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The State of Things

First of all, thank you, thank you for all the help with my upholstery dilemma. You gave good, level-headed advice for good, well-rounded decisions – something I feel we’ve been lacking in as of late. Loaded plates and big to-dos have been clogging our noodles, and we’re determined to stick to our new year, attainable-goals-promise. With that said, we’re pretty positive that G-ma’s chair is a job for the pros.

In other news, this little home is outta control. Because of aforementioned promises, we really have been taking things one step at a time. And as a result, things are moving slower than we’d normally allow. For the last few weeks, our skinny hallway is barely walkable (Jack’s little heart stresses at the thought of running past all the frames, mirrors and bike wheels) and our kitchen counter tops have become the landing zone for pretty much everything.

But this is all at the cost of a custom made desk for the studio. And it’ll be worth it.

We were inspired by The Brick House and Morgan’s fauxdenza. It’s sleek, clean, and most importantly – only 13″ deep. See hers, exhibit A:

I already have my painting table, so we simply needed another thin desktop for me to use as a mini task station, a landing zone for the laptop and a zone that’s functional without taking up space.

Like any unassuming couple, we took off for Ikea, and came home with lots of boxes. Like Morgan, we used Akurum cabinets with Applad doors (meant to be used as upper kitchen shelving, hence the shallow depth). Unlike her, we chose a different configuration that allowed us to have a pull out drawer.

We built and built.

Then we followed the Ikea instructions and got to hanging. While we would have loved a long wall of nothing but storage, we also liked the idea of fitting a few stools underneath. Once they were up on the wall, we staged our desk using these stools we got from Overstock. The camera lens does add distortion, but there’s no denying how small this room is:

We were on the right track, so the next step was finding a piece of wood that was 8′ long x 13″ deep. While any number of bloggie fauxdenza posts may lead you to think this is a common, easy to find thing – it’s not. We called several local lumber yards and struck out each time, learning that the standard depth is less than 12.” After a whirlwind of phone calls, we found one 16″d lone piece of white oak at Wood World (snicker), paid a pretty penny for it (more than we would’ve liked, although, it is gorgeous) and very, very carefully made our cuts, sanded it down and got to conditioning, staining and polying. Phew.

As for the whole rundown on our steps, it’s simple: we followed the can’s instructions. 1 coat of wood conditioner, 2 coats of stain (we used Minwax Jacobean, which as far as we’re concerned, kicks Dark Walnut’s ass) and 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic with a light sanding between each layer. (This is the same method we used for the wood panels on our media wall.)

And now? Here’s the state of things:

Perhaps the hardest part of this process is the waiting. There’s a good 24 hour window between staining and polying, and then there’s a half a day wait before handling. (If you’re ever unsure on dry times, read the can!) And when you’re moving around a tiny, overcrowded room and the light fixture comes crashing down (yes, this actually happened; no, no one was hurt), there’s even more time spent cleaning up glass then time spent adhering completed wood to Ikea cabinets.

Oh, boy.

Before this week is over, we will have a finished desk! And we’ll show and tell. And then, wouldn’t you know, it’s on to the upper shelving. A whole wall of ’em. (Insert evil laugh here.)

So, hey, what’s up with you?

First photo via The Brick House. See more of our studio ideas on our Pinterest board, right here.

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  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode1.24.12 - 8:44 AM

    It sounds like you guys are managing to keep a level head through all this disruption – I’m impressed!

    I have never used the wood conditioner before staining, but I just built a table with gorgeous red oak boards, and want it to turn out as beautiful as possible. In the past stain has not worked well for me…so maybe I need to follow those instructions.

    Question: How are you keeping your shop sane through all this? I just finished a multi-week process of migrating my studio to my basement, and I got so disorganized during it. And I have more space than you guys. . .ReplyCancel

  • Ruth1.24.12 - 9:12 AM

    You were lucky with the light fitting – glad nobody was injured! That’s a lot of glass!

    Good luck for getting everything finished. I’m sure you will! Having the new work space will be fabulous even if you kind of loose sight of it during the renovations. Once the hallway can be cleared things will look much better!


