Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Thrifty Desk

I had made up my mind:  I wanted a french provincial style desk for my home office. I wanted this office to be everything that my work office is not (bright and organized are two adjectives that come to mind!). I wanted this office to make me smile. .....So I set off on what would turn out to be a 8 - 9 month long hunt for the perfect french provincial desk.

I looked and I looked and I looked.....thrift stores, consignment shops, flea markets, Craigslist...etc.....for MONTHS and I couldn't find anything that matched the image in my head and (most importantly) the dollars in my wallet. Granted, I found several beautiful french provincial desks along the way, but they were all more than I was willing to spend....MUCH more in many cases! You see, I'm a bit of a cheapskate [sidenote: i've always pronounced that word cheap-scape....whoops!] so I didn't want to spend more than $150 tops....especially if I was going to have to re-finish it, because the vision in my head was a WHITE french provincial desk.

...And then, one lucky day in a Flea Market in Pelham, I found this:

Technically it's a vanity, but that center cubby would just provide more storage, so I was all in.  It might not have looked like much, but I knew I could turn it into something that I could make work. Now I just had to settle on price. The desk was in a booth with everything marked off 50%. Even with the sale pricing, that only brought it down to $150 (uh, yeah...they had this sucker priced at $300 ..smph!!). So I jotted down the booth number and went up to the front counter to barter. I had $100 cash and I told them that was what I was willing to offer...they called the owner of the booth and luckily they agreed to my price. (btw - you CAN barter with these people at flea markets...just have the front counter call the booth owner. I learned this from my mother-in-law...she owns a couple booths at flea market in Leeds, AL) The desk wasn't the lovely, expensive-looking french provincial style that I dreaming of per se -- it was more so the 70's knock-off french provincial style -- but with a nice new coat of white paint I could see the potential. So home with me it went!

I'm pretty sure (in keeping with the 70's knock-off) that this desk was made with veneer so I couldn't sand it all down and start over with the paint, so instead I primed it and then painted it. I just used the Kilz primer that I had on hand....let it dry overnight and then painted Martha Stewart's basic white color in an eggshell sheen on top. The primer stuck to the glossy veneer giving me a rough surface that the paint would bond to.  Luckily, the primer + paint combo provided enough coverage to cover up the unsightly yellow-ish hue as well as the tacky gold trim. So just 2 days later (after allowing the primer to dry for 24 hours and the paint to dry for 24 hours) I was left with this:

A nice, white and bright french provincial-ish style desk....on the cheap!! :)

the indecisive wife