The Passionate Pursuit of home and decor .

Studio Desk Makeover – Part 1

Yesterday, I got started on the desk makeover for my studio. (I’m still not ready to talk about my pendant light. I’ll share when it’s finished, but for now, I’m moving on to other things.) I made this desk back when I had a very specific vision for my studio that included lots of black, for some reason. But when I decided to finally work on my studio and get it finished, my vision changed for the room. I didn’t want as much (or any) black in the room. I wanted the room to be light, bright, colorful, and feminine.

That meant that the desk needed a makeover. With it’s black base and thick brown top, it looked way too dark and heavy for the room. So my plan is to reconfigure the base, paint it a light color (I still haven’t decided if it will be white or gold), and then paint the desktop white. I also wanted to add a decorative detail to the sides, and add two drawers.

I started this makeover by removing the boards that created the “V” detail on the front. These were attached with nails and wood glue, so I removed them very easily with a few good, swift hits with a rubber mallet.

Then I removed the bottom horizontal brace board. This was attached with four screws through pocket holes, so it as very simple to remove using my drill with a screwdriver bit.

I turned the base so that it was lying with the front facing up, and I reattached that board towards the top. I’ll eventually add some plywood inside so that this section isn’t see-through, and that will provide the cover needed to hide the new drawers.

After that was attached, I sat the base back upright, and this is what it looked like…

Next, I repeated that same process on the side…

And then I wanted to figure out how to attach these decorative leaf cutouts that I found at Hobby Lobby. I started by cutting some 1″ x 4″ lumber to form a rough frame around the leaf design, and to figure out exactly how I wanted the leaf pattern to sit inside the frame. I decided on this, with the leaf design touching the frame on four points — one on each side of the frame. At this point, my main goal was to figure out the rough dimensions of the inside of the frame.

Once I got the inside dimensions figured out, I ran those boards through my planer three times each to plane them down to 1/2-inch thickness to match the leaf cutout.

Next, I needed to figure out just how wide those boards needed to be for the frame. The space they needed to fill on the desk is 29 inches wide, so I measured the overall width of the cutout with the frame, subtracted 29 inches from that width, and then divided that number by two to get the amount of width I needed to cut off of each board so that the finished product would be 29 inches wide. I used my table saw to cut the boards down to the correct width.

Before cutting the sides down, I wanted to go ahead and assemble the pieces, making sure everything was square, so that I would know exactly how much to cut off. The leaf cutout is a little bit bendy, so until I got the pieces assembled, it was hard to tell exactly how much needed to be cut off of those side pieces.

I started by assembling the top and the side pieces using wood glue and 1.5-inch 18-gauge nails shot through the edges of the side pieces into the ends of the top piece.

With those pieces assembled, I placed the leaf cutout into the frame, and then I could accurately determine where the bottom piece needed to be. I attached the bottom piece using wood glue and nails just like the other pieces.

And then I nailed the leaf cutout into place by shooting the nails through the outside edge of the frame and into the four points where the cutout touched the frame. So this nail went through the frame and into the edge of the leaf.

And this one went through the frame and into the edge of the stem.

You get the point. This is why I needed to make sure that the leaf cutout made contact with the frame on all four sides.

On this side, I had a misfire before getting a nail to go into the leaf. But that’s nothing that my Dremel Multi-Max and a little wood filler and sanding won’t fix. I generally don’t pull out misfired nails (although it depends on the exact scenario) because it risks tearing and splitting the wood. I generally use my Dremel Multi-Max with a blade that will cut through nails, and I just cut off the protruding portion of the nail. If the blade cuts into the wood a bit, I fix it with wood filler.

Once I got this much done, it was too late to use my miter saw to cut off the extra pieces on the frame. (Matt had a HORRIBLE day yesterday, so most of my time was spent caring for him, and I didn’t get nearly as much work done as I had hoped.) But I did set the leaf design in place so that we could get a preview of what it will look like.

But again, you’ll just have to imagine it with those extra bits cut off, and a new 2″ x 2″ piece attached below the frame. And then, you’ll have to imagine the whole base painted one solid color.

So what do you think? White or gold? I’m undecided right now, but I might be leaning slightly towards gold on the base with a white top.



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