I know many of you have been waiting for this, with all of my teasing about it! And I have been dying to show you my custom-built farmer’s table home office desk, that that my husband made for me. For this first post, I am simply sharing with you the build itself, and some of the story behind it. In upcoming posts, I will show you my workspace all set up and pretty. (When I get that far.)
So first, to put my appreciation and excitement in context here, you should know how I have been working.
In this large amoire in the photos below, is our TV, which we rarely use at all. But behind it was my work cubby. It was always amusing when someone who had been to our house a few times before, before they realized there was a work space behind there. They’d always react with such surprise and intrigue. So come around the amoire (following the numbered photos), and see my little space I have had . . . . .
It certainly was a workable idea for the past few years, in that it gave me a little privacy for editing client portrait work. It is rather organized and cleaned up here, but that is not how it has always appeared or felt. (I had already started cleaning out here, to empty this whole cubby.) To start, I hated the desk. The photo is deceiving I think, because this desk was SO large, and yet not efficient at all; with shelves I couldn’t easily get to, and virtually no storage or room to work. With a modern design, fake wood laminate and black accents-ugh! I wanted it GONE. And what a dust magnet this cubby has been! Anyway, imagine on the desk-top, on either side, a tall pile of papers, notebooks and dozens of folders. And not just here. When I worked on my laptop for school and blogging, I’d sit on the couch, where beside the couch was small table with another 2 piles of papers, notebooks and folders. Then there is the school room, where I’ve kept all of my teacher books. I can’t stand clutter or disorganization, so having everything everywhere has tended to make me cranky, and yelling when I couldn’t find something!
Between homeschooling my 4 kids, their work needing correcting or keeping, educational planning stuff, their activity schedules, forms needing to be filled out, home and life maintenance with mail, bills and records and the like that needs to be kept up with, and my work paraphernalia for the blog and it’s website, it has felt like unorganized madness to me! I can’t manage and work my best like that.
What I needed and wanted was one organized management center to work from, with a style that said me, and reflected our farmish/antique home decor. A Pottery Barn home office knock-off, of sorts. Yes please, Honey!
Whenever a new school year is about to turn over in the next 2-3 months, I always get into this nesting mode frenzy, wanting to get super organized and ready for the next year. So my chatter about my dream custom-built farmer’s table home office desk had picked up speed as of late! I completely cleaned out that cubby, moved the amoire, and just gave away that huge desk to a very grateful girl, who really needed it. It was going to be an all new space, that I could manage everything from. Open, bright, stylish and cheery.
As always, Michael and I first got some initial drawings down on paper, which Michael threw out by accident! ; ( , and a few revisions later, Michael got to making it a reality for me.
My design idea was simple; the base of a plain old farmer’s table, with cubbies and shelving for storage. But it needed to be BIG. The full length of the wall opposite the large window, to accommodate and organize all areas of my life and family I need to manage, as well the larger equipment I need to do it, such as my 2 computers, hard-drives, copier, etc.
So if you haven’t scrolled down and peeked already (uh-huh), the reveal is next. But I have to say, this was SO HARD to photograph with the lenses I have, as this desk is 7 feet long! But every inch was custom designed with a purpose for it’s space. Take a look . . . . . .
While there were no initial plans for drawers at all, the craziest things happen to us, and we ended up with some beautiful ones! I’ll get to that story-bit in a minute, but as you can see, the general structure of the desk is very much a farmer’s table design.
Let’s talk about some of the details:
Now let me tell you about the drawers, which really have added such beauty to the piece as a whole. In the beginning, I had just planned on using lots of cubbies and little containers, for all of the little things, all built upon a farmers table, much like the one we eat at in our sunroom. But the craziest blessing happen to us all of the time, and this amazing happenstance is no different:
About the time the table was pretty much built, and yet still bare wood and unfinished (as seen above, minus the drawers), Michael had a job to go re-letter the back of one of his client account’s large moving trailer. While he was there on the job site, he went to throw some things in the dumpster. There, in the container, were 3 of these beautiful drawers and some big desk all broken apart! I can only imagine how beautiful the desk must have been, because the drawers are to me, breathe-taking. Crazier, the slim design and depth of the drawers would fit and work perfectly within the table side of the desk he was building for me. So he grabbed the drawers, and all of the attachment trackings for them, and brought them home. I was astonished. I immediately fell in love with them, and he installed them.
