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Adding a hutch to a desk {The Reveal}

If all I had done was add a hutch to a desk, then the reveal post would have come about much sooner.  But before I could add the hutch, I had to paint the desk:

Desk and chair before painting

The desk was a dirty, yellowy, whitish color and the handles and horizontal metal inserts were a brassy, gold color with worn, white parts on them.

I didn’t sand the desk down.  I bought some bonding primer at Lowes (hope I don’t regret not getting the Sherwin Williams version I’ve heard others use–I was already at Lowes and got lazy…).  I also skipped the polycrylic topcoat I’m fond of using and bought a semi-gloss finish in the paint instead.  I didn’t get the really smooth finish I’ve come to love, but I did get done with the project a little quicker, which I also love.

Repair a chair.  Paint the chair.  Recover the chair seat.  Spray the chair bright pink.  Discover bright pink doesn’t work.  Repaint chair white.

Repair a chair

The chair needed help in two different spots. It was pretty wobbly before I put in the pocket hole screws, but now it’s solid. I had to put the pocket holes on the outside because of the funky assembly on the inside.

And spray paint the handles and horizontal metal inserts a nice, brushed nickel.

Desk hardware ready to spray paint

I washed the hardware with some soap and water, dried it well, and primed it with some Rustoleum regular primer in gray (because I accidentally grabbed gray). I used Krylon in brushed nickle as the color and I left off the topcoat for this project.

But now it is all done and in her room!  Here’s  a before photo to refresh your memory about how the room looked, well…before!  I didn’t purposely take such awful before shots, I wanted the Hubs to take the desk down so I could paint it, but I needed before photos…and it was at night.  Flash photos + no natural light =no good

 How to add a hutch to a dresser

  Desk before photo

 Desk and Hutch from the front

I love the brushed nickle spray paint!  Look at the difference in the hardware.

Desk drawer hardware collage

It’s coming along in there.  I’m working on a couple more projects for her room right now that I’m hoping to have done by the weekend.  Now that I’ve said that out loud it’ll get jinxed somehow :)

Here are all the posts in the series:

Adding a hutch to a desk

Adding a hutch to a desk {post 1}

Adding a hutch to a desk {post 2}

You might notice that the drawers in the plans didn’t make it into the hutch.  That is a sore spot for me at the moment, since I did some incorrect math in my head…I was dreading going out in that garage in the cold, I procrastinated for a few days over the long weekend, finally went out and got it done, took it up to her room, and discovered they weren’t going to work as is.  Sigh.

If you’re ever in need of feeling better about how your own projects are going, you know you can always depend on me for a mistake or two!

**This project (and all my plywood projects on here to date) are made using PureBond Plywood because I’m concerned about the air quality in my home.


Adding a hutch to a desk {post 2}

Boy was I ever rusty in my woodworking skills for this build!!  I’m glad I am here to show you that multiple mistakes during a build can still result in a usable piece of furniture… :)

First off, my plan.  Wherever did I think that I could fit the amount of shelves I had planned for is beyond me!  I had an extra cut out that the plan called for.  You know how I have warned you that using my plan “as is” is probably not advisable?  I had a good laugh at myself as I was laying out the pieces on the garage floor for a dry fit!

Which reminds me–I really, really need to get a workbench made so I can quit using the floor.

Where would one more shelf fit??!!

And then I realized that I was going to have to figure out how high I wanted to make the first shelf, because it was going to be permanent and not moveable.  I had not figured that in–I wanted it to all be adjustable.  BUT this will not be attached to the actual desk because the desktop is formica.  In order to keep it square I need to have it fastened in the middle.  This ended up being a monumental decision–I went back and forth on it.  Right now she doesn’t need a ton of head room for that first shelf, but I want this to work for her as long as she is at home.  I went with the shelf being at 17.5″ (16.75″ once I added the face frame) so that she can fit a bigger monitor under there if need be someday. (I was really irritated with myself for making that such a big decision because it ate up precious time!  Sometimes I can be so indecisive.)

Then I got to use another of my birthday presents–my brand new Kreg Shelf Pin Jig.  Love it.

Read More…

Adding a hutch to a desk {post 1}

I promised plans today and here they are!  Hopefully I’ll be seeing how a sheet of plywood fits into a Honda Pilot today.  A Home Depot employee and I had a discussion on this matter several months ago, and he assured me that the old model Pilot fit a sheet with no troubles, while the newest version fits a sheet, but just barely.  We traded on our 12 year old van for a Pilot in July–the Honda salesman was a little bewildered by my interest in fitting lumber in the trunk :)  We bought the old model, so hopefully no worries.
I’ve kept the pictures at a large size so that you can click on them to enlarge and see the dimensions better.  I don’t know if that will work, but we’ll try it out.

Obviously this is not to scale.  As a general rule I like to use graph paper and get it somewhat to scale so I am not surprised by how the project ends up appearing.  Today I am walking on the wild side.

And here goes the disclaimer:  Use these plans at your own risk!!  I already modified some dimensions, that affected other dimensions, and although I think I did a good job going back and making the changes, I’m not guaranteeing that!!  From here on out I’ll be in the garage and lucky if I remember to take the pictures I need, much less jot down the corrections to the mistakes I’ll probably find.

I always feel better after saying all that, ha ha.  But the changes I made allowed me to utilize the entire sheet of 3/4″ plywood more effectively, just by shaving off 1/4″ of the width on the sides of the hutch (which also changed the width on the shelves).  I went and measured some of her books, and 10.25″ is plenty of width for even the biggest ones she has.  I am using up some various pieces of scrap ply I’ve got from other projects, for the sides of all 6 drawers–love using up scrap!  I would have preferred to use 1/2″ ply for the drawers, but I’d rather utilize the entire sheet, so 3/4″ it is.

There you’ve got it!  I’ll be trying out my brand-spanking new Kreg Rip Cut on this, as well as the Kreg shelf pin jig.  I got those back in June/July for my birthday, if you recall.  Sad that it has taken me this long to break them out of their packaging, but I can’t wait to use them now!

Adding a hutch to a desk

Yowza, it’s been awhile!!  The beginning of my new job was a whirlwind–up until this point, my part-time job was pretty much full time hours, but I am hopefully at a point that I can begin tackling some new projects here at home.  I am really excited to get going!!

The project I chose to oil my rusty woodworking skills on is a hutch for a desk I bought for Pip on Craigslist a few years ago.  Here it is, complete with the piles of her “special things” I have mentioned in past projects.  I didn’t clean them off because I like to keep it real on here (shall I refer you back to her closet before pictures?).  Besides, it makes for a more dramatic “after” picture, right?  Please say yes, because I have some doozy “before” pictures for a different future project.  They are BAD…

Anyway, here are some photos of the desk:


The desk will be getting a coat of paint as well, because it is not as bright a white as the existing furniture.  The top is Formica, which has been a wonderful feature, because everything wipes right off of it.  The only thing I would change would be to have a file drawer instead of the two bottom drawers, but all-in-all it was a great buy at $80 for the desk and chair.  Actually, I would change one other thing and that is to have a hutch!  Plans will be posted tomorrow :)  Going to go charge the batteries for the drill…so excited!


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