Warning - terrible photos because I just couldn't be bothered. I feel like I've performed major surgery on this piece! It's a bit like Michael Jackson - tighter and whiter.
My childhood friend Kari who lives in my hometown on the Far South Coast is redecorating her daughter's room in a French provincial style and recently bought the Vintage sideboard turned TV cabinet. She also was looking for a big French provincial desk with loads of storage. I told her that French style desks with loads of storage are very difficult to come by. But the very next day I came across one. I initially saw it on the internet and said to Kari I would go check it out. Well it was in worse shape than I could ever imagine and I said to Kari that we should pass it up. But Kari said oh no please I really love it so I bought it on her behalf and got to work.
It had been chemically treated for insect damage and had been painted terribly at some stage. It originally had been a really beautiful timber parquetry desk but was now covered in disgusting paint and it really smelt and was sticky and not quite solid. So my first step was to wash it all down and strip off the paint. I sanded it with 80grit sandpaper on my ROS and ripped that disgusting paint right off. Can you believe it took about 6 hours. I had a terrible headache for a whole day afterwards and my hands vibrated! I was worried I'd poisoned myself to be honest. I also cleaned the inside of the desk with wood cleaner then oiled it with orange furniture polish and that left the desk and drawers airing in the sunshine for days on end.
At this stage I got quite sad as the desk was gorgeous (minus the holes and scratches and peeling veneer). But you could tell it had been beautiful. The photos don't tell you the full story - The top had huge patches on veneer missing but I forgot to take a photo of that and you can't see the borer damage. I painted a coat of zinsser primer (shellac based) and all the damage pops up against the white so I mixed up a huge amount of wood putty and got busy with it. I then painted another coat of primer. The white paint is Dulux Limed White in quarter strength mixed with Websters Chalk Paint Powder that was sent to me to trial by Monique of Dandelion Wood. I will do a separate blog post about my thoughts on the chalk paint powder soon. I painted the top to look like old leather using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in graphite. I then waxed and antiqued the desk. It took me around 4 hours to wax this
beast beauty.Does it take everyone hours and hours to wax and dark wax? I also replaced the handles by drilling new holes.
Anyway after a week of sanding, puttying, priming, painting, waxing etc I could not be bothered moving it and taking photos. I just snapped a couple on my iphone. poor ones at that. I nearly didn't even blog about it. But here it is in all it's glory now. Actually I took these photos while the wax was still wet and not buffed so it is less patchy now and looks like aged leather.
I'm going to pick a few easier pieces to paint for a while! I hope Kari loves her desk - it's really lovely now after it's operation!