I do an updated house tour here every two years (see: move-in, Nov 2012, Nov 2014), so seeing that it is 2016, it is time for an updated tour. It is a bittersweet one though, because after living in this apartment and making it our home for the last 5 years, I just moved to Savannah, Georgia for grad school, so this is the last house tour of our New Orleans apartment. We moved into this apartment on my 20th Birthday (May 2011) and I took these photos the day after my 25th birthday (May 2016). This 1000 sq. ft. apartment has been home and so much more than that. We moved in to this apartment as engaged college students. We planned our wedding here, spent our newlywed phase here, learned all about decorating and DIY here, graduated from college here, lived here when we both got our first real jobs, and have grown as people and as a couple so much in the time that we’ve been here. It is certainly a hard place to leave and a place we will think back on often, I’m sure, but there are great things happening and ahead as well.

I’m so happy with the changes and updates we’ve made to this home and how much I’ve discovered my style here over the last 5 years. There are still little things I would have liked to do in different rooms if we were staying even longer (get a neutral colored sofa (!!!), update to nicer rugs, replace ceiling light fixtures) and bigger things too if we owned the apartment (renovating the kitchen layout!). But I’m so happy to have had this cozy little safe place to call ours.

Foyer & Dining Room:

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The dining room (or foyer as we mostly call it, since when we first moved in we didn’t have a table in here) might just be my favorite room in the house. I love all the windows, especially those awesome arched ones, the church pew, the mid century modern console, the wall shelves — this whole room is probably the most representative of our “modern minimalist bohemian farmhouse” style.

Curtains are from Pottery Barn Teenplant/console table we built ourselves, wall shelving we installed ourselves, dining room table is from the Nashville flea market, rug and quatrefoil mirror are from Target, baskets on the console table shelves are from Target, dining chairs, milk glass bowl, old Reader’s Digest books, small white cabinet, mid-century modern buffet, and church pew are vintage/thrifted, black lamp was a vintage makeover, Self-Portrait woodcut is by me, paintings in the room are by me, framed engagement photos we took ourselves, the glass jar candles are from our wedding, gold plant pot is from Home Depot that I painted, crock planter is vintage from my dad, and all other plant pots are either from Lowe’s or TJ Maxx. Walls are painted Smoked Oyster by Valspar in a Satin finish.

Living room:

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The living room, on the other hand, is probably the only room I’m sad that I didn’t get to see my complete vision through on. I’ve hated (loathed) the color of these couches since pretty much the day we bought them and the next things on my house to-do list were to update the rug in here and get a new dark grey velvet sofa or sectional. See my living room design plan/inspiration board, here.

Couch and loveseat are from Compass Furniture in New Orleans, television/media cabinet is from Target, coffee table/bench base was bought from a little shop in the French Quarter and Drew and I made the tufted top, white coffee table tray is from West Elm, wood/metal side table was originally from Target that I made-over with a wood slice from the cake stand at our weddingwhite bookcase is from IKEA, stretched quilt painting is by me, gallery wall pieces: “I love you” print hand-lettered by me, my favorite vintage photo of my grandparents, one of my first surface pattern designs (!!!), a sketch from my watercolor sketchbook, an elephant print  that reminds me of my Mamaw (she collected little elephant figurines and that print reminds me of a shirt she used to wear), “Yours Sincerely,” painting I did a few years ago, my favorite picture of my sisters/nieces/nephew that I took when we were in Puerto Rico (with a stray cat), “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful” print from The Nester, a gold skeleton key that opened my childhood bedroom door (and was the official key for our secret club), a photo I took of my childhood front yard when I was home for my Papaw’s funeral, and my final drawing for the first art class I ever took at Tulane, curtains I made from white sheets, big turquoise velvet couch pillows are from World Market, teal and patterned pillows I made from World Market cloth napkins (these and these), gold and white pillows I made from West Elm cloth napkins, black pillows from H&M, buffalo check pillow from Etsy, light blue pedestal side table from Nadeau in New Orleans, wire basket (filled with yarn on bookshelf), wooden @ symbol, and inlaid box from TJ Maxx, floor lamp is from Lowe’s, silver table lamp is from Compass Furniture (scored it for $15 with a Living Social Deal!),  8×10 area rug from Lowe’s (scored it for $15!), glass candy dish, wooden ladder and quilts are vintage/thrifted, basket (with magazines in it behind the french doors) was a wedding gift, landscape painting on the bookshelf was a wedding gift (painted my Drew’s mom’s good friend and my 8th grade teacher!), globe was mine from when I was little bought for me by my Mamaw, the chalkboard message board was from our wedding (originally from here), beads are from New Orleans Mardi Gras parades, and the abstract paintings, ceramic artichoke. and throw quilt were made by me. Wall color is Asiago by Valspar in a satin finish.

