ORC Week 2: Ran Away To The Beach And Then Built A Desk

It’s ORC week two, y’all!

I got a surprising amount done for having run away to the beach for a few days.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you may have missed that last week Jake and I decided that we needed to get away. It is, after all, 2020. We drove to a private beach down on the Emerald Coast and soaked in a lot of salty air, sea breezes, and hours of reading with the sun on our faces and our toes in the sand.

This was good, though, and even if it potentially sets me back a few days in the ORC, it put my mental health right where it needed to be. I lazily napped while watching the Great British Baking Show, snacked, and relaxed until I was ready to come home and get back into it.

A few things decided, a few things changed.

And I know I breifly mentioned this during my very first ORC post, but I don’t have a ton of rock-solid plans yet. Aside from my light fixture and deciding where I want my desk to go, what the dimensions of that are, and the color I want the desk to be, I’ve not gotten a whole lot else to go off of.

My light fixture arrived while we were at the beach and it is S T U N N I N G. It’s so so so so pretty, even though Jake said “it looks like the lights in my parents’ house.” Granted, his parents’ house is from the 1970s-ish so… I’m cool with it.

I decided today that I’m going to wax the built-ins. I talked more about doing a matte polyurethane in my last post which I’ve ultimately decided against. The matte poly would work just fine, but I do not want the color of the white birch to get deeper — it’s just so stunning as it is. So I plan on sanding and waxing to it to make sure it’s durable but also that beautiful, creamy-white birch.

Speaking of the desk, I don’t think I ever shared what my official drawings looked like when I drew them up on good old-fashioned architectural paper versus the room as it is now.

It is a true, whole-ass mess. Zero storage, zero functionality. I cannot wait to add some of that in here and have ample room to work.

On the left in the bottom photo, you can see our 3D printer. That thing is arguably the most important part of the whole desk situation as it has to have its own dedicated cubby in the office. It needs to be easily accessed from the back, white not totally-enclosed so that it can stay at a relatively cool temperature. I hope to include a hanger for spools of filament in the cabinets or in one of the drawers that I’m building. Ideally, that would all have a home and the white filing cabinet on the left can be retired for good.

Small progress is still progress.

I’m typing this at 11 pm on Wednesday evening (probably regrettably so — I imagine I’ll have to correct a few typos in the morning), but that’s because I spent the last few non-sleepy hours of my night putting edge banding on the lower cabinets. Edge banding is basically a thin strip of wood with glue on the back that you iron onto the edges of plywood to give it a finished look and to prevent the boards from warping over time. I’ve never used it until tonight and it was super easy. It made the cabinets go from meh to professional(ish) in just a few minutes.

Not only that, but I ripped out the old trim to prepare the walls for paint, to insert the built ins onto the walls, and to replace the trim with a more modern style. My drywall in this room is old and covered in probably 10 layers of paint. I accidentally put a few small holes in it with my pry-bar, and I learned that you should always score the edge of painted trim in an old house, lest you wind up with paint and drywall peeling off the wall that you’ll need to replace later. C’est la vie.

So while the progress has been slow-going over here due to my incessant need to escape to the beach, I still got a little bit done. And a little bit is all I needed this week.

Some final thoughts: conquering the things that scare us feels great.

I’m going to be honest before I wrap this up for the week: I was scared to even begin building these cabinets, let alone enter this entire room into a contest to be scrutinized by people who actually know what they’re doing.

But then I thought… You know what? I’m good at what I do. I learn and I mess up and I do it again until I nail it. All of those people who I assume can do a better job than me were once in my same position before they started and messed up and did it again until they nailed it. So if you’re reading this and for some reason assume that you can’t do something that maybe you’ve seen me or other DIYers do online… You can absolutely do it.

Comparison is an asshole, and fear is its master. We can beat them both at their own game by just showing up and doing the damn thing, which is exactly what I did and am going to continue to do when it comes to building these cabinets. I can do this, I just need to do it.

As for next week (and perhaps the weeks after that) —

I’m already dreaming of what I’m going to tackle next. Hopefully this weekend, I will be able to construct a few drawer boxes. By this time next week, I’d love to have some of this list completed: the base cabinets for the built-in desk installed, drawers and doors hung, a paint color picked out, and the desk top assembled. If I have some of it, cool. If I have none of it… Well, I hope I at least get the light fixture installed by then.

A more-distant future project I have planned for the ORC is building my own bi-fold closet doors to help with keeping this room feeling neat and tidy. Currently, the closet has curtains over it which served great as a bandaid but I’m very much over them. I purchased a kit to create my own doors, but I haven’t landed on a design yet. I will likely be using this tutorial from I Like To Make Stuff, whose tutorial I am also coincidentally following for a slide-out cabinet for the 3D printer.

I have found so many incredibly talented people (namely women; can I get a hell yeah) who are also participating in the ORC this round, and I implore you to check them out. There’s so many different styles and rooms and so much damn talent.

5 thoughts on “ORC Week 2: Ran Away To The Beach And Then Built A Desk

  1. Girl! Yes! I am sitting here at 11pm writing this as well as I have been working on my desk. I cant wait to see this!

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