This Desk is not from IKEA

The first apartment that Tuvia and I lived in was tiiiinnnyyyy (as in smaller than the number of letters I used in “tiny”). Since we were trying to fit into a space and we weren’t sure that we wanted to commit to hardcore furniture just yet, we outfitted almost our entire apartment in IKEA.

The pictures from the first apartment are all from my old cell phone so the quality isn’t the best but it should give you an idea of what we’re talking about.

the view from the front door- I am literally wedged into the front door

The picture above is before we got any furniture into it and the one below is as much of the living room/dining room/entryway/den as I could get in the tiny quarters available

ignore random mirror leaning against the wall

We used vertical space as much as we could, obviously. The table was from IKEA and expanded for when we had guests. The coffee table was actually there on loan from a friend who got it for free from Craigslist. The guy he got it from had made it from pieces of wood and the top is bottle caps with a piece of glass on top, but his girlfriend was making him get rid of it. She clearly has no appreciation for fine furniture. I kinda miss that table…

You can kind of see a little better in this picture

This is before we put anything on the walls, but I can’t seem to find any pictures of the finished product.

Anyway, once we started that way, it seemed to make sense to continue. It serves our purposes and our wallets. So far everything has held up beautifully through three (yup, three) apartments, two moves, and a very active toddler with a propensity for climbing on everything. (One day I’ll get pictures up of the second apartment so you can see how we used our furniture there, plus I like it a LOT better than the first)

We do have a few things that aren’t IKEA and while in my own way I worship that Smaland-ish store, I’m oddly proud of the things we have that are from elsewhere. I just like having things that not everyone else has and being able to say that not everything is IKEA.

The list of non-IKEA furniture includes:

a baby grand piano (gift), the couches (Jennifer Convertibles), our beds (Sleepy’s), dining room table (Craigslist), chairs (West Elm that we slowly collected over time), ottomans (Target), side table (West Elm), all the furniture in Aiden’s room except the Expedit bookcase, various accessories like pillows and curtains and what not, and….my great-grandmother’s desk!

Okay, I’m realizing that we have way too many pieces of furniture, but let’s focus on the desk (sorry about the quality of the photo)

Not only is it not IKEA, but the fact that it was my great-grandmother’s makes it a billion times more special for me. A lot of people in our neighborhood are lucky enough to have hand-me-down furniture but ours is limited to this one thing and I love it.

My mother sent me a picture of my great-grandmother, Baba, but hasn’t learned how to turn off the flash on her phone and I haven’t learned how to unflashify (it’s a word) the picture:

Baba, Zeida, my two older brothers, and my sister

The desk isn’t our usual taste and we were thinking of painting and changing out knobs, but my mother really didn’t want us to and I find that I’m happy to have it as it was intended- scratches and all!

We’ve only had it since we moved to our current apartment, but it’s been in our bedroom in a state of disgrace for two years. Two years! I continued the filing system I created when we were first married, but our filing needs have changed since then.

So, last week when Tuvia put up mirrors and did various smaller things around the apartment, he also put up shelves above the desk!

Tuv making sure the first shelves are level

As you can see, we put two shelves on each level

The shelves were a bit of a debate because I wanted pretty ones, possibly floating shelves, a more built-in look, or white, but ultimately the $2 IKEA Ekby Laiva ones won out because they’re $2.

The six shelves inviting us to put our what-not on them

the requisite Tuvia-in-front-of-project picture

We always try to clean up right away, it makes things easier and definitely makes me happy.

the shelves with the desk and oh, boy those are scratches on the floor!

The top shelf holds all the playbills from the plays Tuvia was in during college. His aunt had him autograph it every year and gave it to him when he graduated. I love it because it’s sort of a timeline of our story: the play I first saw him, the play when I met him, the play when we got engaged, and the play a little before we got married.

I must have gone through our files four or five times to figure out what supplies we still needed and we went to the Container Store. Home Goods rocks my world, but the Container Store is my happy place. It’s so ORGANIZED! I realize that’s an obvious statement, but I feel energized and relaxed just by walking into that store.

Tomorrow I’ll update with our Container Store purchases and pictures of the desk now that it has our stuff back on it. Have you gone through a desk redo or added shelves to keep up with your needs? How about a new filing system? I love to hear how people organize their files! I’m odd that way

P.S. the drawers of the desk are so wonderfully organized and functional now that I’ve gone through a desk-purge!



8 thoughts on “This Desk is not from IKEA

  1. My favorite kind of post! Talking about organization! I have a file drawer from the container store (…its hidden on the floor of the linen closet and fits perfectly for the few items I am willing to keep. My real filing system is scanning copies of bills, emailing them to myself, labeling them in gmail (e.g. bills/verizon) and replying to myself the date and method paid.

    More organization posts please!!!!!!

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