05 December 2012

DIY: little no-longer-red desk, the reveal!

Yesterday I started the tale of transformation for this little red desk...

... then sorta left you hanging without a little no-longer-red desk reveal. Sorry about that. But hey, it’s taken me since August to finish this project. What’s one more day, eh?

When I left off, I told you that I decided to paint the desk not teal, not green, not yellow, but gray. Boring neutral standby graaaay. And probably a number of you rolled your eyes or crinkled your nose out of disappointment.

But see, dear readers, I had a vision. And I think... I think I nearly accomplished it.


Yes. Yes, I think that will do for a little workspace for me, indeed!

But let me back up to yesterday, when I described painting and priming this little ugly-ducking-turned-swan. I mentioned that I did two coats of primer, but I failed to mention that I only used one coat of gray paint. I didn’t plan to do just one coat, but I sort of fell in love with the subtle gray-on-white brushstrokes after the first coat. It’s always fun to realize you’re done little early!

You have to look close to see the brushstrokes in real life, and I’m convincing myself that it looks “interesting” and “textured” and “creative” and not, as I fear, “half-assed”. But I like it for now, and if I ever decide to polish it up, it’s as simple as adding a second coat!

I also teased the new drawer pulls I put on the desk yesterday. Here’s the full, zoomed-out photo:

Did I fool you with the turquoise? That’s just the pillow reflected in the pulls!

I admit, I worried these knobs were a little frou-frou, a little sparkly for my usual taste. They were definitely a departure from the simple wooden knobs on the original! But I reasoned that sticking with a neutral color allowed me to do more quirky things like texturing the paint and adding sparkly drawer pulls, so I went for it!

The schoolhouse-style chair was a steal at an antique store in my parents’ tiny town:

Eighteen bucks. Eighteen! I’d been searching all over for a stylish chair that didn’t dwarf the diminutive desk, so this was a perfect fit both size-wise and price-wise.

And, it had been recently refinished (not in dictionary decoupage, thank goodness), too. I’m not sure it’ll stay black forever, but I like it for now. The paint finish has intentionally-yet-subtly sanded edges, which are not usually my jam, but I admit I’m liking the contrast of antique-chic mixed with the super-sparkly drawer knobs.

I removed the turquoise pillow for the above photo so you could see the schoolhouse-ish lines of the chair, but it came from the same shop. It was new, not used, and yes I surreptitiously smelled the pillow when the shop owner wasn’t looking to make sure it didn’t smell musty. It was a good deal at $12, I think.

And finally, I got a set of four turquoise plates, reasonably priced at $6 apiece. Mr. P may roll his eyes – oh wait, he already did – but I personally think they are gorgeous!

Our “wedding china” is everyday basic white china (Lenox Aspen Ridge, if you too want the most beautiful basic dishes ever), which I bought with the intent to mix and match in some fun pieces over the years. This is the first time I’ve actually bought some, though, and I’m looking forward to using them for eating and d├ęcor!

So that’s how I transformed an old desk into a beautiful workspace for myself! Say, how’s about a price breakdown?

Desk: passed down from my grandma, who found it at a yard sale for $2 twenty years ago
Quart of Zinsser acrylic primer: already owned from other projects ($10 at the store)
Quart of Behr Ultra paint: already owned from other projects ($18 at the store)
Miscellaneous painting supplies like my favorite paintbrush: already owned
Drawer pulls: $7 for 2 (originally $7 apiece, but I hit a 50% off sale at the Lobby of Hobbies)
Chair: $18 at the antique store in rural Tennessee with the ridiculous name
Pillow: $12 at the antique store
Plate: $6 at the antique store (candle and strand of pearls were already owned)
“What I love most about my home” print: already owned, created here
Abstract turquoise and gold print: painted with my three-year-old nephew many years ago and cheaply framed (a ~$20 project)
Total spent (specifically for this project): $43

Hot dang, that’s an inexpensive makeover for a workspace! Granted, it’s a bit pricier if I’d had to start from scratch, but “shopping the home” works wonders, yes?

I’m trying to be humble, I promise, but you guys I really love this space now. It’s a space I specifically styled just for me, with no apologies to what Mr. P would prefer (he has his own desk, after all). Admittedly, I felt silly painting the desk gray at first, knowing I’d have to confess my neutral-loving to you all. But I did end up incorporating color out of my comfort zone, in the end. And to my surprise, it came together really well!

Now, if only the rest of the room were in better shape. Considering it took me six months to get the little desk spruced up, it could take years. I hope you’ll stick around for it, dear readers!


Rachel C said...

I admit, I slightly rolled my eyes when you admitted that you painted the desk gray instead of a bright poppy color. But only slightly. I expected you to go neutral and since you aren't sure about the finished look for the room, it really makes more sense. Plus, let's be serious, I wouldn't have the nerve to paint a desk bright teal! And I love the desk! The fancy drawer pulls were the perfect "dress up" and the pops of blue are unexpected but great. From these pictures you wouldn't even know the room wasn't finished!

Rachel said...

As super spectacular as your desk make-over is, I can't take my eyes off of that BASEBOARD long enough to fully soak in the glory of the newly painted desk.

Tina said...

Soooo cute! Better than the dining table for function, better than the coffee table for your back!

Christal said...