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Friday, July 21, 2017

IKEA Desk Hack, Office Makeover - Part 2

What a tease I am.  Two posts in one week and then silence for four.

At least it hasn't been over two years like last time!

I know you all were waiting on pins and needles for the next phase of the office makeover, so let's get on with it.

When we left off, I had painted three of the four walls with BM's White Dove, and then one of the walls with BM's Hale Navy.  Then I DIYed a stenciled accent wall leaving the room like this:

Our next step was to make this room functional. We wanted a large desk that would span the entire length of the wall.  Not only did it need to be large enough to accommodate separate spaces for both Vern and I, it needed to take care of our storage/filing issues (or the lack thereof).  

We knew that we wanted to build a custom desk, but Vern was busy with other projects at the time, so the building of said desk was going to be pretty much up to me, and although I know how to use many of the tools that we own that doesn't mean that I know how to use them that well.  

To make things easier on myself I decided to see what Ikea had to offer.  They don't produce 12ft long desks, but their ALEX line has plenty of drawer bases that can be used for a variety of custom projects.  Seriously, I spent almost an entire afternoon looking at all the ALEX hacks Pinterest has to offer.  I settled on the ALEX four drawer/drop file base - mostly because of the filing base. We have a lot of paper and all that paper needed a home. 

Our nearest Ikea is a 6 hour round trip drive, so these treks have to be planned out. I got up early one Saturday and made the long drive over the mountains and back, bringing four of those bad boys with me.  At $89 each they're not super cheap, but I figured the cost of time and materials to build four sets of drawers would have been way more. 

Needless to say, I got home, unloaded the boxes from my car, and then they sat. In their box. For weeks. If you have ever put together a piece of furniture from Ikea you know that it's a time commitment.  Unless it's a simple piece of furniture, it's guaranteed to take at least a half-hour of your time (Unless you're some sort of Ikea wizard, and in that case please e-mail me your contact information so that next time I have furniture to put together you can do it for me.)

When I finally got tired of staring at the pile of boxes near the front door I sucked it up and spent the next three hours putting the bases together.  

With each base I got faster and faster, but that first one took me at least 45 minutes.

They are surprisingly heavy, especially when you're moving them by yourself.  Thank goodness it's a short trek from the living room to the office downstairs.  I mostly just slid them across the floor using a small rug and then slid them (gently) down the stairs and into the office.


Can you already see it!?

The next step was to create the top part of the desk out of 2x12s, a task that Vern completely hijacked.  Seriously.  He'll tell me that a project is my responsibility and then come in half-way through and take over.  I'm assuming this is because he doesn't want me to mess anything up, but still.

In all reality, I would have messed this up.  He's better about picking out straight pieces of wood than I am.  And I would have never thought to trim off the rounded edges of the 2x12s like he's doing in the above picture.  I married one smart man. 😍

Once the 2x12s were trimmed we ran them through a bench plainer that a friend let us borrow.  I think we did 10 passes through the plainer with each board.  This got it smooth enough to use as a desk surface.  

We carried them inside and then Vern made another pass over them with his hand sander.  

Once we knew that they were going to fit, I pulled the boards off and began staining them.  I can't remember the stain we used.  It was just something we had lying around. 

I was also too lazy to carry them outside, so I just put a drop cloth down and called it good.  And yes, that is our laundry drying rack being used to hold up the drying boards. #resourceful 

After everything dried we put the boards in place and secured them underneath using pieces of scrap wood.  I made Vern hang my Ikea picture ledges and then did a happy dance about how well everything was coming together. 

The last step was to coat this bad boy with some poly to protect the desk top and to make it easier to wipe down - which is why we used semi-gloss.  

I almost never follow the directions on the back of the can.  DO NOT BE LIKE ME.  I AM IMPATIENT AND IT NEVER EVER WORKS OUT IN MY FAVOR.  Manufacturer instructions are your friends.  Listen to them. Follow them.  Which thankfully I did this time. 

Poly coat. Let dry. Sand. Repeat. 


I did a total of three light coats of semi-gloss poly, sanding with 400 grit sandpaper between each coat. With the final coat drying we were only a few steps away from having (for the first time ever) a fully functional office.

See the final reveal here!
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