I mentioned earlier that I haven’t felt like writing about food lately (though I promise to get back on track with that soon!)
Instead, I’ve been spending a lot of my free time doing some DIY projects around the house. I finished a string art project for my basement rec room, and I finally got around to refinishing the old secretary’s desk that we inherited from the former owners of our house.
This behemoth of a desk was living in our dank, dungeon-ey basement when we bought it three years ago. I figured the previous owners left it behind because it was in need of some serious love. Still, it was a cool piece: it’s designed to hide a typewriter under the surface of the desk! Heck, I’m a sucker for hidden compartments.
It turns out that the previous owners didn’t take the desk with them because it didn’t fit through the basement door. Ha!
So, I was faced with a decision: either refinish it (down in the basement), or demolish it and remove it from the house in pieces.
I simply couldn’t bring myself to destroy a perfectly good piece of furniture — especially one with a hidden compartment! So, I sealed off a room in the basement to try and contain the dust:
Then, I started to sand that sucker down:
Refinishing furniture in your house is less than ideal: sanding creates a huge amount of dust, and the fumes from the paint or finish can be pretty strong. I managed to contain the mess to one part of my house, and wore a respirator when I worked (which I always do: safety first!) Still, I really wish I’d been able to take this piece out to the garage to avoid the hassle.
I had originally planned to paint this piece yellow, but I was inspired by a dresser I saw on Pinterest (that cruel mistress). So, I took the drawers out to the garage for a thorough sanding before I stained them, and picked up some of my favourite furniture and cabinet paint from Kent in Dogwood Blossom (a creamy white). The beauty of this paint is that it is formulated for furniture and cabinets: “Its heavy-duty melamine finish provides excellent resistance against frequent bumps, water and moisture stains.” I’ve used this paint for a few furniture refinishing projects so far. I haven’t primed any of them, and the finish has worn fabulously on all of them:
I don’t know about you, but I think white is the hardest paint colour to select. There are SO MANY shades, and the changes are very subtle. I used my Critter spray gun (which I picked up at Lee Valley for $50) to ensure the paint coverage was even and smooth, and found it *much* easier than working with a brush to get into all of the corners and tight spots.
Here is the finished product:
It was also challenging to find hardware that I liked. I ended up going to Lee Valley Tools, where they have an incredible selection (though some are pretty pricey). These each ran me about $7.
I also lined the drawers with cork Mac-tac, which I picked up at Target.
The total cost of this project was around $90. I think the secret compartment was well-worth $90. 🙂