I want to thank everyone who gave me their suggestions for redoing this old desk into my new project desk for my sunroom makeover. I kind of had in my head what I wanted to do and had already made some decisions but really wanted to see what you all thought before I jumped in. Some said paint and others said don't. Some suggested exactly what I was thinking which was great. So, I've made my decisions and actually have about finished the desk. There are a couple of final touches I need to do before I show you the end result. However, I'm going to give you a sneak peak and share with you how I made my final decisions.
Here is the desk in it's before. It is at least 70+ years old and was handmade by someone in my husband's family. It is in kind of rough shape.
Upon closer inspection, I saw this and asked my husband about it. He said in later years, this was moved to a back porch and people sat at it smoking cigarettes. Apparently, they didn't care much for ashtrays and just set the cig directly on the table. These are burn marks. (visualize a sad face)
Here are more burn marks on the other edge. You can also see some splitting of the finish on the wood. This wood was a bit dried out.
However, it had these crazy staples in it to hold the the two pieces of wood that make up the bottom shelf. They are either original or added fairly soon afterward. I like them...crazy little squiggly staples.
There are old nails all over the place. There doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason for some of them but they are everywhere. Here are 2. There was little care to line them up or make them neat or even make the patterns match another set of corresponding nails.
More nails. They are hard to see but there are about 4 or 5 nails in this picture.
The underside of the top of the desk. I kind of wish these grooved boards had been on top. I guess that wouldn't have been functional for homework back in the day.
So, here's my decision process and my ultimate decisions. I have a hard time painting old things. I've done it and done it plenty of times but it's hard. So, I considered sanding and restaining. The burns and poor condition and nails everywhere made me want to paint. Paint would cover everything and freshen it up. However, I don't want to cover up all of the character. If I sand it in anticipation of staining, I would have sand a lot to get the burns off and the smoothness of freshly sanded wood might take away a lot of the character. This thing is full of worm holes and dings and dents and uneven places. I like that. So, I can't decide yet whether to paint or restain.
This is going in my sunroom. I want the sunroom to be fresh and light. One piece of sort of dark wood can look amazing in a room where everything else is light. But...I have another awesome big piece of furniture that will be going in the room and it is a dark wood. A bunch of dark wood furniture wouldn't make the sunroom light and bright. I can not paint the other piece so......
...enter Martha Stewart's Cumulus Cloud. It's a soft gray-blue in the white family. I decided to paint. Some of those who suggested I paint it also suggested I sand it afterwards slightly to distress a bit. I decided to just paint with very little prep. That way, I can keep the character but cover up the stuff I don't like. If I don't prep well, normal wear and tear will allow the paint to chip and wear in a more authentic way. From the picture above you can see that I am adding wheels too.
If you hate seeing old wood painted, change the channel now. What you are about to see may be disturbing to some viewers.
We added wheels so I can easily move it around.
I wanted to keep the original glass knobs on the two drawers. When replacing them we realized one was broken. That's why it had been removed and was laying in a drawer. So, I may try to find a matching one but in the meantime, I think I'm going to put two new (but old looking) knobs on it.
Some of you suggested we add glass to the top since there was a lip around it. Well, we had already decided to do that and the glass had been ordered. I'm doing the sunroom in neutral creams with soft blues and greens (and a couple of pops of red because it's my favorite color). I found this pretty fabric and put it under the glass. I may add pictures and project ideas under the glass as well with the fabric as a backdrop.
So, still left to do before I show you the whole piece: new knobs, shave a little off the glass because it doesn't fit perfectly since the desk isn't a perfect rectangle and make a few pillows out of the same fabric and a complimentary fabric. Give me a few days and I'll show you the final product.