This project is definitely the most drastic thing we’ve done to our house so far. Sure, painting every room in the house was a massive undertaking, but this feels more personal.
As a blogger, I see all the beautiful home offices and work spaces people post on Instagram and online. Seeing all of these left me feeling completely inspired and I knew I needed something just as beautiful in our house.
As I was scrolling through Instagram one day, I came across this picture:
All I could think about was wall-to-wall shelving. The room we designated in our house as the office was perfect for a wall-to-wall design. I grabbed some paper and did a super rough sketch of what I wanted. It basically was a rectangle to represent the wall with three lines running across it. Two to represent the floating shelves, and a thicker one to represent the desk.
I have no idea how I convinced Trevor to get on board, but surprisingly it wasn’t that difficult. The success of this major DIY really did rely on him, so there was a little bit of pressure. I think he took shop class in eighth grade, but other than that, he pretty much winged this. He’s a determined person and I think he liked the idea of a project that would challenge him. Well, challenge it was, but it was so, so, so worth it for the beautiful office we have now.
To go back all the way to the beginning, this is what the office looked like when we moved in:
Just painting it made it a completely new space.
After I had my little design drawn up and Trevor convinced, we made a trip (several actually) to Lowe’s. I had been told by the great people at Refined Design that Lowe’s carried an affordable wood that would be a great width for the desk (24 inches). It’s called edge glued pine (all the wood in this project is pine). It comes in a few different size planks. We needed a 10 ft plank because we wanted it to be the length of the entire wall. Unfortunately Lowe’s didn’t have an edge glued plank that was long enough, so we got two 6 ft planks. This means there is a seam in the desk, but I’m ok with it. It adds character. Then, we got a front piece four inches wide to put on the face of the desk to make it look thicker.
For the shelves, we got two pieces of 10 ft x 12 in pine for each individual shelf (so four total) and a one and a half inch x 10 ft piece to fit between them, so the shelves would appear thicker, but are actually hollow in the middle and are supported by one and a half inch planks screwed and bolted to the wall. Same goes with the desk, it is supported by planks bolted to the wall. The leg in the middle wasn’t part of the original plan, but the desk was sagging a little and we wanted to make sure it had all the support it needed to be sturdy.
Trevor measured and cut all the pieces and assembled the desk and shelves using dowels. Then, when everything was done, we disassembled so I could stain each piece.
I set up shop in our garage and had everything done in about an hour and a half. I really liked the color of the wood after just one coat, so I left it at that. I went back to old faithful and used the exact same stain I used for our dining room table rehab, (name of stain), except I used a matte finish instead of satin. The color is perfect and is exactly what I was envisioning. Initially I was going to paint the wood white. I love white, it’s my favorite. But then I saw a wood desk that was stained, I changed my mind. I wanted to bring some natural texture into the room and then contrast it with some awesome modern chairs. But that’s for a different post.
After everything was cut and stained, it was time to put it all together! We used brad nails, commonly known as finishing nails. These are supposed to be used with a nail gun, but we don’t own one, so we had to improvise. It turned out to be very unfortunate because brad nails are not meant to be hammered. First, we had to peel apart each individual nail because they come like staples ready to be loaded into a gun. Then, Trevor had a heck of a time nailing them in because the wood was very hard and the nail would bend if you didn’t hit it just right. I think at the end of it all, we had a pile of over twenty bent nails.
Other than the nail situation, assembly went fairly fast and easy. One of the shelf planks was slightly warped, but it wouldn’t be a DIY project if everything went perfectly. After about an hour – hour and a half we officially had a desk and shelves!
This project is a huge win for Trevor and I. We’re making progress in our home and we had a completely new experience together. Now, I just go into the office and stare. I could just sit and look at it for hours! Most importantly though, I feel like I have an inspiring place to produce great work. And Trevor, who does most of his work from home, also has a place to put his stack of papers other than the dining room table. I also have to say how proud I am of him. He is the one who truly made this little vision of mine become a reality and I’m so thankful for his hard work.
I also want to note that we did all of this for less than $200!