This is our desk:

It is a very nice quality set of furniture that was a part of my husband’s bedroom set as a young boy. I was happy to discover that it “came with” my husband when I married him…because we have gotten a lot of use out of it!

We still had a semester of college left to complete when we were married and my husband was locked into several more months of a lease with some of his fraternity brothers. So I moved in to what I lovingly referred to as our bachelor pad. This desk unit was our bedroom furniture:

When that lease was up, we were able to rent a small house (“the cottage”) from a friend’s parents for a few months before we headed off to Thailand for most of that next year. In the cottage, we had the desk unit in the living room:

After we returned from Thailand, we moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Denver, CO. In our apartment, the desk furniture once again became our bedroom set:

When we bought our first house, the desk sat here:

We also acquired these additional pieces which Grammy Sammy (Rod’s mom) found and used in her guest bedroom for a while: They don’t match exactly (the countertop is wood with the other pieces have laminate and the back paneling has a slightly different pattern)…but it is a pretty amazing match when you consider that there were 20 years or so between  purchases …don’t you think?!


As I have already stated, we have gotten A LOT of use out of this furniture and I really like the set a lot. But I have been thinking for a while about giving her a makeover. I am just not crazy about the old maple wood color or the hardware.(I actually stole the hardware several months ago when I painted my Robin’s Egg Blue Dresser for my master bedroom. The desk then say pull-less for way too long.) So when we emptied out the drawers and cleared this furniture out of the room to refinish the floors, I decided the time was right for a new paint job. At first I was thinking black. But then I decided I’d rather have a really dark steely grey…almost black but not quite. I was thinking it would still pretty much look black, but a bit softer and more unique and antique looking. I used the paint my mom and I got for my brother’s ombre dorm room dresser…and mixed in just a bit of white (actually the ValsparDecember Starlight we have for our trim). And I painted, and painted, and painted…pulled an all-nighter in fact, so that I could have several hours of continuous work-time without the little ones around.

And when the sun came up….and stood back to really get my first good look at the color in natural lighting…I realized it was BLUE!!!. Not the dark steely grey almost black color I was going for at all.

I thought about starting over with a new color…but really just didn’t have the time.

So we moved her in a filled her up, all the while hoping the color would grow on me. (I can’t really say that it has.)

I DO think the new pulls and knobs are a huge improvement, though:

It is funny how you don’t really notice anything wrong with your decor until you take a picture of it…like the fact that 2 of the 3 clock batteries are dead and the times are all off….

…or that some random sticker was stuck to the computer tower.

For now, here she is…


and AFTER:

Here’s the thing, though…besides the fact that I don’t love the color, I can’t say that I am real pleased with the durability either…the paint is chipping off all over where we use it most (around the keyboard and the top front desk drawer) despite my research and efforts to find good primers for this project (I used Zinnser B-I-N for the laminate tops and Zinnser Cover Stain Oil-based primer for the rest)…(and I DID sand all the surfaces to rough them up before painting and then wiped them down real good to get all that dust off)…

SOOOO I am formulating a plan…and would love your input!

When we move this furniture to our new house (hopefully very soon), I am going to take the opportunity to rescue the desk (but I am not yet sure what I should do…which is where you come in).

I could:

1.Just touch up the areas that are chipping and then add a water-based poly topcoat (the stuff recommended for kitchen counter-top restoration) for scratch/chip protection . (So that it would pretty much look the same that it does now…)

2. Do the touch up, then add a black, dark brown, or umber glaze to darken the color a bit and to give it a distressed look before adding the poly top coat (like my red beds or robin’s egg blue dresser.)

3. Buy a new can of black paint or steely grey instead of mixing my own and give her a whole new coat in a blacker color.

4. Do something totally different. (Maybe it would be pretty in an antiqued white?) Or there are always orange polka dots…

Whadaya Think?


I’m linking up:

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  1. Kaylee says:

    I know it would be a lot of work, but seeing that you have been living with the color for so long and you don’t like the color; I say start over and paint it the color you had originally envisioned. Go buy the color you want and repaint. : ) Looking forward to seeing what you end up doing.

  2. Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper) says:

    I love it from the pictures but I’ve done enough furniture that I can imagine what you are talking about with not loving the color and durability. I recommend you check out Jen’s blog at iHeartOrganizing.blogspot if you don’t already know about her…she’s done several before/afters successfully like this.

  3. laura says:

    I really like the color- the before and after photos really show improvement- and it didn’t look bad before:)
    Love the hardware.
    I vote for option #2.

  4. Shannon@SewSweetCottage says:

    I actually like the color–but if you don’t like it, I would redo it. The transformation is awesome, so if you repainted–you would LOVE it, and that would be worth it! I have a room that has needed to be repainted for the past year…gotta get on that!! I’m a new follower!!


  5. Amanda @ Watch Out, Martha! says:

    Wow. I would LOVE to have a workspace like this! You did a really great job! 🙂

    I would love it if you would link up at Watch Out, Martha!’s first link up party: Martha Mondays on May 7th! Hope to see you there! ( )

  6. Ruth says:

    I think this color looks fantastic but if you’re not happy with it, I would change it to something you like. I think the glaze is a great idea.

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