Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

8.23.2010

The Workhorse


Here's my finished hybrid. As expected, it's part Julia Reed and part Martha Stewart with a little inspiration from Haskell Harris.  I know you've seen sawhorse desks before, both the DIY variety and the catalog options, but I wanted to share this because the endless options for customization really do make it fun. Well, fun for me. Perhaps not so fun for my dad who built the desk entirely by hand. 



[Image via General Hardware.]

Using steel sawhorse brackets from the hardware store with a combination of old wide-plank pine floorboards and two-by-fours, Dad built two sawhorses with shelves as well as a tabletop. But, as shown here, you can buy ready-made legs at IKEA (just search for 'trestle').  Since my father had some pine on hand, I only had to spend around $22 $32 for paint, assorted hardware and a few extra pieces of wood.


Now, initially I wanted a cloth-covered top because I liked the idea of a craft-friendly work surface; I planned to use the water-repellent coated linen featured in the Martha video, with the hope I could be totally careless with my Starbucks cups. But when the yardage arrived,  I found myself drawn to the olive-brown matte finish on the reverse. So, I went with the uncoated side. The linen feels nice under my elbows and objects don't slide away; time will tell how practical it proves to be. If you are interested in a waterproof-yet-still-attractive tabletop, these instructions for 'lacquering' burlap sound interesting.

For the legs, I was curious to try that inky, slate-like chalkboard paint championed by Haskell. Obviously though, highgloss paint or a rich stain would give a different, more glamorous polish. And Julia's desk looked great in its raw state.

Total cost: under $55 $65 (the linen was $32). Word of warning: keeping the nailheads straight is the most tedious part of the project but worth the extra effort.

39 comments:

Gramercy Home said...

Courtney - I love it! You have such a kind (and talented) father. I'm inspired. BTW, I have a pair of lamps just like that white one. Mine don't light up inside anymore (have to get that fixed) but I just love them.

Style Court said...

Thanks GH!

He is. In person the olive is richer so I'm enjoying it with the black but these look great in all one color too. So many possibilities! Happy to hear you love this style lamp also :)

Lisa said...

This is a great idea! There are so many options you could choose from for the legs and table top. Love the chalk board paint on the legs and the nail heads.

Style Court said...

Thanks Lisa! The spaced nailheads were definitely my high maintenance request :) Who says you don't use math in design? It was required here more than I expected.

Style Court said...

BTW: In an older Martha Stewart book published in the 90s I found a linen covered tabletop, nailheads just like this, on a cast iron base. That example was probably lingering in my mind too. It's a very striking look if you have an antique iron base.

Jane said...

It looks brilliant - I love the contrasting colours and of course the nailheads. Would love to have a handy father like yours (or husband for that matter)!

Style Court said...

Hi Jane! Glad you like the contrast. Wasn't sure if I'd regret it or not.

LauraCaseyInteriors@gmail.com said...

It looks so great! I love the desk, amazing work by you and your father. You are so resourceful!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Terrific! I am giving you (designer) and your dad (engineer) a round of applause.

home before dark said...

You own hybrid looks wonderful. Kudos again to your dad (still remembering the Christmas tree special) for pulling this off. Nailheads can be a #$%@! Yours look great. Looks like the perfect place for you to hold court, in a most stylish way, of course.

Style Court said...

Thanks Laura! Soon enough it will have loads of books and tools/supplies all over it. I tried to do less than my usual so the table would be visible :)

Boxwood Terrace said...

Your desk looks great and how nice to have a handy Dad to help you with projects.

Style Court said...

HBD,

#$%@! says it all. I can't top that.

And wow, what a memory you have. I've got a track record for picking high maintenance things posing as laid back and unfussy!

Style Court said...

Patricia -- We appreciate it!

Style Court said...

BT,

Yes, I'm very lucky. Thanks for looking!

fashionable palette said...

This looks amazing! You should be proud of yourself (and your dad)!

