Masthead header

Remember a long, long time ago when we said – out loud! – that we would have our trim and baseboards finished by the end of May? The end of May.

Ah! Ahaha!

Those were good times. In any case, we can see the finish line, but we’ve been doing a whole lot of problem solving and road-block-crushing along the way. Installing baseboards seems like it would be an easy enough job, and it sort of is, but there’s also a lot (a LOT) of time that needs to be set aside to just get it done. Time that could be spent on painting the kitchen, or choosing a rug for the guest room or organizing our tools or even cleaning the bathroom. You know, things that are more fun. In our heads, we think, oh, pffft! The studio should take a few hours. Fast forward to 8 hours later and two extra trips to the hardware store, and joke’s on us.

But as little as I enjoy baseboard installation, the end results make it all worth it. Really! And because Scott doesn’t mind trim install (he claims to enjoy it – weirdo), we balance each other out, and together, it becomes a manageable mediocre project. (Right?) If you’re thinking, wait, we’re still talking about baseboards? To which we say, this is real life in real time, and this is us, still knee deep in baseboards, but thisclose to being finished (not counting the bedroom. Or kitchen. But the big spaces? Almost knocked out!). We’re almost there! Hip, hip!

Although we’ve talked about our installation process many, many times, we’ve finally hit the point where we stumbled into a whole new world of problems, which thank goodness, were surprisingly easy to remedy! And so, for any of you with an old house, hitting road block after road block (oh, ancient house, how we love you), our hope is that our solutions might help you, too. This is why we continue to talk about baseboards. We’re all friends here; let’s hug.

Okay, so here’s what we had going on:

door-jamb-trim-01

(On a side note, the floors are still far from straight, but my lens does add a lot more distortion than is actually there.) Up until this past weekend, the studio door + trim progress came to a stop after we hired out the door install. We did paint them, but then we dived right into outdoor projects, halting the entire operation.

We knew trimming out the doors was going to be a bit of a process, because if you remember, the doors we purchased only had a jamb that was 4 1/2″ wide, whereas our actual jambs are easily 6″! Below, you can see how the installed door looks recessed, and you can still see the original 2×4 studs (and lath and plaster) that are framing out the doorway:

door-jamb-trim-02
door-jamb-trim-02-1

You can actually buy jamb extension kits, but added to the cost of the doors themselves, we decided to make our own extensions using a few 8′ lengths of 1″x6″ pine. All of our doors required different measurements (and the bathroom’s have been put off completely until we’re able to renovate them), so I’ll use our second floor guest room door as the example.

For starters, in the photo above you’ll notice that there’s only one 2×4 stud across the top, which gives us virtually nothing to nail into. Scott took a couple of 2x4s blocks and screwed them into the vertical studs, which then allowed us to use our nail gun to install the jamb extension across the top.

door-jamb-trim-04
door-jamb-trim-06

Once we had the door prepped, we took measurements from the current door frame to the drywall along all three sides of the door, and we took at least three measurements along each of the sides. This old house = very, very uneven everything. For example, the largest depth of the non-existent jamb was 2″, whereas the shortest depth was closer to 1 1/4.” On our table saw, we ripped down our 1x6s to the larger depth, which would allow for a bit of overflow past the drywall in some areas. With our pieces ready to go, we started at the top and began nailing them into place…

door-jamb-trim-07

… continuing down the left side…

door-jamb-trim-08

… until, of course (!), we reached the first road block along the right-hand side. I’ll admit that it may be tough to tell in photos, but if you take a look at the inset below, you’ll see that the 1×6 is completely flush with the door frame. We preferred to have a small lip, which not only allows for easier and more secure caulking, but it just looks better. The left-hand side had a lip because that side of the door frame was shimmed, so to stay on course, we very carefully used our table saw to rip down the depth of our 1×6, shaving off a teeny, tiny 1/4″ to achieve this:

door-jamb-trim-10

But as soon as we finished the first jamb extension, we came across road block number two – the gaps in our floors! The previous baseboards were installed before the floors, and even then, they didn’t properly meet up with the floor boards completely. This left a huge gap, which our door trim was unable to cover.

