Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just what the Internet needs--


...another chalkboard paint makeover. I know, I know.

But listen, I had to do something. This was the state in which I originally found this piece:

That's right, this is that table I didn't want to talk about, finally fixed up and in my house lo these I-don't-want-to-count-how-many-months later.

I used some wood filler to take care of those holes in the top, and the tips in this post to prime and paint it.

Most of this was actually done last summer, while my parents were visiting. When I first picked up the piece, I had thought I might use it as a bedside table. But watching my dad labor over the table--he would come along behind me after I'd sanded down the wood filler, put another layer on (this was after I'd mentally deemed it good enough, mind you), rinse and repeat--it was clear that he was doing this for his granddaughter. So a desk for her it became.

I guess the obvious place to put a child's desk is in her bedroom, but I decided to put it in the dining room. Before we brought the desk in, the girl would often work on art projects at the dining room table while I cooked dinner in the evenings, and I wanted to keep her out there nearby me. I like that we decided where to put the desk not based on an arbitrary rule (a child's desk belongs in a bedroom!) or even a counterintuitive rule (a child's desk belongs in the common area!) but based on how we actually use, and want to use, our space. Note to self: more of this type of thinking, please.

My initial instinct was to try to tuck all of the kid's art supplies into the desk, but I'm glad I restrained myself. Instead I just stored a few essentials there: some of the drawing tools that she uses most in the cups on the desktop, plain drawing paper in the little horizontal slot to the side, and supplies for an ongoing "project" in the cubby underneath. I think the smaller amount of stuff for her to manage works a lot better, and the things she uses most are still right at hand.

The rest of the art supplies are still in the sideboard--at least for now; it's a terrible place for them. Too dark and hard to access, an instant mess. I'm hoping to move them to a bin in one of the cubbies of our new sofa table.

Anyway, I was pretty chuffed to see this scene about 15 minutes after I'd set things up:

Of course, this was the view 24 hours later. Genetics in action, my friends:

And since then, I have to admit, things have gotten a lot more...entropic. Stuff all over the top of the desk, stuff taking over the dining room table, little cut-up bits of paper in between.

One thing we still need is a place for her finished artwork. I think that will help move it off the desk so she can continue using the desk. Also that will make it easier for me--and eventually, her--to pick up the scraps left behind if the precious things are already sorted out.

And I know she still needs a chair, too. I haven't been able to find one--or rather, I haven't been able to stomach paying more for shipping than for the chair itself--but I couldn't wait any longer! And I'm glad I didn't. For now she's happy to stand at the desk, or perch on a stepstool--she is really enjoying her new spot.


  1. I love everything about this post. The internet needed one more, apparently, because yours is the first one I've seen :)

    1. Thank you, Darcy! I'm so glad you appreciate my ramblings. ;-)

  2. I forgot to tell you - they day after I read this last week, we moved all my son's cars (and the ikea tables they live on) from the living room into his bedroom, and then moved his desk to the living room. It's so much better now - thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Oh, that is awesome, Hilary! I'm so glad that the switch is working for you, and totally tickled that I was able to inspire someone else in this way. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know!

  3. do you just use a regular chalk eraser for the child to erase...(dumb question I guess)

    1. Not a dumb question at all! The Internet is full of chalkboard-painted projects...but not so full of info about how they work in real life.

      Anyway, yes, you can just use a regular chalk eraser. That will often leave you with some dust, though, so a swipe with a damp cloth and maybe some mild cleaner every once in a while is useful too.