Monday, January 26, 2015

How To: Make a Desk from a Dresser (with wallpapered drawers!)

Last week, I showed you all my "new" sewing desk. This little space was born our of a need for a few things: 1) a more (visually and functionally) streamlined work space, 2) a lower place to setup my sewing machine (it used to sit up on a counter), and 3) a free, blank, sunlit space to take photos. This simple little space does all of those things, and if I can say so, I'm pretty impressed with our ingenuity to make it happen on the quick and the cheap!

Sewing Desk Reveal-018

The "ingenuity part" came from using a dresser for the base/drawers of the desk. Some of you (ok, probably most of you!) recognized the dresser from my Ombre Pink Dresser makeover a few months back. 

Sewing Desk Reveal-019
Sewing Desk Reveal-020

Truth be told, when I bought this dresser, I thought it would make a great island with a desk coming off of it. (Not the direction I did for this project, the other, wider direction.) In fact, that was my plan for the "next house." But when we consolidated the counter leaving me no place for my sewing machine, AND we had no place for my sweet little pink dresser, I realized I could rotate my original plan and make a desk version that would work in our current space better. We picked up a pre-cut panel (24"x72") and two table legs to test it out. It was pure luck that with the leg plates (hardware used to attached legs), the legs and the dresser were the exact same (and right!) height!

Sewing Desk Reveal-021

Let me preface this part of the project with a disclaimer. Greg and I are not woodworkers. There are bloggers out there who can make amazing stuff with wood and screws. We are not them. When I have a vision, we can usually figure out a way to make it happen, but I am SURE there are better and more "proper" ways to execute them. All that said, if you are a DIYer like us, you know how to use your power tools, and you don't care too much about the "proper-ness" of a project, this is how we made the table top:
  • I started by priming both sides of the wood panel and the table legs with Zinsser 123 Primer (sprayed for the legs, rolled on on the panel).
  • Once dry, I spray painted the legs with Valspar white spray paint.
  • We then determined the placement of the legs on the left side of the board and mounted them to the wood panel using standard mounting plates. (Note: When deciding on your placement, allow space for the wood edging added in the next step!)
  • We then bought and cut down 1x2s to fit the length of the front of the desk and the depth of the two sides. The back of the panel does not have a 1x2 edge.
  • We secured the 1x2s around the three sides of the wood panel with wood glue and L-brackets, using clamps to hold everything tightly in place until dry and secure.
  • I then filled the seams between the desk top and the wood edges with wood filler and sanded everything smooth. This required several rounds of filling and sanding.
  • I finished off the desk top with four coats of Benjamin Moore Advanced paint in High Gloss Super White (same white I used on the pink dresser)

Sewing Desk Reveal-022

With the paint dry and fully cured, we brought the desk top in and placed it right on top of the dresser. We originally were going to bolt the desk top to the dresser along the back, but we found it wasn't doesn't budge, even with the sewing machine running! Adding the 1x2 edge along the perimeter really helped give the desk a less homemade look, hid the leg mounting plates, and fully covered the top edge of the dresser so the whole thing looks more seamless. The dresser essentially nestles right into the table top. I especially love that we can lift off the desk and still use the dresser in any future homes!

So here she is, all done and oh-so-pretty. I was SO smitten with her all pink and white...bright and happy. My little pink dresser had found a home and I had a sewing desk. The end.

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Not so much. I love that pink dresser SO much, but let me remind you what the rest of the room looks like. This is the office side...

Sewing Desk Reveal-024

And this is the far wall!

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The pink dresser with all the turquoise accents in the room was NOT working for me. Suddenly, I found myself brainstorming ways to make it all work. I started looking for a fabric or paper pattern to unite the turquoise, pink, black and white...but that wasn't really jiving for me. Then I started considering making all the turquoise accents in the room pink (which, by the way, there are a lot of of turquoise accents!!!) All of a sudden, I was facing a complete office overhaul, and this was right after we found out we were moving. WHAT?!?! My husband was all "Just paint everything pink, and you'll feel better," but it just seemed ridiculous, even by my crazy I'll-paint-anything-on-a-whim standards. If anything, it made more sense to paint over the pink drawers, but I just LOOOVED them so.