door-jamb-trim-11

We always knew these gaps were rather large, but we thought nothing of it since our baseboards would also get quarter round. For the door trim, however, there’s no way to install quarter round along the decorative front edge. And so? Each of our doors got a big chunky plinth at the base! Once we start baseboard install, we’ll be able to put quarter round on the inside of the door casing, so that’ll cover all of our bases.

door-jamb-trim-12

From there (and a quick run to the store later!), we were able to trim our doors as usual. Just as we did on the first floor, we kept up the tradition of tall headers, giving our doors more weight and dimension – especially since our ceilings are close to 10′ tall.

door-jamb-trim-13
door-jamb-trim-14
door-jamb-trim-15
door-jamb-trim-16

The view from my desk has gotten so much better in just the last couple of weeks alone!

door-jamb-trim-17
door-jamb-trim-18-2

While we were at it, we gave the front window a trimming as well, which closely mimics the style of our doors and is an exact match to the one on the first floor.

door-jamb-trim-19
door-jamb-trim-20

At this point, nothing has been spackled, caulked or painted, and we hope to knock out the rest of the baseboards this weekend. At the same time, we’re juggling a bit of down time on the holiday weekend with another project or two that’s been on our list, so here’s hoping we can find some balance. These baseboards are nothing if not major time hogs. (Rude!)

PS! Our little nook got an upgrade with some new blinds! See the transformation over at the Bali Blinds blog, where our sweet Chunk makes an adorable appearance.

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - August 28, 2014 - 9:23 AM

    Our baseboards are so rude, too. Although we’ve been looking the other way for months and we’re finally diving in. Such a big task.ReplyCancel

  • Marie - August 28, 2014 - 10:01 AM

    Congrats guys, keep up the good work ! I really like that you are showing us how hard and long it takes to get the job done, because when my own home improvement turns into a sort of a nightmare, I’m always thinking of you and how perfect things always go for you. Now I know you’re both humans, too. And those trips to the store… I do them too ! You’re both really brave, I’m impressed.
    PS : Love CC’s face in the nook. Congrats on the blinds, too.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 28, 2014 - 10:08 AM

      Thanks, Marie! Oh, boy. Things are far from perfect, so definitely remember that we run into the same problems as you… But having a CC definitely helps.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - August 28, 2014 - 1:04 PM

    Woo hoo! Best feeling in the world to have a room feel complete, even if the trim isn’t 100% finished, they sure look great!ReplyCancel

  • alexis - August 29, 2014 - 10:35 AM

    Oh man, that does look tedious, but you guys are doing a beautiful job! Good luck, hope you guys have a lovely weekend!!!ReplyCancel

  • Alex - Old Town Home - August 30, 2014 - 2:39 PM

    It’s looking really good. I love the way top heavy casings look on doors and windows!

    We ended up making our own jambs or finding salvaged ones to accommodate the larger width walls, which is a major pain. I remember spending all day making one (cutting, sanding, etc), then I was making the final cut and didn’t take into account the tape measure when making my measurement. Wouldn’t you know, that damn jamb was exactly 3″ too short. Go figure. It was not a happy moment.

    If you’re ever making jamb extensions in the future, the only thing to consider would be to make some shoulder cuts at the joints in the corer to give a bit more surface area to glue to. Might help prevent future separation. But then again, caulk will pretty much do the same. :-)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 2, 2014 - 9:00 AM

      We debated that… And then we thought – caulk will fill that. Ha! Good point though. Perhaps if we weren’t so fed up with spending so much of our weekends on doors, trim and baseboards, we would’ve made a mitered corner. We have a whole new respect for millworkers! (Even considering we’re doing things the “easier” way!)ReplyCancel

BACK TO TOP

woolly-pocket-wall-01

Over the weekend, we installed a very green (and sort of purple) wall of plants to the studio!

Scott has been convincing me for years that a “living wall” would be a fun addition to our home, and while I’ve always loved the look, we were short on space in our small condo. This house though? We have no shortage of walls, and there is no shortage of natural daylight in the second floor studio! After tucking a snake plant into the studio work room and watching it thrive, we’ve been feeling a little more confident in our plant skills (these guys not included!), and so we finally – much to Scott’s excitement! – picked up a Woolly Pocket Wally Five.

We’d always been curious about Woolly Pockets, but I did have a lot of questions: Won’t it get the wall wet? You water it how? Wait, it’s made out of what? So, here’s the deal. They’re made from 100% recycled bottles, can be used indoors and out, and they have a military grade moisture barrier. The pockets feel like a heavy duty felt, and when watered properly, the felt will distribute water evenly and allow excess to evaporate. (Seriously, I watched this video about 5 times just to make sure I understood what we were doing!)

In other words, they’re plant magic!

We chose the largest pocket, and at 112″ wide, it’s almost as wide as our 10′ ceilings are tall! When it arrived, I honestly worried that it might have been too big for the space, but as soon as Scott and I held it up – just to see – we knew it was right. On Saturday morning, we spent a good hour at our local nursery, and after talking through our plans and showing a handful of inspiration photos with the owner, he helped us choose plants that would be hearty – and most importantly, hard to kill! When we got home, we got right to work:

woolly-pocket-wall-02

woolly-pocket-03

We chose to hang it halfway up the wall, and we centered it on the wall behind my desk, even though it’s technically not centered behind my desk. (That bare wall is over 16′ wide, so it flows into the seating area as well.) Each pocket took 2 wall anchors each, and we filled the whole thing halfway up with soil.

woolly-pocket-wall-05

Now, we were ready to start playing with plant placement! We started by lining our plants along the floor, but when that got too confusing, we stuck the little plastic pots right in the pockets and fussed. Even still, it was feeling all too overwhelming (there were a lot of plants!), so we said, ah, forget it! and just started pulling plants to drop right into the soil.

At the very least, we broke up a few large pots of snake plants to go in the middle, and we rotated and hesitated and second guessed every choice after that, but you know what? We had a lot of fun doing it!

woolly-pocket-wall-YBH

Once we were happy with how everything looked, we topped off the soil and watered the back wall of our Wally Five – also called “the tongue.” The tongue then pulls the water down and around and, well, it’s plant science!

woolly-pocket-wall-07
woolly-pocket-wall-06

To say that we love our living wall would be an understatement; we are obsessed. (I feel I say that a lot, but we really, really love it!) While it’s a bit of an investment (in total, we spent about $175 on a wagon full of plants – more than enough for this 9′+ installation!), it’s definitely the statement piece of the room! Even in photos, it’s hard to capture it’s very, very large size.

woolly-pocket-wall-11
woolly-pocket-wall-08
woolly-pocket-wall-09

We think the best part will be watching it grow; this is only the beginning! Each pocket has the equivalent of about 3+ potted mature plants (the amount suggested by Woolly Pocket), and we chose a variety of plants that would allow for height, ground cover and overflow – and plants that were sure to work in our light conditions. We’re no experts in that area, but after going over each of our choices with the nursery owner, we feel like we have a solid selection that’ll only get stronger as their roots continue to burrow within their pockets.

woolly-pocket-wall-10
woolly-pocket-wall-12

I took these photos on Saturday evening, and already, the plants are lifting and moving! The Wandering Jews (the purple vine-like plants) are crawling to life, and the asparagus fern are sticking straight up. Love, love, love.

Psst… This is not a sponsored post for Woolly Pockets, but we did receive a design discount on their product. We just genuinely love the Wally Five, and we wanted to share our enthusiasm with you!

