Do you remember the post I wrote on a teacher’s desk, sitting patiently in my workshop, waiting for its makeover? If you’re new to Storywood Designs or want to refresh your memory, you can read that post here. I’m finally getting around to giving that desk her long awaited makeover… and this is the first part to her story. A makeover that took so long to complete deserves a two part story, don’t you think?
It’s fitting that it’s taken me until now to get around to painting and refinishing this desk. Fitting because this time of year is back to school time. The focus in our house has turned to backpacks and school supplies, new clothes and new shoes. With Jack entering kindergarten this year, it’s an especially poignant time for me… I’m excited for him, thrilled to have both boys back at the same school but it’s so bittersweet watching my baby put on a ‘real’ backpack and head off for a full day of learning, friends and fun.
With that in mind, a few weeks ago I finally turned my attention to the old desk. I wanted to get it finished before school, as I’ve contemplated moving it upstairs. It’s the perfect desk for drawing, a great place to corral all of our paper, pencils and crayons and the perfect homework station for the boys.
I had a vision for the desk from the beginning. I knew I wanted it to be red… knew I wanted to refinish the desktop and knew I wanted it to have a distressed and aged look. The goal wasn’t to hide its age but to enhance it. I first dealt with the drawers… all 6 of them solid wood with maple dividers organizing each drawer into a useful space. The drawer fronts received a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Emperor’s Silk and then were liberally distressed with my orbital sander. I sanded the drawers somewhat haphazardly, so the orbital worked well… I didn’t really care where the distressing occurred… I only knew that I wanted a lot of it.
After the drawers were painted and distressed, I decided to seal them using Danish Oil. I didn’t want to wax the piece but wanted to use a darker sealer that would add some age. I’d never used danish oil over paint before but love the product on the wood pieces I’ve used it on. I decided that a piece that might end up staying in our home was the perfect piece to experiment with danish oil over ASCP. What could it hurt?
I love the way the danish oil darkened the red of the paint… love the way it settled into crevices around the handles and cracks in the grain of the wood.
The insides of the drawers were dirty and worn and in dire need of a facelift… over 6 months of sitting in the garage did nothing to help them either. I cleaned each with Krud Kutter and after they dried made sure they were free of lint and dirt. I didn’t really want to paint and seal the interior of 6 drawers, so I decided to go another route… a way to refresh the interiors and add a little color and personality.
Months ago, I brought a box of old teaching supplies home from New Bern. They belonged to my mom and to my grandmother, both lifelong elementary school teachers. My mom didn’t know what to do with them and was ready to get them out of the house. I couldn’t bear to see them go to the dump (the hoarder in me came out) and brought them home to Raleigh. Some of my favorites are old nursery rhymes and picture book pages from the 1950′s and 1960′s. I love the bright colors, the heavy linen paper and the words that were once so familiar. My grandmother used them on her bulletin boards, so many aren’t in perfect condition but they just the thing to cover the drawer bottoms. It seemed fitting to use a teacher’s old teaching supplies on a refurbished teacher’s desk.
I used Mod Podge to secure the pages to the base of the drawers. Some were the perfect width, others had to be trimmed and cut to fit. Each papered drawer got two coats of Mod Podge to seal the papers and the dividers were put back in place.
The drawers are done and waiting to be put back into the desk. The desk just needs a few more finishing touches and it will be ready to finally come inside, out of the workshop and put back to use… just in time to go back to school. Look for part 2 of its story next week…