We’re on an IKEA customization/makeover roll lately… last Tuesday was the Poang chair cover, todays victim is M’s old desk!
I’m not sure of the original name of this desk, but the closest version IKEA offers to it now is the MICKE series. It was what M had been using in the apartment and wasn’t broken or damaged outside of normal wear and tear scratches, but it wasn’t big enough to hold everything we needed it to. Since furniture got moved around when I moved in, our huge-gigantor printer only fit on our end table next to the couch. Not so pretty or drink-setting-down approved. It was more like a bed/ladder for Deke the cat to use to get up to the windowsill easier.
First, we wanted to expand the desk for a) more lower storage and b) a larger worktop space. Since the desk already had the boxy shape to the right, we simply made another larger box on the left using MDF board. We purchased 1 sheet of 1/2″ 2’x4′ board for less than $12, and had Home Depot cut the board in store.
Then, using our Kreg Jig on the bottom piece (LOVE/OBSESSED) we assembled the side and bottom in an L shape, then screwed it into the desk. The last part was adding two pieces to the top, one as a brace, and one as a border on the top front to match the width of the current desktop. We were able to use the small piece of MDF for the brace, and purchased a 1×2 for the front trim. Both were attached using the same Kreg Jig method.
After that was done, we started on the top! We ended up using 3 1×8 pieces to give it a rustic/Pottery Barn feel while still being clean and flat enough to write on. They got a quick sanding and two coats of our favorite stain- black tea followed by an apple cider vinegar and steel wool concoction. (I’ve said it a few times- but this is PERFECT for winter or renting when you don’t have an outdoor space to stain in- it’s not stinky at all) After that was dry, they got a few coats of Poly in a satin finish.
Next it was time to paint the desk. I’ve been waiting for the perfect project to try out a homemade chalk paint recipe found on Lowes.com and this was it! I picked up two test pots of an off white color, Behr’s Swiss Coffee, and a $6 carton of Plaster of Paris. I just followed the recipe adding 5 tablespoons of Paster of Paris, 5 tablespoons of water, and 1 cup (a test pot) of flat paint. I now have enough plaster leftover to make tons more as well, so the cost of the next few projects will just be for the paint aka super inexpensive!
The paint consistency was thinner than usual but went on amazing, and after two to three coats, the desk was looking so much fresher and less IKEA-ish. I followed it up with Annie Sloans clear wax and changed out the hardware on the drawer for something more beefy. Anddddd, now I’m hungry.
The top boards were put on using glue and will be screwed down, but we can’t decide if we want to screw them down from the bottom, or buy decorative screws and go from the top, adding to the rustic look. Thoughts/suggestions?
We also need to decide what we’re doing with the new cubby. Right now it’s holding a basket that holds our work bags, but I’d like to add something more. We were undecided between a shelf or a door (or we could get crazyyy and do both?!) so it’s staying as is until we reach an agreement. Rough life lately I tell you. Also open to thoughts/suggestions on this one : )
And that’s it! We built an extension out of MDF, tried out a new chalk paint recipe which turned out to be a success (even over the IKEA material which is hard to do!) and put it all together with some boards for a new top. It now comfortably fits our huge computer, printer, and a little tray from Target for our accessories. I’ll follow up with what we decide to do with the cubby once we, ya know, decide : )
What do you think? I think it’s late and I’d rather sit and look at the desk from the couch with a glass of wine rather than actually use it, so I might just go do that…
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