Then I was writing my 2014 recap post. You might remember me gushing over my wallpaper-covered lamps and saying "I pretty much want to wallpaper everything in sight." At that second, I literally had a lightbulb moment!

Sewing Desk Reveal-026

Yes, friends. I covered my pink ombre drawers with more of Spoonflower's wonderful removable peel-and-stick wallpaper! The drawers are still pink, but with about an hour's worth of effort, they now work in our space, and I can stop stressing about an all-pink/last-minute makeover. 

Here's what I did!

I spent too much time looking for just the right pattern on Spoonflower - it is both wonderful and awful that there are so many incredible choices! Greg and I ultimately decided that a black and white pattern would work the best and decided on THIS one. My drawer front measured 36"x7" each. I didn't feel like matching patterns vertically across the dresser, so I just ordered a 48"x24" custom cut and hoped I could make it work!

I cut down my 48"x24" roll down into three even 8" strips using a rotary cutter and clear ruler.

Sewing Desk Reveal-027

I then emptied the drawers and removed the hardware. I started by laying the wallpaper flat against the very top edge of the drawer, completely covering the pink paint. I pulled off the paper as I worked across the dresser top, slowly pressing out bubbles as I went.

Sewing Desk Reveal-028
Sewing Desk Reveal-029

I then flipped the drawer onto its end (with some help from Greg) and pulled the paper taught down the front of the drawer face. I smoothed bubbles and pressed everything down firmly with my craft brayer.

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I then creased the paper and folded the bottom of the wallpaper down over the bottom edge of the drawer. This is where I knew I was stretching the limits of my 8" strips. I strongly considered trimming the wallpaper to stop at the edge of the drawer (instead of wrapping under it), but I worried I'd see pops of pink peek out if I didn't cut perfectly straight. Because I skimped on paper a tad, I only had about a 1/4" to wrap under the drawers.

Sewing Desk Reveal-031

With the top edge, drawer front, and bottom edge now covered, I only had to attend to the sides. I slit the corner with a small, precise scissors and then folded the small flap inward. Once both corners were trimmed and folded in, I could fold the top down to fully cover the side edge.

Sewing Desk Reveal-032

Next, I re-installed my hardware. I punctured small holes in the wallpaper right where the old holes were and re-attached my flowered pulls with our cordless screwdriver. They aren't the perfect pulls for this pattern, but again, I was just trying to make this dresser work in here for now. The last step was to fill the drawers back up and slide them into place.

Sewing Desk Reveal-033

So, you are probably wondering how has this held up?

I will start by saying, again, that this wallpaper is nice and thick and super easy to work with. The adhesive is strong but it's super easy to manipulate, re-position and work out creases or bubbles. The paper has not bubbled or ripped and honestly hasn't budged since we put it on. Yet again, I could not be more impressed with this product and am brainstorming ways to use it more! #notsponsored.

Second, we are pretty certain that this dresser is homemade. The drawers themselves don't slide super smoothly and butt up REALLY tight against one another. If you have a store-bought dresser that the drawers slide in and out without rubbing the frame or each other, this technique will work perfectly. My paper kept getting caught on the bottom edges when I pushed them back in (remember, I only had about a 1/4" folded under.) To remedy this, my husband suggested covering the bottom edge of the drawers with clear packing tape to hold the paper down and allow the drawers to move in and out easily. It has worked like a charm! The sides and tops have no problems with catching and have stayed perfectly in place.

All in all, this has been the perfect solution to making over these drawers...for this space...for now!