Hallway:

This hallway, right off the side of the living room, runs all the way down the house. The kitchen is the first door on the right, office/studio is the second door and then at the end of the hallway is the laundry room. At the laundry room, the hallway turns to the right with the bathroom straight ahead and our bedroom to the left.

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We didn’t really do much to this space, and it is one of the spaces I had design ideas for that just never happened. I would have loved to install board and batten down this hallway and build in bookshelves up to the ceiling in that middle section. I also think it would have looked amazing with a large hanging pendant light. But this is a rental, and priorities. We did paint it the same color as the living room: Asiago by Valspar at Lowes. It had a gallery wall of art up at one point, but after painting the walls I didn’t put the frames back up and opted for the simplicity of this one painting.

Bookcases are from IKEA, little cabinet of drawers was thrifted on a vacation in Savannah, GA, fleur-de-lis coat hook was a gift, painting is by Adam Hall, and the rug is from Urban Outfitters.

Kitchen:

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Obviously it would have been crazy to do because this is a rental, but I really wanted to do a mini-kitchen renovation in here. I hate that the space could be used much more smartly! If we owned the house (or were going to live here longer and I could talk the landlord into doing/letting us do), I wanted to extend the cabinets along the window wall (where the cream colored cabinet is), moving the sink underneath the window closest to the pantry, and adding a backsplash, replacing the countertops, and re-painting the cabinets. If we were really going all out, I’d take down the upper cabinets (and rip out the soffit) and put a long, floating open shelf or two along that wall.

Kitchen rug is by Dash and Albert, black and white patterned hand towels from H&M, green utensil holder is a plant pot from Hobby Lobby, gold tray and wooden cheese board were Christmas gifts from my sister, ceramic apple and stool are from TJ Maxx, artwork above kitchen sink is a photo I took of the creek in my childhood backyard (more on that here), stitchery art is by me, most of the ceramic mugs and bowls I made, the floral measuring cup is Molly Hatch from Anthropologie, cookbook holder was a wedding gift from Target, cream colored wooden cabinet is from Nadeau in New Orleans, tall wooden cabinet is vintage/thrifted. Walls are painted Smoked Oyster by Valspar at Lowes.

Office & Studio:

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I love my studio! I love the depth of the chalkboard wall and the double desk has been such a useful DIY and has evolved over the years we’ve lived here. It started as a desk for Drew and I to share, but he didn’t use his side very much so I eventually took it over and made one side my sewing station and the other my computer/design station. The rest of the room is a little busy, but I have so many different things I use this room for! Sewing, painting, sketching, design! The extra table is in here to use as a cutting table when cutting out fabric for my quilts. The small table I sit on the floor and use when I’m watercoloring or India ink sketching for patterns or doing calligraphy. I sit on the pillows and paint when I have a larger painting on my easel or stretched out across the floor. There are often art/crafting/sewing/DIY projects spread out all across the floor in here!

