a side-of-the-road desk

July 30, 2009 at 2:38 am 13 comments


A long time ago, I posted a request for input about my living room, which never seemed quite right. I ended up keeping the basic arrangement the same, just because I had played around with several different configurations and this is the one that worked best for us, but I knew it still needed work. At the time, I had the computer tucked into an armoire that kept the messes hidden and served its purpose. But I found that when I spent a long day working on that computer, I really despised feeling like I had my head stuck in a box for hours on end. And I had nowhere to go with the piles of paper and stuff and junk that I needed to get things done. I started toying with the idea of a big, open worktable. Like the ones in the Pottery Barn catalog, that cost thousands of dollars that I do not have.

It occurred to me that a kitchen table is actually about the size of the desk I had in mind. So I browsed CraigsList on occasion, but I had next to no budget for this handy little item, so nothing was jumping out at me.

But…when we were on our way home from picking pumpkins last fall and driving through the middle of nowhere in the desert (seriously), I saw a small flatbed with some household stuff on it, and a “for sale” sign. And a kitchen table. A big, simple, early 90s-light-oak-veneer kitchen table.

“Stop!” I shouted.

“What?!?!?” my husband replied.

He really thought I had lost my mind. I spoke to the woman selling the stuff. The table, it turned out, was pretty rickety and about to lose a leg. I ended up paying $15 for it, confident my husband could fix it. He was THRILLED when I came back to the car and told him he’d have to come back with the truck and pick up a half-broken old table that he would then have to fix to replace the armoire that he saw nothing wrong with. THANK GOODNESS he tolerates me and my crazy ideas.

I’m rambling here. Bottom line – he was able to fix the table, I lightly sanded it, hit it with a little primer, and painted it (with a quick email to Kimba, whose blog I had been lurking on and who is the go-to resource for furniture painting advice – so glad I listened to her advice and used the small sponge roller!), and my husband grudgingly helped me rearrange the computer/printer/desk mess.

Here it is in progress, with my painting assistants:


And I love it! That wavy trim along the bottom wouldn’t be my first choice, but overall, for next to no money, I got what I needed. I have space to spread out, the printer is easy to reach, and the whole arrangement actually fills out that wall better than the armoire did. The downside is that you can see the computer and desk miscellany, but I try to keep it neat in case the queen comes over for dinner or something. I added a corkboard (and painted the trim the desk color) and some fun punctuation (a must-have decor item for any editor/writer/former English teacher), and still might tweak the arrangement a bit in the future.

And here it is, all set up:


By the way, why is it that things look o.k.-ish in person, but when I snap a photo, the messes and ugly stuff are suddenly so obvious? Ignore the boxes and baskets and cords under the desk. I still need a filing cabinet and some more organization over there. And has anyone done a tutorial on how to get decent decor pictures with a regular old point-and-shoot digital camera?

Have you done any projects lately? Be sure to post them at Kimba’s DIY Day.

Entry filed under: decorating. Tags: .

a nursery another furniture paintover

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anny  |  July 30, 2009 at 2:46 am

    This is really beautiful! Thank goodness for foresight and patient husbands LOL

  • 2. Tammy  |  July 30, 2009 at 2:59 am

    love the punctuation graphics on the wall!! Where’d you find them?

    • 3. Jaime  |  August 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Tammy! I got them at Kirkland’s. 🙂

  • 4. gayla  |  July 30, 2009 at 5:06 am

    i love the desk transformation! and my pictures are TERRIBLE. what gives? maybe it’s poor lighting?? if you figure it out, let me know!


  • 5. Lindsay  |  July 30, 2009 at 5:19 am

    I know what you mean about the photos! They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well seeing it in person is worth a trillon! (love your table! Love DIY day!)

  • 6. Mandy  |  July 30, 2009 at 11:34 am

    CUTE CUTE CUTE!!! I love the punctuation marks!! 🙂

  • 7. sarah  |  July 30, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    What a great save!! So great!

  • 8. Dawn  |  July 30, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Dontcha just love when you can take someone else’s “trash” and turn it into a gorgeous piece of furniture like this???

  • 9. Ms.Tee  |  July 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    It looks great – I love your little desk area!

  • 10. Kimba @ A Soft Place to Land  |  August 6, 2009 at 12:22 am

    I love it!!!! What a fantastic find! I can see why you might say that the wavy bottom part wasn’t your first choice but now that it’s painted, I think it looks awesome! It adds lots of interest to you kitchen table turned desk.

    Nice job!

  • 11. another furniture paintover « a place out west  |  August 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    […] and living room are one big, open space. Our exclusive collection of mismatched hand-me-downs and side-of-the-road finds all live happily together in here. Years ago, when we had our first house with a true […]

  • 12. Hermione  |  August 7, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I actually use a table in my office at work. I figured out a while back that they are often more useful spaces to work on than desks. So when I moved into a new department and had to get a desk purchased, I got a table. The secretary who ordered it thought I was nuts, but when it came in, everyone loved it! I’d snap a pic, but my desk is a perpetual state of paper piles and Coke Zero.

  • 13. scrap wood side table « a place out west  |  August 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    […] size for this spot, and it cost us nothing! Thank goodness I still have cream paint left from the desk and china […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


please visit my Etsy shop!


Follow me on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: