Saturday, July 24, 2010

Romancing the desk

I don't know what I was thinking when I outfitted my office/dressing room with this new glass-top contemporary desk. I guess I was thinking I needed to waste a few hours of my life assembling something. Or maybe, I was thinking I needed a lot of work area. Certainly the desk was a success on both of those fronts, and it also met the full approval of the cat - who won't sit on things he doesn't like.

But, not long after I bought and assembled the contempo-desk, I realized that what I wanted in here was something old and cottage-looking, with chippy paint and antique hardware on the drawers. Since I couldn't justify replacing a brand-new desk (and because, now that it's assembled, it's REALLY hard to move), I started to think about how I could make the desk look a lot more romantic, and still be functional. My first idea was to soften up the lines by making a table skirt, which had the added advantage of creating concealed storage space underneath:

I thought the result was "okay," and although I liked the fabric I'd used, I knew that ultimately I was going to repaint this room a light botanical green. That fabric wasn't going to work anymore with the new color. So I set about making a different skirt and figuring out some way to make the glass desk top fit better into my vision for the room. The skirt was easily removable, attached as it was to the framing of the desk with adhesive Velcro.

For the new skirting, I purchased two floor length ivory window sheers (which match the simple window treatment in the room). I folded the first one horizontally to get a double layer (not as sheer that way - still trying to conceal the stuff stored underneath), attached pieces of Velcro to the back of it, and stuck it to the desk frame. It wasn't long enough to cover the whole front of the desk, so I cut the second sheer to the proper length and attached it in the same way, overlapping the first one by a few inches. I hot-glued some non-functioning buttons down the front of the overlap just for a tiny tailored detail. Next up was the desktop. I wanted to cover it with something, but didn't want to lose the smooth, solid surface, so decided on adhesive/removeable Contact paper. After a little cussing to figure out how to apply the Contact paper with as few air bubbles as possible, I had the job done.

The remaining task was to create some sort of "transition" between the solid surface of the desk and the softness of the skirt fabric. I chose a length of silk greenery, applying it with zip-ties so again it would also be removable. Here, as they say, is the big TA-DA:

Although the end result is a little more "storybook-looking" than I was intending, I still like it better than the bare desk and better than the floral skirt. Here are a few of the details, starting with a home-sewn reversible "cozy" I made years ago for a desktop copier - now used to cover the all-in-one printer:

Here's a bit of the button detail on the overlap of the skirt:

And, here's the chair cushion, a nice thrift-store find - Laura Ashley floral toss pillow:

The nice thing about this project, other than the very low price tag, was that the whole thing only took me about 90 minutes from start to finish.

And of course, the fact that the cat still likes it. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

More soon!


  1. Your office now looks very soft and pretty and even romantic. I love th fabrics that you used, especially the cover for the printer. Very, very nice.
    Hugs, Cindy S

  2. Cindy, thanks so much for stopping by! In our old house, I had also made a pair of cafe curtains for the kitchen door that matched the printer cozy, and since our printer at that time sat on one end of the kitchen counter, it actually coordinated. :) I sure appreciate you taking a moment to drop me a note - and, I just visited your blog and am really enjoying it. LOVE your new patio! :)

  3. So very pretty, your "new" office makes me smile! I love the mix of fabrics, color and embellishments. What a serene place to "work." ;0)

  4. Thanks, Ann! I also like the fact that the whole thing can quickly be "restored" to the original glass top contemporary desk if I do ever decide to put a big wooden desk in here! :)

  5. I am not a fan of contemporary desks. I've had a few in my lifetime but yours looks wonderful now.


  6. Thanks, Janet - I actually had (still have) the perfect table for this room, however it was ALSO perfect as a kitchen island so that's where it landed :) Thanks for visiting!

  7. Hi Janet! Just popped over from Met Monday to check out your 'new' desk. How pretty! I can see why you like it so much better. It creates such an cozy, inviting place to do your work. Not so sterile and cold. And the printer cozy is a neat idea! Great job!

    xoxo laurie@heavens-walk

  8. Hey Janet! It looks wonderful...adding the fabric warms up it up and gives your "clutter" some privacy. Great job and thanks so much for linking up to style feature saturday! -shaunna :)

  9. Laurie and Shaunna, thank you very much for taking a peek at my new work area! I think the only big thing left to do in this room is to re-paint, which is a fairly major undertaking since the room is already "put together," so I'm procrastinating that just a little. :)


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