Wendy and I often talked about building her a desk when we lived in our previous rowhouse. I had thought about a few different ways to whip one up, including CNC’d birch plywood or a play on my favorite small-to-medium-sized modern desk — the Nelson swag leg desk. I didn’t really have the tools to make either with any real precision, only hand tools and a nice compound miter saw, but I continued doodling the desk on countless napkins, loose pieces of paper and my iPad.
Last January, Erin over at Cotton and Flax hosted an Instagram giveaway for a set of Pretty Pegs and Wendy was lucky enough to win. Pretty Pegs, based in Sweden, creates replacement legs to elevate your IKEA furniture, but they could be used on any furniture piece, really. With the idea of a future desk in mind, Wendy chose a set of the Estelle 700s in the teak finish. This was enough to nudge me away from CNC’d birch plywood, which will have to wait for another day.
When we moved into our new house this year, it meant a semi-permanent 9’x10’ office space to build into. I re-committed to the process of getting this desk done. I picked up a new table saw to round out my woodworking gear and allow for repeatable rip cuts for the desk carcass and eventual drawers.
My ‘inspiration board’ included:
- The aforementioned Nelson swag leg desk
- Knoll executive desk
- LD desk by Jon Goulder
- Laura desk by Phloem Studio
I began with a new set of electronic doodles in GoodNotes:
The only components we had on hand were the legs. I knew I wanted the dimensions to be roughty 2x by 1x, similar to other prototypical desks.
Although I wanted to use a panel of solid wood for a durable tabletop, this would have been an awful lot of woodtone, which Wendy tends to veto in favor of white. I wasn’t about to join up a solid tabletop just to paint it, so I went looking for big chunks of easily accessible laminate. I planned to combine relatively weak, but inexpensive melamine fiberboard with Purebond birch plywood and a wrap of red oak to cover the ugly bits. Additionally, I’d add painted elements as a callback to Wendy’s previous career in print design: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
We’ve got a design. Now, let’s get cooking.
Edit: A detailed build post is now up!