photocredit | To the Stars Through Difficulty
When I was a little kid, I always wanted a vanity desk. I was obsessed, but my parents didn’t think it was an important piece of furniture to have. When I signed the lease for my first apartment in college, a vanity was the first thing on my list, literally higher than a bed. Ever since then I’ve had a dedicated vanity/makeup table, even though I’ve had to change my original set-up to fit new apartments & their unique spaces. For a few years I used a combination of an Ikea Malm dressing table (the 80″ version I had has been discontinued & replaced with this 47″ one) and tri-fold mirror, but when I moved last year from a giant loft near my college to a mid-sized studio in the heart of the city, I had to get rid of it (tear) in favor of something that was more multi-purpose for the space. This year I moved into a one-bedroom apartment that has almost double the space of the studio, and I’m excited to have a dedicated vanity area again!
Here’s the way my bedroom is currently set-up:
For awhile I’ve been using an Ikea “Ektorp” footstool (I love that it has storage inside, and that I can change the slipcover), and West Elm’s low butler stand + mirrored tray, but lately I’ve been brainstorming desk options. The space between the mirror & the wardrobe is narrow, so I don’t want anything too wide. In fact, I want to cut a notch in the back of whatever table I use so that it can slide over the mirror and sit flush with the wall. I looked into glass & acrylic options, because having a clear desk would help make the area look less cluttered. After calling a number of area glass/acrylic shops, I realized that this was definitely out of my budget. On the low end, an acrylic waterfall table with the dimensions I wanted was priced around $300 – before I got someone to cut the notch out of the back. Too bad – because they are frickin’ gorgeous.
After that, I thought about having a regular table top, but with slim legs that wouldn’t be obtrusive. During an Ikea run for plant pots, I found what looks like a Pax wardrobe shelf for $5 in the as-is section. It was almost exactly the dimensions I wanted (I wanted a surface 38″ deep x 22″ wide, this was 37 7/8″ x 22.5″) and way cheaper than any other surface I was considering, so I got it. After looking around for leg options online, I decided hairpin legs could be a good choice – thin & sleek, just like I wanted! I came across ModernLegs, which makes all kinds of hairpin-style legs, traditional & otherwise. I liked them but didn’t love them, and at $100 for 4 legs & shipping, I couldn’t make the purchase. Then I saw these shelves by photographer Kristy Dickerson:
So.Amazingly.Brilliant. Inspired by Restoration Hardware’s “Reclaimed Wood Wall Ledges“, Kristy figured out a much cheaper way to get the same look. After some searching, I came across others that have done the same (see Laura’s version & Kristen’s version), and I was sold. I actually like the DIY version much better because it looks more industrial than the RH version.
After some sketching, I came up with this:
I had no idea about measurements, but wanted a roughly 30″ high end result, with each arm attached to the wall, and a perpendicular leg set back near the wall for support. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait til the weekend, I had to go to Home Depot right after work. The guy in the plumbing department was incredibly helpful – he helped me figure out how to account for the fittings to make the desk the height I needed, and cut/threaded all the pipes for me. He said that all week people had been coming in for pipes to make furniture – one person even made a bed – that’s a lotttt of pipes. I got home late & haven’t put it together yet – I’ll follow-up with progress + finished photos.
Here’s my item/price list (all 1/2″ pipe/fittings):
|1/2″ x 120″ Black Pipe*||$10.62||1||$10.92|
|1/2″ Pipe Clips||$1.87/10-pack||2||$1.87|
*When building pipe furniture, some people prefer to buy nipples – pre-cut, threaded pipe in standard lengths. It costs much less to buy a long length of pipe & have the HD employee cut & thread it for you. It didn’t take very long – maybe half an hour to discuss with him & have everything cut & threaded (which he does for free).