Thursday, October 15, 2015

Grey Bamboo Desk

It has been almost a year since I picked up the desk that started my passion to give old furniture new life. As I reflect on the last year and look at old pictures and pieces, it's interesting to see how my pieces and style have changed over time. There are two major points that I have learned over the last year that I think would be helpful to anyone looking to refinish furniture:

1. Be very selective with your pieces. I used to buy anything just because it was a good deal when I first started. This led to two problems. One, it loaded up my one car garage because I was buying faster than I was finishing/selling and I lost the ability to work in my garage. And 2. my boyfriend thought I was crazy because it started overflowing into my condo. Then, I got sick of items and lost interest in them over time because I realized they weren't that great of quality from the start. That led to a few (about 7) trips to Goodwill to give back a lot of what I had bought from them. Good thing they didn't have to re-tag everything.

2. My style and quality has changed. When I first started, I just loved the idea of fixing something up and reselling it. Now I spend more time really working on pieces (cleaning them, fixing up dents, scratches, taking off veneer, etc). I feel better when I finish the pieces. I also used to love to refinish big dressers, but I just don't have the manpower to do that and I was killing the interior of my car doing that as well. So now my focus is on smaller pieces that I can lift myself, unless I get a custom order.

Anyways, onto my next piece. I have found it interesting that the furniture bloggers I follow and love from the west coast (The Weathered Door, Phoenix Restoration and NAK Home) really find a lot of different styles of furniture compared to what I find. One for example, would be bamboo style furniture. I have rarely come across any here in Wisconsin in my year of doing this, but one day (probably four months ago) I came across this amazing antique bamboo desk at a local Goodwill.

It sat in my garage for awhile (drawer included), and I recently brought it up to work on it. When I took the drawer out, I tried looking for a label or date since this piece was so unique compared to the usual furniture I find. On the bottom of the drawer, I found this inspection stamp from 1916. I couldn't believe it, this piece of furniture it almost 100 years old. It is always amazing to me to think about where these old pieces have been and the story they carry with them.

For this piece, I was inspired The Weathered Door with her amazing bamboo nightstand she recently finished. Lately, the cooling Wisconsin weather has me liking the greys  lately and finally off my white kick from summer. I am trying to be good and use up most of my paint before I go and buy more (I have a lot). When I was going through my Behr deck of colors, I came across Double Click and tried to match it. I made chalk paint with Plaster of Paris and water. I used 5 parts Down Pour from Behr and 1 part Seagull Grey from Behr, all from previous projects.

Then I started hand painting. It took a decent amount of time to make sure the bamboo shapes of the desk were fully covered with paint. I did about two/three coats on the desk. Here is how it looked after one coat.

When I was done painting, I wanted to add something to the desk to emphasize the ornate trim the desk came with. I bought a gold paint marker from Jo-Ann's and used it to fill it in. I then used General Finishes high performance top coat in Flat (a very nice birthday gift from my furniture friend Kim back in April). Here is how she looked when she was done.

What do you all think?

Thanks for reading, hope everyone is having a great week!

PS - I finally bought a paint sprayer! Can't wait to try it and give you all a review soon.


  1. Shay this piece is stunning! Your points about buying and selling are really good too. I'm on year 3 and still feel the exact same way as you do. I would have never in a million years thought to paint bamboo but it's really beautiful. I love the color you chose and everything. Very classy :) Hugs, CoCo

  2. Great job with this piece! I love bamboo furniture and I really like how the gray and the brass knobs work together. Beautiful!