Friday, May 4, 2012

An Almost Free Desk

Ever been to parts of Mexico where the vendors shout "Almost Free" about their wares?  Well, I'm about to show you a project that cost me next to nothing.  And by nothing, I do not mean that I had tons of items lying around the house waiting for use and that's what made the thing free. Nope, I had to buy one thing and everything else I got totally free from my sources.

First off, there was a coupon for a free quart of Clark-Kensington Paint plus Primer from Ace a few weeks ago (FYI: tomorrow they're doing the same free quart deal except only 40 quarts per store will be given away.  There was a coupon in Wednesday's circulars).  I sent Ryan to get a red similar to one I had seen from Ballard Designs.  We have an armoire that needs refinishing, and after I saw this version (for over $1200!), I thought I could do that myself.

Only problem is that the color Ryan bought isn't exactly right for that particular project. Please don't ask me the color name because I can't find it--it's not even on the can (I later found out that the neutral base for the free can isn't really appropriate for this vibrant hue anyway).  So I needed to use the paint on a different piece of furniture.

While trolling Craigslist for cast-offs from freshly divorced Kansas Citians, Ryan found this desk listed...for free.

This isn't a true "before" photo because Ryan had already taken the hardware off, but this is close.  The desk's finish was in terrible shape, but it was structurally sound.  It's a desk you'll see re-painted all over bloglandia, so there must've been thousands made in this design.

And here it is after two coats of brushed on paint and a coat of satin poly on the top.  I decided to leave the brush strokes and keep it aged looking.

The hardware is a little outdated. Problem? It's a non-standard width, so getting new hardware would've required filling up the old holes and drilling new ones. I decided the hardware was charming enough, so it stays.

The desk will be for random projects, sewing, and for Ryan when he needs a flat surface for his laptop.  All we need now is a lamp 'cause this one is totally inappropriate.  It'll do for now, though.

So that's our (almost) free desk! We bought the polyurethane for a few bucks and have plenty for future projects.  Otherwise, all it took was some elbow grease and a sharp eye for deals.


  1. My other half recently discovered Kijiji and he is on it every. single. day. looking for a "deal".

  2. That is probably a teacher's desk. I had one almost exactly like it for 13 yrs. in the old school. Even the hardware looks the same.

    1. That's funny. If true, this teacher had a serious smoking habit. I suppose that was once allowable on the job?

    2. It could be that a smoker had it last. My desk might have been an original from 1930. Who knows how many people have used it. mom

  3. I think it looks great! I really like the hardware. Nice job.


  4. Visiting from Mrs Accidental's blog. That desk looks amazing, you've inspired me to get into a restoration project of my own!


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