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - August 26, 2014 - 7:38 AM

    It looks magnificent! The Wooly Pockets have been tempting me for years. I have an upcoming project with plants. Just can’t get enough of them!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - August 26, 2014 - 8:23 AM

    Awesome project… if I wasn’t a plant killer I would try that!ReplyCancel

  • Elly - August 26, 2014 - 8:39 AM

    Wow – that’s amazing! Love the work in progress gif too :)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey d. - August 26, 2014 - 8:46 AM

    The Wally Pocket is awesome, but I must admit that I watched the slideshow five times just for the pups… I love Jack and CC!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 26, 2014 - 9:19 AM

      No matter what we’re working on, they are ALWAYS under foot. Always!ReplyCancel

    • Nina - August 26, 2014 - 11:22 PM

      I watched the gif for the pooches 3 times and then to see the plant placement another 3 times. haha.
      The results are gorgeous! Well done.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - August 26, 2014 - 9:08 AM

    That looks awesome! I’m now trying to figure out where in my house I have enough room to do that…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 26, 2014 - 9:19 AM

      They also have 3 pockets or single pockets!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - August 26, 2014 - 9:20 AM

    Wow. That’s really cool! BTW- I spy a certain adorable elephant watering can. I had to laugh because I bought the very same one with the Ace gift card I won through Yellow Brick Home. I love him!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 26, 2014 - 9:34 AM

      Ha! We got ours at Ace as well! We get so many compliments on that watering can… who knew?!ReplyCancel

  • Jeannie - August 26, 2014 - 10:01 AM

    Love this!! What a great job! The gif of your pups everywhere is awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - August 26, 2014 - 10:03 AM

    This is incredible. I may have to do this myself. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • caroline [the diy nurse] - August 26, 2014 - 10:09 AM

    I’m so in love. Also, best gif in the entire world. I thought I loved it when I just saw the plant part, and then I scrolled down to see the dogs and almost died- so precious!ReplyCancel

  • Ashly - August 26, 2014 - 10:48 AM

    Love it! I’ve seen the smaller pockets used indoors, but never as a large feature like this. Your plant palette is gorgeous, too!ReplyCancel

  • Kati - August 26, 2014 - 11:22 AM

    What about stability? Could snake plant tip over or to the side when it grows? Nevertheless, it looks wonderful.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 26, 2014 - 11:37 AM

      Good question! The snake plants are more bottom heavy than top heavy (the roots are SERIOUS!), and the pockets have a lot of weight to them now that there’s soil filling them up. One of our favorite Wally inspirations came from Sprout Home, where they have a lot of snake plants adding height to theirs!ReplyCancel

  • Riley - August 26, 2014 - 11:37 AM

    It would be so much appreciated if bloggers would indicate at the BEGINNING of the post as to whether they are using donated/discounted/sponsored products.

    Waiting till the end of the post to reveal that information makes it feel like you’re trying to sneak one over on your readers.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 26, 2014 - 11:39 AM

      Noted, thanks, Riley! We’ve wanted a Woolly for a while, so although we got a discount, we weren’t obligated to write about it at all (this isn’t a sponsored post, but we did want to be transparent on the discount). That’s the last thing we’d want you to feel, so thank you for the input!ReplyCancel

  • carrie @ brick city love - August 26, 2014 - 11:45 AM

    That’s AWESOME. Totally dig it.ReplyCancel

  • Lyndsey - August 26, 2014 - 2:09 PM

    I have such a love affair with living walls, this might just inspire me to finally make one of my own! Oh, and the pups- had to laugh at them always underfoot as we lovingly call our pup our “stalker” as she’s never far away, or often in the midst of anything we’re doing! One quick Q: did you attach the Wolly Pockets to wall beams when you hung them?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 26, 2014 - 2:11 PM

      Stalkers… love it!

