furniture it’s hard to get it just right.

Thing is, both the new height and the cut out turned out great, and I love how the changes look!:

navy blue desk

The color is just all kinds of wrong. :) I actually like the navy on the desk, I just think it needs to be a deeper blue.

I’m determined to use it somewhere though – I have a couple spots in mind for it as is (I’ll touch up the uneven spray paint if it works). If I don’t like the blue I’ll be painting it, again. :)

One thing I’ve learned – I’ll need to stick with the table-as-desk idea, for the way I work…err, sit. I’ve been searching on Craigslist here and there for months and haven’t found anything that would work.

Something like this on a smaller scale would be ideal:

table as desk

I’ve been thinking lately I could just DIY something, since the size I want is so specific:

table as desk

(source)

And then I came across this small table from IKEA:

small table IKEA

It’s a little plain but only $40 and the perfect size. I think I’m leaning towards making something though. We will see!

All I know is the desk will NOT be navy blue. :) Live and learn. Most of the time I put into this project was spray painting – extending the legs only took about 30 minutes.

All in all not a complete waste, so I can’t be too bummed about it. For now I continue to sit at my gigantor table/desk in my office with my legs crossed. :)

Have you had any projects that didn’t turn out the way you envisioned? I happens to all of us at some point! Were you able to salvage it?

36 comments:

  1. I love the color on the desk. If you're not feeling the spray paint you could always try chalk paint over it. They do come in dark colors and the wax would give it a good shine. The Ikea table if you google it I'm sure you can find good hacks for it. Maybe do something similar with it as you did for your dining room table? Either with or without the farmhouse feel. I like how the Ikea table feels a bit more like a blank canvas.

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  2. You know what they say! Nothing ventured, nothing gained! You did do a great job reconfiguring it - can't wait to see where it lands :)

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  3. maybe just try a different blue if you don't like it. (?) I just used Valspar's indigo streamer to paint a campaign dresser thrift store find and love it... http://alwaysinasouthernstateofmind.blogspot.com/2014/04/campaign-dresser-makeover-reveal.html

    cant wait to see what you decide to do :)

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  4. i do not like that you spray painted it it looks like spray paint. wish you would just paint it with paint and then i would put it back in the room it looks so good there. ang

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  5. Your little desk is charming. Thank you for the inspiration. I have my mom's desk and would like to refinish it this summer.

    Have a marvelous Monday. ~Natalie

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  6. I decided to ORB all of our antique-brass door knobs and while the interior ones are fine, the ones to the garage and the kitchen pantry door started getting scrapes pretty much the very next day and all looked like crapola in about two weeks. I had to take them off and go buy true ORB handles that will hold up. Door knobs are a pain to take off and on so it was such a waste of time for those. I hate that :/

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  7. Why don't you just repaint it and use it in the room...hate to see all that extending go to waste...You made it perfect except for the color which is easily remedied

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    1. It just took a while to paint -- with actual paint instead of spray paint it will take even longer. I'm going to see if it works as is in a couple places first and then I'll decide if I'm going to paint again. :)

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  8. Hate when that happens! My daughter just recently created a couple tables/counter height bar using old pallets...just a thought? Similar style to the IKEA table, but a bit more rustic and sturdy.

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    1. I love the idea of old wood, or wood made to look old. ;)

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  9. Thank you for sharing the do over the did not work! So often you only see the perfect ending updates when there are so many that do not quite work in real life. I really like the blue color, and look forward to seeing where it makes it's home!

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  10. Could the odd height be due to it being a TV stand rather than a desk?

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    1. Yep, could be. It was styled as a desk when I bought it and it always looked like one to me. I bet you're right!

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    2. It looks like a sofa table to me. You know a narrow table to be placed behind a sofa, or along a wall as an entry table.

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    3. The open space in the middle looks like it might be space for a dvd player, and it looks like there's a hole in the bottom of it for the cords...

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  11. Another way to give some extra leg room would be to add some cute casters to the bottom, maybe?

    Too bad the spray job didn't turn out. I only use my paint sprayer, not cans, for larger projects, for fear of that same weird finish. I'm surprised you don't plan on sanding and re-spraying with a darker navy. The deal is really cute. I use a "writing desk" AKA former console table as my nightstand. You can see it in my house tour.

    http://www.imbusyprocrastinating.com/2012/03/house-tour-master-bedroom.html

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  12. I really think that is a buffet, or maybe a tv stand, not a desk because of the height and the x detail between the legs- it's just not made to pull a chair up to itm

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  13. Well live and learn! And I love that you don't just show us the good stuff! As I am reading along I'm start thinking she needs to do what we did in my daughters room... get an Ikea table and then I saw that you found one. We bought the small butcher block dining table and built a little book shelf to go over it for storage. Works perfectly!

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  14. The feeling of "I'm sweaty from busting my hump on this and it's still a disaster" should have a word of its own (I'm sure there's a perfect phrase in French or German). I'm even worse because I commit to my error wholeheartedly, refusing to repaint out of exhaustion or spending way more than I intended to correct it.

