projects update: mid-century desk makeover (!)


Soooo... back in June (yes, JUNE!), I blogged about several items I'd "junked" including this mid-century sewing desk. It has sat in my living room since then causing all sorts of makeover troubles.

I've wanted to get this makeover done, but lack of motivation and issues kept cropping up! But, it's FINALLY done and I've listed it on Craigslist. I WANT IT OUT OF MY LIFE.

That's all. On to the makeover.

Here is the "before" shot. The top two pieces open to reveal what would've been the sewing machine (but was now a big hole). I thought about several ways of "fixing" this, including making an entirely new top, but that was more time/energy/money than I wanted to spend on it.

 Sudden inspiration hit and I pried off the piece with the hole and tossed that and just reused (reuse, reuse, reuse!) the two hinged pieces on top. So I turned them around and joined them with three of the hinges (previously hidden inside on the original piece). They break up the desk space, but in more of a decorative way now.

Then I sanded. And I sanded. And I sanded.

That orangey finish was NASTY! And thick. I got it to the point where I thought it was ready to paint and stain ...

And then my best inspiration hit. Four drawers. How about "eenie, meenie, minee, mo"? Not necessarily my style, but a really fun piece to do (since I was planning to sell it from the beginning) and I loved the idea.

So I contacted my new vinyl dealer, Dana, (email or leave me a message if you want her contact info. She is amazing to work with, prices are very reasonable and she's quick!) and she hooked me up with some clean looking vinyl "stencils". I did a few measurements to align them all to the right and went to town. The process went something like this: vinyl, poly (dry), paint (dry), paint (wet). Before the 2nd coat dried, I took my X-acto knife and carefully peeled each letter up.

It worked perfectly and looked incredible. I decided to put a coat of polycrylic (the water-based stuff) on to protect it ... and my desk makeover went south from there. Somehow, even thought the water-based polys are not supposed to yellow, my drawers were a streaky, yellowed mess. IT WAS TERRIBLE! I was so disappointed, even when I've read and confirmed that polycrylic is not supposed to yellow.

So there it sat (for a few months) before I decided to tackle it again. I sanded some more and bought some gold rub-in-buff for the hardware. Mistake. I hated how streaky it looked on the hinges (click the pic on below right). Gold spray paint to the rescue!

In the meantime, I'd sanded and stained and then sanded some more (that orange finish needed 40 grit sandpaper to come off!) and stained again. And sanded and stained some more. Finally, I was to the point of spray painting the little metal "feet". So I wrapped the legs with some blue painters tape and sprayed away.

And when I peeled off the tape, a ton of the latex came with it. ARG! What more can go wrong!? Seriously. I need this project out of my life.

I decided to painstakingly repaint the drawers (around every letter which almost defeated the purpose of the vinyls!) as opposed to stripping the paint, reordering the vinyl and starting over. It mostly worked.

After two coats of wipe on poly to the top, I finally gathered up the courage to sand those darn legs down, repaint and glue the top on. I borrowed some clamps and did it.

Here she is!! (sorry for the graininess ... it was getting dark and I had to up the ISO.)

And, there you are. The longest explanation of a DIY in the history of blogging. And it wasn't even a tutorial, ha! I felt that after all of my trouble, the least I could do was get some blogger sympathy. (If I was to do this again, I'd for sure leave it on the side of the road where I found it, but at least it's finished and out of my life soon. I hope!)

Now all I need is a sale to kiss this DIY good-bye.

Update (11/1/13): It's gone!! Sold. Hallelujah.

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