Guest post by the beautiful and talented Christy Marie
I am a sucker for wooden furniture. Whenever I go to flea markets, thrift shops, and antique stores with other items in mind, I always find myself keeping an eye out while I browse, hoping to find some gem tucked away, waiting just for me. A trip to Here Today Gone Tomorrow in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with the intent of purchasing some old records, proved to be just such an occasion. As my sister and I moseyed through several rooms filled with a vast collection of items, we spotted, buried in the corner, a somewhat dilapidated desk. A less than ideal first coat of white paint had been applied to roughly half the surface area, one of the legs was wobbly, and it was covered in dust and an assortment of creepy crawlies. But, in my mind it was gorgeous! Small, delicate, the perfect amount of detail in the wood, and oh so many possibilities for refurbishing, it was perfect.
We stood in hesitation for a moment, contemplating not the price (only $20), but rather my 2006 Toyota Corolla and the 4-hour drive home to Houston, Texas. With a cavalier shrug and the old motto regarding wills and ways playing through our heads, I forked over the cash and we carried our prize to the car. Our first attempt involved the trunk…no dice, but we weren’t discouraged. The Corolla has a very large back seat and we were confident. Next we tried the rear passenger side, the front passenger side, front driver’s side, rear driver’s side, seats up, seats down, seat head rests off, desk horizontal, desk vertical, desk upside down, desk inverted (not even sure if that is possible but we tried it) and finally, forty-five minutes later and following a sequence of events we unfortunately forgot, we were on our way.
Rock-Paper-Scissors is not my forte, so I ended up sharing the passenger side of the car with the desk, making the normally enjoyable drive considerably less fun than usual. This was due in no small part to the desk’s leg constantly jamming me in the back of the head, while with the front seat all the way forward, my own legs were fused in a crossed position over the airbag compartment. When we finally made it home, and my limbs were again mobile, we began the process of extricating the desk. After numerous attempts, uncounted self-deprecating comments, almost resorting to a chainsaw, and as many mosquito bites as it is possible to amass in an hour’s worth of time, we finally found the winning combination and pulled the desk from the car.
Considering the traumatizing transportation experience, the refurbishing was a piece of cake! With visions of a beautiful Shabby Chic desk for motivation, I first used an assortment of power tools to repair its gimpy leg. My DeWALT electric sander (using sandpaper grades of 80, 120, and then 220) and plenty of elbow grease helped remove any paint and stain. I also used sanding sponges (first medium and then fine) for those hard to reach places. Quite fond of my lungs, I made sure to wear a mask during the entire sanding process. Finding chalk paint to be both expensive and hard to locate, I settled on a slightly off-white shade of Valspar Ultra Flat. Wiping down the desk and removing the hardware, I then proceeded with a first coat, allowed time for drying, and completed a second coat. Donning my mask once again, it was time for the fun part. Using my sanding sponges I carefully rubbed away the paint, making sure to select the places normally affected by day-to-day wear and tear. After cleaning away any dust, I coated the exposed wood with MINWAX Paste Finishing Wax for protection. Finally, I secured the newly purchased knobs and handles to complete the finishing touches, and stood back to admire my masterpiece. I have to say, I am quite pleased with the results.