Finished Tarva Nightstand

How is it the middle of September already? Time seems to be flying by lately!

We had the most incredibly wonderful, fantastic cool front last weekend! (I may have enjoyed it a little bit) In Houston, when the high temps don’t make you sweat like crazy the minute you walk out the door… Autumn is approaching. I welcomed these mild days with open arms, but they also reminded me that Fall is almost here and the end of the year is nearing the horizon. There was a twinge of sadness, but also excitement because it is almost my favorite time of the year… the Holidays!

Ever since Christopher made his transition into a big boy bed this past January, we have been using the small table from my nesting tables as his nightstand. I have been searching for a simple nightstand that I could refinish to match his dresser to no avail. I had contemplated using the IKEA TARVA nightstand and after little to no luck on my thrifting expeditions, I swung by IKEA for the TARVA.

I started this project with the simple unfinished TARVA nightstand from IKEA. In a stroke of pure genius, IKEA produced a completely “hackable” side table with drawer. There are infinite variations of this piece since it is literally a blank canvas.

A few ideas swirled around in my head, but in the end I stuck to the original plan and stained the TARVA to match Christopher’s existing dresser. I used the same Minwax Gel Stain in Chestnut.

I stained the piece before assembly to avoid any inadvertent gaps in stain. Also, it is much easier to manipulate individual pieces rather than the entire table.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had finished staining Christopher’s nightstand and I finally got around to assembling it and putting the protective coat on it last week.

My favorite top coat is by far Polycrylic in Clear Satin. It provides fantastic protection without a heavy sheen. I applied three coats to the top, sides and drawer front/handle.

My best advice with any stain or sealer is to follow the directions to the letter. I ended up putting the Polycrylic on in our entryway due to the abhorrent amounts of humidity we’ve had in recent weeks. At long last, the finished product made its debut in Christopher’s room last Thursday.

I am completely pleased with the end result!

Have you “hacked” an IKEA piece in your home?


~ Corinne


Desk Reveal

At long last I am able to show you my lovely new desk. I finally managed to get the photos on my computer and carve out some time to write this post. It has taken a while to get everything just so. They say good design evolves over time… So I’ll just use that as my rationalization!


I started thinking seriously about creating a space for a writing desk late last year and shared some inspiration photos here. Initially, I was intending to use a much smaller desk. We are limited on space here in our townhome, but after seeing it in Ikea I knew it was just too small. I did another inspiration post earlier this year as I was mulling over new ideas. Finally, I decided on purchasing the Linnmon/Lerberg combo.


Of course, I was not going to leave the desk as-is. I may have a slight tendency to always want to change my surroundings for the better… At this very moment our built-in bookcases are being rearranged for at least the 4th time… Back to the desk.

I had decided at the beginning of this venture that I wanted the final product to be either in part of completely gold leaved. In the case of this desk I decided on the white lacquer top and gold leaving the legs. Although applying gold leaf is relatively simple it can be a tedious endevour. I initially intended to get Martha’s Transfer Adhesive and Foil Transfer Sheets. However, both times I went to Michaels they were out of both items. I ended up using another brand from Hobby Lobby, but was left a bit wanting; more on that later.


The first step was to apply the adhesive or sizing. The sizing sets in a matter of minutes, and then the gold leaf application can begin. I made the mistake of applying adhesive to about half of one of the trestles the first time. After having my arms, hands, and fingers stick to everything, I decided to go one leg at a time.

Next, carefully brush the leaves down with a soft paint brush.

Once I got my method down, I finished both trestles in about 2 hours.

Next, I used the same soft brush to sweep off any extra gold flakes. I did have to do a few touch ups in some areas where there was not adequate sizing.

Last, I applied 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic. This is my favorite protective coating because it will not yellow over time like polyurethanes.

And here it is all finished. I apologize for the cell phone photo, but this is the only picture I have before I brought in the computer and accessories.

I am especially pleased with the result now that I have all of my “creative clutter” though.

Finally hanging my drapery panels didn’t hurt either… Most of the time they hide my mass of cords.

This has already become my new hub. I just love sitting down to browse for inspiration or check email. Another great perk is that I am right in front of our huge bedroom window. Trees, sky, and nature’s beauty are just a glance away.

My $6.00 Goodwill brass lamp provides wonderful task lighting.

A scrap of Edelman’s Croco Loco serves as my mouse pad while a Japanese display dish contains my fun gold paper and binder clips. The dish was given to me as a Chritsmas gift from my Gramma, along with 5 others. I plan on using the rest throughout my home, but this elegant little touch reminds me of her daily.

And this cute little face always brightens my mood.

Overall, I could not be more content with my little niche.

In retrospect, I would have probably waited for or purchased Martha’s adhesive and foil sheets online. The ones I used were extremely hard to handle because they constantly slid off of the paper backing. I watched a few videos on gold leafing with Martha’s products and it did not seem to be a problem.


So, what do you think of the new “me” space?