My desk chair is from Pottery Barn Teen, Drew’s wooden desk chair, easel, big ornate gold frame, crewelwork embroidery in gold frame, small brass pineapple, and brass plant pot are vintage/thrifted, baskets on the built-in shelves and the middle desk shelf are from Target, other smaller baskets on desk shelves are from Michael’s, rug is from Target, curtains I made out of sheets from TJ Maxx, pink curvy glass lamp is from Home Goods (got it on vacation years ago in Charleston, SC), standing lamp is from Target, small wooden table was thrifted years ago (it used to live in my childhood bedroom), shelves DIY built-in out of IKEA Extra-Deep Billy Bookcases, Painting Taboret is IKEA kitchen cart, elephant print on bookshelves is from this Etsy shop, Live Simply print from this Etsy shopgreen elephant piggy bank is from Urban Outfitters, glittery gold frames on wall are from Michaels, abstract paintings are by me, floral print is by Anna Maria Horner, tall painting on the sewing side of my desk was bought at an estate sale and painted by Pierce Jonassen (the mom of one of my co-workers!), “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful” print from The Nester, a taped up print-out of one of my first repeatable patterns, white ceramic turtle is from West Elm, and silver desk lamp and cutting table (my old desk) are from IKEA. Read more about my art studio inspiration wall, here. Read about how we built our desk (an IKEA hack), here). Walls are painted Grey Ghost (Olympic from Lowe’s) in a satin finish. Chalkboard wall is painted with black chalkboard paint (also Valspar from Lowe’s).

Laundry Room:

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This room is tight and stuffed, but I’m so happy to have this space!

The curtains used to hang in my freshman college dorm room (from Wal-Mart), the laundry basket is from TJ Maxx, the ironing board and cover are from Target, ladder from Lowe’s, my dad bought the washer and dryer for me (they were from a friend from our hometown that used to live in New Orleans –she was moving from New Orleans and didn’t need to take them with her), the deep freezer is from Lowe’s, the rug and the wire baskets on the shelves are from TJ Maxx, wall shelving Drew and I bought from Lowe’s, standing shelving unit is the MULIG from IKEA.

Bathroom:

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Rug from World Market, hand towel from TJ Maxx, abstract painting by me, old books are thrifted, candles from our wedding, frames from Michael’s and spray painted gold, striped Turkish towels from Loomed NOLA, shower curtain made by me from a sheet, houses plant pot is vintage, and hanging plant pot is from H&M and macrame holder is from Etsy. Ceiling is painted Mint Whisper by Valspar at Lowe’s. 

Small hallway right outside the bathroom is painted Semi-Sweet by Valspar in a satin finish and top art is thrifted, bottom is by me.

Bedroom:

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Our bedroom is the room in this house that took the longest to come together. But finally we ended up with a room that feels like us. I love the black, white, and gold and all the subtle patterns! That black and gold geometric accent wall is such a showstopper and was actually really easy and simple to do! More on this room, here.

Headboard wall is painted Semi-Sweet (by Valspar at Lowes) and geometric pattern was hand painted with a gold Sharpie paint pen. The rest of the walls in here are painted Grey Ghost (by Olympic at Lowes). Bedding is a mixture of Target, HomeGoods, and West Elm’s Jacquard Leaf Duvet Cover and Shams. The “I Love You” pillow I made out of fabric I ordered in a design of mine (that’s my handwriting!). Headboard we made from an old door (see here and here), cream curtains from the pergola at our wedding (originally from Target) and white ones are from IKEA, rug and black pharmacy-style floor lamp from Target, dresser was Drew’s childhood dresser that we refinished, gold pharmacy lamps are from HomeGoods, gold I LOVE YOU banner is from Target, floral painting is by Lulie Wallace, girl with flowers print is by Raven Roxanne, geometric canister is from Hobby Lobby, ceramic dishes were made by my ceramics teacher in college – Sarah House, pink chair is from World Market, geometric pillow is from H&M, jewelry stand, white elephant, and black and white inlaid box were all Christmas gifts from my sister, shelving is the IKEA Expedit, copper twinkle lights are from Amazon, nightstands are vintage, art above Drew’s nightstand is by Emily McDowell, art above mine is a handwritten note from Drew. :)

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So happy to have called this sweet place home for the last five+ years!