Sewing Desk Reveal-034

I was so super excited to share this idea with you guys for a few reasons. For one, if you are like me and move around a lot, sometimes a piece of furniture just doesn't work in a space but you don't want to get rid of it or re-paint it. I just couldn't bring myself to paint over those pretty pink drawers. Covering it with removable wallpaper is a great way to change up the look of a piece "just for now" without permanently altering it! Or maybe you are dying to change up an old or tired piece of furniture but you or your husband(!!) doesn't want paint anywhere near it. This is such a great solution - the paper really does peel off leaving no residue behind, and my paint job is perfectly in tact! If you give this a try, I strongly recommend applying wallpaper to pieces with straight lines and easy angles (curves and bevels may not turn out as well!). Lastly, this project is a quick one! It literally took me longer to select the wallpaper pattern than to apply it. Even with stopping to take pictures, applying the paper to all three drawers took about an hour!
Sewing Desk Reveal-035

I'm really proud of this furniture transformation! Not only did we take a sad, dresser and breath new life into it (twice!), but we re-imaged what it could be by adding a table top with legs. This project was definitely a lesson in thinking WAY outside the box and finding solutions that aren't necessarily complicated or (even better!) permanent but turn out to be the perfect answer for us for right now!

Sewing Desk Reveal-036

I hope your week is off to a great start! On Wednesday, I'm going to be sharing a quick crafting tip I use all the time - I think you'll like it! See you back here then!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Modern and Glam Master Bedroom Reveal

On Wednesday, I shared that we have about 4-5 months left in this little house of ours' before we pack up and move to our next assignment. (By the way, thank you SO much for your kind comments on that post. I loved reading your encouraging, funny and compassionate words!). As such, it's time for me to start posting the last few room reveals that are remaining. I've already documented our Dining Room, Office/Craft Room, Little Boy Room, Command Center, Laundry Room, and Guest can find all those posts HERE. Today, I'm excited to give you a full tour of our Master Bedroom...easily, the room in our home that I most proud of! (As usual with these kinds of posts, all the links to the various projects, as well as the resources are at the very bottom of the post!)

Here are the "before" photos that I snapped the day we moved in almost three years ago. The room is a cramped, awkward, dark, west-facing room that has an even darker and more cramped en suite bathroom and a single closet. 

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-001
Master Bedroom Final Reveal-002

We painted the walls Winter's Day by Martha Stewart before moving in. We actually didn't have a lot of bedroom furniture when we unloaded (pretty much just a bed). We started picking up pieces here and there...but for almost the whole first year we lived here, it looked like this. (And I hate to say it, but these are NOT dramatized photos...this room was a true MESS as I worked away on other parts of the house first!)

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-003

And here is how the bedroom looks now!!! Oh my gosh, you guys, I am just so proud of this space. This room was not a weekend took me a really long time to pull everything together. But I could not be more thrilled with the final result. While the room doesn't have the bright, vibrant, preppy feel that I have throughout the rest of our home, it's the perfect serene, hotel-like space my husband and I really wanted.

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-004

Even though I just showed you the whole space, I want to give you a grand tour starting from the door. You walk in through the door into a small awkward hallway that opens up to the whole room. Behind that left wall is the hall bathroom. To the right is our master closet which I forgot to snap photos of. Oooops!

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-005

In this little tiny hallway are our fabric-covered laundry baskets for darks/brights and whites. These bring some balance to the room, provide another spot for our theme pattern, and add extra seating for putting on shoes (or piling up clothes to be hung in the neighboring closet ;)

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Straight ahead is the mini French provinicial dresser that serves as my husband's night stand and extra clothing storage. On the windows, I doubled up store-bought curtain panels in grey and icy blue. I love the two-tone look here; it's one of my favorite things I did in this space!

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-007
Master Bedroom Final Reveal-008

In the center of the room is our storage platform bed (each side has three big drawers!). Having drawers under the bed has been awesome in this tight room. We "upholstered" the plain wood/laminate headboard with floral fabric, and loaded the bed up with coordinating DIY pillow shams and throw pillows, along with a bright white duvet. 

