There are cute things happening in the guest room! Let’s go!
This month, we teamed up with Ace Hardware to gather supplies that would warm up our guest room and make it a place that would be inviting for our friends and family. For this project, we put our vintage school desk to work, incorporating it into a neat stack of shelves that, as a whole, would be functional and purposeful – but adorable, too!
Starting first with the desk, we loved the old, natural character that had been worn into its surface, so I did nothing more than a regular wood refresh with a natural Danish Oil and a Feed-N-Wax polishing. There are telltale signs on the bottom of the desk that shows it was once mounted to a stand, but in our case, we wanted it to float on the wall with the rest of the soon-to-be shelves.
Because there was a lip on the back, we glued strips of paint stir sticks to close the gap and allow the desk to sit flush against the wall:
After drilling our pilot holes, we checked to see if we’d hit a stud, but the placement fell right in-between them, so we used a combination of four toggle bolts and washers to keep everything safe and super, super sturdy.
With the desk in place, it was on to the shelves! We wanted to keep everything clean and simple, as the guest room itself is extremely narrow (it’s barely 7′ wide!), so we opted for an inexpensive 2×10 common board. After a bit of measuring and fussing back and forth on the final width, we landed on an arrangement of two shelves above the desk and a shelf extension-of-sorts to align with the desk top.
This was all very specific to our needs, but after squaring the edges of the 2×10 on our table saw (using the same technique as right here), our depth came to 8 3/4″, and we were both happy with a width of 34″. However, after more (let’s call it) fussing, we tossed around the idea of rounding the shelf corners – not only to prevent sharp protrusions in a small room, but also to mimic the edges of our school desk.
I used a roll of tape to trace the line, and Scott followed that up with our jigsaw. A good sanding helped to smooth everything out and give it that final, polished edge.
For this relatively easy DIY, we are loving the immediate impact it has on the room! I threw a few items up on the shelves for fun, but there will be a few more things to come to keep our guests feeling right at home. The teensy desk is large enough for a laptop, and it should be a great little spot for sending quick emails – or even just spreading out travel accessories and knick knacks.
We wanted the stain of the shelves to closely match the desk, but we also wanted to do so without going too red, as you’ll notice the desk has some heavy red-orange undertones. I stared at the stains in Ace for a good 20 minutes (I wish I was kidding!), and the final result was a big stain cocktail of Cherry, Special Walnut and Dark Walnut (all Minwax). While it’s not an exact match to the desk, it’s pretty close without being red!, and it has an overall vintage look that mimics the desk, too.
Originally a silver metal, the brackets were sprayed with a matte black paint, and we used black anchors for the wall and wood screws for the shelf. The overall result of black + medium wood feels streamlined (check out that narrow profile below!) and somehow slightly nostalgic at the same time. I can’t say that was ever our plan, but we’re absolutely embracing it.
But! You know we couldn’t get through a project without a little DIY drama, right? This old house threw a curve ball at us with a funny, obnoxious boxed in stud (or something?). To the right of the stud, an additional sheet of drywall was installed, making it a thicker wall than that on the left. (I mean, of course!) Rather than fight it, we played along; a notch was cut into each shelf, and we shaved down the overall depth of the right side only an extra 3/4″ on the table saw. Problem solved!
Silly studs aside, can we move on to our favorite part? After sharing the school desk with you in our Elkhorn round-up, reader Michelle suggested we carve our initials into the desk, to which we replied, yes! Overall, the entire desk + shelf system isn’t terribly complicated (that is, assuming you don’t also have two different walls at different thicknesses, separated by a drywall-ed stud on the outside, hmm?), and sometimes, that’s the best kind of project. Easy. To the point. Useful and practical.
All our materials were picked up at Ace Hardware, and by now you know that Ace enjoys spreading that love to you, too! So together with our friends at Ace, we’ll be giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader! The giveaway runs through this Friday, October 24th at 5pm CST, and the winner will be announced within this post by Friday evening. Simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck and happy entering!
We’re excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided us with compensation and the materials necessary to complete this project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own. Cute puppies are an added bonus.