Homemade Super-Long Desk

We moved into our place about 1.5 years ago and have done a woeful job of utilizing our space. We spend the majority of our time in one room and have a lovely, unused loft space which would make a perfect home office for the two of us (well, three of us; Esther snoozes on my lap during work hours).

Esther in my lap.

What a slacker!

After we bought this place, I quickly discovered that I have no interest in home decor. I know when other people’s homes look nice and I would love my space to look like that but furniture stores give me migraines and paint swatches make my eyes bleed. Thank goodness for the Internet and a handy boyfriend.

We initially thought we’d set up two separate desks on opposite walls, allowing us to have a seating area in front of the loft’s fireplace. Dave liked the idea of one super-long desk along the entire back wall of the loft — the only problem is the back wall is 14.5 feet long and most desks cap out at about 8 or 9 feet. Pinterest led me to this awesome desk which these two clever people created. With this well-laid-out game plan in hand and inspired by our predecessor’s success, I was ready to tell Dave to execute this idea.

We followed Young House Love’s guide to a T, and we mean to a T. After three trips to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, we couldn’t find $1 cabinets. ┬áCome on, Young House Love, what’s up with your wonky how-to?!

Dave ended up getting 4 of these nightstands from Ikea; they were the right height and on sale for $50 each. Even with that great sale, we were still already $200 deep whereas Young House Love was only $6 deep at this point — damn them and their perfect, insanely frugal home improvement projects!

Ikea Nightstands -- Desk in Progress

The 4 nightstands in their positions

Dave planned for the desk to be 28″ wide and 14.5′ long, with 3 “rows” — 9.25″ each — of wood planks from the front of the desk to the back. He bought wood planks that are about 1.5″ deep.

Raw Wood Planks

Raw wood planks

He did make the mistake of leaving the planks outside in the sun one balmy afternoon, resulting in some cracks in 2 of the planks. We figured it would add character that didn’t cost us $1,800 at Restoration Hardware.

Dave then sanded the wood.

Sanding the wood planks

I’m sure we’ll be using this electric sander all the time now.

And stained it. He did 3 coats of stain. He stained the top of all the planks and the sides of the planks that would be in front.

Staining the planks

Dave removing excess stain with a rag.

In retrospect, it might be a good idea to stain the ends of the planks. Once he assembled the top, there were 1 or 2 spots he had to touch up.

Esther watching

Esther watched.

The assembly process was the interesting part. Dave bought a Kreg jig which allowed him to essentially drill at an angle when needed and affix the planks to each other. He also used Young House Love’s approach, using a camera tripod to keep the boards level as he drilled. When the serious muscle was required, I stepped in and pressed down (or pulled up) on the boards while he drilled to keep things as level as possible.

The assembly process took a couple hours and a lot of maneuvering on Dave’s part. Once he was finished, he then did 3 coats of polyurethane sealant.

Finished build-in desk

The finished product! Super-long (14.5 foot) desk!

And here it is after we put our stuff on it.

The full desk

I tried to remove Esther’s flash eyes but then it looked like she had no eyeballs.
So I settled for the original, slightly possessed look.

Here’s a closer shot of my section of the desk.

Homemade desk closeup

Does this qualify as a “homemade” desk? Or is that term reserved for baked goods?

And finally, here’s a shot of it from the other end of the loft. You can see how it takes up the entire wall.

Now that's a desk!

Now that’s a desk!

Please note that our work space is always this clean. We are just supremely organized, together people.


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4 Responses to Homemade Super-Long Desk

  1. Scott Masters says:

    I really like this desk and project and am trying to do something similar for my wife. All of it looks like things I can handle, the only question I have is what kind of wood did you use? I have researched wood and harder woods like Oak are way more expensive than others. Just wondering what you use and how it has held up.

    • Dave says:

      We just used construction-grade Douglas Fir 2 x 10s. The desk has held up great, as far as the hardness and durability of the wood is concerned, but we aren’t really hard on it. If I were doing it again, I might spring for a higher quality wood, even if just a higher quality Douglas Fir, because the wood I got wasn’t perfectly straight and some planks were pretty knotty. But since I made it myself, those things don’t really bug me…in fact, I kind of like them. And seeing as I’m no contractor, I also considered this a fun project for an amateur so I wanted to have a low wood investment (I think the wood cost was about $45) in case I screwed it up something up pretty bad. I imagine Oak might be overkill, but if you’re comfortable with your skills, go for it! That desk would last you a long time. Let us know what you go with and how it turns out!

  2. Sherri says:

    I was looking online for a desk just like yours, only half the length, and there it was! Wow! You did a great job! Thanks for sharing. The cabinets at the Re-Store here are way to exspensive; so I am off to the thrift stores to find some re-do’s.

    • SJ says:

      We didn’t have any luck at Re-Store, but the Ikea nightstands worked well for us. Though doing a fix-up job on some thrift store finds is a great idea! Could have some fun with painting.

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