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Above the bed is another one of my favorite projects in the room: a spray-painted mirror. The sparkle and detail of that mirror completes the entire room! I made that little sequin pillow for the holiday years ago, but it just works for me (even though it nods a tad lavender), so it has stayed year round!

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-010
Master Bedroom Final Reveal-011
Master Bedroom Final Reveal-012

I searched high and low for a complimentary night stand to the mini dresser on Greg's side of the bed. I had no idea how hard it would be to find something the same height and width and still match the vibe of the room. After having no side table for almost a year, I finally found this mirrored console table (on sale) from Target!

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-013

Santa brought me a wide-angle lens and photography lights for Christmas, so I am finally able to capture some of the harder angles of this room for you! I know wide-angle lenses can sometimes give a funny perspective, but I'm excited to finally be able to show you how this side of the room looks all together.

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As we move around the room to the far left wall of the bedroom, you'll find the other big dresser makeover I did for this space!

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This sad, old pecan dresser was given an ultra modern makeover with paint and new hardware and is still one of my favorite pieces of furniture in our house. I just adore this view!

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Master Bedroom Final Reveal-017
Master Bedroom Final Reveal-018

The door in the corner leads to the small en suite bathroom, which I will show you another day. Don't get too excited - it's not that glorious ;) But this shot sure is!!!

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-020

I mostly view my decorating as just a hobby. I'm not trained and I experiment a lot, and often feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Every now and then, friends or readers encourage me that this hobby could be something more, but I always downplay their enthusiasm because my spaces aren't "that good." When I saw this before/after shot put together (below), I could (almost) see what others have been so encouraging about. I am just so stinkin' proud of this room!!!!

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-021

Okay, here we go with resources and tutorial links! If I forget something or you have a question, leave me a comment or shoot me an email!

Paint color: Martha Stewart's Winter's Day / Dressers paint color: DIY mix of Martha Stewart Driftwood Grey and Sherwin Williams Albacore / Laundry baskets: Ross (and DIY) / Bed: West Elm Storage BedGrey dressers (big and little): Thrifted / Grey lamps: HomeGoods / Round mirror: Kirlands' Emily Circles Mirror (and DIY) / Rectangle mirror: HomeGoods / White quilted coverlet: Crate and Barrel outlet / White duvet cover: HomeGoods / Mirror half-round table: Target (online, can't find it anymore) / Silver candlesticks and vases: Marshalls / Lucite lamp: HomeGoods / Floral fabric: Fiori Climbing Vines in Seaglass from Hancock FabricsStriped fabric: Fiori Stripe Fabric from Hancock FabricsSteal blue throw pillows: HomeGoods / Sequin pillow: DIY / Dresser hardware: Lowes / Chunky white candlesticks: Thrifted / Wooden trash can: Yard sale / Black curtain rods: IKEA

Links to all DIY projects and tutorials for the Master Bedroom can be found below!

Empty House - Before Shots

Paint Colors

Inspiration Boards - NC House

Using Textiles in the Bedroom

Easy Fabric Projects to Update the Bedroom

Sparkle in the Master Bedroom

How to Spray Paint a Mirror

Little Grey Dresser Makeover

Big Grey Dresser Makeover

5 Ways to Modernize Dated Furniture

Pretty Little Laundry Baskets

Jewelry Display Board

Phew! I love putting these posts together because all my projects, links and resources are in one tidy spot. Plus, sometimes designs don't come together very easily, so it's nice to see where I started with this space and how it turned out! I hope you all enjoyed the tour. It's been a while since we've chatted about the master bedroom, so I hope you like seeing a different space after so much craft room talk ;) If you have any questions, let me know!

Master Bedroom Final Reveal-022

Have a great weekend, everyone! On Monday, I will have the full tutorial for the sewing desk I revealed earlier this week. I think you're going to love what I did when you see how easy it was! See you then!



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