DIY Desk for Working at Home {Quarantine Project}

Monday, April 27, 2020

Hi friends!  It's been a minute, right?  I hope this is finding you well amidst the current pandemic.  Sorry about the email with those old posts yesterday.  I reactivated my blog and it sent out an unexpected email.   My family has, fortunately, able to remain home the past several weeks.  What that has also meant is that everyone is also working from home.  We only had one functioning desk which meant the dining room quickly got turned into an office.  So that motivated me to build this desk that I've had on my radar for quite some time...the Fancy X desk by Ana White.

I had built it's cousin, the "Fancy X Farmhouse Table" last year while waiting on making progress on my kitchen.   I got hung up on the cross-braces because the cuts didn't fit, but after finishing this build I went back and added them in.  I will have to share that soon.  I really had nothing to lose in trying this build.  So I placed my pick-up order for lumber and got to work following the tutorial.

I did end up needing about 3 more pieces of 2x4 than the plans called for, but it's a beautiful, substantial desk for not a lot of money.  Especially considering the pre-made ones that I had my eye on were closer to $300.  I used basic 2x4's and 2x6's labeled 'whitewood' from the box store.

After the build, I sanded to remove the ink marks and any rough edges.  I wanted the color to be close to the finish of the Tarva night stands I stained several years ago. I started by using a base stain of Minwax Provincial .  Then used a wash of watered down white paint as a glaze, but all in all, it came out pretty good.  I used a Varathane matte sealer and applied three coats to the top.

It's currently in use in my family room. We moved the original glass top desk upstairs to a new office, and this one is now used thru out the week for schoolwork.  And it's large enough that I can comfortably sit next to my son to work and help him without it feeling crowded.

I couldn't help but to get a few beauty shots below of a setup I'm hoping to have for it in the future.  It will eventually go to its permanent home in a new office downstairs, but the functionality it provides NOW is just what we needed!  If I end up wanting (or needing) to keep it as the school desk here permanently, I will probably build another one a little smaller to fit better in the space.
(For reference, this desk is 6' long and 2' deep.)

Hope you all are taking care and staying safe!

Base Stain: Minwax Provincial
Whitewash: White paint mixed with water, but I would try this in the future for an easier application
Polyurethane: Varathane matte finish polyurethane
Art: Cavallini Bird Print Calendar repurposed with Ikea Ribba frames

**Amazon affiliate links allow me to make a small commission if you use them to purchase supplies, but at no charge to you!**

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Painting Over Wallpaper and Wood Paneling

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

I was talking with a friend this weekend who told me she was tackling a paint project in her home.  I was so excited for her because I KNOW the power of a good paint job.  We moved into our 1980's colonial home a little over three years ago, and the mantra all along was 'paint, flooring, and lighting'.  We knew the bones of the home were good.  We also knew that if we could update the paint, flooring, and lighting, most rooms would be brought into the 21st century.

From start to finish this paint project took me about nine days.  This includes prepwork.  Below is a photo of the room when we toured the home.  One of the things I liked about the home was that it didn't have any cosmetic updates.  The green wallpaper was actually sort of charming.

(before moving in)

I say sort of...I knew it was going to go though!  Originally, I thought I would remove the wallpaper before painting, but we had just unsuccessfully tackled removing the wallpaper in the bathroom, and I wasn't up for the battle again.  Besides, if a paper is very-well adhered to the wall, why not just paint over it?!   I also found that Benjamin Moore sells a primer specifically for wallpaper called Fresh Start.  So that's what I used.  But before priming, I needed to prep the walls.  That included removing the outlet and vent covers, filling the nail holes, and caulking ALL of the seams of wood paneling and crown molding.  I never find the prep work to be all that fun, but it's imperative to get a seamless paint job.

Paint Prep   

Once the prep work was done, I primed and painted all of the wood molding.  Next, it was on to the primer coat for the wallpaper. I did two coats of primer to be on the safe side. What a difference just primer made.  The space was already so much brighter!

Wood Paneling primed and painted | Wallpaper primed

After priming, I painted the walls with two coats of paint.  I chose Sherwin Williams Silver Strand.

Paint Color- SW Silver Strand

After | Wallpaper and Wood Paneling Painted

I know I sometimes hesitate to start on projects thinking that I don't have time.  But I look back now, and the nine days of work was totally worth it. If you're on the fence about starting a paint project of your own, I hope you feel inspired to give it a go whether it's dated or you just want a change.  I think you'll agree that it was worth it once it's done!

I'll be back to share what the space looks like now that I've added some artwork and we've (mostly) refinished the kitchen!

