Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Desk That Was Almost the Death of Me

Have you ever had a project that went on forever? That’s how this desk has been for me. As you may recall, I started turning M’s room into my office/craft room almost a month ago and planned to finish it during February break. I showed you my closet painting tip and the pretty wall colour but that’s been it. I’ve been working on a few other things in the room but nothing has been finished because I was waiting on the desk.

Finally, it’s finished.

Before I get into the details, please excuse the gaping holes in the photos... I was so absorbed by this project that I forgot to photograph some most steps. (*After posting this I was looking through the photos on my phone and a couple more of the desk. I've added them even though the quality isn't great.)

It all started with this mammoth size desk that I saw and fell in love with. It was free and huge (over 6 feet long) and weighed the same amount as a small elephant and I fell in love. J and I did the heavy lifting and I paid a former student $10 to bring it to my house in his truck. It took some maneuvering but we finally got it up stairs. 

Please ignore the mess on the rail and the very empty dresser in the background.
As you can tell, this photo was not staged.
You can see though in relation to the dresser how large the desk is.

We brought it into the kitchen and I started working. I cleaned, took apart (as much as I could) and sanded the whole thing. I have no idea what material the top is made of but it was awful to sand. I know I should have worked in a well-ventilated area but it was February in Alberta so the kitchen had to do.

Next we brought the desk into the office and set it up on a plastic sheet before priming it. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer which covered well but needed to sit for 7 days before I could paint. 7 days! 7 never ending days. Those 7 days felt like forever!

After the primer was set I started painting. I decided to go with two colours because the desk is so large that I thought a solid colour might be overwhelming. I painted everything except the top dark brown. I used kitchen and bath paint so it would be more durable. I used some of the leftover white paint and primer in one from the closet on the top.  The brown only took two coats but the white took four. At this point I was about ready to admit defeat to the desk but I refused to give in.

After leaving the paint for another week (I don’t have time to paint on school nights) I varnished the entire desk. I did two coats of Varathane Diamond Wood Finish Water Based Semi-Gloss all over using a sponge brush. I really like how the varnish gave everything a uniform sheen and made it look more put together. It also was a little streaky on the brown which made it look more like wood and less like paint so that was an added bonus.

What's that? Why, it's a dog hair. To be more specific those are two dog hairs.
They're stuck in the varnish. Just keeping it real.
Finally I went to attach the handles, being very excited that the desk was about to be finished, only to discover that the screws were too long and I didn’t have any that were shorter or a saw that could cut them.  After some grumbling I realized I would have to head to the hardware store the next day to buy some new screws – it was Sunday evening and I live in a town where the hardware stores close at 5. Not a big deal, I know, but enough to almost put me at my tolerance level.

I did hit my limit a few days later, once I had the handles attached and went to put the drawers back. They didn't fit! I guess that, even though they all look the same, the drawers or tracks or both have warped over time. I spent about an hour trying to make them fit and gave up. I was about ready to admit defeat and pay someone to haul it to the dump. Thankfully J decided he didn't want all my work to be in vain. It took several hours spread over two days but he finally got them in (we think) the proper places.

Recognize the tub below the desk? My filing system has found a new home.

Despite the hatred I developed for this desk while I was working on it, it’s now finished and I’m back in love. It fits the room perfectly and has lots of space for spreading out school work or craft projects. I bought a cute chair at Ikea and now I’m all set to get to work.

Shared at: Domestic Randomness, Diana Rambles, Lines Across, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Clean & Scentsible, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess, Artsy-Fartsy Mama


  1. Wow! It turned out fantastic but I so feel your pain! My dressers are going to be the death of me.

  2. It turned out beautiful! Maybe it'll be like childbirth and you'll quickly forget about the pain. :) Thanks for linking up to Monday Funday!

    kelly @ view along the way

  3. The desk looks beautiful, but I totally understand your post title :) Thanks for sharing. I wanted to personally invite you to our weekly Link Up Party on Thursdays that just opened!! I'm sure our readers would love to see this post. Hope to see you there at P.S. We are also your newest FB like!!

  4. Oh, I SO feel your pain! I was right there with you when all the setbacks occurred. BTDT

    But you're's a great, functional desk and will serve you well for many years.


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