Here is a sneak peak of the final product:
About a three weeks ago at the end of our date night, the nook in our loft looked like this:
We had planned a date night of buying materials, and installing shelves and a desk space for a home office...or home college homework station... because I was so tired of constantly picking up Wesley's homework and school books off of the kitchen table and annoyed at the growing pile on the kitchen island. Needless to say, our time planning was, well...a little off. Apparently it takes more like 15 hours to do a project like this....not 3.
We also learned some other valuable lessons along the way. Like, never again will we use spray paint for such a large amount of wood:
Not just because it will get on whatever surface you choose to paint over...like your driveway or garage floor, but also because when you install it, in order to do any touch up work you have to use a combination of painters tape and plastic wrap to keep it from getting on your walls. Very important to be careful with that one, especially when the builder didn't leave you any extra wall paint.
Other than the time commitment and choice of paint error, this is actually a very easy project.
All you need is:
-paneling for your shelves and desktop (we used 3/4'' pre-fabricated wood panels - 12'' depth for the shelves, 24'' depth for the desktop)
-1 x 2 boards to mount your shelves on
-1 x 3 boards for shelf facing
-4 12'' L brackets to mount your desktop
-paint or stain (Please, don't choose spray paint)
-stud finder (optional, but extremely worth the investment of $15)
-level (laser level is the way to go if you have one!)
We had Lowes cut everything for us...even though we had a saw, we didn't need it! (Well, maybe the miter saw to do the shoe molding, but that was more of a design choice ;) )
Measure your space and take that with you to the hardware store. Our length was 55.75 inches. We ended up having all of our shelves, long 1x2 mounts, 1x3 facings, and desktop cut at 55.5 - leaving a 1/4 inch to be able to get the boards in place.
Next, paint everything! Don't waste your time painting the sides that you can't see! (And seriously, do not use spray paint for this one!!)
We used the 1 x 2 to mount the shelves. Since we did 3 shelves (they were roughly 16 inches apart, which was perfect for our space...in order to know how high we wanted each shelf, we chose the highest thing we wanted on our shelf, in our case a textbook, and used that to gauge the shelf spacing), we had 6 pieces cut 11 inches, and 3 pieces cut at 55.5. This allowed each shelf to sit snug on it's mounting frame, without any hangover.
Wesley screwed the 1 x 2 mounts in with screws into the studs with the stud finder. Having the stud finder made the process so much easier! We still found that pre-drilling the holes into the studs where very helpful in ensuring that the mounts rested flush against the wall. Make sure that your mounts are level before you screw them in!!!!
He then screwed the shelves into the mount, using about 3 screws along the back and 1 screw along the sides, so that they were secure and to prevent it from sliding. If you were planning to put anything extremely heavy on it, then you will need to use several L brackets, like we did for the desktop. The L brackets will say on their packaging how much weight each one can hold.
We installed the L brackets for the desktop on the sides, into studs. We again used the laser level and stud finder to do this. A good way to measure how far up from the floor to put the desk, we had Wesley sit in the office chair while I held up the desktop. It was perfect for us when he could roll under, not hit his knees, and comfortably type.
The desktop secures into the L brackets with more screws. At this point, you can choose to either pull it out from the back wall enough to feed your computer cords through, or push it flush up to the wall and cut out a small whole that the screen will hide, but be able to feed the cords through. We chose the second option - LOVE IT! No more cords draping over the sides! Ask your hardware store if they would be willing to drill this in for you. We happened to have a VERY large drill bit that Wesley used. If you want to get one - look for the size bit that the diameter that you want your cord hole to be. I also like the look of the desktop flush to the wall, with the shoe molding crowning the edges. Remember with shoe molding, you will need 45 degree cut - so plan for that if you wanted to finish with the molding. It does give it a very built-in look!
Last, we tacked on the 1 x 3 on the front of the shelves with finishing nails, where the top of the 1 x 3 was flush with the shelf top.
So worth the time and effort!! Project dates really are fun...even if you need to stretch it out a "bit" to finish! I smile every time I see it.