Before & After:: Chest of Drawers

This weekend, I worked on a little project for my home office. Here’s the situation. I’m married to a computer techie network administrator, and while I love him dearly, I don’t love the computers everywhere, the computer parts, the CPUs with the side casings never attached (because, you know, he needs quick access if he has to tweak the hard drive or other components). But because he’s a network administrator, we absolutely HAVE TO have a computer network at home, which means we have to have a place for the network server. What? You mean YOU don’t have to make a place for your network server at home? :)

For the longest time, we’ve just had everything stacked up on a makeshift desk. It was a huge eyesore, so I decided that enough was enough. When we moved into our little condo, the previous occupants had left all kinds of treasures for us, including some really, REALLY cheap furniture. Most of it made it into the dumpster, but for some reason, I held onto this piece.

I have no idea why I hung on to it. I mean, it’s the absolute cheapest piece of furniture I’ve ever seen. If someone paid more than $20 for this thing brand new, they got ripped off. The whole thing is made of particle board, and the “veneer” over the top is like a plastic-coated paper. But, we had it, and I decided to use it TEMPORARILY until we could find a permanent solution for our network server.

Our permanent solution needed to be able to hold the t.v. (which also doubles as the monitor for our network server), a keyboard, mouse, speakers, and of course, the CPU with the side off and its innerds exposed…grrrrr!

Anywho…I started thinking about it, and determined that I could turn that little piece of junk chest of drawers in to something quite special…and something that would fit every single one of the needs we have for a computer network server station.

So after some sanding, cutting, gluing, nailing, and decoupaging, here’s what I have now:

Quite a difference, huh? When people walk into the room, this is what they see:

It looks just like a regular chest of drawers. But on the other side, this is the view:

Yep, there it is, the network server, fully accessible. Oh, and when Matt feels the need to get into the inside of the server and tweak with the components inside, here’s another trick…the bottom two drawers aren’t drawers anymore. I removed the drawer fronts from the drawers, and then attached them with Velcro. So they can easily be taken off, he can tweak and fiddle with the CPU, and the drawer fronts can be put right back on, quick and simple!

The top two drawers are still usable. The first one holds the keyboard and mouse for the server, which can be pulled out and set on top in the rare event that we need to use it, and then the second drawer contains the speakers for those instances we want to access our Netflix Instant View or our Pandora stations. (When we’re just watching regular tv, we don’t need those speakers.) And the best thing ever….NO CORDS!! I placed a power strip inside, and everything is plugged into the power strip. So from the outside, there are no cords visible!

I absolutely love my new little chest of drawers/network server station. It’s pretty, which meets my need, and it’s practical, which Matt is thrilled about!

Here’s another quick before and after view:

Now I now what you’re thinking…That’s great, Kristi, but how can I use this idea? I don’t have a computer network at home, much less a network server, or a need for a network server station!

Listen, I hear ya! But as I was working on this, I realized how easily this idea could be adapted for other uses. For example, this is a great idea for those who live in small spaces, and need an out-of-the-way place for a nice, comfy bed for a cat or small dog. Just cut a smaller hole in the side (about half the height of the one I cut for the CPU) place a pillow inside, and Fluffy or Fido will have a great place for naps. And you’ll still have two usable drawers for storage!

Hope you enjoyed my little makeover. I’ll be posting step-by-step instructions for those of you who would like to use this idea but need a little help. I’ll let you know when I have that tutorial posted.

**Edit: Matt suggested that I include a photo of the two drawer panels removed, so that you can see what the inside looks like, and how we have it arranged. So, here it is! Remember, the two bottom drawer fronts are simply attached with Velcro. (And yes…the baseboards are on the “to do” list. Hey, just keepin’ it real, folks!) 😀

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  1. Samanthavv says

    Wow. You're really creative. I have a really small house and a LARGE couch. Which sucks because everything looks so darn cluttered all the time. It's depressing.

  2. LizO says

    Excellent project.