  • Kim1.24.12 - 9:43 AM

    Thank you, ladies! Ruth, I know you’re right. We’re trying to remember this and not lose sight of the ultimate goal.

    Jane, The wood conditioner is supposed to help with a more even application, and we’ve had great luck with it. We’d highly recommend it for your red oak boards.

    As for The Pet Shop, I’ve never technically worked in the office / soon-to-be-studio, so it’s not so stressful to work as I always have. I’m currently still using my painting table in the kitchen, but all of my files and supplies (shipping, painting tools and otherwise) have always been stored in the office. To keep things as tidy as possible, I sorted everything I use daily into 2 boxes that are in our hallway. When I need to check an invoice or create a shipping label, I know exactly where to find it! The rest of the chaos is office “filler” type stuff – favorite books, framed art, and stationary items. Believe us, we cannot WAIT to get it all back in there though! Nice and neat; everything in it’s place and a place for everything.

    At this point, we’re so used to shimmy-ing around items and projects in this tiny space! Every day is like Tetris – even just walking down our hall!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House1.24.12 - 10:37 AM

    Glad no one was hurt when the light fell! (I’m trying to remember if you’ve shown pictures of that light before? Is it the one from “There’s a Bike On the Ceiling”?)

    I may or may not have droppped our entryway table top on my foot recently, if it makes you feel better about project mishaps.

    Looking forward to seeing the completed desk (but I’m sure you are, too). Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Jimmy1.24.12 - 10:41 AM

    Looks great so far. I really like the light to dark contrast in that room. I’m looking forward to seeing the final product.

    I feel you on the painful waiting process. I made my wife a headboard for Christmas (Ana White’s Farmhouse Headboard Design), and the staining and waiting was almost unbearable. Not just because I’m terribly impatient with these things, but also because I didn’t give myself very much time to complete it before gift exchange time. I managed to do it, but let’s just say I still had stain on my hands when it came time for her to see it.

    I’m in DC, living in 600 square feet with my wife and son. It’s great to find another DIY blog that takes small city spaces into consideration. Forgive the shameless plug, but we’ve done a lot to our place too that you might be interested in seeing (including a closet to office conversion and a closet from thin-air creation), feel free to pop on by.

    Every square foot counts.


  • Kim1.24.12 - 10:47 AM

    Cait, you’re good! That is the light from our “bikes on the ceiling” post. Thank goodness the light that broke was the one we were TAKING DOWN and not the new one going up!

    Jimmy, waiting IS painful. Heading over to your blog now…ReplyCancel

  • Jen1.24.12 - 12:36 PM

    Ya’ll so crazy! This looks great. Cannot wait to see her all done and purdy ;) Jack is of course super cute keeping you company :) Love that dog~ReplyCancel

  • Jillian1.24.12 - 1:41 PM

    The room already looks bigger w/ the light pink walls! I love the color and so far the desk w/ stools is looking sweet!ReplyCancel

  • Wow, I’m impressed! Can’t wait to see the finished product.ReplyCancel

  • Miranda @boucksy1.24.12 - 3:00 PM

    That’s one beautiful board! (Does that make me weird?) I can’t wait to see your desk finished…and I can definitely empathize with the wait times… It will so be worth it, though!! And very glad no person, or furperson, was hurt in the crash of light fixture!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House1.25.12 - 12:21 PM

    I’m glad it wasn’t the one going up! Can’t wait to see what’s replacing it!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli1.25.12 - 7:09 PM

    Next time I see your dog I’m calling him “Jacobean” : )ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.25.12 - 11:16 PM

      Kalli, I love it! I’ll do the same.ReplyCancel

  • Michele1.26.12 - 9:55 AM

    You’re not having fun until a light gets broken!

    LOVE Jack waiting patiently for the hammering to stop.

    Can’t wait to see the final. I always loved that one of Morgan’s.ReplyCancel

  • […] the way, and carefully worked on the room one step at a time. After gutting the room, the walls got a fresh coat of pale pink (Olympic […]ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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