Back when we first moved into our home, I had big plans for our office. It’s located right off of our front door and I knew it would be the perfect place to sit and work from home. Once we started renovating, my office visions became just a dream.

Until AntiQued started supplying The Emporium with plenty of reclaimed lumber.

And just like that – practically overnight – I hatched an idea for a built in desk area in our office that would create two workspaces for the Good Man and myself.

At first, the Good Man wasn’t too keen on the idea. He wasn’t sure where to start, but I was determined. As you’ll see in the coming months, our style is modern transitional, and the wood I wanted to bring in screams rustic. He wasn’t sure how to clean it up to make the work surface usable – not one where we are constantly afraid of getting splinters. But that character – how could you say no to such beauty?!?

After some thought, we hatched a plan to use stock cabinets and an epoxy finish on the boards. Flanked with two custom bookshelves and artwork purchased during our time in Italy, this space is functional and beautiful. We’re proud of how it turned out and it wasn’t too difficult. The Good Man enjoyed the process so much he is trying to figure out what he needs to have an epoxy coating next!

How to Create a Built in Desk with Reclaimed Lumber from AntiQued:

Measure your space and create a plan. Pay attention to standard stock cabinet sizes and work around those (unless you want to invest the time to create your own custom cabinets. More on how we did that in another project later!). We used painter’s tape on the floor to get a good idea of where the cabinets would go and where the desk space would be.

Calculate the square footage of wood you’ll need and head down to The Emporium to purchase all the reclaimed lumber filled with character that you’ll need from AntiQued! Purchase all of the cabinets from the hardware store, along with screws and any other necessary tools.

We wanted the depth of lower cabinets, but also wanted our desk to be a standard table height, so we cut the kick plate off of the base on our stock cabinets.

Secure the cabinets in place by screwing them into the wall.

Roll out paper to protect your floor and tape in place. We used plastic and it moved around a lot, which didn’t help contain epoxy drips. We have a few places on the floor with shiny spots now, so be careful!

Measure and cut the wood countertops to size. Pay attention to any detail in the wood that you want hidden or highlighted in any particular spot. We laid the boards out on top of the cabinets to get an idea of where the color variation would be. Our boards were too short to run along the entire wall on one side, so we puzzled them together.

Sand the underside of the boards to remove any potential splinters on your legs or fingers. Leave the topside alone – you’ll want all of that character preserved!

Screw the boards together and to the cabinets. We used a kreg jig on the under side since we don’t own a planer.

Use wood filler to create a seal between the boards. Tape the underside of the boards along the cracks and over previous nail holes to prevent the epoxy from dripping through. Don’t forget about where the boards meet the wall!

Create the epoxy by following the instructions exactly. We used Famowood High Build Coating Epoxy (clear) – I can’t tell you how it compares to other products since this was the first project we’ve ever done with an epoxy, but I’m sure there will be more! Pour a thick layer on and guide it into the corners and around the counter – don’t scrape.

Use a heat source to get the bubbles out of the epoxy while it is still wet (like a blowtorch or hair dryer). 

Allow to dry for at least 72 hours before using. If you mess up, allow the epoxy to dry and then sand it down, clean up the dust, and re-try. Our first coat was way too thin, so we had to do this to get the perfect workable counter!