Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Desk Overhaul: Stencils!

I have not been a huge fan of stenciling. My dear mom was decorating her house in a country cottage style (appropriate because she lived in a country cottage) and started stenciling everything in site and before you could say "enough already!" she had a row of grapevines wrapping around the bedroom wall and a blue checkerboard in the kitchen. All though her handiwork looked great in her cutesy cottage house, it was simply not my thing, and I had never considered stenciling anything, ever, because to my eyes stencils look for homely and homespun.

But then I saw the light thanks to a stencil project in Better Homes and Gardens of a really lovely repeated design on a wall over a bed, sort of resembling a headboard, but adding subtle pattern and texture to an otherwise boring wall, giving it a that oh-so-right bit of bling the wall needed.

Cut to the the desk I have been working on. Our home office is in make over mode and we wanted to revamp a cool 1950's desk my brother gave us and scrap our old clunky Ikea desk that was too big and had seen better days. We have decided to paint the office walls charcoal gray (Behr in "Sled"), a rather bold and dark color, almost black, that has me a little nervous. To make it not feel too goth we figured we would add a lot of white contrast to play against the dark walls, and as far as I'm concerned there is no such thing as too much of the black/white combo. The window woodwork, doors, ceiling and trim will be painted white, a wall of bookcases will be white, the drapes will be white, and most of the furniture will be white. And those 4 windows bring in lots of natural daylight so I think we will be okay with the dark walls without creating a cave room in our house!

The way to rehab my brothers desk was, of course, to paint it! Man, do I love paint! This desk had seen better days so a few dents were filled with wood patch and it got a good sanding. I then primed, painted with 3 coats of high gloss white paint, and lastly applied 2 coats of clear Verathane. I also recycled our old Ikea rolling cart so it could continue to house all our computer stuff. I removed the drawers, sanded and painted in the same process as the desk. Voila! It actually looks like it goes with the desk!

And, to spruce up the top of the desk, I succumbed to a stencil pattern I found in a magazine. I blew it up to a size I liked on a copy machine, traced it out with a felt pen on a piece of plastic and cut it out with an X-Acto knife. I thought a cream or tan color would be pale but still visible. I think it turned out great and gives the desk a little interest.

This computer has lots of extra stuff attached to it, like a music hard drive, a remote wireless thing that allows us to play our mp3's on our living room stereo, a printer, another box that Dan uses for his laptop, 3 speakers, a gadget for the wireless mouse, and a cable box. Keeping all these wires and cables in order, off the floor, and tucked away out of site is not easy! Yesterday I spent 2 hours trying to make sense out of all of them and came up with a solution using plastic tubing and a metal desk basket thingie from Ikea. So now, the wires are at least enclosed in a tube of indestructible plastic and are off the floor!

So, here is our revamped computer table! We are very happy with it and think the stenciled desk top looks ooh la la, not oh no no!

Next projects in this room to come:
Rehabilitate a couple of chairs, new bookcases, and all that paint to come with lots of white trim....but only after we strip it down to the bare wood. I would like to kiss whoever invented the amazing heat gun. Ingenious! And see the dark gray splotch on the wall to the right of the computer, below? Yep, that's our wall color!

We are punk rock martha stewart


  1. Okay, this is my third attempt to comment on this thing. I don't know why it has issues with me. I'm totally living vicariously through your blog right now. I desperately wish George and I had a place all our own to decorate the way we pleased, but that's just not possible at the moment. I LOVE pink and black and that desk is amazing. I can't wait to see your kitchen! Oh, and by the way this is Wendy.

  2. Hey! I just realized that people can email me here! Doh! Glad you like. I wish I had more projects to post but we work reaalllly slow, might be able to get something else up later today regarding my pathetic need to control my environment and embrace my inner A-Type personality.