04 December 2012

DIY: painting the little red desk

Way, waaaaay back in August, I showed you this desk and told you that I’d put it on my DIY to-do list:


Then sixty-hour-workweeks got in the way of fun furniture makeovers, so weeks... months passed. There is a reason we are simply renting instead of purchasing a new house to fix up, dear readers, and it is called MY REAL JOB.

But! Better late than never, I have an update for you today! The desk... is no longer red.

Here’s how it went down, over the course of the last several months!

First, I disassembled the desk and spread it out on my dropcloth in the foyer – the only place in the apartment that we have hardwood floors instead of carpet:


Sure, our lease says we can’t paint the walls without permission, but it says nothing about setting up a furniture refinishing studio in the foyer!

Disassembling furniture often leads to fun glimpses into the history of the item. In this case, removing the wooden knobs revealed the blue and white sponge-paint from my high school days, and before that, the black paint of my OMG I AM SO DRAMATIC junior high days.


No evidence of the color it was when my grandma bought the desk at a yard sale for two dollars, but that’s probably for the best.

Red is a hard color to cover, so no matter what color I decided to paint over it, it needed a good coat of primer. I prefer oil-based, but the fumes and cleanup would be a challenge here in the apartment. So instead, I went with Zinsser (who makes excellent oil-based primers) in latex.


And just went to town using my favorite brush. Didn’t even bother pouring the primer in a paint tray. I just dipped the brush in the can! Because I am gangsta like that!

After one coat it was looking, well, primer-y:


Which is pretty par for the course, if you’ve ever primed anything. No worries – it is supposed to look like that! And depending on the quality and color of the paint, you can go on and paint right over that primer and should have no troubles.

However, I wasn’t quite sure about what color I wanted just yet, and – let’s be honest here – white was under consideration. Of course it was! It is neutral.

So, I decided to do a second coat of primer, partly so I could see what it would look like in white, and also to make it look nicer if I did go with white paint. Look, no more swoops!


I forgot to take photos, but I also put two coats of primer on the drawer, inside and out. My mom had painted it red, and I figured that I could just leave the inside of the drawer primer-white, no matter what color I went for the outside.

And what color did I choose for the outside? White looked nice, but it was admittedly a little dull with the evolving office décor. I got lots of votes from you dear readers for a bright color, like teal or apple green. So I studied swatches and bought the paint samples (enough to cover the desk) and everything!

And then I painted it gray because of course.


Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m addicted to neutrals.

For the record, this is the same gray that I used on the backs of the bookcases, Silver Tinsel. I had to buy a whole quart for that project, so why not use it up? Silver Tinsel is an excellent ever-so-slightly-greeny-gray that won’t turn brown or blue, and it looks bang-up with our beige walls.

So yeah! Gray! Don’t feign surprise, I know you knew I was going to go with a neutral.


The color is wonky in those photos because I was painting late at night (the only time one who works EVERY WEEKEND can paint), so sorry about that. Actually, if you are paying super-close attention, you might realize that this was a late-night project I finished up during my Instaday in the Life last month.


If I painted it last month, then why have I taken so long to show you? Well, even after painting, there were a few more finishing touches the desk needed. And I’m saving those for a reveal tomorrow, but here’s a grainy, zoomed-in sneak peek!


So you can see that this is a more accurate photo of the gray and – wait. Wha... is that turquoise?

Maaaaybe. I’ll show you the rest tomorrow, and I promise it won’t disappoint (especially if you are disappointed that I went with gray instead of teal or grellow or somesuch). I’m really pleased with how it came out! See you then, dear readers!

1 comments:

Rachel said...

Behold the power of gray.