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Hutch Desk Reveal and Building Process

I’ve been looking forward to this post!  There may be an overload of pictures/information but I have been living/breathing/dreaming this building project for the last 10 days and I’m so excited it is DONE!

I searched the internet for many hours looking for the perfect desk.  I knew what I wanted but couldn’t find anything that sparked my interest.  I wanted file drawers, a pull out shelf for my printer, good amount of work space, shelves, drawers, something ‘different’… something that could make all of our junk look good basically.  The closest thing I could find to what I wanted was one of those roll-top desks but it wasn’t quite right.

Then… I stumbled on this:
My jaw dropped.  It was perfect in so many ways!  I didn’t know how to go about the building process or even where to begin. I sat down and learned Google SketchUp and started designing my desk.  It took a long time to get it just right with the right measurements but worth it!



I learned a lot with this project.  My building plan and measurements were perfect but my knowledge, skill and tools aren’t so it was a challenge.  Use straight boards, cut your boards exact (millimeters matter), build square and level.  

About the desk:
-I used new/old wood of different types
-The knobs, small hinges and drawer slides are reclaimed (feels good to re-use)
-Large hinges, latches and pull handle are gate hardware
-4 adjustable small shelves on top
-2 adjustable large shelves on bottom and 1 pull-out shelf
-2 large file drawers and 2 smaller drawers
-Drop-down door opens for workspace
-Constructed mostly by using pocket holes

Pictures of the process:
First day I got the sides made and screwed together.

Second and third day I finished the main frame.

Third day I glued plugs into pocket holes, wood filled everything and sanded.

 Fourth day I gave in and bought a miter saw.  It makes small and angled cuts so easy!

Fourth day I worked on cutting shelves, drawer faces and the drop-down door.

Fifth day my husband helped me do the whitewash.

It was my first time using this stain.  It dries very quickly especially on plywood so you need to wipe if off in less than a minute (maybe 2 with regular wood) or you get splotches and streaks!

Sixth day I sanded everything and assembled the doors.  Next I finished the top and added extra trim around the top edges, wood filled, sanded and did the white wash.

Seventh day I relaxed a bit and spray painted some hardware black and added the latches, pull handle and chains.  Then I tipped it over on the back and added some adjustable levels on the legs (our floor isn’t level in the house and they also make the desk slide easier for moving).

Eight day I stained all the shelves and back panel pieces with Minwax Jacobean Stain.

Later I applied a coat of Polycrylic on all the visible surfaces, let dry, lightly sand and put another coat on heavily used areas.  I’ve used many times of Polyurethane but I must say that I like this Polycrylic the best!  It dries fast and has low odor!

   Then I brought it inside and nailed the back panels on – it was looking so good!

On the ninth day I went over to Harvey’s workshop and he helped me make the drawers.  It was my first time doing dovetail joints and I was very anxious to learn how!  The jig is pretty cool but I learned that everything needs to be set-up and adjusted perfectly for the dovetails to join well (the jig is now on my Christmas list, haha).  Harvey also helped me with other parts like cutting down his old fireplace mantel so I could use it for the leg posts and cross beams and helped me with the 4 main divider panels.. thanks Harvey!!

 On the tenth day I assembled the drawers and let them dry. Then wood filled and sanded…

…then stained with Jacobean stain and did a coat of Polycrylic.

On the tenth day I added the drawer slides!  This was the only part of the project that almost made me cry so that’s probably why I don’t have a picture of it.  It was my first time putting drawer slides on and it was more difficult than I thought.

I got the nifty file hanging hardware online with screw-in brackets and cross bars.. so much better than the wire set-in frames from file cabinets.

I like the character of the wood showing through the whitewash!

 Pull-out printer shelf.

Door latches for small doors.

Adjustable shelf hardware.  Get these in hardware store in organizational department!  Just cut to size and screw in!

 Chains attach to desk with heavy-duty d-rings…

…and fold-up right inside desk.

This is what my building plans looked like:

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  • Reply Tami Timothy

    Wow, that is so awesome! I love the whitewash and the gate hardware. I can't believe you did it in 10 days. It would take me 10 years- no actually I don't have patience to ever do that. Love it!

    August 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm
  • Reply Whitehead Family Fun

    So impressed Dani! We get home from NYC in just 2 weeks and then hopefully the projects will begin although I am much more hesitant than you as I still have a lot to learn. I am scared to death of making drawers at all (with drawer slides or otherwise). Did you just do the google sketchup tutorials? I need to work with the program more but for me it wasn't super intuitive. My first project is closet organizers!

    August 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm
  • Reply Trimbles

    I love it. And 10 days IS impressive, especially with little people running around. My little people dont leave me alone for anything. I like it better then the original. The plan was good but the wood on the original was too mismatched for me. The whitewash is great.

    August 28, 2013 at 6:42 pm
  • Reply you can call me aunt choody

    I am definitely wanting to buy those plans!

    August 29, 2013 at 10:26 am
  • Reply Jordan

    Dani, this is amazing! seriously I'm blown away at how incredibly awesome this turned out. I didn't realize I was talking to a pro when you came over a few weeks back. I would have picked your brain more:) Congrats on a beautiful piece and thanks for the inspiration.

    August 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm
  • Reply Carolyn

    You are so ridiculously talented. It's gorgeous! I think yours is even prettier than your inspiration picture!

    August 30, 2013 at 7:46 pm
  • Reply Kelli

    This is gorgeous! I don't have an office and hate clutter in the living room and this is the perfect solution to have all that office clutter in one spot in a cute, organized, and functional way! Do you sell the plans for this?

    November 18, 2015 at 9:38 am
  • Reply Dani

    Hi Kelli! I don't have plans made up – I never got around to it. I do have some screenshots of Google Sketch I did to help me build the desk I can send you. I just need your e-mail address! You can e-mail it to me at

    November 18, 2015 at 9:39 am
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