Our office area is front and center in our home.  I wanted it that way – since someone is always at the computer.

But that means the office area is fully visible from all the main areas of the house.

So it needs to look good.  And these days when using a computer is as common as cooking, creating a built in desk that matches my kitchen cabinetry is the right decision.

And if it’s built-in cabinetry, it has to be made of plywood. 

But I dread working with plywood, because that means I have to ask for help.  I have to borrow my husband’s truck.  I have to ask for help loading the plywood off the shelf on to a cart.  Someone has to hold on to the baby while I push the plywood cart.  I can slide the plywood into the truck bed, but it is a struggle hauling it into the garage.  I can do these things, but it is not easy.  Thus the dreading.  You know what I’m talking about.

So after a decade of avoiding plywood projects whenever possible, it came to me: There needs to be a service where pre-cut plywood pieces show up on my doorstep and all I have to do is start building.

It’s taken many months of planning and working, but today, I’m so thrilled to release the very first project made with our brand new service Shelf Help, my new built in desk: 

If you aren’t able to watch the video, here’s the photo steps:

1. Design the Bases

I used the Shelf Help Configurator to design my desk bases to fit my needs.  I have created a template for this desk system that you can use to guide you in designing and building your desk.

shelf help desk

2. Plywood Panels Arrive

The plywood panels for the desk arrived about a week later in the mail.  I didn’t have to go buy the plywood, haul it, cut it, and then deal with (and pay for) scraps I didn’t need.

shelf help order in package

The front edges of the plywood panels are also edge banded, so no need to finish them!

shelf help front edge banding

3. Assemble

Assembling the plywood pieces is pretty straight forward – just drill 3/4″ pocket holes on the horizontal pieces and attach to the vertical pieces with 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.

shelf help building

Instead of a full plywood top or back, I used 1×3 furring strips to tie the sides in.  This saves weight, cost, and bulk in the project.

shelf help building step 2

4. Customize

Once the carcass is done, it’s easy to customize to suit your needs.  Since you are working with a square project, you can just measure as you go – no need for a detailed plan.For the desk base on the right, I added three drawers and a cabinet door.

adding drawers to a built in desk

For the base on the left, I added a roll out printer shelf.  All the bases have 5″ baseboard.

roll out printer shelf

5. Finish and Top

The finish on the desk is primer and white semi-gloss paint from Sherwin Williams (color is Extra White).  The countertop is quartz, the color is Rococo.  The quartz countertop is just sitting on the desk bases.  It is very heavy, so glad the desk bases are well made with 3/4″ thick plywood!

custom built in desk

Are you ready to build your own desk?  

Head on over to Shelf Help for more details, templates, and of course, the configurator!