I don’t know why it is, but those “lazy days of summer” haven’t happened for our family for about 5 years. Each year, our summer seems to get wilder and weirder. (Or, more wild and more weird, for you folks who are afraid to play with the English language. I recommend reading some Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll to loosen you up a bit. But I digress…)
Last summer, I picked up this little number for $24. I had full intentions of refinishing it. But then life happened. The summer evaporated, school started up again and I was stuck with THIS as my desk:
It has a few issues. For starters, it’s a little loud. As in, what-were-you-thinking-when-you-stuck-all-those-cheap-decals-on-there!?! and did-you-think-I-couldn’t-tell-the-difference-between-cheap-gold-paint-and-real-gold-leaf!?!
And my favorite. Do you see it? Look a little closer:
Somebody forgot to line up the handle pulls. Maybe they got distracted by all those decals and fake gold paint.
But we aren’t done yet. The top had this strange, spongy, yellow thing glued on:
It was just weird. It creeped me out every time I used my computer. Why? Just, why?
Something had to be done. I had endured this monstrosity and called it my desk for an entire year. I didn’t think I could face another school year with that thing as my desk. (In defense of fine oriental furnishings, this definitely was not. It was some sort of feeble, cheapo attempt to scam you into thinking it was the real thing, but it fell short. Very, very short.)
Why, you ask, did I buy it if it was so awful? Three main reasons. One, it had great lines, and I’m always a sucker for things with great lines. Two, it had great drawer pulls. You really don’t notice them with all that other nonsense going on. This piece is way too overdressed. It’s like wearing leopard print, hot pink zebra stripes, plaid and gaudy jewelry all at once. The drawer pulls are lost in the gaudiness of the rest of the decor. Three, it was $24. The drawer pulls alone would have cost me that much.
My original plan was to strip all that junk off, sand it and stain it a beautiful espresso, fix the mis-aligned drawer pulls and be happy.
I grabbed my chemical gloves and the strongest paint stripper I could find.
This ugly beast was determined to hang on to her gaudy garments. Really, super determined. I scraped and sanded and scraped and sanded. I used an entire can of paint stripper. All I managed to do was create a gummy surface. This thing was painted with some sort of enamel-from-another-planet. It would.not.come.off.
I did, however, manage to get that weird spongy yellow thing off the top. I threw it away. It frightened me. I also managed to sand off enough of the enamel to realize the wood was just as cheap as the fake gold paint and decals. It wasn’t worth the work it would take to get it ready for staining.
Sometimes you just have to call it a bad job. I shifted gears, grabbed some black paint and polyurethane I had lying around. I sanded off the cheap decals and painted it black so that it would blend with the other furniture I had in the room. Since I had to paint it, I really wanted to paint it white, or gray, or a beautiful antiqued robin’s egg blue, but I would have needed to refinish every other piece of furniture I own in order for it to fit in. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I painted it black.
It’s amazing how much cleaner my desk feels by just getting rid of all the busy stuff this piece had going on. Even though it’s just a safe, boring black, it is simple and clean. And the drawer pulls line up.
Have a great day!
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