Drew and I seem to get more house projects done in the summer than any other time of the year (last summer we painted the living room, foyer, french doors, little hallway, and built a living room ottoman/bench (more about those here). This year we’ve painted the long hallway and kitchen, made over a side table, added some homemade pillows, and the project below). I’m not sure why, considering summer is always sweltering in NOLA. Maybe it is the longer daylight hours and general sense of excitement that summer brings? But, I’m not complaining! We’ve recently done a couple things in the foyer/dining room that were long overdue. Now it’s become one of our favorite rooms in the house!

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I’ve wanted a church pew for bench seating for our dining room for a long time. New Orleans doesn’t really seem to have an abundance of old church pews though. I’d looked and looked on Craigslist with no luck. But earlier this summer, my older sister, Blair, who lives in Nashville, TN, called me one day saying that her babysitter was selling one. She went to look at it and the dimensions were exactly what I was looking for! She bought it for me and stored it at her house until Memorial Day when she brought it to my hometown in Illinois for my dad to store until he had time to bring it to New Orleans for me. When Drew and I were visiting family over Memorial Day we got to see it for the first time and it was in a little rougher shape than I originally thought. All the transporting had broken the bottom of one of its legs and the seat was a little wobbly. My dad took it to a guy to have the leg fixed, seat reinforced, and he also sanded it down for me (the original finish was dirty and dingy –I think it had been left outside for a little bit and had some moisture damage).

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It still needs a little love, and I’ll eventually put a little more work into it and then probably seal it. But for now, I love it! Such a cozy spot in there now.

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Violet definitely approves of her new sunny napping spot! I wish I knew more about its history. I only know it came out of an old church in Nashville. I love having pieces with old stories in our home.

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Our second new piece of furniture is this lovely 1960’s mid-century modern china cabinet base. It also has quite the story! I’d been searching for a dresser like this for in here for a long time. We needed storage for our bar items and some overflow from the kitchen (cloth napkins for dinner, etc..) as well as Drew wanted a place to put the record player and store his records. New Orleans is also quite lacking in mid-century pieces, but I’d still been stalking Craigslist with no luck. Then on Facebook one day, a friend of mine from Southern Illinois posted a photo of this one that she’d seen and loved at a local antiques shop, but didn’t have a place for. I immediately texted my little sisters begging them to go find it for me. They both had to work, but a couple days later, right as I was getting ready to board a plane to NYC for my fabric design workshop, Jill called me and said she was on her way over there to look for it. When I landed in New York I had several text messages waiting for me, including a receipt of the deposit she’d made on it for me (yay Jilli!). She even talked them down in price for me and I got it for a steal! (double yay!)

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Once I was back from NYC, I called and paid for it over the phone, then my dad went over and picked it up for me. It worked out perfectly that he already needed to bring me my church pew, so he was able to bring this down too in the same trip. I waited most of the summer for them, but he finally brought them down a couple weekends ago. It is so perfect for what we needed and in amazing shape. The side cabinets are perfect for storing records!

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Finally having the dresser in place spurred on the next project I’d been wanting to tackle in here for a while — wall shelving! With all the horizontal surfaces in here (dresser, table, console table, side table) all at close to the same height, we really needed something with some height in here to balance everything else out.

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These shelves make such great use of otherwise mostly wasted space in our house. Actually this wall is the least shown view of our house on my blog! I don’t think I’ve posted a picture of this wall for several years since Drew’s old desk used to live here. The last couple years it has been a mostly empty space or a storage space for supplies of whatever project we were working on at the time. I LOVE it now!