      None of our anchors are into studs, but we did use metal 50 lb anchors. Woolly Pocket supplies smaller plastic anchors, but for the sake of over doing it, we went with metal anchors that we had already, and we used their screws that matched the hardware of the pocket.ReplyCancel

  • Lesley - August 26, 2014 - 6:43 PM

    Looks fabulous! But a word of warning, whatever you do, do not plant any of that wandering dew in your garden. It will take over and is almost impossible to destroy…also I believe it’s not too good for dogs either.

    I had some wandering dew in my backyard once and it was a nightmare. My pooch ended up with an awful rash

    xxReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 27, 2014 - 9:03 AM

      Thanks for the warning! We have some in a pot outside our front door, and it has grown SO fast! We love the look, so that’s okay by us! Now let’s hope they don’t take over the entire Woolly Pocket…ReplyCancel

  • Kara - August 26, 2014 - 7:18 PM

    Love it – what a great idea! My townhouse has a similar situation to your condo… not enough walls and not enough natural light, but idea has been bookmarked in my brain for a future house that will hopefully have lots of south facing walls!ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - August 26, 2014 - 7:39 PM

    This is really fun! Can’t wait to see how it grows. My friends did some sort of plastic wall planters in their place and that also looked amazing. Plants + walls = winning combo.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - August 26, 2014 - 9:07 PM

    The purple plant (Wandering Jew) is fast growing! You can take any piece, including those that fall off, throw it in some soil and it’ll grow. I did that and my pots are growing like crazy.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - August 27, 2014 - 2:06 PM

    I love your living wall! The dogs are adorable as well! Is it an option to frame out the wolly pocket? Or add trim so you don’t see the black? Or do the plants eventually cover it? For my home I would love to do this, but it looks a little unfinished for my taste.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 27, 2014 - 2:40 PM

      The idea is that some of the plants will eventually cover it, but it really depends on what you plant! You can check out their inspiration gallery to get an idea of all the different ways you can style the Wally: http://www.woollypocket.com/gallery/view/wally/ReplyCancel

  • Joyce H. - August 27, 2014 - 6:27 PM

    I’m not a huge fan of living walls but I think you guys might have converted me! This looks neat, clean, and fuss-free. Also, I laughed at the gif of the dogs sleeping/whirling around while you guys filled up the Wally.ReplyCancel

  • Marie - August 28, 2014 - 10:47 AM

    What an awesome choice ! It really makes a statement in your studio, do you often look back to see the plants while working ?
    I have three upside down hanging pots from Boskke which I love.ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - August 28, 2014 - 4:13 PM

    Looks beautiful! You’re really making the most out of that big, open space. I love the idea of plant pockets because it makes you sort of have to view the plants as living artwork.

    (p.s. and thanks for my little bday package : ) xoxoReplyCancel

  • kelsey williams - August 29, 2014 - 2:32 PM

    I have a Woolly Pocket above my bed and LOVE it! I highly recommend their products. Here is a photo: http://www.snappycasualblog.com/blog/decorating-the-pallet-wallReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 29, 2014 - 4:33 PM

      LOVE your pallet wall! Are the plants hanging down really low by now? I assume you’ll have to trim it?ReplyCancel

  • This Week’s Links | 702 Park Project - August 31, 2014 - 12:02 PM

    […] This is a pretty cool spin on an indoor garden. […]ReplyCancel

BACK TO TOP

We took an extra long weekend away celebrating a job well done for my favorite guy (a work-slash-reward-trip for Scott; congrats! You deserved it!), and as is typical upon returning home, it’s been tough getting back into the swing of things. Chicago is finally feeling warm – it took long enough! – but the trees in our lawn have already started dropping leaves as if it’s fall. Identity crisis with all the cool weather these last few months, maybe?

I did, however, finish up a project right before we left, and look! We finally remedied that desk problem!

lincoln-desk-01

About a month ago, Scott texted me the link to a desk on Krrb. It was within our budget, even slightly larger than my farmhouse desk (coming in with a large working surface of 6′ x 3′), and it had drawers! We’d been on the lookout for something more practical for months, and while I waxed on about the hopes of a desk with drawers but shallow aprons, well, I quickly realized that this simply does not exist. The thought alone is an oxymoron (the magical unicorn pony of desks?), so instead I set my sights on something large… with drawers. And this one fit the bill!

