Hey all! I'm super excited about this project. I can't wait to share the before and after with you. I have to share the backstory though first. When I moved to Tempe and out of my parent's house in Minnesota I took whatever furniture my parents were willing and able to part with. One of the pieces that my mom really had to force on me at the time was this sewing desk. I liked sewing, but I wasn't really sure I needed such a big desk dedicated just for setting up a sewing machine because I really didn't sew that much at the time. My mom basically told me I needed to take it because it was a very useful piece of furniture and really a nice solid piece. I also remember hearing that it was from one of her friends in the Twin Cities.
Yep, this is it. Big, clunky. Lots of stained pine. Not really my style.
Long story short, I took it. I used it some the first few years that I lived there, but then I took up quilting and started using it a lot more. I still really didn't think it was that pretty, but it had become functional and something that I got used to so I didn't think much of it anymore. Enter my mom again. On a visit to my house she suggested that I paint it black to spruce it up. I thought, "Eh, maybe when I get the time." I was in the middle of planning a wedding at this point.
Well, I finally decided to paint it. What better time would there be than right now when we just moved and I haven't even set up my sewing area yet? This was it. Now or never. But, I wasn't convinced that black was the right color. So I put it off until I was painting my bathroom and thought, "Hey, this would be a cool color for that sewing desk." That was May. I let the idea stew a bit more. I even mentioned something about the idea to my sister and great aunt while visiting them and as I was describing it, my aunt remembered that at one time she had a very similar desk. It turns out that it was originally hers and passed through too many family members in the past 47 years for me to get the story straight. Ah, this desk is already the stuff of legends. :-)
Knowing that it was originally my great aunt's desk given to her by her husband during their engagement now motivated me to take care of the piece and do it right. First, I prepared the desk for painting by using sander/deglosser. This was the first time I had ever used that instead of stripping and sanding the furniture. I think it turned out pretty well for a piece that I antiqued in the end. If I really wanted a nice smooth finish, I would definitely invest the time in stripping and sanding down to a smooth bare wood.
For the paint, first I used Zinsser Bull's Eye 1-2-3 Primer. I love this stuff! I'm new to the world of primer, but out of the 5 I've used, I don't think I'll use anything else ever again. Then I used the Valspar Lucy Blue from the bathroom, and I mixed in some cream until it was a more muted blue. I used that on the sides and drawer fronts. And then I decided to venture into the world of chalkboard paint for the top.
That's right, I just put a lot of drop cloths down in the bedroom and started painting. It worked out well.
After all of the paint was dry, I decided to be brave and antique the sides and drawer fronts. Yikes! I'd never done this on anything I actually cared about before. I was super nervous and did some testing on the back on a portion that would never be seen anyways. I tried two different stains over that. I ended up picking the Minwax Red Mahogany that I used on Joe's side table.
Two different stains that I tested on the back. The red mahogany is the stain on the left.
See what I mean? It's scary to cover up something you just painted.
I decided to be brave though and just go for it. First I used my little mouse sander with a 220 grit sand paper and just lightly scuffed the edges and corners.
This is how bright and clean the paint was before I antiqued it.
After sanding portions of the paint off, I thoroughly vacuumed the entire desk and wiped it with a damp cloth. You don't want little sawdust particles ruining your nice new antiqued finish. Then I put on gloves, wiped the stain on with an old sock, and I immediately wiped it off with a clean cloth. I know that sometimes people leave the stain on for up to 15 minutes before wiping it off, but this was pretty light paint and pretty dark stain and I was getting the look I wanted with the immediate wipe off.
Finally, I spray painted the original pulls a nice silver color. To seal it I finished the sides with Minwax Furniture Wax. I also allowed the chalkboard paint to cure for a weekend and then rubbed it with chalk before writing anything on it.
Preparing the chalkboard paint by rubbing chalk all over it in both directions
Now, I just have to get my machine out and start sewing! I'm super excited because I just absolutely love how the piece turned out. I don't even think they look like the same piece of furniture.
This is clearly just after. Drop cloths everywhere!
I love that it has this fold out table top for extra work space.
I love it! I think it turned out so much better than I could have ever imagined. Have you discovered a new piece of furniture recently in your home and given it a new life?