Before & After: A West Elm-Inspired Desk Hack

published Nov 2, 2014
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(Image credit: Sasha Gagnon )

If you’ve ever not been able to afford a design you spot in a catalog, look instead to your thrift store, and keep your eyes peeled for a piece that shows potential. You just might be able to shape it to look more like your dream furniture piece without spending as much money!

(Image credit: Sasha Gagnon )

From Sasha:

When we bought a Highland Park 1924 bungalow with small rooms and one tiny hallway, our massive oak 1950s teacher’s desk would not fit into the office (despite an hour of twisting and turning it, scuffing up the walls in the process!). So I went on a mission to find a desk that was just as cool. I fell in love with this West Elm desk, but not the $2000 price (especially after just bleeding money on our house renovation).

I found this desk at a local thrift store for $50 (it’s LA after all) and thought it had potential. I needed to open up the bottom not just for looks, but so my 6’1″ husband had somewhere to comfortably put his legs when pulling hours-long writing sessions. Taking off the bottom portion was easy; it was a few pieces of wood held in by brackets.

I ordered the three new legs on, and the awesome staff there patiently helped me decide what lengths I needed. I found the three metal swivel tips on Ebay for $10. I sanded and stained the whole thing and applied Danish Oil and a wax to the top, and when the unfinished legs and cleats arrived I stained them and added one coat of Danish Oil for a more finished look and to match the rest. I kept the original drawer knobs and just cleaned them up with some Brasso. And that’s it! I’m really happy with the results!

Thank you Sasha!