There was just one catch, of course. The previous owner mentioned that the top was covered in a soft suede fabric and had been fitted with a thick sheet of glass. She had never messed with the fabric (as the glass protected it well enough), so there was no telling what might be under there. It had been owned by at least one person prior to her, and she left it as is when she purchased it, fabric and all – leaving the mystery to us. Challenge accepted!

lincoln-desk-02

We stuffed it in our wagon, and as soon as we came home, we waited all of 5 minutes to flip it over and get to work. We had high hopes that it would be miraculously refinished, brought back to its original glory! Or it would be shiny and new, having been covered in fabric to protect it for decades to come! But let’s be honest, that wouldn’t make for a good story, right?

lincoln-desk-04

It was a mess. This is the part where we looked at each other with horror. We said, well, hmm. Can this be salvaged? Look at how deep that scratch is! Wait, what’s that? Oh, dear. There were scratches, yes, but not just a few – a lot! There was water damage and black marks and scuzzy, sticky residue.

lincoln-desk-06

For a while, we threw the glass top back on and let it sit in the studio. The drawers, base and legs are all solid wood, the handles and leg caps solid brass. The top – the most damaged part! – was a wood veneer, but fortunately, even a real wood veneer can be sanded down. This desk is solid, and having already fallen in love with its little brass toes, I decided to eventually just dive in and refresh the wood the best I could.

I started by sanding the entire top several times, starting with an 80 grit sandpaper and working my way down to 220 grit. (Remember: Always sand in the direction of the grain! Always.) I also skimmed over the more damaged areas of the apron, legs and drawer fronts, but I didn’t focus on bringing down the entire finish. The many, many scratches didn’t come out completely, and there were still dark marks that simply kicked up black saw dust. Even still, I wasn’t too worried about a pristine finish, as I love a good dose of character. This desk was very obviously loved, and just like those nubby chairs, that’s the best part.

lincoln-desk-09

After wiping off all the sanding dust, I washed the entire desk down with a no-rinse TSP – a lesson learned from our contractor, Mike, during the refinishing of the farmhouse table. I’ll never skip this step again on a vintage piece, as it helps pull out lingering oils and ensures more even coverage for the next steps.

lincoln-desk-10

Rather than stain the table, I decided to try Restor-A-Finish. We’ve used it in the past for various other wood refreshes, and while this desk was far worse off than our projects of yore, I pushed through, as I only have great things to say about the product. On the left, you’ll see how the desk looked after the TSP rinse but before the Restor-A-Finish …

lincoln-desk-12

… and below, you’ll see that it darkened it beautifully! There are absolutely still dark marks (seriously, what are those?), and although the scratches aren’t invisible, they are far, far less noticeable. The difference is quite literally astounding; worth every minute (er, hour) of sanding. Truly! I must have been excited to skip to the next step, Feed-N-Wax, because unfortunately, I don’t have a full shot of the table post-R-A-F. I applied the wax heavily, and within 15 minutes, the table soaked up every last bit! I applied one more coat then wiped off the excess, which gave the desk a healthy glow.

lincoln-desk-13

Finally, I used our metal polishing weapon, Nevr-Dull, to shine up the brass drawer pulls. I purposely restrained myself from overdoing it, as I wanted to keep a bit of character on the handles. The back plates were tarnished almost completely, but even they shined up to a perfect, not-so-perfect antiqued finish!

