Wednesday, September 8, 2010

DIY: Wood Refinishing

We're in the process of transitioning our daughter to her "big girl" room so that the nursery will be ready when our baby comes in just a few weeks. My husband's grandfather (Grandad) gave him his desk many years ago. We've had it in our house, but mostly used it as storage in our office. But, since the office is now another bedroom, we needed to find a new home for the desk. I thought it might make a nice dresser in our daughter's new room.

Here is the desk/dresser before:

It has 3 drawers, and the top "drawer" opens up to be the desk part:

It had been well used for many years, so there were plenty of dents, stains, and blemishes, like this one:

I got a spray-on stripper to take the varnish off. I did one side of the desk myself, but I was so thankful for help from my mom on the rest because I have been so tired lately! We got the whole thing stripped and then sanded it down:

After being sanded, the desk looked so different! The orange-y color was the old finish, and the wood underneath was fairly light.
I had some blue paint that I got free from Glidden last year, and I wanted to use this to accent the drawers.
While I painted, my mom put on a dark stain on the rest of the desk:

The last step was to add a varnish to seal everything really well. We did one coat of varnish, let that dry, then used a very fine grain sandpaper before adding a second coat of varnish.

And the finished product!

I LOVE the way it turned out! We painted the walls in my daughter's room yellow, so the blue and the dark wood really add a beautiful accent to the room. One thing I wanted to do to make things a little more special was to get some new knobs. I saw a DIY project some time ago that had white drawer pulls with black numbers on a refinished dresser (I can't find the site now, but I will keep looking to link back to them!), and I really wanted to do something like that. My mom ended up finding these vintage knobs in a shop in Old Ellicott City:

Here's a close up:

I think they are awesome and really just the finishing touch that I wanted for this project! Remember that stain on the inside of the desk? It's totally gone now!

And one more picture, just because I LOVE how this project turned out!

My mom and I have both gotten bit by the refinishing bug now, I think! While it was a lot of work, we ended up with a beautiful piece of furniture that is personalized. I am looking forward to telling my daughter the story about this project, and it will be really special for her to get to use something that was her great-grandfather's. He passed away when she was just a few weeks old, so this will be a way to pass memories down to a new generation!


  1. Very nice! I really like how you put the blue and the stain together; I never would have thought to do that!


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