Office Transformation

If you are like us, you dream of having one of those magically clean and organized offices you see on Pinterest or in magazines. But in reality, it looks like this.


Our office was in shambles. It has been a space we piled anything and everything out of the way, since moving in. In this picture alone you can see a box, a kitty condo and some office stuff. We have been using 2 unpainted doors, 2 cabinets and a saw horse as a table. We wanted to put together a nice office. 2 houses ago. It was time.

The back wall was the best location for the desk to occupy. It gave us plenty of work space while making the room feel and look bigger. We measured and decided one full length door and a cut door would be better than two short doors. These are hollow core doors we had on hand. (AKA free!) We do not suggest weighing them down too heavily, but for our needs they should work fine.

We drilled a hole for the cords from the existing inlet hole using a 1 1/4 inch hole saw.

As you can see the inside of the door is hollow. We decided which paints we wanted to use. Reuse if you can.

Dede painted the cabinets white. We used upper cabinets. Lower cabinets are 35″ high, too high for a desk. The hanging cabinets we used measure 30″ high. This was a perfect height to work at. There are a variety of options at your local hardware store. Prices range from $50 to $100 or more. We picked the lower end of the price range. We went to our local restoration store first, but found nothing we could salvage.

I started out painting these with a dark gray; I noticed if I brushed it out it gave it a cool, wood toned look. I applied one coat, not applying to heavy of a coat letting the brush strokes work to my advantage.

While the doors dried, we took 2 10″x1″x10’. I made 2 cuts at 3 1/2 feet and 2 cuts at 1 foot. We had two boards at 3 1/3’ and three boards at 1’.

Starting on one side apply a thin strip of wood glue on each end of the 1’ boards. I used the brad nailer to tack in a few 2″ brads to hold them in place. Repeat for other side then flip over. Insert the center piece, wherever you want. We made two shelves, off centering them to compliment each other. Then we used 2″ wood screws to secure it. We later painted these turquoise.

Apply an initial coat of polyurethane curing for 3 to 4 hours, followed by a light sand with 220 grit paper. Apply one more coat, make sure the surface is free of debris. We let it sit for 24 hours.

We are hanging the boxes with a French cleat. It’s a piece of wood ripped down the middle at a 45-degree angle. We used a 8″ wide board. After cutting, it leaves us with 2 boards. One we attach to the wall and the other we attach to the shelf. The shelf will slide down over top and sit their perfectly tight. Find the studs. We used 3″ screws to secure the board to the wall.

Apply a bead of glue before using 2″ screws to secure the second board onto the back of the shelf.

Slide the box over, the 45’s will align and presto it is hung.

A little paint and luck makes all the difference! We allowed all the paint 24 hours to cure.

Complete! This is before we added all of our junk.

This is how it looks today. We’ve added a few things, including a place for Spock to lie while we work. Before we did, he thought he could use our keyboards as his bed. We have worked in here together and accomplish so much!

Instructions and Supplies: 

Measuring Tape 




Wood Glue 

Circular Saw

Paint (We used Eggshell, Gray and Turquoise)  

2 10 inch by 1 inch by 10 feet boards 

2-3 cabinets 30 inches high (upper cabinets work perfectly for this!) 

1-2 pieces of wood-whatever length and width you want your desk to be

Pre-step: Building a desk like this is wonderful because you can customize it to your space. You will need to determine how large or small of a desk you need/want. We wanted one that we both could work at the same time without being in each other’s way.  

Step 1: Cut your boards for the top part of your desk if needed. We measure and used a long, metal ruler to guide our saw across the doors.

Step 2: Drill a hole in the side you want to be the back towards the middle. This will be where you put all our cords. This allows the desk to be flush against the wall and keeps your cords organized. We used our drill and a 1 1/4 inch hole drill. For each door, we started on one side, then flipped over and finished coming up through the other side. 

Step 3: Paint! Paint the cabinets and doors whatever color you want. We wanted neutral cabinets and a darker top. As Kris painted the doors, he discovered he could create a wood-toned appearance if he applied the paint lightly. You can paint it a solid color.  If you are using actual wood, you could even stain it. 

Step 4: While the paint is drying, build your shelves. Take the 2 10 foot boards and cut them into 3 1/3 feet pieces. This will leave you will 3 one foot pieces. Again, use a straightedge to guide your saw, going slowly. 

Step 5: Build your shelves! This is a two-person job. Apply a thin line of wood glue on two of the 1 foot boards. Press each one onto the edge of the 3 1/2 board, lining up your edges and corners. Apply another strip of wood glue on the top 1-inch board edge and place the second 3 1/2 board on top. Kris used a nailer to tack each board into place. Take the final 1 foot board and put wood glue on two ends. Slid the board wherever you want your shelf to be divided. You can also leave the shelf open if you wish. Tack the board into place. 

Kris also used three inch screws to secure it all together. Make sure you align the screws and do not go at an angle. 

Step 6: Paint your shelves. *We painted them after assembly on purpose. If you were to paint and then assemble, the painting would be easier, but you risk cracking the paint as you assemble. 

Step 7: Build the French Cleat. Take a 8 inch wide board and cut it in half at a 45-degree angle. Paint the same color as your shelf.

Step 8: Apply polyurethane to the doors. After the first coat has set for 3-4 hours, sand using 220 grit sandpaper, getting rid of any imperfections or bubbles. Apply the second coat and allow to sit for 24 hours. 

Step 9: Let everything sit for 24 hours to cure. 

Step 10: Hang your French Cleat. Find the studs. Take your “bottom” board and secure it to the wall, using 3 inch nails. Make sure the 45-degree angle is facing up. 

Next, take the “top” cleat and screw it onto the back/top part of the shelf. Make sure the 45-degree angle is facing down. 

Hang the shelf by placing the shelf cleat over the wall cleat. 

Step 11: Assemble your desk. Place the cabinets towards the center of your boards to prevent tipping. We measured 9 inches from the wall and placed our three cabinets there. The doors fit snuggled against the wall.

Step 12: Decorate and enjoy your new room. 

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