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Art Deco Desk Hack

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So, for the last several months, I've been going desk-less—my old desk was a POS, and since I moved I haven't been able to bring myself to drag it into my living room with my (fairly) nice furniture.  So I've been using an end table in front of my couch—not the best set-up.  Shortly after I moved, I picked up an art deco bedroom set—a dresser, chifferobe and a vanity, with the vague idea of using the vanity as a desk.

In case you're not familiar with art deco style vanities, however, they're not really suitable for desk use—there's a lower center portion between two table tops, leaving no place to tuck your legs under.  Here's a picture of mine:

There's also a half-width glass shelf between the two, but overall, the arrangement isn't workable.  I kept telling myself I'd figure something out—"maybe I could sit kinda sideways, or get one of those kneeling chairs" and other such Bad Ideas.  Finally, I ran across a keyboard drawer I had kicking around, and the whole idea came together.

So, I started with the vanity.  Here's what it looks like with the ginormous mirror removed:

Next, I needed drawer slides to mount the keyboard drawer on:

I didn't want to wreck the vanity by just bolting the slides directly to it, so I decided that mounting brackets to the back of the vanity, with padding of some type under the slides would be the way to go.  At Home Despot, I found some heavy-duty 3/4" angle brackets and 1 1/2" wide non-slip rubber furniture feet.  This is the back of the vanity where I decided to mount the brackets, and the parts I picked up.  (The white plastic in the bracket is some .030" teflon sheet I had lying around.)

The picture on the lower right is the left-hand slide with feet and brace attached.

Since the slides were only going to attached at the rear, I realized I needed to cross-brace them, to keep everything square.  I got some 1/8" thick, 3/4" wide aluminium flat stock, temporarily installed the slides, and marked where I needed to drill holes in the aluminium, then drilled and installed the cross-braces.  I then took the slides back off and mounted the keyboard drawer.

At this point it was all over except for the screa... err... putting the slides on permanently, re-installing the mirror and putting my crap on it.  The glass shelf is just the right depth to put my LCD monitor on- the rear of the drawer slides right up to it when it's closed.  The drawer can extend about 18" from the edge of the desk—which is massive overkill; 6 or 8" is more than enough to give me plenty of leg room—and it's very stable even at full extension.  Leaning on it with a fair amount of weight barely budges it.

A couple views of the finished office space, with the chifferobe to the left.  (The dresser on the right is not from this set- that one's actually in the bedroom, where it belongs)

I gotta say, it's really nice having a real workspace again.  I've got a couple of upgrades I want to do—the drawer works well enough, but it's a little out of place compared to the vanity, plus, with a full-sized keyboard, there's no room for a mouse.  (The MX-8100, of course, has a built-in mousepad, but I'm not as comfortable using it as a mouse, and I also want to have more flexibility for using other 'boards.)  The version 1.5 firmware upgrade will be a replacement for the drawer- I'm going to take a piece of ash or oak and veneer it with zebrawood, walnut and maple to match the vanity, as well as putting an extension for a mouse on the right side (maybe both sides; we'll see).

Nice work.  I was going to mention the issue with using the mouse...but see you addressed that at the end.  Personally, I need a LOT more workspace (I'm a workspace hog)...but if it is working well for you, then great!

Looks really nice.  But, I've gotta have a desk I can put my feet under.

Yeah, I think it's pretty cool. I see you dig it, so I can't wait to see what it looks like next.


--- Quote from: iMav;2707 ---Nice work.  I was going to mention the issue with using the mouse...but see you addressed that at the end.  Personally, I need a LOT more workspace (I'm a workspace hog)...but if it is working well for you, then great!
--- End quote ---

Well,I tend to be a bit of a workspace hog, too- so far, having less immediately available space is helping to keep me on top of putting crap away.  Not that I really expect that to last, so I made sure that I have plenty of distributed workspace available.  

There's a a fair amount of unused pace on the endtable where my printer is (it's just a touch out of reach, but that's what rolling chairs are for, right?) and also on the dresser on the other side.  Finally, the chifferobe actually has a built-in secretary's desk, just in arm's-reach from where I sit, as well as a big open wardrobe, that I plan on putting a free-standing bookcase in for, well, books.

And, just because I find it kind of amusing, the original sales tag:

As far as having enough workspace right at hand, it occurs to me that I could really extend the drawer for the v1.5 (or maybe it would justify v2.0) upgrade- run it the entire width of the vanity, and add a couple more drawer slides on the outside edges.  So, in effect, the entire desk top would slide in and out.  Heck, I could even run the sides further out, for a  wrap-around effect.  Hmmm...  I'll have to think some more on this.


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