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I love that it provides a place for barware/glass storage, plants (that Violet kept getting into elsewhere), art, etc… I’ve been wanting to create a welcoming entry area in our home for years and this area with the mirror is finally getting us there! I can’t decide if I want to also hang a couple coat hooks up here as well. The top shelves especially could use a little more styling. I’m thinking of putting a big fern or something up there. We also need more lighting in this area of the room, so maybe a hanging lamp as well?

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The rails, brackets, and wood are all from Lowe’s. The rails and brackets were originally white and we spray painted them oil-rubbed bronze. They are screwed into studs, so they aren’t going anywhere! This is actually probably the most secure thing that we’ve ever put on the walls in our house! Sidenote: we also figured out the best way to find studs in old homes with plaster walls! Find an outlet on the wall (there is one behind where the dresser is) and drill a screw into either side of it to see if it hits a stud. Electrical boxes for outlets are pretty much always attached to a stud. Once you find one, measure 16 inches over in either direction and you should find all the studs. (We did have to drill several holes in the wall to accomplish this. We did it close to the bottom of the wall though and I actually forgot about even filling them in. No one can see them with the dresser there.) With plaster walls like this, there is wooden slatting behind the walls, so using an electric stud finder never worked for us. This electric box and measure trick worked like a charm though! These railing systems are pretty inexpensive for the impact they make! I plan on eventually staining the shelves a light honey color, but wanted to live with them as is for a bit while I made up my mind for sure. At first I was worried about having too much wood in the room already, but I don’t think I really want to paint them either (there is a lot of white in here too with the door and trim and blinds). So I’m going to do a lighter tone than the rest of the wood surfaces in here, but something that isn’t as stark as raw wood.

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So there you have it! A full view of our entire foyer/dining room area. I just love how “us” this room feels now!

P.S. Did you see how many pictures Violet made it into? That pillow on the console table is her “perch” and she loves it up there. Easily spends half her day or more there.

Ceramics Class

April 30, 2015

My senior year of college, I took a hand-building ceramics class because I was required to take a 3-dimensional art class for my art major. That class made me fall in love with ceramics. Don’t get me wrong, I love painting and I love digital design, but there is something so nice and rewarding about creating a 3D object with your own two hands, whether for art or function. The fact that it can often be functional is also really nice. I only have so much wall space for paintings, but can always use cups, bowls, mugs, vases, and platters (or gift them!).

Anyway, the class I took in college was a hand-building class (not wheel-throwing), so I made several platters, but mostly art pieces instead of functional ones. I made a giant artichoke (you can see it on my living room bookshelves in our house tour, here), a miniature replica of my childhood home, and a few other pieces. Unfortunately, I took the class my senior year and didn’t have a chance to continue into ceramics more than that.

Signing up for another ceramics class has been on my list of things to do for several years and this year I finally made it happen. Well actually, a friend of mine, Christina, who has an extensive ceramics background, made it happen. She wanted to get back into ceramics again and asked if I wanted to join her.

We signed up at a local studio (Earth and Fire Studio) for two hours one night a week, for two months.

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During this studio time, I decided to learn how to work on the wheel. It takes a while to get it down, but I’m so happy with the 11 pieces I made in the last couple months!

None of them are perfect (which I kind-of love), but they are all functional! The first pieces I threw are the short, fat ones (that light pink one in the back and the white speckled one in front) and then as I got better I was able to make bigger, thinner, pieces like the mugs and bowls.

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Ceramics is such a process. Cutting and wedging the clay, working on the wheel, letting things set-up and get leather-hard, carving, trimming, making and attaching handles, bisque firing, glazing, final firing. I think it is really neat how ceramics relies on all the elements – earth, water, air, and fire.

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I’m so glad I took the time to learn this new skill and to spend time with a friend while doing it. I wish I had more time and energy to keep doing it! I’ll be back again sometime!  In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying drinking my morning tea out of a nice ceramic mug I made myself!

