Jul 172014

I can’t lie.  This unit has been done for months now.  I worked on it right after I finished up the bed (you can see it here).  But I ran into a problem with cords, lots and lots of cords.  They were all just hanging there under the desk.  After all my hard work to create a desk and a space for my daughter to display all of her knick-knacks and photos, it was a little frustrating to be so let down by a jumble of cords.  Which is why I walked away from it for awhile and then a few weeks later the solution hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was one of those “DUH.  Why didn’t you think of that before?” moments.  What was the brilliant solution you ask…add a modesty panel.

finished desk and shelvesAfter my realization I added the modesty panel you can see in front of her chair and viola! all the cords disappeared.   Well, it wasn’t really that easy.  It did take some additional steps to properly organize everything behind the panel.   To start the clean up I used some little cup hooks screwed into the underside of the desk to hold all the longer cords up behind the panel.  I also added a couple screws to the wall, so that I could hang the 6 plug outlet too.  I would have preferred to make the panel a little shorter, but the cable jack sits low on the wall so it seemed silly to cover everything else and leave that showing.  An adult can still sit at the desk without any knees bumping, so all is good in my book. *And, no it doesn’t usually look this neat and organized.  There are usually things scattered everywhere from the desk down, but my daughter is gone visiting family this summer which made this the perfect opportunity to do a little cleanup and snap some photos.

shelf unit 1
I used two different plans to come up with this configuration.  The bottom is based off the narrow mod-bookcase shelves from Ana-White and the top is based off this shelving unit from Sawdust Girl.  I made a boo-boo on the top bookshelf measurements that I didn’t realize until it was way too late to correct.  Like putting all the pieces together in her room too late.  The top bookshelf is the same measurement as the the entire width of the base unit, instead of the width of bottom unit minus the trim.  That mistake makes the top shelf a couple inches wider than it should be.  It’s not something that someone who didn’t know about it would really notice and my daughter could care less, but it irks me every time I look at the unit full on.

shelf unit 2The entire unit stands at 6′ feet tall and 7′ feet long.  The desk is a little over 17″ inches deep, so she has plenty of room to draw, play dolls, make bracelets and her new favorite – put on makeup (why do they want to grow up so fast?!).  The desk top is stained in my new favorite stain ‘Espresso’ from Minwax.  I so love the rich dark brown.  To protect the stain I put 3 coats of poly in a semi-gloss finish (also from minwax).

And, that leaves her room pretty much done.  Although, I do think I want to add a narrow line of cubbies along the back of the desk between the two bookcases.  She has tons of different colors, markers, stencils, beads and other smaller artsy crafty stuff that she needs to be able to store, but still have easy access too. If I can get the rest of the room cleaned up, I may even do a full room reveal.  I have a  couple weeks left before she comes home, so we’ll see if the urge to clean strikes before my little tornado returns.

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Jul 152014

This adventure started when we moved into the new house (over a year ago now) and with any luck will be coming to an end in the very near future *fingers crossed*.  Our kitchen has a little breakfast bar area that the kids use all.the.time. for snacking, eating meals, art projects, playing games, homework and you get the picture.

bar area empty

Initially, the kids made due with bar stools we already owned, but they stood at bar height not counter height.  Which meant the kids skinny little legs could squeeze in, but not so much for adults.  Plus when you sat on them you had to hunch over the counter at a weird angle to do anything.  Not very comfortable for the sittee, although it was fairly entertaining for the observer.   After working with what we had for several weeks, I happened across some cute little counter height bar stools at Goodwill for $10 each and grabbed them up quickly.  They weren’t anything extraordinary, but being the right height and the right price made them all good in my book.

goodwill bar stool

And, the journey would have ended there if one of the stools hadn’t fallen apart (the lone remaining stool is above).  They lasted for months and months before the problems began.  At first it was just the occasional jiggle with one of the legs and we could deal with that, but eventually it became the occasional falling off of one of the legs and that wasn’t so workable.  So I started searching out some alternatives.  I knew I wanted to put something there more permanent and not have to revisit this little area for many a year to come.  What I found out was how crazy expensive new bar stools can be…seriously.  I mean there are cheaper stools out there (similar to what I found at GW), but the whole point was to find something that would last and be timeless in style (as in I didn’t want to regret my purchase a year from now).   After more searching I realized I would have to make them, if I didn’t want to spend a lot money (which I didn’t have anyway so it was more a reality check than anything).

I was fairly certain I wanted something with a back and these were the two plans that appealed to me the most in both style and cost of materials.  The Louis XVI Bar Stool from The Design Confidential and The Vintage Bar Stool Plan from Ana White’s site.   Both of which would need to be adjusted to counter height vs bar height.  After debating which one to build I decided to go with the TDC plan.  It involved curving a 2×4 using my circular and jig saws, so I was a little intimated.  Let’s just say a couple of 2×4′s may have been sacrificed as part of my learning curve, but I made it through.  Then I started to assemble one and realized it was too big.  The scale of the stools would be too big for our little bar area.  Ugh.  Thankfully, I had only spent $10 on 2×4′s at that point (I had the other wood necessary in my stash), I could salvage pretty much all the wood and most importantly the circular saw and I had become better friends with all the time we had spent together :) .  On to plan B, building the vintage stools.  I actually only built one because I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the “one” or not.

vintage bar stool

And, I’m glad I did because I just didn’t love it.  I tried to, but it just wasn’t happening.  I kept telling myself maybe if I paint it a different color, the black is just too much and blah, blah, blah.  None of my mental counseling had any effect.  On the bright side my son was thrilled to have a chair to sit on that didn’t  practically fall apart under him every time he sat down, so at least that part of the build was a success.  Also, if this style chair is for you – very easy to build and inexpensive material list.

two different stools

The journey paused here with the two mismatched bar stools for several more months, until I  got sick of looking at two mismatched stools had an epiphany and found the perfect little stools to DIY.  TO BE CONTINUED…

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