The last few weeks have been a complicated mix of protest, resisting and arguing against fascism; but also of finishing things up at home and in life that need to be tied up. That said, between a lot of busy-ness at work and the Women’s March last weekend, Justin and I stained and top coated the 8-foot “Ikea Hack” desk we built in the project room. (you can see the inspiration photos and unfinished table in my post, Starting Things)
I have liked for a long time, the idea of a “partner’s desk” where both Justin and I could work alongside one another. After living in the small (one bedroom) condo, we were so cramped for space, often vying for a place at the small round dining table, that I attempted one afternoon when Justin was drawing, to sew standing up moving between the kitchen cart and ironing board, knocking the iron and tools all over. Lets just say that it did not work so well. Not having a space where we both could work was really frustrating and discouraging at times, so when we were looking for our new home, we knew that a second bedroom would be crucial.
We had a really clear vision of what we wanted to do in the extra bedroom upstairs, and decided to locate the project room in the nicely sized east facing bedroom upstairs. The room faces the street, and we thought that the larger window with a view of the neighborhood’s rows of workers cottages and old oak trees outside would be an inspiring and outward-facing place to work and create. I was pleased during our trip to Ikea just after New Years, that we were able to find this beech wood slab on sale at Ikea, along with the legs and cabinet. It came together very seamlessly and just in line with what we envisioned, which was amazing considering we were putting the room together on a very tight budget. I was not sure if the 8-foot long countertop would fit in my small VW Golf, but amazingly it did!
We built the table easily, and looked forward to getting it stained and poly-coated so that we could really use and appreciate the desk. We wanted the wood to be dark walnut color, similar to the dark wood floors in our home so we planned to use the Dark Walnut shade of Minwax. However, the color felt drab and needed more warmth and richness to hold up next to the over-100-year-old hardwoods, so we added a layer of English Chestnut stain we had leftover from refinishing our living room tables, and were thrilled with the warmth the extra layer of stain imparted. It took about a week to build up the four layers of Minwax polyurethane, but patience is a virtue in wood finishing, and I am glad we took the time to do it right and really layer the top coat. It should stand up to projects nicely.
Having this table and the project room set up, in a room full of our friends art, where we can create and make has in many ways a dream for me. I am realizing in writing this blog, and reflecting on the design and DIY projects we have done in the past, and the ones ahead of us, that a big part of this for me is about making a home to where we can feel comfortable to make and create and give voice during this complicated time.
I’m looking forward to weeding and raking in the coming months, to planting seeds of native plants to attract bees and butterflies in the summer, and am looking forward to making a home here, to improving; and also to becoming more deeply entrenched in this neighborhood, and resisting in small ways, and in big ways.