Drew’s Dresser Makeover

November 18, 2014

In the last couple weeks I’ve finished yet another project that has been on my to-do list for years: re-finishing Drew’s childhood dresser.

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Here you can see what it looked like before. When Drew was younger a faux metal paint finish had been done to the front of the drawers. I painted over it as a temporary solution years ago until I had the chance to sand the entire thing down and completely refinish it. The top had some water damage (from a fish tank that had leaked) and the sides were just generally beat up from years of use.

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I paint stripped the front of the drawers, sanded the entire thing down, gave it a good cleaning, applied a coat of wood conditioner, three coats of dark walnut stain, and three coats of satin polyurethane (same process I used here). The results are pretty gorgeous.

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I think it turned out beautifully. I love the new crystal and brass knobs I found at Hobby Lobby (they were on sale, so I got all 8 for $20) and I think they accent the dresser perfectly.

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So happy with the results and to have this project off my to-do list!

P.S. You can see that we also re-painted our bedroom walls this weekend too…

 

DIY 12-Foot Long Double Desk

February 9, 2014

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Last week I shared our recent office makeover, including the DIY 12-ft long double desk we built. Today I’m here to give you the how-to so that you can build your own.

This really is a pretty simple DIY project (especially compared to our DIY Old Door Console Table that we built from scratch), that even the less-DIY-savvy of you can do pretty easily.

I had been thinking about this project for a while, so I already had an idea of what I wanted (here are some similar desks that I used for inspiration: thisthis and this), so I measured our space to see what would work best and then made this quick sketch to show Drew. He was on board immediately (he was ready to overtake the room that had long been only my office) and we came up with a plan.

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We started with a trip to IKEA (the closest IKEA to New Orleans is in Houston, TX, so we made a weekend trip of it), where we purchased three of these BESTA bookcases, along with these feet for the bottom of them (the BESTA bookcases have a variety of feet options, so you can change up your look if you want something different).  ***SEE UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR UPDATED INFORMATION ON THE BESTA PRODUCT LINE & LINKS.

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Once we were home, we cleaned out the room, painted it, and then put our bookcases together and placed them where we wanted them in the room. The spacing of our room turned out perfect for these! We set those couple boards on top to mimic the desktop, just to make sure the height would be okay. It really depends on the height of your chair, but for me, the desktop is a touch higher than I would have made it for myself. However, I’m sharing this desk with my husband, who is a big guy, and the height is perfect for him. (I’ve been sitting on a pillow in my chair, which makes it the perfect height, but I’m going to look for a taller office chair at some point.) You might find that you don’t actually need the legs on them to be the right height for you. (The BESTA Bookcases without legs are about 25 1/4 inches tall, with legs ours are 29 1/4 inches tall.) With the desk top attached, our desk turned out to be a total of 31 inches high.

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Next, we made our final plans for the top, measuring to see how long we wanted our desktop to be. Our wall is about 12 feet long and we wanted the desk to be slightly shorter than that, to give it room to actually fit in the space (it is a free-standing desk, not a built-in, so it doesn’t need to be completely flush against both walls). We decided 140 inches long would be perfect for us. We made a trip to Lowe’s and bought three 2x8x12 untreated pine boards and had them cut down in-store to 140 inches. When choosing boards, make sure you lay them flat on the ground in the store and pick ones that are as flat/straight as you can find. (We had some issues with one of our boards being warped because we didn’t check them well enough in the store!) After we got them home, we gave them a good sanding to smooth the surface and also to remove any stamps/marks on the wood. Make sure to also wipe them down and remove any dirt/dust before staining.

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We are still really happy with the finish of the top of our Old Door Console Table, so we used the same method and same stain for this project as well. We used Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, 2 coats of Minwax Wood Stain in Dark Walnut, and (later, after the desk top was attached) we gave it three coats of Rustoleum Water-Based Polyurethane in a Satin finish.

