February 25, 2011

To distress or not to distress...

So, I am torn... A few weeks back, I found a second-hand large desk {via Craigslist} for my computer and crafting / wrapping / everything-station. It is solid wood, was honey in color, has two large drawers, and weighs about, oh, I dunno, 100 lbs! Seriously, Jon and I thought we were not going to make it when we were bringing it inside the house from the van {we had to borrow my sister's minivan to bring it home and it JUST fit!} It is almost 6' long and 3' deep! In fact, we put it down right inside the door on our main floor and I thought I was either going to faint or throw-up from the weight of it! Anyhow, enough drama! It stayed there until the next morning when my sweet brother came over {I did bribe him to come with the promise of a Sunday brunch} to help Jon bring it down stairs to its new {and apparently permanent, cause Jon said he's never moving it again!} home. Here it is:

My first step, after getting this ginormous-beast-of-a-desk into place, was to remove the existing hardware. It was not all that bad, but it lacked that glamorous touch. After removing them, I was left with two holes, which wasn't great because I had my eye on these beauties from Lee Valley Tools {in white}:
I know, they are like a gorgeous pair of earrings or a diamond ring! Honestly, I've been wanting to use these in a project for 10 years, ever since I first saw them used on a re-finished tray... Ahhhh... Dream come true }I know, I ain't hard to please!}.

I gave the desk and drawers a good sanding using a Mastercraft Random Orbit Sander/Polisher {borrowed from, again, my sweet brother}. I then gave it two coats of primer, followed by two coats of white, semi-gloss paint {Side note: I used a leftover semi-gloss paint meant for trim and molding that I had lying around, but it ended up being really nice to use because it goes on pink and dries a crisp white! Awesome when you are painting white over white several times!}

Since my new bling, I mean, my new knobs only required one hole, I had to fill or cover the two holes left by the original hardware. Instead of filling them in, I decided to include another feminine and personal touch by adding this wood decal of the holes. Simply enough, I affixed them with wood glue.

I then started rolling away. I purchased a small foam roller and paint tray as I wanted the smooth finish that it offers. To get the tighter corners and edges, I used a 2" foam brush.

Four coats and a few days later, it was ready for it's crowning jewels. I drilled straight through the wood decals and drawer fronts {which chipped the wood on the inside of each drawer, but not the end of the world} and added the desk's jewellery.

With knobs:

The results...

The Befores and Afters



Well, I wasn't in love with it as soon as it was done... or was I not in love with the whole area and the overall look? 

And now comes the reason for my post title... To distress or not to distress? You see, I feel that it {either the desk, or the area itself} lacks something, but I can't put my finger on it. I am torn between a) distressing it a bit for a shabby-chic look, b) painting it another color altogether {my original plan was to paint it grey} for a more "now" look {you know, grey is the new brown} or c) adding an extra-glossy clear coat for a super sleek, contemporary look. 

I am also thinking of several options or things to try before actually touching the desk itself:

-You see that picture gallery above it? Well, I have not inserted pictures in them yet {yup, I put them up with the fake pictures in them!}. Once OUR actual pictures are in them, all in black and white, I'm hoping the whole area will feel more personal.

-I just painted those block letters last weekend and put them up a few nights ago. Again, not crazy about them, but I think it's the black. With the white desk, I feel like they should be white. So, I may try that.

-I definitely need more lighting {this is in our basement family room, which has one teeny-tiny window}, so I am on the hunt for a desk lamp in a gorgeous bright color. I am also thinking of changing the actual ceiling fixture in the space to a gorgeous, large, red drum-shade with an open bottom to create more light.

-I plan on recovering the chair with a graphic pattern of red, white, black and/or grey, or any combination of these colors {that is my actual color scheme in the entire space}.

-De-clutter the area around it. Directly to the right of my desk, there is a large closet and then Nico's designated play area, which has 3/4 of his toys. I want to clear the floor space in that closet to store Nico's larger toys out of site, and to simply leave the toy chest with a few large floor pillows.

Other ideas that are in the back of my mind for my little station are:
-adding an area rug under the entire desk to define the space a little more {I'm envisioning bright red and shaggy}.
-building a long drawer to go where the keyboard tray originally was, to house my gift wrapping supplies.
-adding a large, white book shelf on the wall opposite the desk to add more storage and display area. This is the one I have my eye on from IKEA:
So, that is where I am at. On my immediate-to-do list is lining the drawers with a beautiful paper and organizing my beading supplies in one drawer, and my craft supplies in the other drawer, with the help of a trip to my favorite dollar store for some organizing supplies. I do plan to use the basket underneath to store my wrapping supplies in a decorative way until I add the drawer. It is a work in progress I guess, until I decide which idea to try next to make the space more complete. Stay tuned.

My post is linked to:

Beyond The Picket Fence 
Domestically Speaking
Show and Tell Green

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden


  1. I LOVE the final look of the desk right now, however I'm a sucker for crisp, clean, white things!! My suggestion would be to add shelving above your desk, similar to the one you like at IKEA, obviously smaller and possibly with various cubby sizes. Then you would be able to get everything off your table and have more space to work (learnt that with my various scrapbooking areas over the years). You could incorporate your frames and your FAMILLE into the shelving unit. I can picture it already!!

  2. I LOVE this!! I would love for you to share it at my Linky Party!



  3. Thank you for linking up this great post last week! {Im a lil behind, eeekk!}

    Its party time AGAIN!!! xoxokara