    One caveat for those that do this project for a computer…Make sure there's enough air space for such an application. Computers need a cooler environment (which is why server rooms and server farms are very much temp controlled). Drilling a few grommet holes (aside from the holes for wires) may be necessary to keep your equipment from overheating. (Used to be an IT manager an hot computers = sad computers.)

  3. Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating says

    Liz, thank you!! Yes, I should have mentioned that. Mine has a big hole in the back, and althogh it doesn't show in the pictures, there's about 1/4" space between the drawer faces on the front so that the computer can breathe.

    Definitely necessary. It would be so sad to go to all of the trouble, only to have your server overheat!!

  4. The Quintessential Magpie says

    Kristi, that's a mighty jazzy piece. I know you're going to really enjoy it.

    Happy Met Monday…



  5. Beth@The Stories of A to Z says

    You clever, clever girl! I love this. You need to link it to A Soft Place to Land for hundreds to admire! Brilliant.

  6. Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating says

    Thanks for the reminder, Beth! I was just over there admiring others' projects, and totally forgot to link mine up. :)

  7. Karen- The Graphics Fairy says

    Wow, what a difference!! It's so bright and cheerful now, you would never know it was the same piece! You really thought out every detail too, what a great storage solution. Great job! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment.

  8. Joanie @ The Bright Side says

    What a clever idea and dramatic transformation!! Love it!! Love the photo of the sleeping cat, too.

  9. Jayne says

    I am so impressed! It's making me smile to see how cute that piece of furniture is now. I do miss the cat in the after picture, tho!
    Jayne at mysongwithin

  10. Hattie says

    That is an amazing idea! We also have a "server" computer at our house, and I can't stand all the wires and jumble. What a perfect solution!

  11. Cathy says

    What a great solution! The wires and hardware in my house make me nuts too. Slowly tucking them all away like you. An old piece of furniture works great.

  12. AuroraSuzette says

    What a fantastic idea. I may borrow it using another piece for my teeny tiny office. Love that kitty! BTW, I was born pretty close to you, in Gatesville.

  13. cherry says

    You did a fantastic job !! such a wonderful way to make something so plain into something beautiful and useful. hugs, Cherry

  14. Mauricio says

    What a nice and innovative project! I like the idea to "cover" the computer tower. I need to implement this idea urgent on my home. My wife tells me every single night that computer CORDS now are part of the room decor….

  15. Anonymous says

    this is wonderful. we all have something that has the dreaded cord to deal with, (mine is the stereo cd record thing) ( 8 million cords) and now i see a possibility. i have a possible solution sitting in my garage: my former dining room buffet. it might be quivering thinking of the sawing i contemplate for it!!! many thanks! jkj

  16. georgesaad says

    I love the transformation!!!! Would love to know what you did to the original drawers to get the final product I want to do something similar with my side table :)

  17. Christine ~ JAZ Creations says

    How P E R F E C T !!! My husband is a network engineer and we also have a server and well … a mess in our room. Love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. Tess says

    This is absolutley gorgeous. You did a wonderful job on this. WOW!! I am so impressed. Keep this up and you'll be doing this stuff for a living on your own T.V. show. I'd watch!

  19. Heather - - says

    Great idea. I love the velcro-attached drawer faces. We have a network too… corner o' technology in the living rm… heh heh!

  20. Amy says

    I love it! I too am married to a computer network geek! Unfortunately, he has a giant server that needs a rack so I don't think it will fit in a dresser! And it's too hot. Darn it! Yours is really cute and clever though!

  21. Christine ~ JAZ Creations says

    How P E R F E C T !!! My husband is a network engineer and we also have a server and well … a mess in our room. Love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  22. says

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  23. Stephanie says

    This is beautiful! I want one! :) I agree that you need to be careful that there is enough airflow around the cabinet because, if there isn’t, it can damage the computer. The idea of using Velcro to attach the bottom drawers is absolute genius! This “trick” can be adapted to so many things! I never thought about doing something like that. Thank you for sharing this!

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