May 6, 2014

Repurposed: From Door to Desk

Last week we shared the before and after pics from transforming our front room into a new office space. Today I'm going to share the full rundown on arguably the most important piece in the room — our new desk!

You might have already guessed (or read about it in past posts), but we made the desk ourselves out of an antique door, custom glass top and white Ikea trestle legs. We're really happy with how all the pieces came together, blending a good mix of old-world charm and sleek modern lines.

It all started when we laid eyes on the Restoration Hardware Flatiron desk series. We loved the industrial and rustic feel of this furniture and wanted to tackle trying to build something similar since we'd successfully built our kitchen console using the same basic idea. We thought the build-out would be straightforward, so while searching for different leg plans and inspiration, I stumbled across the idea for using Ikea's Lerberg Trestle legs as supports instead of pipes. The trestle legs were paired with an old door as the tabletop, and Mary and I instantly fell in love with this entire idea:

After settling on the door idea, the hunt was on. It wasn't long after that this fine listing popped up in my Richmond Craigslist feed:

Available was a stack of antique doors, circa the early 1900's and it turns out they were listed by people living in the Fan (our neighborhood) just 4 blocks down on our same street — how's that for fate?

After checking out the doors, we decided on the only one that was unpainted, bringing it home for $20, which was a steal in our book for a solid antique 5 panel pine door with tons of local history.

Mary and I carried the heavy door 4 blocks back up to our home, and got a few raised eyebrows along the way before making it safely to the garage:

Once we got the door home, we called up a local glass company, Capitol City Glass, to come out and measure the door for a custom cut glass top. Glass is easy to clean, provides a smooth top on the door's decorative paneled surface and we felt that it helped bring the final look up to a more professional finish.

Our glass technician leveling the door.

We wanted to work with the holes in the door from where the knobs would have been, so asked them to cut two holes in the glass where these lined up. I figured we could use these to lace our computer cords through.

While waiting on the custom glass top cutting and delivery, I prepped the door to bring inside and serve as our new desk. After a solid wipe down (hello, dust and spiderwebs!), I brought out the trusty old palm sander to smooth out each angled side, corner and any rough areas on the front of the door.

Next up, I gave the entire door a generous application of wood juice. Wood juice is a stabilizer that we love — it's great for bringing out the rich tones of wood grain without lacquer, it prevents wood from checking, cracking and warping and will also rejuvenate old, dry wood just like this gem of a door.

You might remember we used it when making our side table from a tree stump and this wooden serving tray — we just love how it brings out the natural grains and tones in the wood, giving it an instant rejuvenation and protective coating.

I didn't opt for any staining, sealing or varnished finishes on the door since we were both happy with the natural and aged look, plus we'd be laying the custom glass top over it, so felt like it would be a nice contrast between natural wood and shiny glass.

Once prepped I brought the door inside to rest until it was time to fit it with the glass top.

Then it was a matter of waiting for the glass top to be delivered. This took about 2 weeks from sending someone out to measure, ordering and arrival at our home. It was fun getting to watch and chat with the guys helping us fit the table:

They even let us in on a couple furniture tips and tricks. Once the glass was fitted, they went around the edge with a swipe of "Almond Stick."

It's meant to help wipe blemishes from from furniture, but it also gave the glass edge a more transparent instead of chalky finish from where it had been cut and smoothed. It's subtle, but you can see the difference in finishes below:

See where those two lines meet up? Shout out to our amazing delivery guys who let us pause and take pictures for the blog while they carefully worked! 

Speaking of work — they had a tough supervisor peering up and over the glass:

With the glass fitted on the door, I traced where the holes fell before removing the glass again to drill.

I'd picked up this hole saw kit at the hardware store and have already used it twice since! The attachments just slip right onto your power drill:

The drill bit sticks out just a little further than the hole saw, gripping the material before sawing down into it. You'll notice the clean slice of the wood gets left in the center of the hole saw once completely drilled:

While I had the door out back to drill, I went ahead and assembled the trestle legs before we brought everything inside to put together. I've never actually assembled anything from Ikea before, so was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was to put these legs together with no instructions other than a few illustrations on a paper sheet.

From there, it was a matter of settling on leg placement, and carefully laying the glass top over the door to complete our new desk:

We love how large the end result turned out — there's so much room for both of us to spread out, feeling like we have plenty of workspace, even when sitting in there at the same time.

Here's a better look at how the custom cut holes match up and work with the computer cords:

So that's the full story on how our desk came to be. We've been working at our new desk for over a week and love how sturdy it is. We're looking forward to bringing in some more storage to put all our papers in and generally contain all the desk junk that tends to pile up (when not doing a photo-shoot, ha).

Next up, we hope to build out some bookcases for the walls, find a storage cabinet for the corner of the room and swap in a larger area rug. As always, we'll keep you posted on the progress!

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  1. We have one much like yours,home made that one too :)...Sorry it´s in swedish´ll see the pic ;)

  2. MY gah I love this so so much!! Such a perfect way to repurpose an old door:)

  3. Thank you for the inspiration! I checked out craigslist and found a very different kind of door but made it work all the same. I can't figure out how to post the picture but here is the link.
    Thanks again for your inspiration!


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