Friday, June 10, 2011

Good Morning, Delaware!

That post title is meant to be sung to the tune of "Good Morning, Baltimore" from "Hairspray" the musical.  (Go listen to it if you're not familiar.)  Andy and I are completely moved in and have worked out butts off getting the house ready before we both start working.  We've painted, installed wood flooring, bought new furniture, and even got an outdoor table and umbrella for our patio seating.  Yep, we're totally adults now.
I want to address some of the home improvements I've done in this post.  First off we'll start with how I refinished my old desk from childhood into a modern, revamped awesome piece of furniture.  My childhood desk was received at Christmas when I was probably 9 years old. It was a cherry desk with brass fixtures and a hutch.  (It was very "in" at the time.)

As you can see, the desk has been well-loved and was pretty beaten up by this time 17 years later. I decided against the hutch since I'm using this a piece in the front room of my house.  It's still functionally a desk, but is also a great little place when you come in the house to sort mail and pay bills, etc.

  If you're not too familiar with painting or refinishing pieces of furniture, you should know that if you either want to paint or stain the piece, it will take some work.

Should you choose to stain...
1.  You can buy stripper (Not A stripper), which is a very toxic chemical that removes paint and varnish.    I decided against this because of its toxicity not only to the environment, but to me also.
2.  OR, you can buy a sander and sand the entire piece down to the original wood.  I've sanded many things, but this desk would have been too difficult since it has a lot of intricate details and spindles.
3.  After the piece has been sanded and stripped, you can feel free to apply the stain color of your choice.
4.  Brush stain on, let it sit until it reaches the desired shade, then wipe the stain off.
5.  Voila!!  Staining is a very simple process as long as you do it correctly.
The people the sold us the house had no clue how to properly use stain, and painted it on like paint.  Needless to say, it was a total Bi*$% sanding and stripping those damn cabinets.

Should you choose to paint....
1.  Simple painting over a stained and varnished desk will not work.  Paint will NOT adhere to that type of finished surface.
2.  My good friends over at Lowe's showed me a type of primer to use on wood since I simply wanted to paint the desk.  This white primer goes directly onto your piece of furniture and dries within minutes.  When you paint this on, it will look very streaky, but don't worry, it will turn out right.
3.  You can now paint the piece of furniture however you choose.  I chose a high-gloss black paint for the finish.  I wanted the desk to be very French boudoir....I also went crazy and added lime green accent paint.

Does it look fab?  I'm not going to lie....I am totally pleased with myself over this piece.  It turned out way better than I ever anticipated.
Other quick tips....
1.  A simple, inexpensive way to spruce up furniture is to buy new fixtures.  You can find them at normal hardware stores, but they don't have the really unusual, funky fixtures.  I got all of these fixtures at Hobby Lobby for almost nothing.  I waited until they had the fixtures 50% off.  The handles were $2 a piece and are a black and cream ceramic with brass trim.  The knobs were $1.50 a piece and are a bright chartreuse.  So for less than $10, I added completely new fixtures.  Remember this for all of the furniture around your house.....desks, nightstands, dressers, even door handles.  Go to estate sales and buy crystal door knobs.  It will instantly add flair and value to your home or apartment.  Oh, and by the way, all you need is a screwdriver to replace the fancy tools required.
2.  Let's talk paint.  I developed my pro painting skills from my mother.  Sorry to any professional painter out there...I will never be needing your assistance.  Choosing your paint color can be a daunting task.  Then after that you have to pick the finish!!
Flat:  Just as it says in the name, this paint has absolutely no shine to it.  And honestly, I've never used it for anything.
Matte:  Teensy bit more shine, but still very dull.
Eggshell:  This is my personal favorite finish.  This is your most basic finish for painting walls.  It provides a little bit of sheen but not too much as to make your walls look too crazy.
Satin:  This is also another option for walls and also for cabinets/vanities.
Semi-Gloss:  This is a great finish for furniture and cabinets.  It is very easy to clean and wipe down, and provides the amount of shine you want in an area like the kitchen.
High-Gloss:  I have to say that I had never used high gloss until I repainted my desk.  But it's the bomb!!  There is this awesome table in Pier One that was somewhat of an inspiration piece for me, but it was $300!  

At the end of the day I spent about $40 on refinishing the desk...which is a helluva lot cheaper than a new desk.
$10 in fixtures
$30 worth of paint and primer.  (The green was free because Courtney had leftover paint.)

Stay tuned for later when I talk about my new landscaping!!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it looks fab. Thanks for all the great tips, and I love the high gloss black with the green accents. LOVE! :)