a side-of-the-road desk

IMG_4464 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:

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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:

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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.