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I wrote an article on lofting beds a while ago...you might find some great tips in there.
As Miriam noted above the Ana white site has some great Ideas. In this plan http://ana-white.com/2011/08/claires-loft-... the materials were in the 300 dollar range...that is a lot better than the 1500 for pbteen version. You might be able to further reduce the cost if you used plywood for some of the materials...if GIS plywood is used it would be nicer looking as this is a finish grade sanded ply that can easily be painted.
Another option for the desk top would be to use a laminate top like for a kitchen...these can often be found super cheap at resource yards.