Maggie May said...

wonderful job, very clean and polished end result, lovely!

Style Court said...

thanks so much FP!

GB said...

I've been meaning to do-over my blah bedside table for ages now!! Thanks for the inspiration!! I totally {heart} the cloth-covered, nailhead-trimmed look (I've been thinking leather, but haven't been able to commit!) This sounds like a fun alternative.

The table looks fabulous, by the way!

little augury said...

oh good work! always good to reserve the right to make changes as they present themselves and inspire us.
Courtney-more than the desk, I so envy you the company of your father-mine could do anything like this, we are lucky women! pgt

A House and Home said...

Love it! This is one to save for the idea files!

Terry said...

"... not so fun for my dad who built the desk entirely by hand." The tiniest appreciation from our daughters can keep us dads humming for days. If power tools are involved - weeks.

Decorno said...

Looks great. Just love the green top and the nailheads. Casual and chic. Good for you. You're my inspiration for starting and *finishing* projects. (I have trouble with the finishing part...)

Style Chronicle said...

I love that your Daddy helped you execute. My father is handy and such a servant too! I cherish the "projects" we have taken on together over the years. The end result is brilliant!

kelleyp said...

loving it as i do with ALL items in your home. maybe i may have to make this little desk for my 10 year old as she is constantly harassing me for a desk but even "cheap" ones, ie. ikea and west elm, or too expensive for my pocke book. thanks for sharing. now you must share your handy dad

Style Court said...

Maggie, Elaine, KellyP, SC, Gaye, GB, H & H, Terry --

I so appreciate your responses. Thank you!

The linen I ordered, thinking I wanted the coated version, came from B & J:

http://www.bandjfabrics.com/servlet/the-Linen-cln-Coated-Linen/Categories

http://www.bandjfabrics.com

But anyone who wants to bring the cost down even more could use a $15 linen or less expensive canvas. Ultrasuede might be really nice too.

quintessence said...

Great project. Love the olive - such an underrated versatile color - goes with everything - as does the stylish table! The nailheads make it - devil's in the details. And what look like little footstools underneath are adorable. Good job!

Nuit said...

awesome! good job!!! x

ArchitectDesign™ said...

How great does that look! And you'll love it even more knowing how much hard work you and your father put into it :-) thanks for sharing!

The Peak of Chic said...

Courtney- So awesome!! You (and your father) did an amazing job. I love that you used the reverse side of the fabric. The nice thing about the color you chose is that it should hide stains, maybe even a Starbucks Latte! :)

Balustrade and Bitters said...

Wow, Courtney. Beautiful job and I love the color. Now we all know where to picture you!

Elsbeth said...

That turned out so wonderful! Think many people are redoing their worktable now :) Also loving the footrest - what a great workspace!

Style Court said...

Thanks guys!

The little zebra-covered footstool was purchased from High Street Market:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/highstreetmarket

I believe it's covered in Brunschwig & Fils Le Zebre.

flyoungstudio said...

Turned out quite lovely! Makes me itch to add legs to the old card catalog I've been toting around for years. One day it will come to fruition!

Visual Vamp said...

It turned out great!
These are definitely the saw horses in the garage!
Joni said she sent you my post on Julia's house, which I am sure you enjoyed. I actually was thinking of you when I was there, and wished you could be there with me too.
xo xo

Hello Lover... said...

Looks great - love the large nail head trim!

Style Court said...

Yes! Valorie, what a treat to see your pictures.

Glad you like the nailhead detail HL.

katiedid said...

Fantastic! Your Dad is a sweetie! So worth the effort though. Me...I had not the patience....so bought the sawhorses from ikea....but you have inspired me to put on a much more interesting top! Hmmmm.....maybe I will back paint the glass top I have on it now a la Ken Fulk.

Style Court said...

Katie -- he is!

I'm so glad you stopped by and can't wait to see what you end up doing yourself!