And the inside of the large drawer had me flipping out with joy . . . . . .
Talk about great quality. HOW, could anyone throw these drawers away? And what a blessing just meant to be, that Michael was there at that site on this particular day, and looked in that waste container, right when we were building this project! The waste removal company was coming to empty that container the very next morning! The drawers would have been gone forever.
These two smaller drawers were installed side by side, on the opposite end of the large one. Take note of the bare wood before finishing. Aside from the drawers, the table-top is made of cabinet grade plywood, while the rest is plain pine and bead board. A very light color wood.
Now, how I was going to finish this desk, was such a torn-dilemma! I even did various techniques experiments on several scraps of wood, trying to decide: Did I want to just paint it white and then sand it down to worn in various places? Crackle it? Use some dark wax or antiqued glaze?
Honestly, it feels like such a big an important decision, that it kind of paralyzed me. So I kept it simple for now, and will likely continue to alter the finish more when I decide on one, or all of the ways I am contemplating. But at least then it will be a thought-out decision. For now here’s all I did:
But because the wood underneath was so light, I went a step further using a possibly odd technique and medium, to bring the distress work out more . . . . . .
I mixed clear glaze and straight burnt umber watercolor paint. I painted just over the areas where it was sanded to wood, let it sit a minute, and wiped off with a clean dry rag. It stained the exposed under-wood just enough, to have a more distinct worn look. As I said, I still may do some crackle work in areas, and/or antique it more with wax or glaze. But I also expect it will get wear and age naturally, simply from me using it a lot, and owning it for a very long time to come. But for now, I am loving it as it is.
I am still ‘moving in’ to this large piece of furniture that is quickly organizing my whole world, and there will be a follow up post to show you how I arranged everything I needed in this space. But as I said, parts of the desk were very specifically designed for certain things. To give you one example today; that top left cubby you see, will hold my 4 external hard-drives, most of which are about to dumped of all client work. They are already mostly free space even still, so I will be using them for a good many years to come, for external storage space for all of my other personal photo storage and designs.
As I am sure many of you know and will agree, it’s the accessorizing that is the most fun! It’s the pretty little things, that really make a space yours, and I have always felt it’s important to surround yourself in your home and work space, with the things that make you feel those little leaps of joy inside. (Or that’s what happens to me, anyway. ; ) So I will be sharing with you all just how I’ll be utilizing the space of my new custom-built workspace, the ways in which it’s organizing my life, and all of the little things I love that make me smile, and maybe will make you smile too. Or give you some ideas of your own.
Another crazy blessing story-bit: I had told Michael I would probably just use one of our regular white farm chairs at the desk, rather than a black computer chair. But that some day, I would love to find a nice white office chair on wheels, much like the Pottery Barn chairs, that we could never afford.
Well guess what he found and brought home with the drawers? . . . . . .
Again, for free. When Michael was chatting one of the moving company employees at the job site where he pulled the drawers out of the waste container, and told him all about this desk he built, the guy said, “I have a chair inside that went with the desk we got rid of, if you want to see it.” And this is what he brings out! Oh, you know I’ll distress this some too, and get some pretty shabby-chic cushions for it. But what a high-quality chair! It not only is on wheels and swivels, but it rocks! I’m a rocker, still. Between my first baby-girl that loved to nurse forever, and then my triplets, Mama-rocking is a just part of my natural movement now. This is a big chair though. It definitely needs the cushions. I feel like a kid in it right now. Michael was more excited about getting the chair for me, than the drawers. But the drawers were actually the biggest pleasant surprise for me.
So there it is! I know I am ridiculously blessed to have a husband whose skilled hands can create these things for me. This desk would cost thousands of dollars, bought. And it wouldn’t be custom-built, for me and my specific needs. Or made with love! He’s built so many things for me, big and small. This one is certainly very special to me, as it will really help me manage the most important aspects of my life; primarily teaching my children, and managing our family details, and lastly, doing what I can to help my husband provide for us, through blogging, which I love to do anyway.
I do apologize for the length of this post and number of photos, but there was a lot to share with you, and I’ve been SO excited to!
Wouldn’t you be? Tell me what you think of it! Do you have a special space in your home, that helps keep you organized and everything managed? Please tell us about it, and leave any ideas you may have for us as well. Thanks so much for coming by and looking!