DIY built-in desk for the kitchen

Last month I shared the HUGE transformation of painting our hutches white, but this the final part of that story: a built-in desk squeezed into the tiny nook left on that wall.

It was wasted space, really. We had one main hutch, a second hand-me-down hutch (both pretty much loaded with the kids’ art supplies rather than dishes), and a 24” gap. A space like that isn’t good for much, except maybe a fiddle-leaf fig. (I’m working on keeping practice plants alive at the moment.)

I’ve always stored my Chromebook in the top drawer of the main hutch, and then just set it up on the dining room table whenever I needed it. But then the power cord stretched across the room, and tripping hazards are never good in a house with little kids and clumsy adults.

I decided the little 24” gap was perfect for sneaking in a small built-in desk.

This was before I got my very own power tools for my birthday, so my handy husband whipped up a simple desktop out of 2x4s. Since space was at a premium, he used brackets to secure it to the wall so it only needed two slim legs at the front.

“Do you recognize these?” he said, pointing to the dark wood legs like they were supposed to be familiar. “They’re from the crib.”

The crib that we converted into a bench TWO YEARS AGO, if you’ll recall, and apparently these pieces were taken off in the process. Yes, he really does save every scrap of wood in case it can come in handy someday!

I painted the desk the same colour I’d just done the hutches (Fusion Mineral Paint in “Casement” white), and we already had a chair that fit nearly under it — although I’m looking around for a new one. Then I drilled a small plastic basket (from the Dollar Store) underneath the desk to hold the computer cords so they wouldn’t droop everywhere.

I needed fairly narrow artwork for above the desk, so I rummaged in my DIY closet (it’s under the basement stairs — very glamorous) and found an old pink-painted frame. After a few coats of “Casement,” it looked great above the desk framing a white, yellow and pale blue paper cut-out.

The final step was setting up the World’s Smallest Desk. I snagged a lamp from our basement with a fairly slim base so it didn’t take up valuable real estate, and spray-painted a black plastic pencil cup to give it an aged gold look. The desk is so small that our mousepad looked like a black hole, so I ended up cutting it down and recovering it with a pretty grey-patterned fabric.

Having a “kitchen desk” is really practical, I’ve discovered, so now I understand why they’re built into so many new homes. I’ve found myself sitting down to send emails or finish up assignments while also keeping an eye on something in the oven or on the stove.

The kids have enjoyed it even more, though, because it’s given them more opportunities to play Starfall (a great educational site for preschoolers and kindergarteners). I love seeing them cozied up together on the single chair, counting out loud and clicking on different letters … until it inevitably turns to fighting over turns, of course.

Let’s hear it for the hardest-working 24” in the house!

So what do you think?

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