Desk Do-Over

As I’ve said in a previous post, my daughter has a tiny bedroom and a huge sense of style. She’s in love with all things Steampunk right now. She had a small vanity I had refinished that (sort of) doubled as a desk, without having enough room for either job.

Now, if you know my daughter, her tastes are subject to change at any time. Right now, she loves her black furniture, but she likes the flat black, which doesn’t always hold up to wear and tear. I’m hesitant to do heavy polyurethane finishes, because if she changes her mind, guess who’s going to be doing the stripping – again? Yup – ME! 

Then I found this gem at one of my local Goodwill stores!

Now, she was obviously a little worse for wear and was sporting a shiny, high-gloss, chipped black finish. But she was only $20, including the glass top! That was too good of a bargain to pass up, so into the SUV she went.

I would have liked to just get by with a good sanding, but this baby needed the full monty, so out came the stipper. I love CitriStrip! OMG, it works like a charm and no nasty fumes!

Paint it on, scrape it off, clean off the residue with steel wool and mineral spirits, sand, and wipe down. It’s a beautiful thing, even to someone who strips wood as a last resort! (I admit it, I’m lazy sometimes)

Take a look at that wood!

I honestly started second guessing myself about painting the desk at this point. The wood came up so gorgeous! 

(And no matter how easy the CitriStrip makes the project, it’s still super-messy. LOL)

Once I had the entire desk and all the drawers stripped, sanded, and cleaned, it was time to paint. I had used the Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch Ultra Coverage spray paint in Flat Black for Rhiannon’s poster bed, dresser, and nightstand. She is still in love with it, so that’s what I used for this project again.

I gave the desk two coats of paint, for durability and even coverage. I prefer to paint the sides and insides of the desk drawers, too. I never care for the two-toned look when drawer is opened. To me, if I can see it, it needs to be refinished.

The hardware was definitely a problem. I was lucky to find that all the drawer pulls were present and accounted for, but the previous owner had tried to shine them up by spraying some sort of shellac on them. I tried a bath in Bartender’s Friend (the BEST metal cleaner/polish out there, in my opinion), but even my old standby wasn’t cutting it completely. 
What I finally did was to scrub them with steel wool to get that gunk off, which also succeeded in taking off the brass color (turns out they are cheap tin). I grabbed the can of black spray paint and a can of Rustoleum’s metallic gold. I propped up the pull bar and covered them completely in the gold, then went back over them with a light misting of the black. That gave them back that aged brass look. I honestly don’t know how durable they will be, but they’ve held up to daily use for a couple months now. Eventually, I may replace them if they get too beat up again.
Finished and drying, after a wax rubdown,
you can spot the feet and legs of the impatient owner
in the picture above.
(And don’t you just love my posh workspace?
At least I remember to back the car out before I go to work. Well, usually…)
The glass was unchipped so all I had to do was polish it up! My tween girl will be using it as her laptop, homework, makeup, hair, and sewing desk so that glass will be a godsend. BUT, it slides. I solved that little problem by hitting up my cache of Dollar Store rubber mesh jar openers. They are 4 for $1 and I use them on everything I want to stay put! I grabbed a black one, cut four squares out, and put them under each corner of the glass. Now it’s not budging one inch!

In place in Rhiannon’s room, she’s getting a lot of use out of the desk. The additional storage is so helpful in her tiny bedroom. She can slide all kinds of pictures and notes under the glass. We’re replacing her old vanity chair with an antique Cathedral back chair that sits in the “workshop” waiting for a refinishing job, as well.
This project cost me a total of approximately $65, which includes the desk and the tools I needed (some things I had on hand, some things, like the stripper, I needed to buy). I have seen so many similar desks at Goodwill, ready to be refinished to suit any decor. 

I’d love to hear your tips and thoughts on this project!

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10 thoughts on “Desk Do-Over

  1. jschro says:

    Came here from PIWTPITT, was impressed by what you did with the desk. It's fantastic! Definitely following for good (and economical) ideas!

  2. amy and jesse hudson says:

    Such great work! Hey, I also really liked your post about Google Friend Connect going away. It has inspired me to write a post (or 3) on my blog about how people should follow me in the future. Good tutorial 🙂

    Amy @ Sugar and Spice

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