Sunday, August 25, 2013

how a thrift store table became a college dude’s desk

Hello everyone.

Yes, I’m back from my whirlwind week of moving. And after driving a grand total of 1500 miles up and down the state, I’m happy to report that both boys are in their new places and settled in for the school year. In the meantime I’ve been catching up on Life and still feeling a bit tired from the crazy pace of it all.

Today I thought I’d share the thrift store project I finished for Michael’s new college room..


He needed a desk for school work and while I was in the thrift store a few weeks ago I saw these two pieces that caught my attention. As you can see, with the Queen Anne legs and the shiny, gold hardware this table wasn’t exactly screaming out ‘masculine college desk’ but I bought it anyway.

Along with this tall, dirty file cabinet…hey, for $15.00 how could I pass it up?


The first step was picking a paint color for these pieces. Michael had gone shopping with me at IKEA (once) and had picked out a giant picture of a wave for his room that we spent most of his decorating budget on. But it helped set the color and theme for his room…


Here’s my cell phone photo of him in IKEA. I referred to this shopping trip as “quality time together,” and I think he called it torture.



And here’s the paint color I selected for the desk. After I turned this quart into chalk paint, I painted the entire body of the table.




I decided to sand the top of the desk and write Michael’s soccer number on it.

After I printed out some different style fonts, I let him pick out his favorite. I wish I had a picture of him staring at the paper…it was so cute


I’ll be honest. This project reminded me of how much I hate sanding old varnish off furniture. Even using a hand sander, it still took me over three hours. I kept thinking about Sharon and Suzan and all their wonderful furniture projects and I seriously wondered, “how do they do it?”

But afterwards I was happy with the results.



When I spray painted the hardware black I started to feel even better. It was looking more like a guy’s desk.




After it dried I sanded some of the paint off .


Here’s a photo after the first coat of clear polyurethane. If  I’d known how much darker it would get with the polyurethane I would’ve sanded more paint off the letters.



I think my favorite thing about the desk is the black hardware.



Here’s a few photos taken with my cell phone…

(let’s pretend all those wires are hidden)



A shot of the room on a sunny day….


After we said good-bye, Michael went to the beach to watch the sunset and texted us this picture while we were on the freeway. He’s only four miles from the beach and he loves his new home.

And I can’t think of anything that makes me happier (and yes, you can feel happy and achy at the same time).




Flowers for you.





I’m linking this post up here:



Gypsy Heart said...

Leslie, the desk is just stunning! I'm loving the color of blue and the black is perfect. I think the file cabinet looks amazing too! You'd never guess how they both began their journey to Michael's "home".

Hang in there, Mom! It does get easier. :) Rest and relax for awhile.


Anonymous said...

The desk turned out great! That picture of your son is hilarious! Hahaha! For all three of my sons shopping is like getting a root canal. I completely understand how you are feeling right now.

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give to our children. One of them is roots. The other is wings." I copied and saved that quote back when my sons were in the light-up sneakers, Pokemon cards, drawing on the wall with crayons stage. Maybe I was trying to remind myself that one day they would have wings and fly away, but back then, it seemed so far away. It wasn't. Their independence was always the long term goal, and they're getting there. That means we did our jobs well. Time to pat ourselves on the back and enjoy this stage we once thought would never arrive! =)

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Love that desk, it looks amazing. Hugs, Marty

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

You are clever, thoughtful and creative on so many levels! Bravo!,

Sarah said...

Michael has a very talented mom. Love the color of blue and you did a fantastic job on the pieces for his room. All for $15 and your time and effort. Wow!

Jeanne Henriques said...

Job well done Mom!! I had to laught at Michael's agony shot, and all the times I have seen that look before. What a lucky son he is to have such a thoughtful mother...I am sure he knows it too. Feet up for you Leslie...I will be thinking of you as I do the same post Tahilla Farm..back to Saigon. Best wishes...Jeanne xx

Art and Sand said...

A M A Z I N G !!! I have got to hit the thrift stores. The desk is wonderful and I hope Michael enjoys it. I would have loved to see his face as you asked him to choose a font. I give Steve or JP choices and they just stare. KC on the other hand takes her time deciding.

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

I loved that desk the first time I saw it! you created a beautiful space for him. 4 miles from the beach is a dream come true...I would be at the beach everyday

Jeanette@Creating a Life Studio said...

Great job on the desk! I especially love the number detail. My daughter fell in love with that same wave picture at Ikea last week :)

Jeanette said...

So very cool! Love the giant No. 24! and the blue! I've put my sons through lots of decorating torture, ha!

Linda said...

Wow that desk turned out amazing!!
I'm surprised that he wasn't on a iphone like most teenagers. lol

Lori said...

Hard to believe the transformation ~ what a great job Leslie! I love how you personalized it for him and I am sure he will spend many hours at it in the coming years.

Sew a Fine Seam said...

Great desk! Love the pop of blue for a guy. And the number is a great additon :)

michele said...

you did a fabulous job with that desk which is hard to believe is the same one! great vision, and i bet he will treasure it.

thanks so much for all the encouragement and thoughtful comments left for me. they always find me at the right moment, and i'm so grateful.

we're all gonna be okay.


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

DARLING LESLIE! Hello there! So good to see you back "home!" Thank you for coming to visit, and how kind of you to try to leave a message from a few posts back...all is well, thank God!

THIS DESK MAKE-OVER is rich! I enjoy going to find these furniture treasures at an affordable price then PAINTING! LOVE IT! WIshing you all the best back-to-school blessings for you and your son! Anita

Leslie said...

Wow Leslie! It looks fantastic and what a deal! I laughed out loud at the picture of your son;) yes... Shopping is boring right? You must be exhausted having completed both moves. My kids are a little older so they are transitioning into more long term apartment living. I too am exhausted and feel mixed emotions as another change of season rolls around. Rather than stressing about the hectic school schedules and running the kids around, I'm dealing with an ailing parent and helping my kids make career choices. Life doesn't seem to get easier! I am grateful to have a supportive husband and that we are both healthy. Knock on wood!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Great before and after, Leslie, and it was fun seeing it in his new space, too! The photo of your son in Ikea is CLASSIC...

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Wow, I love the way you created a manly vibe with that desk! The blue is bright and happy and really shows off the black hardware. The wood top has a gorgeous finish and I just love that you went big with number - really makes a statement! The whole room looks great! ... The picture from Ikea is a classic! I haven't met too many boys you enjoy the Ikea experience! ... And you know I love and firmly believe that quote! ... Have a great day Leslie!

Unknown said...

Leslie dear~You did it!! I know this is such a new chapter for you. I hope you are taking some down time to relax and restore after the hectic pace and travel. The desk turned out great and I loved seeing your tutorial (I hate sanding too).
Thanks for your sweet comments on Stylemindchic. We did have a wonderful time in wine country with dear friends. By the way-one of the couples has a daughter that attends St. Francis in Sacramento (didn't your sons attend Jesuit High?). Small world!
xx, Heather

Monica said...

Oh Leslie, this is awesome..and it's so cool that Michael has a piece of his mom's personalized creativity in his new space. I love the image that he sent you. College at the beach must be mine are still little your closing quote brings tears to my eyes. xxx

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