writing desk redo

One day my employer told us that the furniture in this one office was up for grabs, and because I believe in hoarding furniture whenever possible I ran upstairs to take a look. It’s a law firm that has been around awhile, so there is a lot of old furniture sitting around, including this old writing desk, which I grabbed because it suited my plans for a new but cheap home bar area. I’ve been collecting pictures on Pinterest of bar carts and wine racks and figured I could use it in those plans. It’s not 100% ideal, but it was free, so good enough!

The table had a green leather top that appeared to be ruined – I considered stripping the leather off and replacing it, but then when I looked up the cost leather samples, cutting tools, etc., it seemed like a lot of work and money for a free table.  Then I looked into some examples where people used milk paint on the entire piece of furniture – I guess the milk paint sticks pretty well to leather, according to the internet people who may or may not be reliable, but I wasn’t sure and I am not ready to try using milk paint just yet.  After a little more research I found this video online of a redo of an ottoman with Fiebings Leather Products.  I gotta tell ya, they may want to consider editing that bad boy. It’s ten solid minutes of wet and wild leather refinishing fun. However, despite the fact that I know how to fast forward I did watch the whole damn thing and proceeded to purchase their products on Amazon.  You won this round, Fiebings.


The drawer in the table was cracked and a little gross looking.  Ideally at some point we will be putting some bar accessories in this (wine stoppers, swizzle sticks, a weird looking miniature cocktail whisk that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it but then needed it desperately so now I have it and am thrilled, etc.), so I wanted to somehow get that functioning and a little bit cleaner.

IMG_5695I sanded the desk a little and filled in some of the larger divots on the top, drawer front, and legs.  Then I used those Fiebings products to do my best to clean up that nasty leather top.  The first step was to apply some coats of “leather deglazer” as the video suggests.  I will have you know that it would behoove you to click directly on the link I have provided above, instead of doing what I did, which was to forget exactly what the stuff was called after watching that awesome Fiebings video, and Googling “leather stripper”.  The results I got were interesting, but they sure weren’t gonna get me anywhere near fixing that writing desk.

I also got Fiebings Leather Dye in Black and the Acrylic Resolene Dye Top Finish.  After deglazing the top, adding a few coats of the leather dye with a paintbrush, a day’s dry time and several coats of the resolene, the top looked a million times better! It’s not perfect but that’s okay – way better than I anticipated it would look.


I also found these Mission Style Satin Nickel Ring Pulls on ATG Stores.com for only $4.73 each, with free shipping. I had not heard of ATG Stores but I was impressed – apparently Lowe’s owns it and there is free shipping and the prices are great and the selection is huge. Good deal.




We had some leftover paint that we used to paint our Ikea patio furniture a few years ago (you can see that in the background) – it is a dark grey color.  Before I did that I liquid nailed a sheet of wood to the bottom of the drawer and clamped it together to dry.  So far, that appears to keeping the split drawer bottom together and it’s much more stable – we shall see. Then I used a layer of Minwax Special Walnut stain on the inside of the drawer.  I was then going to do a coat of Rustoleum Ultimate Wood Stain in Weathered Gray on top, but it is pretty opaque, so I mixed it with the Special Walnut and did a second coat.  I finished it off with a coat of Wipe-On Poly.  It is now smooth and shiny and pretty and something that isn’t gross to touch.

So that’s where we’re at – we have a few more things to do to fully execute the home mini bar area…come back later for that!



The wall my television is on has come a long way since I moved in almost two years ago.  It is sort of an awkward space – a closed-up painted-brick fireplace and about two feet of drywall, flanked on one side by the kitchen and the other by a low-hanging soffit and small hallway to the bathroom.  Here are a couple “before” pictures:

I started off with a small tv, a white Ikea Lack table and a wine fridge. Lucky for me, I met a guy (now my boyfriend) that can hang just about anything.  He informed me that yes, you CAN hang pictures on brittle brick if you get the right sort of “mortar screw” or something like that.  Naturally, when the boyfriend moved in, as would any man, he brought with him a large flat screen tv.  It looks a lot nicer and fills out the space much better than my old 19” tube tv did.  Here is how the space looks now:


The picture over the tv was a gift, and I got the floating shelves at Lowe’s.  They are a generic brand that were actually the least expensive ones I could find – much more affordable and even deeper than the similar option from West Elm. Unfortunately, they did not come in white, so we had to give them a coat of primer and a few coats of Krylon spray paint.  The retro-looking iPod speaker/radio was a lucky find.  I am a big fan of the Tivoli audio systems…

…BUT they can get pretty pricey, from $150 on up to several hundred dollars.  Some man at my mom’s work gave these very cheap, generic versions of the same to all the employees at Christmas 2009 – she does not have an iPod so I was more than happy to take it!!  I love it.  It works perfectly fine as an iPod speaker and radio, and it gives me the look without having to spend all that money.  I wish I knew where the guy got it…