In My Home Tour

The fancy DIY desk – using quartz counters for your desk


When we renovated our basement waaaaay back when, we had little money, and yet the need to create a functional work space for as I ran my shop. I came up with a DIY desk that cost me under three hundred dollars – and the desk served me well over the years. Using base cabinets from a big box store as the base, I purchased pine boards from The Home Depot and created a desktop that was really, one of the most economical DIY I’ve ever done. If you’re looking for a really great way to have a custom desk with little investment, or commitment – I still recommend this route and lots of you have followed suit like John & Sherry over at Young House Love. My brother has done it in his apartment, and my best friends husband did something similar although he went the route of a live edge piece of wood. Making your own desk is really an economical way to fit a workspace into your home with little investement.

Stage 1 - Basic desk using big box store base and Home Depot wood planks for the top.  Stage 1 – Basic desk using big box store base and Home Depot wood planks for the top.

Over the years my office changed (which I’ll get into another post and reveal.) But some things have stayed the same. My need for an office space, and, a comfortable work area. My work area hasn`t changed dramatically since I moved into the home however I was finding it rather DARK in my office.  Although my wood desktop was economical, it was sucking light from my small office.

I debated painting the top in white, but I use my desk a lot, and I knew that this would have been a temporary fix and it would eventually chip. I could get glass cut to go over the top of it, but the wood is uneven, and the glass (which is completely flat) would have wobbled on an uneven surface. I had been using the office for so many years that I was completely comfortable with the layout and, where I worked, so I started researching investment updates. Like quartz. Having installed quartz in our kitchen, I immediately thought – why not use a kitchen countertop product in an office. Its bright. It’s a hard surface, great for working on. It reflects light, which is perfect in a small space.. It is a perfect update.

Stage 2 / Increasing the storage space - adding more wood for the top from home depot.  Stage 2 / Increasing the storage space – adding more wood for the top from home depot.

I approached The Home Depot about the project and they shared my enthusiasm for updating this pretty popular DIY project that many of you have pinned, saved, and recreated yourselves. The countertop was provided to me from the team over at the Home Depot because they shared my love of the idea of showing you, how you can use materials, like a kitchen countertop material – quartz – in unique ways. Like your own desk.

Stepping back a bit, I didn’t want to get all crazy, and start over with my office. From a economical standpoint, the base cabinets were still working. Aubrey thought perhaps I could go with custom cabinetry for the base, but as much as I love new projects, why fix something that isn’t broken? The top was irritating me, but the base cabinets were still quite fine.  So off to Home Depot I went to look at their quartz samples. Here are the stages to the project…

STEP 1: YOU MEASURE
We knew that we wanted to do the desk + extenstion that I had added on since the original project. We measured, and brought those measurements to Home Depot Kitchen department for them to quote. They will need to know things like if you need a joint (which we did, because a full piece with the L shape wouldn’t fit down into our basement) With the measurements, you can start pricing out different quartz samples. There are different levels of pricing, classified into groups A, B, C, D and things like the edge / profile of your counter all play into the cost.

STEP 2: CONFIRM THE COUNTERTOP MATERIAL
I ended up picking Silestone Yukon – which funnily enough, was one of my countertop options for our kitchen, back in 2012. for the top that was definitely white, but has some variation in the slabs. I was terrified about my choice. The Silestone didn’t work in my kitchen, but it was the best option for my basement. So knowing that, here’s how we proceeded:

STEP 3: PROFESSIONAL MEASURE 
The next step was that someone from a third party installation service, arranged by The Home Depot kitchen department, contacted us to set up a time for someone to do a proper measurement. When the “measure guy“ came, they ask things so be prepared to know what you want. Here are some tips.

  • Know where you need holes drilled. I needed one right behind my monitor for where the cords go.
  • Know where you want the countertop edge to go to. I didn`t want an overhang by my chair. I wanted the edge of the counter to go flush with the cabinets.
  • On the wall to the right of where I sit (the extention that we added) weve added doors to the cabinetry since I last wrote. They recommended I make the counter go right over the doors. Typically people have handles on doors (like, duh) but I knew I wasn`t adding handles ever, so asked that the countertop go just to the cabinet, not over the door, so I could open the door by pulling on the top of the door. This is a scenario where I knew how I worked, and I was really comfortable going against their recommendation.

Once you`ve gone through all this they show you a revised quote of the project. It will likely vary ever so slightly from the first quote, as you may add more holes that you hadn`t expected, or, changed something. But the quotes were very close and we signed off on it.

STEP 4: PREP FOR THE INSTALLATION
This process takes a few tweaks from when we originally created and hacked my desk. We now needed to be able to support the weight of the quatz countertop prior to the installation. (wood is WAY lighter) Aubrey started installing braces along the wall. In a kitchen, your cabinetry would go to wall. But since we’re using big box store bases that aren’t designed for this, we have to “hack” it a little. Here are some things you should know if you’re going to go this route.

You need to have the cabinetry attached to the wall so it doesn’t move. The installer said they wouldn’t install unless this was done, and I get it – you don’t want to mess with a big piece of quartz. So for any cabinetry against a wall (like the ones in the background) we actually drilled the cabinets to The wall. For the free floating cabinets where there was space between the back of the cabinet and the wall, we installed a wall brace (which was needed for the weight anyways) but we attached the cabinet to the braces – which meant the cabinets, were attached. Problem solved!

INSTALLATION DAY
The third party installer calls back with an installation day which is a few weeks after you sign off on the measurement and project. You confirm a date, and a window of time and they arrived on the dot. Really, you sit back, and come down for the reveal. It`s delightful.


THE AFTER
No words the excitement when I came downstairsd and saw this. This is where I`m sitting now as I write this post. And, write other posts you read. I`ve been using my office since February like this, tweaking elements. It`s always a work in progress, but I wanted to finally show you the “AFTER`in all her glory.

You can see that the edge goes straight to the edge of the cabinetry.  You can see that the edge goes straight to the edge of the cabinetry.

I LOVE THE QUARTZ. It`s amazing. It`s solid, bright, relects light, and my coffee doesn`t leave any stains! WHEEEE!!!

Ps., Stay tuned for a full basement reveal. We have done a few changes!

Products Used: Silestone Yukon Quartz Counter from The Home Depot 


This post was made possible thanks to The Home Depot Canada. They provided the Silestone Countertop to me for this project. All other elements of the office are my own. 🙂

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Noga Powell
    January 13, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Your projects are beautiful. You make something ordinary look just great. I’m going to give this a TRY. I’m not the best at things like like, hubby normally does it but he’s not around. Might need to rent some equipment from Fat Lama or somewhere, the drill and other bits and bots. But it definitely looks do-able. Keep up great content! x

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