I absolutely looooove the combination of grey and white, and I’ve been dying to make over a piece of thrift store furniture with this color combo for quite a while.
Enter: this beat-up (but cute style!) French Provincial desk that I picked up at my favorite thrift store.
Isn’t it amazing what paint can do?! With this type of transformation, who would ever need to buy NEW??
You know that when you shop thrift stores for furniture to make over, you know it’s always a toss up about whether it will require a nip here…..a tuck there…..and sometimes, a whole face lift!!
Thankfully, this desk wasn’t a total “face lift” but it did throw me for a loop with a few things that ended up eating away a lot of my time!
Don’t you hate when projects go like that?? What you thought was going to be a quick, easy, satisfying project ends up turning into the project that needs to just “END, already!” so you can move on to something else.
Yeah, well, that was this project.
Do You Ever Paint the BACK of Furniture??
I know….”Who’s ever going to SEE it?!” is what you’re probably thinking. That is what I used to say, too. But ever since I decided that I may try my hand at the ‘ole “entrepreneurial thing” (read: selling some of my stuff on Craigslist and at flea markets, which hasn’t happened YET; just gearing up), I decided that it’s unacceptable (and UGLY!!) to leave the back and bottom untouched.
When I found this French Provincial desk, this is what the back of it looked like: covered in thick, torn cardboard MDF-type boards. It looked horrible!!
Even though it’s the BACK, seriously, would you want to see this when you turned the desk around?? I wouldn’t! It would be a nasty reminder of the “old” that’s just sitting under 2 layers of paint. And, sorry, but when I make over furniture, I want to erase any thought of the nastiness that used to be 🙂 It needs to look as fresh and clean as possible. NOT with old holes in the back, like this one! LOL
First, I thought I would just remove the back and put on new backs.
I tried to remove the staples that were holding the back on, but they were huge and long and my tools–well, I may as well have been using a toothpick to pry the staples out! LOL
So I decided to cover over it with a whole new panel and just leave the existing old backing on. No one would even know! (well, unless they find me blabbing it here…..).
See those panels??
Um…..guess where I found them?
ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!
Yep! Hubby, me, and the kids were driving along and I saw about 6 of these MDF boards just SITTING on the side of the road, in the trash pile. Hello!!!! Pull over! Pull over!
Hubby sucked his teeth and complained, but when I’M the one driving, he has no choice but to oblige! And wouldn’t you know, a couple of those boards came in handy for this project!
**sticking my tongue out good-naturedly to hubby**
I used my little Dremel Trio rotary tool to cut the sizes I needed. At the time, I didn’t own a circular saw, which would have been super easy. So I settled for the Trio. Now that I’ve got my circular saw, I’ve been doing all kinds of projects I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise do, like when I turned my toddler’s changing table into a desk!
I nailed the panels onto the back. It looks a bit “not even” but that’s because I was trying to go directly over the existing pieces, and those were a little crooked to begin with. Oh well, it doesn’t have to be PERFECT. (Later, I got an awesome Ryobi brad nailer, and let me tell you, that baby makes nailing eaaassssyyy!!)
But even THIS is a major improvement over the holey back.
With a coat of paint, it blends in with the rest of the body without being an ugly eye sore. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect; but at least it’s an improvement, right??
Drilling New Holes
Don’t be afraid to drill new holes for your hardware. Sometimes you want to reposition them, or maybe you just need to rework it, the way I needed to do.
It’s super-easy to do.
This French Provincial desk had 2 knobs on each top drawer, but because one was MISSING, there were only 3 knobs when there should have been 4. (See the missing knob on the left drawer?)
Now there’s only one….
I used Wood Filler to cover the existing knob holes, then drilled a hole in the center to create just one knob hole.
When the wood filler was dry, I sanded it down to blend into the wood.
I drilled a new hole in the center and just used 1 knob for each top drawer. PROBLEM: solved 🙂
Pass Me the Primer, Please!!!
Sometimes you just need a big ‘ole can of PRIMER.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, especially for the reason that it sticks to everything, apparently. But one thing it DOESN’T do is act as a stain blocker.
You see these drawer fronts?? OMG, horrible!
I painted at LEAST 3 or 4 coats of white over that gold trim part, and there must have been some stains or something on it because it BLED THROUGH each coat….UNTIL I whipped out the good ‘ole primer and slathered on a coat. Worked like a charm!
I kept the existing hardware because it had such a nice shape. I just painted them white, too.
It’s true that with each project you learn a little something more than you did before you started. With this project, I learned that:
1) Primer will NEVER go out of style!
2) Sometimes hiding a flaw is just as good as correcting it!
3) It’s okay to hoard trash you find on the side of the road because one day, YOU MIGHT JUST NEED IT 😉
What are some of YOUR Lessons Learned from doing projects? Please leave a comment!