A new house means a new office. And a new office means a new desk. But I didn’t want just any office desk. I wanted an old, tried, tested and true pile of wood that was built to last the tests of time. It should have character, charisma, durability and tight millwork.
It would have been easy to run over to Staple’s and pick up a desk-in-a-box, but where’s the fun in that? Plus, I’m poor! So dropping cash on some particle board and an Allen key wasn’t going to work out. Luckily for me, I’ve been on a huge salvage and thrifting kick as of late.
I found a secretary desk for sale at a supportive living home not too far from my house. The price was right and it wasn’t that heavy, so just like that—I have a new desk. Good news was that it was built solid and had lots of potential. It was made of good wood, there was ample storage space, and the desktop was large enough for me to work and hold my laptop. The bad news was that it was going to take some work to get it feeling and looking the way I want it to. I saw the potential, so the work became motivating instead of arduous.
The first thing I did was remove the centre drawer from the structure. It wasn’t giving me enough comfortable leg room without banging my knees or scratching my stupid troll thighs whenever I would get up or sit down.
Secondly, the drawer pulls were ugly. Gross. Gone. See ya.
Now that the desk was more or less disassembled, it was time to strip the old stain to get back that pretty wood texture smiling from underneath. A word to the wise—if you’re going to work with a powerful paint thinner like I did, wear thick gloves, a mask and goggles; all in a well-ventilated area. This shit will burn you slowly if it touches you. It’s very corrosive.
And for good reason. It works!
After removing the gross and gooey paint thinner/old stain aftermath goop, I gave it a once-over with my palm-sander to even out and rough edges and left-over stain. After all this dirty work, the rest was a cake-walk.
I taped off certain areas of exposed wood and gave the desk a sultry three coats of new stain. Once that dried I taped off more of the desk and applied the white painted areas. I was sure to use an off-white-ish paint because I’m not down with that 100% white Ikea-style furniture. It lacks soul.
Unlike my new desk! The last things I added was a quick splash a varathane over the wood, a clear-coat satin finish over the painted areas, and looped and adhered the new rope pulls through the drawers.
And that’s it. She’s done!
It’s been a great addition to my new office. I placed the desk under an east-facing window, so there is brilliant light streaming in during the morning and near-perfect soft light in the afternoon. It’s a really chill place to hang out, work and just focus without any distraction.
My next investment is going to be a legit ergonomic office chair that will stave off that hunchback that’s always flirting with me. I may have to break the bank for that one because a second-hand office chair doesn’t sound too appealing.