Thursday, August 29, 2013

{Re*Made}: My Student Desk Redo

I've mentioned before my love of shopping my local Habitat Restore.  And they've made shopping so much easier now by uploading inventory pictures on Facebook.  And even easier yet since you can call and pay for an item over the phone, which is great since I don't live in the same town.  But it could be a really, really bad thing....if you know what I mean. (:

Recently, I was looking at a newly-uploaded album posted by said store, and my eyes alighted to this desk:

Student Desk, $25
So nostalgic, so clean, so mid-century modern.  I fell in love at first sight.  And they only wanted 25 bucks!  A steal!  I've never seen the double desk, or at least don't remember using them in school.  So I knew I needed it.  It would make a perfect desk for me.  And it was so clean and modern.  I don't get to do that much in my house but this was for my space, so I had to have it.

The big question would be the size.  Would it fit in place of my existing desk?  So I called to get measurements.  The girl was so sweet and measured for me.  Width was perfect, depth was smaller than my current desk but would still work.

Never paid attention to height.

So I paid for it and made arrangements for pick-up the next day.

That afternoon, still excited and anxious about my purchase, I recalled our phone conversation and remembered the height.  25"  Didn't really think about it at the time {I was too excited it was going to fit where I needed it to}, but suddenly that number stuck out.  It seemed kinda low for a desk.

Hesitantly, I grabbed my measuring tape and pulled it out to 25", then held it against my current desk.  


It was low, much lower than my desk.  Like the size of a little kid.  Of a little student.  And suddenly the title "student desk" took on a whole new meaning.  {Although I have a full head of brown hair, I have been accused on more than one occasion of being blond.  This is one of those times to substantiate that claim.  Ugh.}

I hoped that that sweet girl had measured wrong, or I was remembering wrong, but deep inside I knew the truth.  Which was confirmed when we went to pick it up.  

This was a desk made for young minds eager to learn how to read, to write, to not eat get it.

I had relayed my fears to the hubby before we had picked it up and our minds had already begun to think of solutions.  Since I had already paid for it, I was going to make it work.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  {Thanks, Mom, for that.}

Once we got it home and really looked at it, the solution was pretty simple, and also gave me the idea of how I was going to refinish it.

The very bottom of the legs was actually a separate piece of metal tubing that could be moved up or down to adjust the height.  The 25" height was as much as we were going to get, but if we could just find metal pipe the same diameter as the existing legs, we could get as much height as we wanted.

Lucky for me, we had pipe the perfect size from another project that didn't quite work so the hubby cut them down into 6 equal-sized pieces.

He then put his newly acquired welding skills to the test and created new feet using feet from old cubicles at his work.  We had hoped to use the original feet but they just weren't going to work.  With the new feet and higher legs in place, she was ready to be refinished.  {Sorry, no "in-between" pictures.  I didn't do a good job documenting this one, ha ha!}

The two different colored metals--the new leg extensions were galvanized--inspired me to do a dipped-leg look.  I also knew I wanted this desk to be bright and fun since most of our house is neutral.  I wanted my work space to be colorful.  So I picked a green--Rust-oleum Painter's Touch Apple Green to be exact--for the desk color and a metallic silver for the "dipped" color.  I also painted the edge of the top in silver.

So cute!

I had decided this desk was going to be my computer desk with work space for writing, sketching, etc, so I wanted to do something different for the top than just painting it.  Something inspiring...

When we first started work on our house--the cleaning work--there was an encyclopedia set still in the house.  It was a set from the 60's, not entirely intact and not in the best condition.  But it had some neat vintage/retro images and maps and diagrams, and I ended up tearing out lots of the articles, especially the architecture and interior design articles.  I had no idea at the time what I would use them for, but now I had an answer.

I picked a select few of the pages with design images and laid them out on the desk top for a collage.  After several coats of Mod-Podge, I had an awesome new desk top.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up putting a plexi top on to protect the pages even more.  But I love the look:  black and white and green.  Great color combo.  Great vintage look too, but modern.

Once I got the desk in place, however, I quickly found that a standard office chair wasn't going to work.  Because it was made for students--young students--the chair openings were not made to hold chairs meant for "older" students.  So I started searching for a chair that had a seat width of 16" or less.  Not an easy task when most chairs are at least 18" wide.

Once again, the design gods shone down on me via Craigslist.  My hubby was actually the one that found it, although he was looking for something completely different.  But it was one of those posts that lists like 10 items for sale, and while he was looking at his thing, he found my thing.  Yay for me!

