March 3, 2015

The Office is Gone, Long Live Jake's Bedroom

This weekend was very exciting in the forty-two roads household - Jake officially moved into his own bedroom! Of course that room used to be the office, and part of the challenge was figuring out how to decamp from the giant sprawling 8 foot desk and consolidate our office needs into our bedroom. My solution? After searching high and low for something that would fit, I realized that I could simply create a custom-fitted desk that fits perfectly in a nook by a window:

It is most built from IKEA parts, but removing the existing drawer fronts and cutting new ones out of maple plywood and adding nice bar handles (thanks, Nancy!) really gave the whole thing a more expensive vibe. The table top is a really pretty piece of butcher block which I successfully cut by myself with only a power jig saw. It was... probably not the most appropriate tool for the job. But on the plus side I have a really great sense of how to handle that thing well now!

Once I had cut and sanded the plywood to the right dimensions - well, actually about 1/8" smaller to highlight the look of the eased edges more - I super carefully measured and created all the same holes and things that IKEA uses on the obverse side so that I could just attach them with the existing screws and dowels. The main issue was creating a channel for the drawer bottom to fit into. Since I don't have a router, I just used one of the carving heads on my Dremel. The result is wonky but totally functional, and basically invisible since the drawer bottom now covers my not-totally-straight carving job. Here is a closeup of the drawer unit:

(Oh, and a tip - IKEA's website only has the Alex with narrow drawers, but in stores they have the Alex we actually got, with a hanging file system in the bottom.)


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful! Did you put a finish on the tabletop? It looks shiny. Can you post a different/closer picture of it? it! Thanks!

Anna Wulick said...

Thanks so much for the compliment! Yes, I did finish the tabletop, with the same polycrylic that I used on the drawer fronts. If you don't buff the final coat of it (only possible if you make sure the next-to-last coat is super duper smooth), then you'll be left with a lot of shine.

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. How did you secure the tabletop to the Alex and legs?

Peter said...

Hi Anna, this is a really wonderful piece of furniture and it has inspired me to do something simpilar. I am in the UK and have found a supplier of the Polycrylic, but I would really like to know exactly how you achieved this high gloss finish?

Is it possible to explain step by step?


Emily L. said...

Finally!!! I can't tell you how long I've been looking for info on changing drawer fronts on the Alex. I don't care for them either and was starting to think it was impossible because I couldn't find anything about it. Thanks so much!!