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  15. I spent hours scraping stickers and junk off a table that I found on the street, then more time priming it. When I started to paint it, it was very hot outside so the paint bubbled, then the wind started blowing, which caused every bug and speck of dust within a ten mile radius to stick to it. I gave up and took it to the dump. I was so done with it! hahahaha

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  16. Well darn. I loved that desk whenever I caught a glimpse of it in your posts. I don't think it was really ever intended as a desk, though. I think it was a sofa/library table like the kind you place behind a couch or use as a sideboard. Makes me sad it's suffered so. Can you return it to its lovely cream colored glory even though it's been carved? :-(

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  17. That turned out so amazing!!!! I get annoyed when my knee hits the desk too, so I completely understand. That is definitely a pop of color!

    Stay fabulous,
    Seng | http://www.sengerson.com

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  18. I always want the thrill of a project... and then am frequently brought back down to earth with the fact that sometimes it just makes more sense to actually buy a piece of nice furniture that serves the purpose I intended for it. I've also learned, over the course of these aforemetioned endeavors, that actual paint (vs spray paint) almost always works better on furniture.. unless it's a little end table or something. Cheers to living, learning, and totally admitting to our mistaks! Lord knows I've been there. I think I'd go find a can of paint in a similar navy and give that baby a proper paint job. You're like 90% there!

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  19. cute cute cute piece of furniture but you pretty much just told the story of my objection to every desk everywhere- way too big for my space, too low for me to cross my legs, and even after cutting out the well, I still would find the drawers that limit *where* I can put my crossed legs very frustrating :/ But I'm so sorry that all that work still couldn't make this piece fit the space!

    Two things:
    1) Do you ever have luck with HomeGoods furniture? I always think their stuff looks so cute but is either lacking basic construction quality or has weird functionality issues like this.

    2) Because I too have been scouring Craigslist for a desk of about the same size (it seems) for months and months- and also looking at that very same Ikea table- I was delighted and thrilled and super stoked when I stumbled across this tutorial:
    http://strawberry-chic.blogspot.com/2011/03/home-decor-vintage-desktable-how-to.html

    Now, fair warning, I haven't started this project yet and I have never built a piece of furniture in my life so while the instructions make it *look* super easy to get a desk that is the perfect size (even height!) to suit my very picky desk-sitting self, no guarantees :) I have seriously been considering taking the risk and giving it a try, despite my inexperience. (Also, I think I'll try bribing my husband into turning the 4x4 of the legs into something more shapely because that could make it even prettier) Maybe it could work for you too?

    Good luck!

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    1. Have to agree with you. Most look great but when I get close, they're not made very well. Of course there are always exceptions.

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    2. Mary Catherine, I've been pleased with my HomeGoods purchases. Most of them are chairs though -- now that I think of it the only furniture I have from there (other than this, and end table and a small bookcase) are a few chairs! So I guess I can't speak to the quality of the bigger stuff.

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  20. It's a shame not to be able to use it in the room after reconfiguring it. Paint usually looks different after you put more coats on- maybe it would look darker with another coat or two? Or add a black glaze to it?

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  21. I love the desk! maybe a whitewash? or antique it with a chalk paint? whatever you do it will urn out great!

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  22. Hate when that happens! I know that blue doesn't always come across accurately in photos. It's looking more cobalt than navy in these pics, unlike how the pics of your wonderfully revamped lamps look. Anyway, I'm curious as to why you wouldn't just repaint it instead of starting over? I love this desk!

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  23. I just received the post and the first remedy that came to mind was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I see many of those who responded also suggested it and it is an incredible product. Best of Luck!

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    1. I considered it! It's still a pain to get in all the crevices like on the legs. It may be what I end up with!

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  24. I painted a dresser using Rustoleum Navy Blue in the quart can. It has a gloss finish. It took about 4 coats but I love the finish. Maybe you could sand it a bit and then repaint? I agree, I don't think spray paint works well for a larger area, but except for the weird paint finish, I think it's darling!

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  25. So glad to hear you experience flubs every now and then. I've nicknamed this month "Defective DIY Project April." First it was the wobbly fan (http://bit.ly/1idI68d) renovation. Tonight it was the spray-painted planters project from hell. I made the mistake you said never to make ... I said to myself (in my head), "This will be quick and easy." Forging ahead with DIY diva fortitude!!! :) And, for the record, I made a run to the store for more spray paint, too.

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  26. Maybe chalk paint would've worked better? It's always a game of Russian roulette when spray painting furniture, or anything for that matter. I've used Blue Minerals Chalk Paint and it worked fabulously. The new height of the desk looks great!

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  27. That's really an amazing post giving inspiration for interior designing and home decoration. I loved the way you gave an amazing look to that table. That's what we called creativity. Thanks for sharing some really great things here.

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