Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DIY Schoolhouse Desk

diy schoolhouse desk

How to build a schoolhouse style desk.  I teamed up with Ana White again to transform what was an empty space into a complete kids workspace.  She designed beautiful plans for the schoolhouse desk and I got busy building desks for my kids.
kids schoolroom progress
A few days later I added the wall hutches too:

kids schoolroom desk and wall hutch
We recently moved to a new home and I quickly realized, after unpacking the kitchen and bedrooms, I better get my kids a workspace fast if I want to keep them out of my hair and get anything done!

schoolhouse desks in a row

Ana's schoolhouse desk plans were inspired by the Pottery Barn schoolhouse desk.  The plans are fairly simple but more importantly affordable, one desk will cost about $70 if you use all birch plywood.

diy schoolhouse desk for playroom

And the inspiration:

pottery barn kids schoolhouse desk

For the desk top surface I choose to repurpose 3/4" pine boards from an old Ikea computer cabinet I had taken apart.  The contrast between the stained wood, white paint, dark hardware and bluestone floor is so yummy!

diy kids desk with storage

I also made the desk surface 20" deep giving my kids a larger workspace.  Simply pull the schoolhouse base away from the wall about 3" keeping a 1" overhang on the front edge:

diy kids desk with file cabinet storage

I added a ledge above the desk surface, it provides the perfect spot to hold art supplies and keeps the desk surface free and clear.

schoolhouse desks in playroom collage

The drawer and door hardware is from D.Lawless, antique copper cup pull with label holder:

schoolhouse desk drawer pulls

I used basic Euro hinges on the doors:

schoolhouse desk large open cabinet

And added a flat 3/4" x 1/2" piece of molding opposite the hinges in order to stop the door flush:

large open cabinet with door stop

The drawers are the perfect size for kids, not too deep but still hold a lot of tools and supplies:

schoolhouse desk drawer

A huge that you to Ana White for designing these plans, my kids are truly over the moon with their new workspace.  It's functional, spacious, designated and beautiful - I owe it all to Ana for coming up with the idea for the space.

schoolhouse desk details

Here's how to build the schoolhouse desk:

1. Follow Ana's schoolhouse desk plans for cut and build specs:

building schoolhouse desks

2. Prime and paint, two coats high gloss white enamel:

painting kids desks

3. Install a 1x4 ledge above the chair rail to hold art supplies.
Keeping in the mind the built in storage cabinet door clearance:

installing wall ledge

And notch out for the hinge:

clip corner for hinge

4. Simply apply construction adhesive and nail into place.
Prime and paint to match base paneling.

construction adhesive and nail gun


  1. WOW! that is awesome! and i love teh pop of yellow in the chairs!

  2. It looks fabulous, Jaime! I really like the color of the chairs too.

  3. I love this! What a great grouping of desks. And your resource for the drawer pulls is priceless, thanks!

  4. I loooooove this! Perfect for your space, and so eye-catching and inspiring! I have school on the brain with it coming up so quickly! Well done!

  5. This is more timely than you know as I hope to start on my schoolroom this week! Big question for you: what is measurement of the space the chairs sit in? Or, what is the measurement of the space from the cabinet side to the support leg? We are trying to figure out some dimensions here and this info would be most helpful. Ana hasn't given specifics in her plan! Thanks SO much!

  6. I love your desks! Can I ask where you got the tins on the shelf above? I just finished a pegboard wall for a creative space and am looking for tins just like those!


  7. What a great use of that space! Should expect straight A's for sure this year ;-)

  8. Wow Jaime - that turned out beautiful and that's exactly what I want for our new office, thank you so much!!!

  9. Thanks for the link! The project looks great! So glad our hardware was useful!

  10. I'll bet your kids can't resist their new work space! These look beautiful and you did another amazing job :)

  11. These are amazing! And I totally love the stained tops.

  12. So cute! I'd like to invite you to share them at my Twirl & Take a Bow Party at www.houseontheway.com.
    Have a great week.

  13. What a great work space! I especially love the ledge over the desk. I'm visiting from the 36th Avenue link party.

    Christy @ Creating a Beautiful Life

  14. Awesome! You are so talented...I'd have purchased some filing cabinets and topped them off. lol This is gorgeous!