Monday, September 8, 2014

DIY Take II ... Less of a Disaster!

Since some of you got a laugh over my plumbing oops a month or so ago (which I later used as an excuse to have PlumberTodd swap out the fixtures in the shower thankyouverymuch), I figured I would semi-redeem myself by sharing this past weekend's Build-A-Desk adventure.

Okay, so maybe I've been doing most of my writing on the living room couch lately. Maybe I haven't been using my treadmill desk nearly as much as I should. And, okay, maybe the whole litter-box-in-the-office routine has put a thick layer of dust on Things That Would Rather Not Be Dusty. In my defense, the rest of the house is clean-ish. (No, autocorrect, I don't mean 'my house is clannish'. It's clean. Ish.) Anyway, I got a wild hair last weekend and launched Operation Office (OpOff). 

I cleaned. I dusted. I washed. I decluttered. I donated. And when I was done, I had a small, mostly empty space containing a treadmill, a bookcase, a litter box (now with a lid on it), and an empty wall that was crying out for a little desk.

I had a few criteria for OpDesk: 1) a small surface area, to discourage clutter and fit in the small room; 2) no drawers (ditto); 3) not a lot of $$; 4) zero wobble; and 5) padding on the top (my mountain-biking-dislocated elbow, while back to normal in strength and function, gets sore when I lean on a hard surface for too long). Which left me with ... half of a massage table? An ottoman on stilts? Hm. Hey, wait! thought I. What if I make my own? 

Cue trumpets as I hied off to Home Despot (as Arizona calls it) for a quarter sheet of sanded plywood, two porch-rail spindles, and six brackets.

Total spent on materials, ~ $60. It would've been less, but I bought the pretty brackets and a yoga mat to use for the padding. The primer and paint was left over from last summer's Paint The Shutters project, and was promptly applied (with much Cursing of Gnats, since the glossy blue Rustoleum is a strange attractor, and for every bug I picked off the surface, two more did the dive-bomb thing). Then, using the pretty brackets, I mounted the plywood to the wall. 

This was my first mistake. My second was assuming that the wall and brackets were all built on something approaching straight lines and ninety-degree angles. The end result? My carefully cut-to-measure table legs were far too short, dangling from the tabletop like something MC Escher might have done on purpose.

Me? Not so much.

Well, hell. (Note to self: next time, mount the legs first, then stick it on the wall. I'm sorry to report I was too annoyed to take a picture of my levitating desk.)

Not to be sunk for a second DIY project in a row (or confessing same to Arizona), I invoked Homeowner Logic. To whit: When we bought our cute little house, we replaced the gnarly vinyl stick-on flooring with nice laminate, so I shouldn't put my still-a-little tacky painted table legs directly onto the floor. Instead, this project clearly required a layer of adhesive felt and a pair of rubber furniture feet. Success! (And free, 'cause I already had the felt and the feet.) Which yielded (cue fanfare number two): 

(See? Even Pixel T. Kitten approves.)

And would you look at that? My 'hmm, that's about the right color' choice of yoga mats was spot-on. 

Okay, so the folding chair (complete with splatters of blue spraypaint from Project New Front Door) is a little grotty, but I'm currently debating between stealing Arizona's desk chair (he keeps talking about replacing it with something taller, after all) and getting one of those inflatable balls and seeing if I can avoid getting bucked off it while I write. 

So there you have it! A semi-successful (well, except for the Mickey Mouse shim job on the legs) DIY from Doc Jess. And a couple more pictures, because so often in online interviews, I'm asked what my writing space looks like. 

My treadmill desk (a far less sophisticated DIY project, complete with pipe clamps holding it onto the treadmill):

Random bookcase of stuff--a copy of each of my printed books on the top shelf, giveaway books on the bottom, favorite research books second to the bottom, and desk toys and keepsakes in the middle, each with its own story. 

And... the view, complete with the all-important kitty shelf! (See? I'm not the only one who likes padding on her horizontal surfaces.)

And that's the end of my tail ... er, tale!

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