Botanic Bleu Market

French Country Garden Shed | Shelf Desk

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

An 11.5" by 34" shelf added to a corner of my French Country garden shed is the perfect solution for adding a desk to the small 12 feet square space. The garden shed serves as both an upscale garden house and as a pop-up Christmas store each December.  

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
Every addition to the space must be functional, be inexpensive, and be beautiful to display gorgeous Christmas decor. Many of the materials used to construct and to update the garden building are recycled, but not extremely rustic. Often rough recycled materials were sanded, stripped, refinished, or painted. Gently worn surfaces with a natural patina developed over time are the key to capturing the French Country farmhouse style found in both my home and the garden house. 

 F R E N C H   C O U N T R Y   

G A R D E N   S H E D  

s h e l f   d e s k 

The biggest hurdle to overcome for adding a desk to the garden shed was the lack of space. Which meant any desk had to be small, yet big enough to be useful. 

Sometimes you have to let go of one thing 

to find room for something else. 

A F T E R 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
Once I began to consider switching from a comfortable French Country armchair to a matching side dining chair, the plan came together for a shelf desk. A view of the finished shelf desk shows ample room for the shelf and French Country side chair. 

B E F O R E 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
The French Country dining armchair is only a little larger than the dining side chair, but in the small space every inch counts. 

Not only was the larger chair switched for a smaller chair in the same design, the items on the walls were also rearranged. 

S H E L F  D E S K  C O N S T R U C T I O N 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk

The shelf desk is 34" long x 11.5" deep x 1" thickness and was created using three items, all of which were recycled from previous projects around the house and garden shed.  
  • Pine Stair Tread 
  • Wood Support Bracket 
  • 1" x 2" Wood Board 

The solid pine stair tread is my favorite go-to wood for shelves. 

Why Pine Stair Treads Are My Favorite 

1] Four-foot pine stair treads are standard in-stock materials at my local home improvement store. They are not located with the standard shelf boards. You may have to ask an employee where to find them. They also come in five-foot lengths, but the five-footers have to be special ordered. With the advent of curbside pick-up, you can order both in-stock and special order materials online, and pick them up from local stores without getting out of your car. And, stair treads come in other woods, like oak, but cost substantially more than pine. 

2] One of the things I love most about the treads is how thick they are. They are 1" true thickness, unlike standard wood shelving materials listed as 1" thickness, but are really ¾" thick. That extra ¼" thickness gives the boards a sturdy appearance and feel. 

3] The rounded bullnose front edge adds elegant style without requiring use of a power tool. The shelf looks finished and does not have sharp corners along the front to bang your hand. 

4] The treads are first-quality wood, ready to stain or paint, with no knotholes or warping. If you have ever shopped for boards, you know you have to check every board for knots, chipped edges, and being warped. The pine stair treads are far superior to standard shelf boards. 

I like natural wood tones, but unstained pine tends to get orange over time. The wood grain of the treads accepts stains easily and looks fantastic with a barely-there whitewash stain as shown in the photo. The grain shows through. 

5] At four feet in length, the treads are great for many shelf projects. The shelf shown is 34" long to fit the available space. This shelf was previously used as a top for a white wicker plant stand and was already cut to 34".  

6] Best of all, the price of a pine stair tread is great for my budget! 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk

Wood Support Bracket

The wood bracket support is 1.75" x 10" x 10", rubberwood, and was used previously as a curtain rod support several years ago. More of this same style bracket support drapery rods in my living room. This leftover bracket was in a box of supplies in the garage, but I only had one bracket, not two. Since the shelf fits in a corner, only one bracket is required to support the shelf. 

The unstained wood blends with other woods in the garden shed, and the carved details on each end add extra style to the shelf desk. 

The curved shape of the bracket allows more leg room beneath the desk than many other bracket styles. 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk

Wood Board

A 1" x 2" x 10.5" piece of scrap wood supports the other end of the shelf. While a matching wood bracket support would look nicer than the scrap wood, the wood board is fairly well hidden beneath the shelf desk. Cutting the board an inch shorter than the shelf helps conceal the board. 

D E S K  W O R K S P A C E 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
The shelf is deep enough to hold a full letter size notebook (8.5" x 11"). 

There is enough depth to hold framed pictures at the back with room for objects in front of the picture. 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
There is more than enough room for smaller notebooks and stationery with small objects, like the place card holder, behind the small notebook. 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
The shelf is long enough (34") for decorative items on either end in addition to notebooks and papers in the center of the desk workspace. 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
The shelf is long enough to have space for a drink on a coaster at one end. For now, a small glass filled with French script feathers and gold feathers sits on top of the navy coaster with a fleur de lis design. 

V E R T I C A L  D E S K  C O M P O N E N T S

For small shelf desk spaces, the vertical wall spaces around the desk can be used to hold items often found on tops of larger desks. 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
A large wallboard with hooks holds scissors, a hanging clock, and a magnifying glass, freeing horizontal space on the desk surface for working on tasks. The hooks are close enough for quick and easy retrieval of desk supplies. 

A narrow depth metal shelf above the desk provides more space to display prints. 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
The narrow metal shelf above the desk is high enough above the desk to allow objects up to 18" tall to stand on the desk. The white flower pot with the preserved boxwood is 14" tall total. The curved design of the metal shelf allows taller objects to fit in the space if placed closer to the outside edge of the desktop.  

Most tables and desktops are about 30" tall. We measured the distance from the floor to the bottom of the metal shelf and from the floor to the top of the metal shelf to determine the vertical location of the shelf desk. The height of the shelf desk is 29" from the floor. Since I am short, the desk height is great for me. 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
The distressed French Country style wood panel with double sconces mounted vertically on the wall above the desk acts as a desk lamp. The sconces have a plug-in control switch located underneath the desk. 

Another shelf high on the wall above the wallboard with hooks holds a set of flatback bird cages. 

H O R I Z O N T A L  S P A C E 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
The horizontal distance from the left wall to the white buffet cabinet is about 35-38". Since the shelf desk is 11.5" deep, there is about 24-26" for the chair. There is enough room for the chair to sit against the wall between the shelf desk and the buffet cabinet to the right of the chair. 

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
The chair does not fit underneath the desk completely, but since the area behind the chair is not a walking path, how much the chair sticks out from the shelf desk is not a problem. 


Upstairs Bathroom Update

Work on the upstairs bathroom remodel is progressing, but at a slow pace with several days of no work due to subcontractors' overloaded schedules from many customers needing work at the same time. The tile flooring is completely finished inside the shower area and the rest of the bathroom. Now, we are waiting for the cultured (faux) marble supplier to construct and to install the shower walls. 

S O U R C E S 

Pine Stair Tread - Home Depot 

Wood Support Bracket - Lowes 

French Country Dining Chair and Armchair - No longer available