Monday, January 9, 2012

Custom Built Desk

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Has anyone else been inspired by Ana White's building plans website? She's a DIY goddess. Never in a million years did I think I'd be capable of building furniture. Yet, Ana is an inspiration to DIY women across the world, with the message:

I'm not a trained carpenter.

I am a mom.
I am a girly girl.
I am what my brothers would call a chicken.

But I build furniture.

I use saws.

I use nailers.

Guess what? It's really not that difficult.

And if I can do it, so can you.

-Ana White

Doesn't she rock?! My first project was a toy shelf, which turned out slightly lopsided with caulk-filled gaps in it, but it's functional. Lessons learned: 1) MDF sucks to work with and 2) it's important to square your project.

My second project was a shorter version of the same shelf, with the intention of using as a shoe shelf. Not perfect, but there were definitely less gaps and I did remember to square my project this time so it didn't look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

My next building attempt was a copycat of Pottery Barn's Bedford desk system. I took everything I learned from my first builds, drew up the plans and built it in my head a hundred times before even buying the lumber (No nasty MDF this time). I was pretty dang meticulous and it really paid off. I invested in a new drill, which is my new little best friend. I took Ana's advice and purchased some clamps to act as extra sets of hands. And I relied heavily on this sander as well to make sure all my pieces were perfect. I'm not going to brag about the cheapo circular saw that I used, because it's mediocre to say the least and will be replaced with a more reliable saw someday.

Cost to built was around $200 (not including the paint). The hardware is probably half the cost. (Drawer pulls from Pottery Barn.)

Paint is Benjamin Moore's Satin Impervo (oil-based) in White Dove. This was back in May before I discovered Ace Cabinet and Trim paint that I used to paint my kitchen cabinets. The Impervo is nice, but it's oil based which equals looooooooooooong dry time and stiiiiiiiiiiiiiinky. Highly recommend the Ace paint:

I used heavy duty ball bearing drawer slides for my file cabinet drawers (great drawer slides but there's not a lot of room for error, so beware).

I made my cabinets extra deep to fit our beast of a computer tower. If I had bought the PB desk, ours wouldn't have fit:

♥ Thank you, Ana! ♥


Anonymous said...

you did an AMAZING job. I love Ana's site, but I have yet to try any of the projects. I finally have a miter saw again and a small air compressor nail gun! May I ask what type of clamps you purchased to help and what kind of lumber you used for the desk? Thanks!

Jodell said...

Thanks, Jenn! I used Bessy (brand) 1" clamps (open up to 36") purchased at Lowes. I mostly used 3/4" plywood... this one from home depot

And most of the trim work is with 1"x2" furring strips :)

Emily S. said...

ohhhhhhh myyyyyyyyy gooooooooosssssshhhhh.


I've been a reader, randomly subscribed, for a couple of years now, so apologies that this is my first time commenting.

But ohhh myyyy gosshhhhh.

That looks AMAZING, and STILL far too intimidating to actually attempt over here in MY world.

But hey--- it impressed me enough to come out of my lurking to comment, so yay, desk! Gorgeous, gorgeous desk.

Jodell said...

You're so sweet, Emily! Your compliment totally made me blush :)

Deon said...

I officially worship you now more than before. holy moly!

Heather said...

How can you get any cooler!

Roxy said...

Would you mind sharing your plans?! Would love to try this!

Jodell said...

@Roxy - send me an email, and I can give you my notes on building the desk :)

Stephanie said...

How long did the entire project take you?

Stephanie said...

I absolutely love this and I know I can do this. It's just having the time with 2 small kids. How long did it take you the entire project?