A couple years ago I got the Ergotron WorkFit-S desk attachment. It is an ingenious system that attaches to any table top, converting it into a sit-stand workstation, and lets you go from standing to seated positions in about 2 seconds. Plus it has a laptop stand which hold the laptop screen in position to use as a second monitor.
Overall I’ve been very happy with the system, except for one drawback – when mounted to a desktop or tabletop, the keyboard/mouse shelf overhangs the edge of the desk by about a foot, which means you have to sit about a foot away from your desk, putting the rest of the desktop surface essentially out of reach.
So I decided to make a desk that had a cutout for the shape of the Ergotron system, placing the edge of the keyboard flush with the edge of the desk.
Our sun room has a little nook created by the firebox and chimney on the the other side of the wall, creating a perfect spot for a built in bookcase and desk. And a perfect opportunity for a little Ikea hacking.
- (2) Ikea Billy bookcases
- (2) Ikea Goliat drawer units
- 1 Ikea Vika Amon table top, can’t find the link
- 1×2 face frame wood
- 1×6 baseboard wood
- 2×6 wood
I removed the existing crown molding carefully since I would have to reinstall it on the face of the bookcases to give it that built in look. I coped the ends of the molding when reinstalling, which meant I didn’t have to remove any of the molding on the sides.
I had to cut every piece of the bookshelves to fit the space and be centered, so starting with and Ikea bookcase was not necessarily a huge time saver, but the finish is nice. I screwed a 1×2 ledger strip into the wall studs, the cases sit on top of that. Then nailed in the face frames to the front of the cases, thank goodness for nail guns.
The Ikea drawer units sit on top of 2×6 frames. I painted them white, which turned out to be a really time consuming process. I also had to fill in the pre-drilled drawer pull holes since I wanted to use different pulls.
I’ve been in the market for a new credenza for the dining room, or at least new to me. I was drawn to the vintage mid century modern variety, but the decent ones are at least $1500, some double or triple that much, which was not going to happen. Having looked at so many of them, they all seemed to have relatively simple construction and share common elements – a large wide case, cabinet space with sliding doors, and a bank of drawers. The idea of building one from scratch is not unrealistic, but it would require materials that are not cheap and difficult to source and transport. I’d need at least 2 sheets of high quality hardwood plywood, and some nice boards for drawer fronts, get them to my house and then cut them. None of this is that hard for someone with even a garage shop and a van, but my shop is in the basement in a room 8ft wide and 7ft ceilings, you can’t even get a full sheet of plywood down there! And I drive a Prius.
It then occurred to me that it might be possible to re-purpose the material from an existing piece of furniture into a credenza. Bookcases seemed ideal, just rotate it sideways and it is halfway there. They have long continuous sides that would act as the top and bottom, and shelf material that can be used as doors and drawer fronts. And so the craigslist hunt began. It turns out people are selling nice walnut, teak and even rosewood veneered bookcases all the time for real cheap. I was on to something. And then I came across this beauty, just look at all those panels and doors and it was deeper than your typical bookcase. I got it plus a small 2 shelf bookcase for $80, plus the lady threw in a free sewing machine. I forgot to take a picture of the bookcase.
Next came the planning phase. I think I spent more time on the planning phase than the building phase, which is fine by me since I did the planning in my rocking chair in front of the TV with a drink in hand. Initially I did a lot of rearranging of panels in my mind, and then, on paper. Here are some sketches with my proposed plan of action.
For the build I made 2 cases that would be joined together in the middle. For the left case, I reused the existing cabinet door, and routed out a channel for the sliding doors. The sliding doors just drop into place, to remove them simply lift them out of the channel, the top channel has extra depth to allow for the removal. Each of the doors has an oak strip on the top and bottom to act as runners for the sliding. Without them, I’m sure the particle board would disintegrate almost immediately .
For the right side case, I made drawer boxes out of 1/2″ and 1/4″ birch ply, these are first drawers I ever made. The remaining space is a cabinet with a swing out door, for which I had to get hinges. The legs I bought from Lowes, and then cut them down to get the finished height to 30″.