Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How do I Save this Desk?

I got an e-mail from a reader asking how to rescue this inexpensive desk found on Craig's List. Over all, it looks very shabby and not at all chic. The finish is worn and it appears to have unattractive cylindrical feet which are centered under each end. Not a pretty picture, but not hopeless.

The lines of the desk are simple and modern and I think with a few small changes, and a weekend's worth of elbow-grease, it could be quite attractive.

First, I would ditch the legs. A great solution would be a set of inexpensive pine bun feet. I would use 8 total - 2 on each side, both front and back. This will give the piece a more balanced look. Right now, it is very top heavy on those narrow, centered legs. A great resource for inexpensive bun feet is Vandykes.

Secondly, I would paint the desk with a oil-based or milk paint. It looks like it will need a thorough sanding and a coat of a primer like Kilz to ensure that the old finish doesn't bleed through the paint. A simple dove gray would be very fetching, but the color would depend totally on the room. I know painting with oil is a smelly, hazardous pain, but latex really can't stand up to the wear-and-tear of daily use (goodness knows I've tried), especially if you live in a humid area like Dallas. I haven't tried milk paint yet, but I hear that it provides a less porous finish than latex.

Thirdly, I would get some fun drawer pulls. For a simple piece like this, the contrast of a little frill or whimsy wouldn't hurt. Something like this acanthus bin pull from Charleston Hardware Co. would be great, though, in this case, it would require filling existing drawer-pull holes and drilling new ones.

Happy re-doing!

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