March 28, 2017
The studio is becoming such a pretty, inviting, inspiring place to work and create.
When we moved in to the house, this space was just a big unfinished area above the garage. We finished it out with a little bit of framing, cleaned up the drywall, added can lights, installed super inexpensive floors, painted with Sherwin Williams Shoji White and trimmed out the windows and baseboard (see the before + after post here).
Once the shell of the room was complete, it was time to figure out how to make it most usable. I pinned a bunch of inspiration images to my office Pinterest board and Ryan (who is much better at space planning than I am) came up with a layout.
In order to visualize a space all pulled together, I like to create a design board (here is the design board for the studio). It helps me make decisions without having to actually purchase items. We knew we wanted a long work surface along the back wall and it was just a matter of coming up with a practical, affordable, nice-looking way to make it happen.
After lots and lots of research on desk options, I finally settled on a diy version – or as they say, an IKEA hack.
The idea was largely inspired by this photo of an ikea dresser that had been dressed up with paint and brass hardware. It was just the look I was wanting in the studio and while not the perfect dimensions, it felt worth a try.
I bought and put together three of the Hemnes dressers, leaving the tops off.
The height of the dressers is 37 3/4″ which is much too high for a desk, so Ryan cut off the legs.
To top the dressers, I used two 98″ pieces of countertop from IKEA. This particular counter is not solid wood – just a top layer – but it can still be oiled and sanded as needed. It came in these long lengths that fit along the back wall perfectly and allowed for enough room between dressers to pull up a chair comfortably.
The main problem we ran into is that the finished height is taller than the average desk. The finished size with the legs off and top on is 33 5/8″ while a standard desk sits at between 28″-30″ tall. I don’t mind a taller than average desk at all as I am on the taller size (5’7″), but from experience, I know that sitting in too-low of a chair makes for crampy shoulders and neck.
We ordered the most beautiful leather adjustable chairs that raise to 22″ thinking they would be just the right height … but alas, they are just a few inches too short. I talked about that debacle on this post. They are almost usable as is, but I start to get a shoulder cramp after sitting at my computer all day since I’m scrunching up my shoulders to type.
We talked about switching up the desks to lower the height of the top, but ultimately stuck with the original vision and will be altering the chairs instead. We have a plan for that, but haven’t done them yet. I’ll share details once we’re done. For now, I’m just dealing with the chair height and enjoying how pretty the office looks.
Instead of using the small black knobs that came with the dressers, I switched them out for these super inexpensive brass-lookalike pulls. They really give the dressers that classic modern look I was going for.
As for the downsides of this IKEA hack desk, I can only think of two so far.
The first issue: there is space between the back of the dresser and the wall.
The countertop depth is 25 5/8″ and dresser is 19 5/8″. We just cheated the dressers forward which left that gap back there.
It honestly doesn’t bother me at all … but it is just something to consider.
Second issue: the desk doesn’t run all the way to the edge of the wall.
Ideally, we would have a built-in desk that ran the full width of the wall. Since the countertops only come in two lengths and we went with the longest, this is as far as the desks can span. Sure, we could have gone with a different countertop, but I was going for ease and a pre-made countertop was just what we needed.
I just put my baskets of wrapping paper in the empty space and it works great.
Before the spring tour (did you catch that post? If not, here it is!) I unloaded boxes and boxes of officy/crafty things and organized the drawers. It is so nice to have so much storage. I’ll show you inside the drawers soon.
Overall, this has been a very worthwhile IKEA hack. The total for the three dressers, two countertops and 9 pulls was $835 which is well under what it would have cost to have a custom wall-to-wall desk built.
Having that long workspace and lots of storage is so practical and looks great in the room as well. A win all around!
Do you have any other questions about the desks? I’m happy to answer in the comments …
March 22, 2017
One year ago (almost to the day) I posted about the iPhone case that changed my life. The phrase ‘changed my life’ sounds a little intense for something as insignificant as a phone case, and it probably is. But I’m happy to report that using a wallet phone case truly has simplified my daily routine. The […]
March 20, 2017
If you open up a magazine and look at any well-styled home, you’ll notice a designer’s best secret: plants. Since I’m a pretty good student and I do weird things like study the rooms I like, I’ve caught on to this fresh greenery idea and have fully embraced it. I joke that the older I […]
March 15, 2017
Today I’m joining a group of talented bloggers on a Cozy Spring Home Tour hosted by Rachel from Shades of Blue Interiors + Country Living Magazine and sponsored by HomeGoods. Country Living wrote a great roundup article with 22 ways to decorate for spring pulling from each space (read that here) and be sure to scroll […]
March 13, 2017
It seems I’ve been on a book-buying spree lately. These five were just delivered within the past two weeks and I can’t wait to crack each one open and pore over the pages. These books are not my typical choices. I almost always read novels, and usually lean toward historical fiction. Because of our move and […]
March 9, 2017
In today’s episode of Coffee Chat, you get to meet a special guest (about 1 minute in), hear about my current can’t-stop-wearing obsession, and get a little glimpse into why I love doing what I do. So grab a cup of coffee/tea/water/kombucha and let’s chat! MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO We got chickens! We chose 5 […]
March 6, 2017
The drawers in the studio finally have hardware. It took forever to put them on and here’s why: I’m terrible at it. Seriously, terrible. I put the cabinet/drawer hardware on in the kitchen and pretty much every one is crooked. How is that possible when you have a template and measure over and over again […]
March 3, 2017
As I mentioned earlier this week, my friend and I ‘popped’ into IKEA last Saturday to grab a few things. It happened to be the grand opening weekend of the brand new massive store and it was literally busier than Disneyland. So many people. On less busy days, I like to take my time and look […]
March 1, 2017
Up in the studio (and throughout the whole house, actually), the outlets, light switches and wall plates are almond colored. I’m assuming this almond color was the standard back in 1992 when the house was built. Not a huge deal except that they look pretty grimy next to all of the white walls. So on […]
February 27, 2017
The kids had mid-winter break last week which basically meant all things work flew right out the window. It’s okay, though. I think I needed a week off and I always strive to find that crazy balance between being an engaged mom and responsible business-owner. This week forced me into choosing and I went with […]
February 17, 2017
Sometimes I think about opening a brick and mortar shop. A big warehousy-type building with soaring ceilings, worn wood floors and white walls. It would highlight cute home goods that I could arrange and rearrange every day, a coffee shop (because shopping is always better with an extra hot latte), fresh flowers and plants and […]
February 15, 2017
As we are beginning to meet people in our new town, we’re finding that when they drop by, we end up chatting in the entry. The problem is, the entry is not the best representation of our style and what we’re doing in the rest of the house. Here is the entry on the day […]
February 13, 2017
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to share a few freebie love note designs. What’s not to LOVE about watercolor hearts, arrows, rain clouds raining down hearts? My illustrations were scanned and formatted into sweet little note cards with matching diy envelopes. Keep reading for the how-to and to download the files! […]
February 10, 2017
Welcome to the newest edition of Coffee Chat. I like to think of us as friends and even though we may never get to sit down with a cup of coffee together and talk about life, this is my attempt to bring that conversation to the blog. Before we get into today’s episode, can I […]
February 8, 2017
It snowed here this week (which doesn’t often happen). While I have Spring on my mind, the weather is reminding me we still have a ways to go. Until then, I’ve been eyeing a few pieces to add to my wardrobe that will work now, but also carry over into spring. The key, I think, […]