lincoln-desk-14
lincoln-desk-15

When we returned home from out trip, Scott helped me to wipe down the glass and carefully place it back on top. We shuffled out the farmhouse table – which, really, is still just sitting in the studio waiting for a good home! – and pulled the new-to-us desk back into place:

lincoln-desk-16
lincoln-desk-17

I debated leaving the glass off altogether, but Scott made a good point by claiming that it’s like, in his words, framing a photo. (What have I done to him?) It truly pulls the whole look together, and I don’t need to worry about setting down my morning coffee or a glass of sweating ice water. The reflection also helps to deflect some of the imperfections, but honestly, I am over the moon with the little flaws that show through.

lincoln-desk-18
lincoln-desk-19
lincoln-desk-24

The whole point of desk swapping was to keep things practical and more efficient for my work day. I’m no longer stashing my painting supplies in a rolling cart, rather, I picked up a utensil cubby and now all my tools have a home. I can view everything at once! There’s an organizer in the other drawer, too, and I’m able to hide away all my office supplies (pens, markers, a stapler, ruler and calculator, you know). Between this desk and my filing cabinet, I am set. Organization. Be still my heart.

lincoln-desk-23

But! Can I share the most exciting part? This old desk is a Lincoln Desk. I hadn’t heard of that before, so a quick Google search led me to this site. I know I say this a lot (I’ve already mentioned it in this very post), but man, I love a good back story! As it goes, Lincoln Desk was a family business founded in the late 1800s (when our house was born!) and closed in the 1950s. As the grandson of the founder writes:

The time of WWII was hard on the business, as wood was not available in any quantity for production. Most all of the wood for the factory came from Northern Wisconsin. By about 1950, when my father wanted to retire, his brother Alfred was living in California and didn’t want to take it on, and my older brother Jack, who worked at the factory, also did not want to take it on and I was still in high school, so it was closed.  It was a good sized factory, occupying about a half of a square city block at 2739 West Chicago Avenue. [...] The construction quality was very high and was about as fine as you could buy.  Their trade mark was “Lincoln Desks” and also usually included a wood burned inscription or medallion in one of the right hand drawers, “For the work of the world.” [Source]

The factory that’s mentioned? It’s right down the street, hence this post’s title! Our ‘new’ desk was made right here, and maybe as far back as 100 years. (For Chicago locals, you’ll know that’s in West Town, just south of Humboldt Park. Or is it Humboldt Park? Those neighborhood lines can get blurry.) We’ve passed by that old (abandoned?) building for years, and I love seeing it through a different lens now, so to speak.

lincoln-desk-26

And one last thing! I realized that I’ve rarely shown the entire studio as a whole (at least, not lately), so here is how it looks today:

lincoln-desk-27

Two of my favorite framed pieces are simply propped against the wall for now (I couldn’t bear to keep them in hiding while I decide on placement!), and while we obviously still need baseboards and a good window sill – coming soon! – we also need a rug or two for color, among a few other things. The old credenza will get a paint job someday, and we have fun plans for the wall behind my desk. Just like the living room, the studio will likely slowly evolve over time as we fully knock out other rooms.

What is it I always say? Oh, right. Patience.

PS… I found a similar Lincoln Desk right here on Ebay. Rest assured, I paid nowhere near (and I mean nowhere!) that dollar amount. I’m unsure of the year of our desk, but we can absolutely say that it’s stood the test of time.

  • caroline [the diy nurse] - August 21, 2014 - 7:58 AM

    It’s stunning. Those brass toes are everything!ReplyCancel

  • KM - August 21, 2014 - 8:59 AM

    Beautiful restoration of a charming desk!

    Question – what is the office chair you’re using and would you recommend it? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 21, 2014 - 9:13 AM

      Thank you!

      I got the chair YEARS ago, and while it’s comfortable, I’m actually hoping to change it up sooner than later. I cannot remember what it’s called (there are no markings either), but I picked it up from Wayfair.ReplyCancel

  • ten - August 21, 2014 - 9:18 AM

    That desk is so cool! I, too, love it’s little brass feet. :) Great find!

