“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” ~ Oscar Wilde
My 9 year old son [R] has been asking me for a desk for his room for about a year now. I finally decided now was the perfect time to grant his request. Now, I could have went out and purchased a brand new desk for hundreds of dollars, but that would defeat the purpose of my budget friendly and original home design style.
I picked up a used, normal-looking desk from Hope Gospel Mission Bargain Center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin for about $25.00.
The desk has deep drawers and lots of space on top for him to work on-whatever it is 9 year old boys work on. (Think Legos, drawing, puzzles, games, etc)
Do you see any potential in this desk? I have been blessed with eyes that see beyond what an object is-and can see the shape and size of something and be able to picture the ways it could be upcycled , changed, and used in unique ways.
Here are the changes I made to the desk to make it original and unique for my sons bedroom.
First, I washed the entire desk down, inside and out to remove any dirt and dust, and removed all of the hardware (knobs + drawer pulls).
Next I primed the entire piece, front, back, inside, out, drawers and all with Zinsser primer.
After waiting [very impatiently] for the primer to dry, it was time for the first coat of color!
I let my son pick out the color at Menards, he chose the shade of ‘Crater Lake’ .
I’m such a messy painter- at least you can’t tell by looking at the finished piece, just by looking at me..when finished! (hah!)
Yep, sometimes..I paint barefoot.
After again, waiting very impatiently for the first coat of paint to dry, I repeated the process 2 more times to ensure I had the desk 100% covered nice and thick to stand up to my sons use. (and of course had to quickly test and see how the new hardware looked)
Next was a stage I wasn’t sure if I would do or not. Aging the piece. Because this piece is so straight-not too much detail and character, I felt aging the piece would give it a more ‘used’ look and character, instead of it looking like it was saying ‘Hey! I was just painted!’ Aging it would give it the character that made it feel like it was making the statement of a historical piece that had been through use, abuse and plenty of long hours of work.
With Minwax Polyshades Stain + Polyurithane in the color ‘Espresso’ Satin, I brushed on the stain, working in sections. Letting the stain + poly dry for just 2-3 minutes, I took a lint free rag, and wipe away the portion of the stain, leaving behind a small amount of stain, choosing to leave more around the edges where most likely the desk would have been touched by the previous owner,etc. I repeated this process 1 more time until it looked just right.
Once the desk was 100% dry (I let it dry overnight about 12 hours before touching) I added the new hardware (had to bust out the ol’ drill and make the holes a little bit larger to fit the new knobs) …
…and then added a long vintage license plate on the front drawer to cover the flowery design that my son didn’t like. The license plate was cut down to size with tin snips, and attached to the front drawer by drilling holes in the plate where the knobs were able to be placed through and attach the plate securely.
I thought at this point I was done. But as I opened the drawers to look back at my work, I felt something was missing. It needed a bit more character. I searched high and low online and in stores for a drawer liner that would compliment this piece, and also make my son happy. I had found…nothing. I ended buying just plain black contact paper, set it in the drawer to see how it would look- and just wasn’t feeling it. It still, needed something more. I let the entire desk project sit for a few days and was hoping something would come to me if I walked away from the project for some time.
Then I was in my home office, and was looking at a map I framed of Montana, when it hit me, like a bolt of lightning. I would line his drawers with maps!!! Y E S! He was so very excited when I told him my idea.
After measuring, and cutting the Montana & Minnesota maps to size, I sprayed on spray-on adhesive, and place the maps inside each of the drawers. I finished by spraying Krylon Acrylic coating in clear matte finish on top of each map inside the drawer which will then make the maps water-resistant.
My kids and I went and shopped some antique stores, TJ Maxx, and Ashley Furniture Home Store to get some complimentary items for the top of his desk;
Below is the inside cover of the book ‘Cash boy’ that my son picked out at an antique store-;
Lamp purchased at Ashley Furniture on clearance for $18.00 ($40.00 off!) + added a quick coat of brown Rust-Oleum Metallic Accents paint;
…and now my friends, his desk is complete!!!
(Large map window will be featured on a new blog post later in the week)
So, there you have it. Open your eyes to see beyond what an item is, to see how you can change it and make it unique-and completely YOU!
Thanks for reading,