I love January. If only because I feel like I’ve gotten more done in the past 3 weeks than I have in the past 3 MONTHS! We’ve really been on a roll in terms of getting on projects that have been dragging on and finally finishing them up.
For example, this midcentury modern desk was given to us by Chris’ parents several months ago. I immediately loved the clean lines, but I wasn’t so keen on the scuffed and stained desktop.
I actually didn’t mind the blond wood finish but all these marks needed to go:
This desk is NOT solid wood, sadly. The desktop is a thin wood veneer. I thought that I could still sand the finish down so that I could re-stain it. It was a very delicate process. In retrospect I should have applied a stripping product to it first, but in my impatience I just started sanding away. I sanded down most of the stains and then applied Minwax Jacobean, a dark espresso stain. It hid most of the remaining stains.
Here’s the final product.
As you can see, on the drawers I ended up sanding through the veneer at certain points (the darker spots on the drawer fronts). The wood beneath took the stain darker. So it’s not perfect but I really don’t mind the dark spots. They just look more weathered.
I sanded the main body of the desk and I painted it with an oil-based primer (Zinsser Cover Stain) which in my opinion helps to cover bleed-through better than water based. Its superior sticking power also provides greater durability on an already-finished surface. Then I used Behr Alkyd paint (I can’t remember the color but it is very close to white) for a final two coats. And yes, you can put water-based paint over oil-based primer.
I love Alkyd paint for furniture applications. It’s the same paint I used on the kitchen table:
Water-based alkyd paint dries to a super hard finish just like oil paint but it’s less toxic and cleans up with water. It has better self-leveling properties than regular latex and goes on super smooth with a brush. It also doesn’t dry tacky like regular latex paints can. These paints are fairly new, but I think they will become more and more popular.
I finished the stained portions with oil-based polyurethane (applied with a brush). I love that stuff, even though it is super stinky (be sure to wear a ventilator rated to filter VOCs). It dries so smooth and glossy and is super durable.
So now the little office nook in the master bedroom is starting to take shape. The only problem is that this desk is quite small, and the AWESOME vintage office chair I picked up doesn’t fit under it very well:
I seriously love this chair and consider it one of my greatest estate sale finds. The faux leather is in PRISTINE condition, and the frame is made of a beautiful wood that looks like teak. The previous owner had it in the den and must not have sat there much. It doesn’t even need to be reupholstered. I wish it worked with the desk but the desk is just too small to accommodate those lovely curved arms. So either I sell the chair…or I change out the desk. And after all the work I just put into the desk, I’m a bit loath to get rid of it!
Oh first world problems…
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