Families all across the world are still reconfiguring their home to create work-from-home solutions and believe it or not, we are, too. Our family of four just installed our seventh desk because the kiddos are doing school from home starting again in just a couple of weeks. But this latest (and possibly last?) desk is really something special! In fact, THIS is the solution if you still say that you don’t have room for a home office for you or your student.
Just to back up a bit, TIPTOE was founded in France in 2015, and that’s the first year that my daughter and I jetted to Paris for a month. It was a lifelong dream of mine to live in France. We’ve been back twice since then, and I’m happy that the trips are starting to meld together in one long storyline, so I can’t swear on which trip I first saw the ad for TIPTOE tables. My reaction to them was visceral. I literally hit my forehead and said something like, “Quel bon idée! That’s so smart!” Sturdy steel furniture legs in fun, bright colors that crank onto any flat surface to create a table or a desk. Made in France and easy for anyone to install. I was smitten.
I’m not able to travel to Monceau or any of my French neighborhoods this year, but we’ll be back.
Flash forward to 2020 and, well, you know what we’re dealing with. Everyone working from home. Students online only. And my teenager connected to the computer like it’s her umbilical cord. Our family computer is hooked up to our TV in an effort to reduce screens and screen time in our house. I know, it’s a bit weird, but it worked for us for a long time…until my teen settled into the couch for five loooong months.
We opted for online learning a few weeks ago, and so we tested a temporary desk situation with my teen by moving the kitchen table into the family room. To my surprise and delight, she preferred sitting at the table over the couch. This is a designer’s trick, by the way: before investing in expensive furniture, test out your concept with a stand-in piece. This wasn’t the right table, and it wasn’t in exactly the right place, but it proved that we had plenty of space to add a desk to the room and that she would happily sit there. The dresser holds toys, but it can easily be moved to another spot.
Getting her buy-in for a desk concept was easy, but then came the choosing. I wanted a folding desk so I could eventually use it in my office as another work surface, but the inexpensive desks were throw-away quality and would likely arrive damaged. She’s got just a few years until she’s moving on to college and beyond, so I felt like an investment in quality made sense. But better, more substantial desks were bulky, and I needed it to work with elements already in the family room, including our funky FLOR tiles, which I still LOVE.
So I started designing a custom solution in my head. Something sturdy but not heavy, flexible, fun, and not too expensive. I started looking at desk legs and ended up in my happy place…France, and soon I re-discovered these TIPTOE legs.
Tu les aimes mes pieds? translates to “How do you like my legs?” even though they refer to feet instead of legs.
I reached out to TIPTOE.fr directly and learned that yes, they had the legs in stock. Yes, they would ship directly to the USA. Yes, shipping was even being discounted and cost less than $30 (at the time I ordered). I chose white legs, and they arrived from France just 10 days later. If it seems excessive to pay just over $200 for desk legs only, keep reading, and maybe you’ll agree with me that these are totally worth it.
In the meantime, I looked at home for a tabletop for what would become my teen’s new desk. For some reason, we still had an old coffee table in the basement. I bought this table for $10 at a garage sale over 20 years ago. It wasn’t anything special. You probably owned something like it in the 1990’s. I sloppily stained the top dark brown back in the day, which isn’t a bad compliment for the TV stand in this room today. I might eventually paint the top navy blue to go with some of the other room elements, but there’s just no time for that right now.
I enlisted my helper to unscrew the legs from the top, and we quickly hand-sanded the underside, because there’s nothing worse than scratchy knees.
Adding the legs to the tabletop barely counts as DIY. They hand crank, and then you tighten the last turn with the included hex key (also known as an Allen wrench, which Wikipedia says is a brand name, which I never knew!) We measured so the legs were symmetrically placed at 4.5″ from each corner.
There is plenty of room for my daughter to hunker down and work, and to store her books and binders in a basket so clutter is contained. The tabletop measures 43″ wide by 23″ deep, which fits perfectly next to our TV. And since she’s right on top of the computer, she can plug in headphones and give the rest of us some blissful peace…finally.
But the beauty of these TIPTOE legs is that they will turn any top–even a round one–into a desk or table. And when it’s time to disassemble this student desk and send the kids back to a proper school building, which I hope will be within the next year, we can store these legs and use them on some future project, like setting up a project table in my office or moving them into a dorm room or apartment a lot more easily than moving furniture. The legs are strong and sturdy, but even so, they are just clamped on, so I don’t recommend dancing on the table.
I pulled a velvet-covered chair from my staging stock, and the cat immediately settled in. Whatever will our fur-babies do when we aren’t all home 24×7 anymore???
If you are still figuring out where to set up your student for success, please look at every option. Let them move into the dining room. Take over a loft. Move furniture around. Do a quick basement makeover if you have the space. Remember, your kids and teens aren’t used to sitting in one spot all day long, so they might need to inhabit a couple of spots, but no matter what, they definitely need a desk.
Remember that I wrote a small book for you that’s big on home office solutions, including those for tiny spaces like this. Check out The Upbeat, Organized Home Office book today.
I love finding special and smart solutions like these for you, my loyal readers. I hope you have just as much fun reading about them. If you did, please share and pin for later.