Upcycled Desk

Today’s project was supposed to be a simple flip. In mid-January, Jarod found this child’s desk on Facebook Marketplace and we thought about how to fix it up. The first idea was just to clean off the stickers and repaint it, but the desk is so small we weren’t sure how it would sell. We thought about turning it into a bench or a spot for books, but decided to upcycle it to a bar.

Jarod pulled out his computer and came up with a few different sketches. Two of the drawers were broken so we kept the top three and set the other 4 aside. We pulled off all the stickers and veneer, took out the pieces that were holding the drawers on, and modernized the edges of the top and the feet by going with a more angular look. Then sanded and stained the desk and top 3 drawers with a gray stain we already had at the house.

In the shop, Jarod cut shelves for the bottom and designed a wine rack using a small piece of wood and dowels. We decided to keep with the angular look and cut triangles in the wine rack instead of half circles like most wine racks have. Now we had to come up with a design that would truly make it a bar: the upper shelf with wine glass holders.

We went back and forth of whether we should use a solid piece of wood, two simple supports, or metal piping for the backing. Since we were trying to keep costs down the solid wood wasn’t our top choice, and we were looking for a more retro aesthetic than the pipes would allow so we went with the simple supports and homemade triangular corbels. The shelf itself has angled edges just like the top of the desk and Jarod made 4 pieces that attach to the bottom to hold stemmed glasses. The coolest part about the top shelf though is the bow-tie backing. We wanted to make the shelf functional and fashionable, but not cost an arm and a leg. So we decided to keep with the triangular look by making a bowtie to attach to the back so any books or glasses put on the shelf/glass rack wouldn’t fall back.

Now it was time to decorate. We had already stained the big pieces of the desk, so I only had to stain the supports, shelf, wine glass holders, and corbels. To add a little retro look, I used a soft blue/teal paint on small bits of the bar to add a pop. The obvious bits are the drawers, side of the desk, and front of the wine rack. But I also added a splash by painting the inside of the corbels and the bottom of the shelf. Here’s the cool bit: we made the supports and top shelf removeable for traveling. Jarod did have to cut into the edge of the desk to be able to fit and screw on the back pieces, so it is meant to be one piece, but by making it come apart easily it can fit in a van not just a truck.

But… because we made it removeable, we didn’t think to put it together until the end when we were about to stage it and take pictures. When we did, we realized that the shelf was way too tall and the back was a little wiggly. So we had to problem solve. Jarod cut the supports about eight inches shorter and added another piece to add to each 2×4 and add extra support from bending stress. I finalized the painting and staining, put on new square knobs, and Jarod put it back together. Now we have a beautiful bar that is for sale!!

This project was a lot of fun and a lot of work. We learned a little bit about our working styles, got to use up some materials from the garage, and most of all realized how much time big projects like this can take! Believe me, I can’t wait for the next big flip… but maybe we will spend some time doing smaller projects for a while. What have you upcycled lately? 😊 As always, if you take any fun pictures or videos, tag me on Instagram @SmileMakePeopleWonder and use the hashtag #DandelionSmiles. Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss out on the next exciting idea.

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