Bright and or­ga­nized in less than 3 hours

New desks, ledges for an eight-year-old

Truro Daily News - - SALTWIRE HOMES - Heather Laura Clarke Heather Laura Clarke chron­i­cles the trans­for­ma­tion of her fam­ily’s builder-ba­sic house into a per­son­al­ized House of Dreams – us­ing paint, fab­ric, wood, and her trusty glue-gun.

I’m al­ways amazed by how much you can change a room in just a cou­ple of hours — no paint­ing walls or re­plac­ing linens re­quired.

When my friend Lisa asked us to take a look at the bed­room of her eight-year-old daugh­ter, Katie, I knew a few sim­ple changes would have a huge im­pact. Katie is our son’s age (they even went to preschool to­gether for two years), and was us­ing a small desk that wasn’t large enough for her hand-me-down com­puter, key­board and record­ing sys­tem. So we suggested build­ing ex­actly the same two desks he has in his room right now — ex­cept his are used for his Lego col­lec­tion.

We’ve built quite a few of these desks so far, ac­tu­ally. My handy hus­band whips up a sim­ple frame out of 2x4s, which is then painted or stained. (For Katie’s room, we went with a crisp white — Picket Fence by Fu­sion Min­eral Paint — so it didn’t clash with her pretty hard­wood oors.)

en he cuts a sheet of white melamine down the mid­dle, trims the ends, and ts it on top — us­ing a cou­ple of brack­ets un­der­neath to keep it in place. (My job is to take the long plas­tic edg­ing strips and click them over the raw edges of the melamine. It’s sort of fun.)

Be­cause we did two sep­a­rate ( iden­ti­cal) desks, in­stead of a huge L-shaped one, Katie will be able to move the desks into di er­ent con gu­ra­tions if she wants. Our son some­times pushes his to­gether to make a big rec­tan­gle, or puts them end-to-end so he has a full wall of Le­go­play­ing sur­face.

We added height to Katie’s bed­room by build­ing three stack­ing ledges — also painted Picket Fence white — to oat over the main desk. ey’re deep enough for pot­ted plants, large books, photo frames, etc., but much airier than if we’d done a set of built-in shelves or a book­case.

Now, if I’m do­ing skinny oat­ing ledges in a room, I’ll use small L brack­ets hid­den on the in­side of the ledges — so you can’t seem them at all once they’re cov­ered by a book or a piece of decor. But my handy hus­band is a stick­ler for safety, and he al­ways in­sists that wider ledges are se­cured with ugly heavy-duty brack­ets un­der­neath — to bet­ter sup­port the weight. He can be a real stick-in-the-mud (but he’s right, I guess).

I pouted about this at first, but then I kind of fell in love with spray-paint­ing the brack­ets a bright and shiny gold. If we have to see them, at least they’re pretty. (Now I want to spray more gold brack­ets to add as dec­o­ra­tions on the corners of the desks!)

I had fun load­ing up Katie’s new ledges with ac­ces­sories rounded up from around her bed­room, like brightly-coloured plant pots from Ikea, framed pho­tos and some of her books.

She is an ex­tremely tidy child and doesn’t have the masses of stu that my own kids hoard, so I even had to bor­row a few items from her sis­ter’s room to ll them out.

I also re­painted the neon let­ters that spelled out her name, since I felt the paint was a bit bright against her light blue walls and oral bed­ding. I used a soft yel­low (Prairie Sun­set by Fu­sion Min­eral Paint) and it cov­ered the neon eas­ily.

I was so happy that Katie loved her new room. In less than three hours it went through a pretty dra­matic change.

She now has more space to work, and I think the new ledges and desks will con­tinue to suit her well into her teen years.

And if she ever gets bored with her desks be­ing so clean and tidy, I know where she can nd masses of Lego bricks, LOL Dolls, Bar­bie clothes, pa­pers, puz­zles, Poke­mon cards, Shop­kins and UNO cards to scat­ter all over them. I’d be happy to help her out with that.

AF­TER: With two new desks and a set of oat­ing ledges, this bed­room has tons of work space and ver­ti­cal stor­age that will work well into the teen years.

HEATHER LAURA CLARKE PHO­TOS

BE­FORE: This eight-year-old’s bed­room lacked desk space and stor­age.

Heather’s handy hus­band framed out two desks with 2x4s and cut a sheet of melamine in two for the tops.

Heather sprayed brack­ets gold since they’d be vis­i­ble un­der the new oat­ing ledges.

Heather re­painted the neon wall let­ters a soft yel­low (Prairie Sun­set by Fu­sion Min­eral Paint) that would pop against her blue walls.

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