    I was wondering – when you sand something this size, do you do it outside? Or do you tarp off /seal off an area inside and sand?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 21, 2014 - 5:22 PM

      I did all the sanding outside, but then I brought it back it in for the color and finish. It gets way too dusty otherwise! Not to mention, our back yard is still in complete shambles, so we don’t mind making a mess back there!ReplyCancel

  • Debra - August 21, 2014 - 9:32 AM

    Your studio is so clean and airy. I was having a hard time picturing the “whole” from some of the recent pics. This is lovely!ReplyCancel

  • AnnMarie - August 21, 2014 - 9:32 AM

    Oh man, I have SERIOUS desk/table envy! I love the proportions and the solid lines of it, but I have to say it’s the brass details that make the piece for me.

    It’s times like these when I wish I weren’t a starving grad student who rents a room in a house with three other women and thus has no room (or money, let’s be honest) for pieces like this one. ~sobs~ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 21, 2014 - 5:21 PM

      Believe me, I remember those days! Enjoy them while you have them though, I promise ;)ReplyCancel

  • andee - August 21, 2014 - 9:37 AM

    That desk is crazy beautiful!! It is perfect for your space.ReplyCancel

  • Sheila - August 21, 2014 - 9:48 AM

    Beautiful desk and the studio looks like a such lovely place to work. How are you handling power cords on a floating desk?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 21, 2014 - 10:01 AM

      Thanks, Sheila! I only have 1 cord that comes off of the larger display, and I just run it down the leg and back towards the wall. Once we’ve finished with the baseboards, We’ll also use that plastic stripping to hide the cord and run it along the wall. There’s an outlet really close to the desk, even though it is floating. I’ll definitely have to take a closer photo once we get to that!ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - August 21, 2014 - 10:16 AM

    That desk is amazing, and that pulled-back shot of the room? WHOA. The studio is looking crazy awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Cara@theProjectAddict - August 21, 2014 - 10:19 AM

    Thanks for this post. I love the brass toes too! I purchased some 70s dining chairs I plan to reupholster. The wood is in somewhat decent shape but there are some scratches. I just purchased some Restor-A-finish from tjmaxx but didnt know much about it. After reading your post I ordered some feed-n-wax too. Maybe I can avoid having to completely refinish them.Love the studio.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 21, 2014 - 5:21 PM

      Feed-N-Wax is the last step that’ll make sure your Restor-A-Finish stays gorgeous! So happy you ordered it.ReplyCancel

  • felicity - August 21, 2014 - 12:39 PM

    I love it. I would steal that desk from you in a heartbeat. Those brass accents… I die. :)ReplyCancel

  • qlkowa - August 21, 2014 - 1:04 PM

    Well done, it’s beautiful and elegant!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - August 21, 2014 - 3:14 PM

    That desk is AMAZING. I can’t help but wonder what the hell happened to it to get it all dinged up like that though. The studio is looking great!ReplyCancel

  • Jannike - August 21, 2014 - 3:30 PM

    Beautiful desk. The great thing about the glass top is that you can slide mementos under the glass, or a large poster, or a beautiful scarf, etc.ReplyCancel

  • Joyce H. - August 21, 2014 - 4:13 PM

    you guys did a fantastic job on restoring this table! It looks awesome; I love it!
    Could you do a quick house tour once you get all the baseboards/doors in and painted? I want to see everything in its (more finished) glory!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 21, 2014 - 4:59 PM

      Thanks, Joyce!

      Man, we are really slacking in that department, aren’t we? It’s been on my to do list for months! But yes, we’ll need to do an updated tour, absolutely.ReplyCancel

  • Trude - August 22, 2014 - 5:14 PM

    How cool is that! Gotta love a good backstory. And I can’t believe how beautifully it cleaned up!ReplyCancel

  • LET'S PROCRASTINATE! - August 25, 2014 - 9:23 AM

    […] Restor-A-Finish remedy for an old desk makeover. (Remember our experience with that amazing stuff […]ReplyCancel

BACK TO TOP