Ikea Hacking the Varde Unit


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 I get things into my head that certain projects need to get accomplished – and it happens at the most random times. It drives Aubrey nuts. But right before the Christmas rush for the shop, I felt that my studio didn’t really look right and the major problem was the worktable that I use. I never loved the wood tone of the Varde Island from Ikea but it was the right price, and, has served well. I’ve had this table since I started my shop in 2004 and it has been amazing. But the wood tone didn’t fit with the darker walnut tones in the floor and my DIY desk.  So I took it upon myself to try to fix it, to fit more with my current style. I gave away the “after” above. They really are simple changes, but make a huge difference. To read more about how I did it, and, more shots of the space now, read more after the jump.

Step 1: The first thing I did was pulled out my heavy duty sander that I used for this project. After 9 years of use the tabletop was worn, dirty and banged up. So I got my sanding on and sanded the wood block top a LOT. I then stained wood the exact same walnut tone as I did my DIY desk – so that it worked together more.

Next, it was time to paint the laminate base. I took my time – first , sanding the laminate base with a fine grit sandpaper. Then I primed it, After priming it, I sanded it again lightly. The extra care in sanding between coats makes the paint smoother and gives a more professional look. Having a sander (I used my mouse sander for these steps) was key. After the primer, I painted the base in Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbour, using their Advance line of paint.

Skipping back a step, I didn’t like the handles that came with the Ikea set so I filled the screw holes in the drawers with wood filler, and switched out the handles for the exact same that we used in our kitchen. And on the wall I switched out the art for a new piece that is in my shop that I love. It’s a saying that my Dad used to say occasionally to me, and so I find it both a beautiful piece to hang in my space and also a reminder to keep it pretty fun around here. 😉

I installed a hook on one side of the table, to hang gift bags for the store. Friends in the area get personal deliveries, so instead of stacking these away, I used a hook that we had in storage and installed it on one side of the table.

I’m really, really happy with how the studio is feeling now, the worktable now fitting in a lot more with the whole room.

The back wall has the organizational shelves for orders, but we quickly grew out of that this year so we’re planning on eventually building a few more rows up. I’m determined to keep my office here at the house, as there is a comfort to being here for Oscar, and being able to work. So I’ll keep finding ways to modify my space to grow as the business does.

Anyhow, I thought you’d like the transformation of the Ikea table – as it’s super easy to do even though it seems intimidating at first (at least for me it did). Hope this inspires you to hack some Ikea! 😉

Ikea Work Table: Ikea Varde Unit
Stain: Minwax Walnut
Base Colour: Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbour, using their Advance line of paint.
Sanders Used: For Top: RIDGID Heavy-Duty Variable 3 In. x 18 In. Belt Sander, For Base: Mouse Sander
Handles: Hickory Hardware Studio Line, in Polished Nickle purchased at Lowes (special order in store)
Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap Art Print, The Penny Paper Co. 

DIY Wood Desk  and DIY Desk Update

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