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!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Lavender Shelf - and missing violets

I’ve been trying to find a way to display some of my favorite treasures in my office/dressing room, and this weekend I decided to paint and “set” a little shelf I bought recently at a thrift store. Here’s the project:

Starting with a small wooden shelf, I spray painted it in a gloss ivory tone and hung it on the wall. (Note: the previous sentence does not even begin to capture my complete and utter ineptitude in the two tasks described.) I was certain that over the years I had collected more than a few items with lavender hues, so this was going to be my Lavender Shelf. I started by softening things up with a pillowcase hung on the rod. This pillowcase had been embroidered by my great-grandmother. I also added a pretty floral hanky to the shelf:

Next, I spent some time looking for a teacup I have around here that has a really pretty pattern of violets on it - I’ve been saving it for just such a project as the Lavender Shelf. So naturally, I couldn’t find it. I settled for this teacup instead, which is just as pretty (if not as violety) and has my own hand-poured soy candle in it. I also added two vintage postcards as part of the backdrop:

Next up, while looking for my violet teacup I found this 3-paned photo frame and decided to use that on the shelf as well. I sought out fun favorite photos of my hubby, myself and our daughter, printed them out, and then cut them to fit the frame:

Finally, I decided that instead of the teacup I would use one of my favorite pieces from my clay project collection - you can read a little more about him on my clay project website, but the short version is that he is a flea-market find and certainly falls into the “lavender” category:

The finished project looks like this:

What I love about creating a little vignette like this is that every item here is either special to me personally, or is something I bought simply for its beauty and the faith that someday I would be able to make something enjoyable out of it.

More soon!

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