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I would recommend staining your wood outside or in some other well-ventilated area. Since we live in an apartment, we were forced to do this inside (with the windows open and a fan blowing the smell out), but it was still pretty stinky. After the stain has cured for a day or two, then you can start attaching the top boards together.

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We used these long metal connector bars that we found at Lowe’s. We used 4– one on each end of the desk and one in each open space (where our chairs go). Make sure you pull the boards together as you screw these in, to prevent large gaps between the boards.

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Once we had the top boards connected together, we measured out our bookcases, put them in the right places, then set the wooden top on top of them. We left a couple inch overhang on each end and each open chair space is 32 inches. The bookcases are only 15 1/2 inches deep, whereas our top is 22 inches deep, so there is a 3/4 inch overhang on the front lip of the desk and about 5 1/2 inches of space left behind each bookcase (which has turned out great for storage of art materials!).

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Once we had everything situated where we wanted it, we used these small L brackets to attach the top to the bookcases. There is a slight gap between the bookcases and the top on ours to accommodate the curvature of the wood (no wood is perfectly flat!), but when making your own, you might find that you don’t end up with as big of a gap there (one of our boards was slightly warped). The weight of the wood also holds the top down, so we didn’t think it needed more attaching than a few of these on each side of the bookcases.

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After everything was attached and together, I gave the top 3 coats of Satin finish Poly and let that cure for a few days.

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So happy with how it turned out! It is the perfect space for Drew and I to work. We each have plenty of storage space in the bookcases and lots of work space on top (with plenty of space between us so we don’t bother each other while working either!).

desk all together and sealed brighter1

It also makes the perfect use of the space in this room. It might be a 12 foot long desk, but it doesn’t feel like it takes up very much space in the room! I still have room for my easel/art stuff on the other side of the room with plenty of open floor space to spread out in the floor if I’m working on a crafting project.

whole desk from closet 2 brighter1

cait desk area long 2 brigther1

office look in from side 2 brighter1

See more images of the room, here.

Budget Breakdown:

IKEA (BESTA Bookcases ($46.75 x 3 = $140.25) and BESTA Legs ($8.50 a pair x 6 = $51.00) family discount pricing + 15.78 tax) : $207.03
Wood for desk top (3 2x8x12 boards at $7.43 each): $22.29
Metal Connector Bars (4 at $2.80 each): $11.20
Metal L Brackets (3 packs of 4 at $2.27 each): $6.81
Stain/Wood Conditioner/Polyurethane/Foam Brushes: already owned (but would be around $30 to purchase if you didn’t already own these)
Screws, Sandpaper, etc… already owned (but would be around $10 to purchase if you didn’t already own these)

TOTAL: $247.33 

$250 isn’t bad for a 12-foot long desk for two! Plus we sold Drew’s old desk on Craigslist for $100, so that brings our out-of-pocket cost down to under $150!

One of my favorite projects that we’ve done together and we are already getting a ton of use out of it! Yay for pretty projects that increase our productivity!

P.S. We did plan ahead and made sure that whatever connecting methods we used (the metal connector bars and L brackets) could be disassembled rather easily in the future to move to a different house. We also thought ahead before we bought our 12 ft long boards and measured to make sure that we could even get them in the house. Some things that you also might want to consider before building!

***UPDATE 12/3/15: Several people have asked if IKEA still carries the BESTA bookcases, since my original links above don’t work. IKEA still does carry them, but they have changed a bit. When we bought ours, the frame and shelves came together as a “bookcase” that you could choose to add feet to, but now they come in different parts so that you can customize/build the exact piece you want (they have doors and drawers available instead of just shelves!). You buy the frame, shelves, doors, drawers, feet, etc. separately. I believe this frame is the equivalent of what I have: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20245964/#/30245850But here are some other helpful links:

Frames (different sizes): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/12151/
Doors and Drawer fronts (different sizes): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/12152/
Interior fittings: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/12158/
Accessories: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/12159/