10.21 2010

Executive Desk :: Before and After

 I could have easily had this desk done a week ago, but had so.many.issues. with my sprayer.
This is what happens to certain people with certain personality traits
who perhaps don’t think they need to read manuals on very complex machines.
I wasn’t sure at first which direction to go with this desk that I picked up at a garage sale.
It was so stately with its’ leather inlays, yet it had feminine embellishments and feet.
I decided to go with the finish you see, and hope I chose correctly.
I guess I’ll know when it sells or not!
I loved the original hardware, so I only primed, painted black, and poly’d them with spray paint.

The big question for me is always how much distressing do I want,
and once it’s painted a solid color, where should I start?

To see the video tutorial on how I distress, it is here. (I’m sorry about the fact that I couldn’t steady the camera very well!)

Disclaimer: This technique is best used to distress small areas, like edges.
Large areas show the areas distressed as lighter than the rest of the paint, even after clear coating.
But, I’ve never had problems with edges.

I usually start with the details and edges, and highlight those first.
On bigger panels and tabletops, I do edges, both the inside and outside edge if there is one,
trying very hard not to let the solvent bite too much into the surrounding paint. Again, the smaller the areas to distress, the better.
 I wanted to bring out the leather in-lays, so I distressed around them.
I should also mention that the thinner the layers of paint, the better.
And – keep the denatured alcohol away from the leather.
Yes, I ruined the black leather by being stupid careless and placed the container right on top of it. The protective paper was still on, but it bit right down to the leather. Rather than panicking,
I marched over to my cabinet for some blue tape, taped the gold off,and sprayed the leather back to black.
Phew. You can’t even tell the difference.

It’s fun to find what lies in drawers.

Just a few tips:
After using the solvent with the 0000 steel wool, there will be steel wool fibers everywhere.
A tack cloth and a pair of gloves are your friends.
You may have to do this step twice, wiping down with a damp cloth in between.
I always grab a bunch for $0.99 at Sherwin Williams because they are ~ $3 each at the big stores.
Also, you may be wondering why I don’t just sand through. Well, for one, I like the result of this so much more than sanding alone. Albeit, I do admit it takes more time.

And two, on more than one occasion, I have sanded the edge of a painted piece,
and it turned into the runaway latex bandit.
Which means I have to  do this, and start all over. And that makes me grumpy.
Products used:
SW Solo Low VOC in Tricorn black, semi-gloss
See tutorial on distressing here
Topcoat: Varathane, semi-gloss
Linking to:

43 thoughts on “Executive Desk :: Before and After

  1. Well, first off, I think it turned out GORGEOUS!! It was pretty to begin with, and I love it in the black. I've sold mostly on CL. Black seems to be a hot seller, but I haven't had much luck with my desks. Do you have a chair you could finish to match and pair with it? I would say you should be able to get $200 for it on CL, more with a chair obviously. Good luck. Pricing is always very difficult for me too! I don't know if it's a better market down there. It's definitely a bigger market.

  2. This is beautiful! I was at a thrift store and wanted to buy so much furniture because they had so many good pieces, but I don't have my own place, so I couldn't really buy anything. I think what people are saying in the $200-250 range is more than reasonable!

  3. That's what I was going to say! $275 and it will probably be negotiated to $250. Plus, you can always come down in price, however, when it sells in the first 10 minutes of listing it, aren't you always left thinking "I wonder what they WOULD have paid???" :o)

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORGEOUS!! I think I inhaled sharply when I saw the picture.


  4. Having sold furniture in the past from high-end furniture stores, it kills me to hear numbers as low as $200. You realize that in the store this would sell for $750 and up.

    However, I know that you just would not get that selling it on your own.

    Have you ever tried to determine what you paid, plus your materials, and then what you should get paid per hour? I was just wondering…let's say that you gave yourself $30 per hour, plus the cost of materials…what would that end up being?

  5. This is really a beautiful piece and you obviously put lots of work into it. Don't sell yourself short! I know I've had to work on that myself, but if you price it accordingly people will recognize the value (at least the people you want!) and pay for it. I agree with slommler that over $300 is good. The right person will recognize the value!

  6. Wow… that is one gorgeous desk! As far as price goes, I agree with the people who say price it around $300 – $350 as you can always go down. You probably have done this, but you could look at your locale's CL and see what comparable pieces are listed for. Good Luck!

  7. I thought it was pretty before but then I saw your after and WOWWY WOW WOW! Gorgeous! {I also watched your how to video which was very informative in spite of almost making me motion sick. I've tried to make a video of myself working too and I just can't do it. We need assistants that can take pictures and videos of us working right? I'm excited to try that technique out. Next time I need to distress something that has nice wood underneath the paint.

    Thanks for linking up.


  8. Hi
    what kind of paint sprayer did you buy and how much? it seems most of them are designed only for oil paint because it is thinner than latex. I'd love to find one in the $200 range that can handle both viscosities.
    thanks great desk!

  9. I admit I was hesitant to scroll down and see the after but I'm glad I did. It looks fantastic. What a great job. I can't believe I like it more than the before.
    I also like the sofa table below. Very nice indeed. Labor intensive projects with awesome results. Thanks for sharing.

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