Years ago, our neighbor gave us this wooden desk. She was dull, dated, worn (the desk, not the neighbor) and didn’t really coordinate with our other decor. So we painted her aqua and pressed her into service.
Ten years later, her paint and primer was peeling from the desk top and chipped on the sides, so it was time for a new look.
We began by stripping the paint off and sanding her down to bare wood. That statement makes this sound like an easy process, but I can assure you it was not. If you’ve ever stripped furniture, you know what I mean. It’s labor intensive, soul-sucking work.
Things are about to get real ugly up in here.
The time in between bouts of stripping, (again, the desk, just to be clear) was spent searching the internet for paint tutorials to achieve the look I imagined. I couldn’t find *exactly* what I wanted, so I’m combining techniques from the following two videos:
Because she is a plain Jane, we used construction adhesive and a few well-placed nails to add bead board to the inset panels.
Once satisfied that all the paint and stain was removed, we gave her a final sanding and wiped her down with Formby’s paint and poly remover. That particular product seems to be obsolete, but any bare wood cleaner/conditioner should work.
I began dry-brushing the paint on using the vintage turquoise paint effect tutorial. I used a narrow brush and a light hand for this step. Yep, that’s the same paint that we used for the original coat ten years ago.
I didn’t have three stains that worked for this, so I used red chestnut and provincial. The red chestnut didn’t have quite the impact that I expected, but the provincial stain adds a deep richness to bare wood. It’s just gorgeous.
See the paint on the top of the desk below? My original idea was to have the distressed paint technique on the desk top as well as the sides. The more I worked on it, the more I hated how it was turning out, so back to the
drawing board sander I went. We sanded the top back down to bare wood and re-stained it. Ugh. Stupid creative process.
Note how the stain darkened the aqua paint to a sage color.
Once the stain dried, I began layering on the paint colors using a 1.5″ putty knife. I found the key to this technique is to use a tiny bit of paint and spray it lightly with water. I wanted a time-worn look, not paint dripping everywhere. As with every good DIY project, this step takes 10 times longer than it should.
Using paint that I had on hand in my craft stash and leftover paint from other projects, I added accents of the brighter shades: my Hoosier Grandma’s favorite vintage shade of green, pink, coral and tiny touches of mustard. I used my finger as an applicator for this step. Just smear it on here and there, then layer, layer, layer until you cain’t layer no more!
At that point, Mr. Arthurized Home announced that he wasn’t feeling the bright accent colors, so I dry-brushed most of the piece with the aqua paint. That toned down the color, and we agreed that it looked slightly less bonkers after that step.
There’s a little surprise on the sides of the drawers. I used a floral stencil (Hello, 1980’s. Everything old is new again!) and creamy white paint mixed with pearlizing medium. I left large areas of the drawer sides untouched for a random effect. I’m debating taking the sander to the sides of the drawers to make it look worn from use.
When the entire piece was finished, I gave it the same Annie Sloan soft wax treatment as the bar chair. That soft wax is some of the best money I’ve ever spent. It dries buttery smooth and adds a richness to painted surfaces. The wax doesn’t change the color dramatically, just deepens it slightly, if that makes sense.
The nice folks at Carolina Pine Country Store would love for you to try out their range of Annie Sloan paint products, or anything you’d like from their gorgeous stock of home goods. I think you’ll like their quick fulfillment and stellar customer service as well.
They have a special offer just for Arthurized Home readers:
Spend $1 – $25 (before shipping cost) and mention this post, and they will include a FREE box of Magnolia Home safety matches. (I’ve ordered these, and love them!)
If you spend $26 – $50+ (again, before shipping) they will give you the free matches PLUS a FREE small Magnolia Home tin candle. (Gift idea: The candle and matches would make a sweet gift when given together.) This offer is good for the next 60 days (through 11.13.2019); and don’t forget to mention Arthurized Home and this post when you order!
TADA! Isn’t she pretty?! I’m so pleased with how this turned out, happy to have my desk back and hope to get another ten years out of this look.
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