For a long time now I have been a big fan of another decor blogger – Melody Smith of www.mypassionfordecor.com – who makes amazing home decor with everything from furniture and paint to boxwood trimmings. So recently, when I realized my boys needed new school desks, I remembered the Pottery Barn Desk Hack she posted a couple of years ago. It was her wonderful and economical take on a beautiful, very expensive Pottery Barn desk, made with secondhand filing cabinets, hardware store wood, and a little paint.
Off I went on my pilgrimage to find four matching secondhand filing cabinets – a nearly impossible mission! I got lucky and found two within a week of each other on Craigslist for $10 a piece. Then the leads dried up and I was left wondering what to do. That’s when my new Pottery Barn catalog arrived, and there it was, the answer to my dilemma, a veritable answer to prayer – a single cabinet version!
I began by removing the hardware, sealing both filing cabinets, and painting them with two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.
I painted the hardware with Rustoleum spray paint in Oil Rubbed Bronze, and applied two coats of Annie Sloan Clear Wax to the cabinets. A day after applying the last coat of wax, I lightly distressed the cabinets in the hopes that the ongoing wear the boys will give them might look natural. For the desk tops and legs, I merely purchased two 24×48 inch pieces of cabinet-grade birch plywood from Lowes along with four (two per desk) parson’s table legs. With the help of my wonderful husband, I ironed birch edge banding to all four edges of each desk top board, then I stained them with a Kona stain from MinWax. To my surprise, they were really beautiful!
I painted the table legs to match the cabinets, affixed brackets to the underside of the desk tops to accept the legs, and attached the tops and legs to the cabinets. The results are totally awesome and work great for our school room. My favorite part is that my total expenditure for two desks was less than $100!!