Wall Color-Sherwin Williams Silver Strand
Wood Paneling Color- Benjamin Moore Simply White
Light Fixture- Ballards Design Outlet | Piedmont 4-light Lantern
Chairs- Ikea
Table-Vintage (Craiglist find)

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Embracing Change

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

It's October 1st, and here in Georgia, it still feels like the dead of summer.   I guess the weather feels like I do and isn't quite ready to let go of summer yet.  I imagine that is the nature of change for some of us.  But like the seasons, it's inevitable.  Whether the temps are ready for it or not, autumn is here.  Leaves are falling. days are shortening, and the light is shifting.  All of which I am not quite ready for.   I l-o-v-e  LOVE the nine pm light in height of summer.  So what's a summer lover to do?

I am working on embracing the change.  In seasons and in life.  Sometimes it feels like it would be amazing to bottle up moments and times in life and just live in them just a little longer.

But change is always inevitable.  And there's always new beauty in the change.   Even in the shift to the fall season, there is beauty in the changing of the leaves, and the way the light comes in the house, and in the recipes you get to bring back out.  And if all else fails, there's always pumpkin spice lattes!  I'm hoping you're embracing the changing of seasons--both in nature and in life!  

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Renovations at the Oak House-Living Room

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

When we moved here, although many of the rooms were dated, a few had really nice paint colors.  But coming from my own home and having tons of old paint cans, we didn't want the sellers to leave behind any old paint.  I ended up sort of regretting that because now I had no way of touching up anything.

The existing paint color was a cool gray blue and had a very airy feel to it, but it was dragged down by the mauve trim.  Then the walls got nicked up in the moving process.  So when I finally got around to paining this room, I had to try to find a match.

I picked up lots of swatches and narrowed it down to a color called Evening Shadow by Sherwin Williams, which turned out to be pretty close.

Now the gray-blue paired with a crisp white feels so much more updated. With most rooms of this house, the goal has been to use existing furniture.  So the two chairs from my previous master bedroom found a place in here.  

I paired a house-warming gift from my mom with a Black Friday sale from Ikea to get the matching sofa.  And the bookcases from my previous sunroom are being used as a stand-in. Eventually I would like to either do built-ins or a set of wood/iron bookcases, or at the very least paint these white.   

  But I'm so excited about the changes so far!
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Renovations at The Oak House- The Laundry Room

I painted this room when we first moved from head to toe.  But  I recently found a little mini throw rug at Homegoods that really elevated the space.  

This room has so much potential, right?  I love the fact that it had 42" cabinets and a utility sink.  

BEFORE (listing photo)

I started with taking down the little shelf over the sink.

Next up was painting the walls, cabinets, and trim.

Even after painting, a little decorating can go a long way.  The rug lent a bohemian vibe, and I added a gold framed pinboard and wood frames to compliment it.  Still up is to replace the flooring, but it's so much better than before!


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Renovations at the Oak House-The Family Room

We finally painted the family room a couple of months ago.  This was one room that really did not set right with me.  I know some people are really against painting wood.  Ever.  But I think that if you can't update it, you need to paint it.   

In defense of this particular paneling, I loved the bones of it.  I also think it would have looked awesome restained in a more modern wood tone like a gray wash or darker wood tone.  I also think it would have looked awesome in a deep navy or medium or light gray.  The possibilities are endless.  I am, however, a lover of the light. This room faces somewhat north, and gets its most direct light in the afternoon and evening.  So with that in mind, I wanted to keep it light and bright, so that no matter the time of day, it feels happy.  

When the room was being painted, the windows and doors were saved for last.  So I had the contrast of the wood tone against the white paint.  I remembered photos I had saved of dark colored window and doors and was inspired to go dark for them both. So glad that happened because the 'big white box' needed a bit of contrast. It also tied into the TV!



I'm not the biggest fan of this rug, and I plan to add artwork and drapes, but the transformative power of paint never disappoints.  The goal was to take this room from dark and dated to light and bright, and I think it was mission accomplished!
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Renovations at The Oak House-The Foyer

Monday, January 8, 2018

It's been quite a while since I posted any updates to the house.  But I have been working over the last few months.  I thought I would first show you some changes we've made to the foyer.  When we first saw this house, one thing that stood out was the natural light.  It filled this open, two-story foyer with the most incredible airy, bright light.

What wasn't so great was the mauve trim and doors and dated light fixture.  But those could all be changed.  Creamy white paint, paired with crisp, charcoal black doors and window trim make a bold statement while allowing the light to shine.

Even on a cloudy day, the space remains bright and its the perfect spot for some of my favorite accessories--houseplants! I plan to add more artwork and hang new lighting, and eventually even re-stain the handrails, but I'm loving the progress so far!

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