Last week I wrote about putting my Mom’s old desk, handmade by her grandfather in the 30′s, back together again. I’d had to make a few new pieces to replace parts of the desk that had been lost or were too warped to use, but I left off last week with the desk back in one piece, primed and ready to paint.
Usually, for me, painting furniture is a super easy and fun job. I have MANY cans of paint in the basement and can usually find a color I want without a trip to the store… or I’ll sometimes mix my own color from the odds and ends in my paint “stash”. (Other people have yarn or fabric stashes, I hoard paint!) But this project was harder… I wanted it to be just right, to “respect” the history of that sweet little desk, and my great-grandfather who built it.
Which meant I couldn’t decide on a color…
An antique white? Maybe more black? Another color entirely?
While I was thinking about it I decided to give the drawer front a quick sanding… It was the only part of the desk that had not been stripped down to bare wood… and it had glossy white paint on it that I knew would have to be roughed up a little before painting.
I was lazy and used my little power sander, and within five minutes I knew I couldn’t paint the drawer front.
The sander had revealed at least a half dozen different colors of paint…
I saw red, black, brown, tan, white, green, and yellow paint peaking out here and there from the places I’d sanded… most of the colors chosen and painted by my grandmother decades ago.
The sanded drawer front gave me the idea for how I needed to paint the desk…
I decided to leave the drawer front just as it is and match the desk to it. This involved taking the drawer front down to Home Depot and getting a sample pot of paint matched to the green color my sanding revealed. The green seemed to be the most prominent color, and is also the color from my childhood… the color I remember the desk being “originally” (my earliest memories of it).
I painted the entire desk with the green paint, then painted “highlights” on some of the edges with some chocolate brown paint (leftover from this project) hoping that some of it would show through and mimic the brown paint my sanding had exposed. Finally I pulled out my collection of white paints and mixed pure white with an off white I had until I matched, as closely as possible, the color of the drawer front. I painted the entire desk (except the drawer of course) with two coats of the newly mixed white paint.
Then I started sanding… I used the little power sander again, and took off enough white paint for the green and brown to peak through here and there.
I love the way the legs turned out…
It’s a rougher finish, more distressed, than most of my furniture paint projects… but I thought it needed to be. It wouldn’t have looked right with a lovely perfect paint finish…
I finished the project by making a knob for the drawer out of a piece of scrap wood and staining it dark (to match the inside of the drawer and the tiny stained knob on the little inner drawer).
Here it is… all finished. I love how it turned out… (Note to sibs: I was going to replace the cubbies that used to be under the shelf, but decided not to… at least for now, because it’s more functional without them.)
I’m using it as a nightstand, and it feels so good to have it “part of the family” and useful again.