Stick it in a Drawer

If you have one, that is.  My new desk didn't yet, so I made some.  Pleased with myself?  Little bit.

I built plywood boxes to fit the lower cubbies in my desk.  The nice man at my home improvement center did the long cuts on a 4 x 8 sheet of 1/2" plywood for me so I could fit it in my car.  Then I made the short cuts at home using my miter saw.  I put each one together with glue and nails, which I sunk with a nail set and covered with putty.  After sanding, I applied two coats of white satin paint.

To add the graphics, I printed out the words and numbers from my computer, then traced them onto the drawer fronts using graphite paper (thanks for the tip, Aunt Sally - I think graphite paper may change my life!).  Then I painted them on by hand with shiny black craft paint.  I added drawer pulls (aren't they cute? I can put labels in them, too.  Think it'll look dumb if they all say "YARN"?), and glued some long strips of craft felt to the bottoms so they slide easily.

And I even had enough plywood scraps left over to make this:

The file label is a little metal picture frame.  I removed the easel back and drilled holes on each side so I could screw it down.
The ribbon goes through two holes I drilled in the back, and it hangs from a simple coat hook (just like my glasses, on the right - which I can now find!).

All that's left is to add a couple of shelves to divide the upper cubbies for small items, and my Ikea Hack will be complete.  The details:

1    1/2 " x 4' x 8' plywood sheet
4    Drawer pulls
1    sheet craft felt
wood glue
1" ring shank panel nails
sandpaper (I used 80, then 220 grit in my palm sander)
white satin finish interior latex paint
black shiny finish craft paint
graphite tracing paper

Cut list (done at home improvement center - go when they're' not busy)
6    13" x 4'
1    12" x 4'

Cut list (done by me)
8    13" x 13" fronts & backs
8    13" x 14" sides
4    12" x 14" bottoms

And the little wall file was put together with scraps, which I didn't even bother measuring.  The side panels have straight backs, with fronts angled at 15º.  It ended up about 12" wide and 9" high.  I hit it with a couple of coats of black spray paint and hung it from a ribbon.  Done and Done.

Knitters can do anything, right?

A Little More Acreage

Our 1200 sq. ft. house is shared by 4 people, 2 Scottish Terriers, 2 cats and more yarn than may be strictly necessary.  My "office" is an 8' x 20" scrap of real estate I commandeered from the front hallway. I'm not complaining, mind you - I've managed nicely in this little area for four years, producing two books, an indeterminate number of knitwear patterns, and more blog posts than I know.

I've always loved my workspace, because it's the first one I ever had all to myself.  Creating my very own desk at home validated my identity as an author and a knitter, long before I was able to escape my loathsome day job.  Now that I've changed careers, having a physical space to "report" to each day really helps keep my work on track.

But one day a few months ago, I looked around and realized that while my desk was 4' wide, I had piles of stuff in baskets and boxes on either side of it that were occupying 8' of space.  Worse than that, I have never been able to have a book or a sketchpad in use at the same time as my computer, because there just wasn't enough desktop.

Having begun my third knitting book, I decided it was time to make the leap and replace my desk.  And while I was at it, I got a real-live office chair, too.

I visited Ikea to score a couple of shelving units.  Then a dear friend let me cajole him into taking me to the home-improvement center, where we snagged some lumber that was WAY too long to fit in my Honda Civic Hybrid (thank you, Commodore - we whose cars are short salute you).

Once home, the Smallies and I went to work assembling the new Ikea pieces.

Then I spent all of the next day waiting for various coats of paint and varnish to dry, and decorating the austere Ikea shelves with pretty wood moulding.  I attached it with glue and finish nails.  Since I knew it would always be against the wall, I only trimmed out the front 3 sides, but it would be easy to do all 4 if the desk were visible from both sides.  I also added some little L-brackets to secure the wood top to the lower units.

Once that was done, I just dropped the newly-stained and varnished top into place and secured it from underneath, with screws through the L-brackets.  And then the fun part:  I moved in!

Can you believe how much storage there is now?  It actually occupies less of the hallway than my former arrangement, because the desk is 4" narrower.  And the sexy new office chair (yes, those are bungees!) actually tucks under the desk, which is something I could never quite manage with the old setup.  It's a very big deal to  walk past the desk without an extra detour around my chair sticking out.

Here's a closer look at the top moulding:

While I just love the value and quality of Ikea pieces, they are usually way too modern-looking for my taste.  Warming up the plain lines of the shelf units with trim and a stained top really helps it fit my aesthetic.

And now I am luxuriating in the vast spaciousness of my 8' desktop.  I still need to figure out some bins and dividers for the cubbyholes underneath, but things here at my desk are  greatly improved by the newly added added wiggle room.

For those who are wondering, all the pieces for the desk, plus finishes and hardware cost just under $200.  I couldn't find a 8' desk at any price for comparison, but I'm pretty sure this one's a bargain.