Thursday, September 20, 2012

Abandoned Beauty

I’m always surprised at some of the things that are abandoned at the end of someone’s driveway!   Of course, I admit I do feel a little excitement every time I see that “free” sign perched on an item! 

My parents came across this beautiful little desk and decided to rescue it not knowing if it was actually a project I’d want to take on or not.  Of course I did!  I fell in love with those adorable little drawer pulls immediately!  

(Click on any of the pics for a closer peek)

The desk had certainly been through a lot.  The veneer along the sides was chipped and peeling, the original finish was definitely worn in areas, the desk surface looked like it had become someone’s sketch pad and some of the hardware was even on upside down!

My first thought was to paint the entire thing.  I was a little hesitant though wondering if the desk surface could be rescued and refreshed.  I decided to take a chance stripping it down knowing that if it turned out to be a mess, I could just paint over it.  While using paint stripper certainly isn’t high on my list of fun activities (it’s messy and time consuming!), I’m so glad I took the chance.   After a few hours of scrapping and sanding it down, I was thrilled to see an “almost” perfect top.  I restained it with a rich chestnut stain and followed that with 4 coats of polyurethane for a gorgeous glossy finish.  

Once that was finished, I taped off the top and started working on the bottom and drawers.  I had already glued and clamped the loose veneer, but still had a lot of work to do filling in the remaining damage with wood filler!  Once I had it primed and sanded smooth, I sprayed on a few coats of a beautiful creamy white satin paint followed by a few coats of polyacrylic.  I always use a water based non-yellowing polyacrylic over my white or light colored pieces.

Ahhhhh....look at that gorgeous shiny reflection!



All the drawers are dovetailed which I just adore!  It's just that extra bit of character that so many new pieces nowadays don't seem to have.

Because I loved the original hardware, I chose to reuse it.  After a 2 hour soak in a salt and vinegar hot water bath, I scrubbed them to remove the years of built up dirt and grime.  Unfortunately one of the pulls was broken with the actual handle missing, so I chose to replace the hardware on the upper drawers with some beautiful vintage glass drawer pulls I had on hand.  Switching from a 2-hole drawer pull to a single one isn’t difficult – just a little more work.  I filled the existing holes with putty, let them dry, sanded them smooth and added a second coat of putty.  Putty/wood filler has a tendency to “settle” while it’s drying, so I find it always need that second coat.  Once the second layer was dry, I sanded it again and then primed and painted over it.  With some quick measurements, it was quick and easy to drill a new hole for the single drawer pull.

I am very happy with the way this piece worked out and I’ve already had a lot of interest in it.  I hope it will work well in its new home!

Thanks for popping by!


  1. Beautiful job-the top looks fantastic!

  2. Wow! I love the before and turned out great!

  3. It's amazing the things some people get rid of! They just have no vision. :) Your rescue is beautiful!

  4. Thank you so much for your kind comments! :)



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