art supplies, cabinets, counter tops, Do it Yourself, FaceBook, helpful ideas, Jackie Little Miller, Measuring, oak fileing cabinets, Outside the Box, painting, pottery barn, remodeling, shelves, tips, vintage furniture, vintage office furniture, work station, work stations
In 2007 I started a business of creating one-of-a-kind dolls. My guest room was slowly becoming more of a sewing/ art room than a guest room. As the business grew the more I took over the room. Before I knew it the guest (Murphy) bed would barely open. So reorganization and planning was needed. The carpet came out as it was too difficult to maneuver my office chairs with wheels on them. I needed work stations and more storage. At first I checked into buying office furniture, but found it cost an outrageous amount and I would be getting fiber board furniture that wouldn’t hold up. So I started thinking outside the box again. I visited all the local second hand stores looking for pieces that were 29 inches or less high. I had some width restrictions but I was flexible in my design. I knew I needed two filing cabinets, one or two end tables or night stands, and a large dresser (or two). I planned on doing my project in French country type style so I wanted to keep the furniture styles similar .
I found the filing cabinets first: all wooden, great condition, and only $28.00 each. Then I found a cute little night stand for $20.00. Next I found a beautiful hand painted 3 drawer dresser for $120.00.
The big find was a cool old heavy solid wood dresser with eight drawers. This I was able to get for $75.00. I added a little end table I had recently picked up at my mom’s house and I now had all the pieces I needed.
I took all the hardware off the cabinets, and sanded down the wood to make everything smooth. Some of the cabinets were not tall enough so I needed to add height to them. The easy way would be to add to the legs. For the end table I did just that. Years ago I had found antique claw-foot and glass ball table feet. To make the table legs fit inside the claw foot I needed to whittle the legs down some. I was able to easily do this with a carpenter’s knife and some sand paper. Once all the legs were the correct width the legs caps were ready to go on. These would be screwed in place after the primer and paint were applied.
The table was still not to the height I needed and I really needed every inch of space to be usable. So I added 1” x 3”‘s to the sides (of the tops) of the two that were not tall enough. To do this I was able to go up through the top board from the bottom with long screws into the wood pieces I was adding. Even this space would be used- to store printer paper- once the project was complete.
Using a good primer to cover each piece I then painted each the off white of the trim in the studio. Once everything was dry, I took some light sand paper to the edges to rough it up a little and give it that shabby sheik/ French country look.
Before installing the cabinets where I wanted them I decided to freshen up the walls with a new coat of paint. I also wanted to lay new tile on the floor to give it a cleaner newer look. I was able to get a good deal on peel and stick tile, so peel and stick it was. I hadn’t really figured tile into my budget but felt this was the time to do it anyway. Peel and stick are very easy to install. Quick and easy was exactly what I was looking for, as I had my son-in-law coming the next day to cut counter tops for me.
Now to install the cabinets. Starting with the large dresser I measured up on the wall the height of the dresser then marked it. I then got out my level and made sure to mark a level line all around the room at that height. I also went around at that level a with a stud finder to locate all the studs in the walls in the areas I would need to mount my cabinets. I carefully moved each cabinet piece into place and shimmed where it was needed to get the cabinet to reach that line and be level. Then using 2” screws I secured each piece to the wall. In places where there would be countertop ( but no cabinet to support it) I placed 2” x2”s on the wall at the height of the mark I had made.
I purchased per-finished plywood for the counter top area of the room. I love the look of wood and the per-finished sheets were less expensive than the unfinished ones at $35.00 a sheet. I had made a drawing of what I wanted the counter tops to look like and asked my son-in-law to do all the measuring and making of angles needed. He did a fabulous job! When he was finished I used long screws again to go up through the tops of the cabinets to secure the counter top so that it would not move. Where there were no cabinets I took small “L” braces and screwed them to the bottom of the counter tops and to the boards I had mounted previously on the wall. This made for a very sturdy work space.
A tip for cutting finished ply wood for counter tops: place masking tape over your cut line on the board. You will actually cut through the tape. This will help to prevent splintering and scarring of the wood.
Once everything was in place it was time for the finish work. Here I cut some hard wood flooring strips I had left over from our kitchen flooring project. I first ripped them on the table saw into 1 1/2” strips. Using a finishing grade of sand paper I softened the edges. Then I used an electric miter saw (the easiest way) to cut the proper angles for the finishing trim boards. Once your trim is cut at the proper angle, tack it into place with small finishing nails. An air nail gun is really nice for this, making it quick and easy enough for one person to do. An air compressor will power your gun. Or you can purchase a brand that will hook up to a CO2 canister.
Find my work on these fine sites…Happy Shopping!