We went to check it out and I measured before we purchased {not gonna make THAT mistake again!}, but before we could leave with my SUPER CHEAP chair, the guy says, "Wait, you can't leave with less than what you paid for."  Huh?  But I was leaving with what I paid for....

So he hands me this lamp:

"Here, take this too."  Um, OK!  Can you see those awesome lines?!  I was in need of a desk lamp for this desk and now I had one.  I instantly knew it would get painted black.

We tried to find a replacement shade, but I have never seen a shade like this before:

so I just ended up painting it like the lamp.

Of course the chair got a makeover as well.  I went with black--Krylon's Fusion for Plastic Gloss Black, keeping with the black and white and green thing, then painted the metal frame the same silver as the "dip."

I am going to add a removable cushion because this tushie needs some cushie sitting here designing all day, ha ha!  But I am so happy with the overall space.  You've probably seen from most of the {My Old House} posts that our decor leans more on the traditional/antique/vintage side of things with a touch of contemporary, so this little touch of mid-century modern makes me happy every time I see it.

You can see my awesome craft cabinet in that pic.  See how it got to looking so awesome here!!

And I love sitting here looking at all the encyclopedia pages.  Great inspirations!

Needless to say, I'm in love with this space!

Aren't you? (:

Ok, here are the final "befores & afters."  Makes me happy, happy, happy!

So, whaddya think??  Awesome, yeah?

Have a good one!


  1. This desk is such an awesome find and I LOVE what you did with it!

    I won't lie, I'm feeling a little jealous!

    Found you through Liz Marie Blog!

    <3 Bethany @

  2. This looks great! I love the top of the desk and the color of the bottom! You did an awesome job! Come link up with us at Craft Frenzy Friday at!!

  3. I love a good furniture re-do! This desk and chair is amaxing. So inspiring! Found you at the Shabby Nest Blog hop! Visit me at

  4. You guys have a great eye for Craigslist finds! I like how you painted the lamp shade to match the base! Looks very cool!

  5. oh, wow--LOVE it! I wasn't sure when I got to the part with the green paint, but then when you put the pages on top and added in the chair and lamp, and I saw it in the finished space...perfect! great job!

    1. Yeah, the green was something new for me but I'm so glad I took that leap of faith! (: So glad you stopped by!

  6. I love this redo. You did an amazing job and it looks so great. Thanks so much for sharing this at the Pinworthy Projects Party.

  7. Heck yes! That turned out so awesome!!! Great work! Pinning to the Monday Funday pin board!

  8. Awesome update! Don't forget to link up to The DIY'ers!

  9. Super awesome, Jenni! The Colorado combos and page top are great.

  10. love that chair, and that desk is a neat shape!

  11. I love the color you chose for the desk. It's great! I'm stopping by to let you know I just nominated you for a Liebster Award. Stop on over and check it out.

    1. O my! Wow! I'll definitely check that out! Thanks so much! :D And thanks for visiting!

  12. Everytime I look at your table in the link party I smile!! Thanks for posting on Craft Frenzy Friday!

    1. Thank you! I admit: I get a cheesy little grin every time I see it too, ha ha! Thanks for visiting!

  13. That desk seriously rocks! You made it even better. Your whole space is awesome. :)

  14. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - you were featured today!

  15. Jenni,
    What a great transformation! I have a couple of "student" desks that I could make over. Been thinking about what to do with them when I have time. The green and black that you did go together nicely, I wouldn't have thought it when I first seen the green. Great space you made there. :0)
    Love, love, love that chair!! and the lamp is pretty cool too!
    Visiting you from Transformation Thursday, come by for a visit when you can.

  16. Wow -what an amazing desk and the way you transformed it is perfect! I love the chair and lamp too - such a fun, eclectic vintage vibe to the whole thing!! Awesome job- thanks for sharing it at Work it Wednesday. Hope to see you back next week!!

  17. I love your blog. I could not see a Liebster award posted on your site. If you are interested in accepting the award click on the link and follow the directions.

  18. You've made the right choice on buying those unique student desk, chair and desk lamp. What a success on improving its look and making it useful.

  19. That is a great desk. I love the look of those old desks but would haven't thought to actually buy it! I think the top is my favorite part of the makeover.

    1. I think the top was my favorite part, too! So glad you stopped by! (:

  20. It turned out so great! Love the newspaper top! And such a steal, too! Thanks so much for linking up at Get Your DIY On! I hope to see you back on Sunday at 7pm EST with your holiday signs! Have a wonderful weekend!

    ~Abby =)


So what did you think? I'd love to know!

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