Office Reno 2011 has kicked-off. Yesterday, you saw the fresh coat of paint. Next up?
I’m on a mission to refinish a Pier 1 desk that has been moving around with me since 1998.
Its simple design was never too out-of-place in all of the apartments and homes I’ve lived in, and its undeniable functionality has always come in handy. Lately though, it’s been a good surface for accumulating junk. The built-in drawer in the front is spacious, and an optional second tier of storage can be installed to extend across the back of the desk, something that I’ve intermittently swapped on and off. It’s sturdy, solid wood, but hasn’t been used as a formal workspace in a long while.
To give you a better sense of what it actually looked like, I found this picture from earlier in the year when I had it squeezed into another room, serving no purpose but collecting dust and dog fur around its legs.
My plan of attack involved removing the second tier of storage, and refinishing part of the desk with a glossy, fresh coat of paint. The biggest decision I had to make was whether I should paint the frame white, and leave the top of the desk natural wood, or do just the opposite, leaving the legs and frame natural, and giving myself a new glossy work surface.
I wanted to transform it. Less Pier 1, more CB2. At least migrate it’s design in that direction, at least.
Not that I have nothing against Pier 1, this old piece just needed an pick-me-up.
Messy room, yes, but it’s organized chaos. Everything will have a home when I’m through.
Going with my gut, I leaned towards painting the top. Main reason being because over time, careless spills and condensation had caused a few watermarks to imperfect the surface of the wood visually. Having removed it from the base, I set up my painting workshop in the sunroom. In there, I was guaranteed sufficient ventilation with shelter from potential rain. Note the mild discolorations:
Because most of my rollers had been used several times each already, and I wanted to work with brand new clean tools to help provide a great result, I splurged on a set of new 6″ high density foam rollers for the job.
While they were clearly categorized as the “BETTER” rollers in the good-better-best sequencing at Home Depot, I was more confident that I’d achieve a sleek, blemish-free paint surface with the high-density foam instead of the “BEST” premium microfiber rollers. I bought some of those rollers last winter when I got busy painting the open kitchen shelves, and while the paint did apply smoothly, I recalled the roller getting bogged with paint and not rolling perfectly at times.
The foam rollers claimed to be best suited for gloss paints and smooth surfaces, which was the real seller for me. The hardwood surface was already very smooth – Smoother even than my Pier 1 laminate dining room table. Great writing surface, although a softer wood than you’d want to be writing on all day long. To prep, I went over the desktop with a medium sandpaper to create a better surface for the first coat, the primer, to adhere to.
Because it was a natural wood surface, I used a basic primer that I generally use on walls. If it had been a laminate surface or melamine (like most IKEA finishes), I would have splurged on a high-adhesion primer.
My research indicated that oil-based paint was a must-have for furniture of this type; latex would have remained tacky and peeled up with use, and considering it was going to be a heavily used, banged against, surface with a purpose, the $9 cost of a quart of the glossy white Rustoleum paint (the same kind of paint that I used when I painted the radiator) was totally worth it.
The first coat of paint went on after the primer was dry; the high-density foam roller made the first coat thin, smooth, and even. I planned all along on doing 2-3 coats to ensure a perfectly smooth, even coat, and doing so required me to allow the paint to dry a minimum of 12-hours between each coat. Tick, tock. Yes, this took several days to complete.
It was fantastically glossy after the second coat.
To even out any inevitable drips, which mostly happened along the edges where I was also painting the edges of the desktop, I very lightly sanded the entire paint surface inbetween each of the three coats (yes, I went back in for a third and it was worth it). Very shiny, very smooth.
The rest of the office is still coming together, hence the limited photos of the desk in space (who really wants to look at more pictures with all of my junk smooshed against a wall?).
In any case, the desk progress already makes a big impact and helps me begin to see the overall plan beginning to take effect.