Thomas J. Story
When we found a desk by the curb, we saw past the scuff marks and tarnished, tan paint and took it on as a makeover project. The result: a showstopper piece for your home office.
How to tell if you've got a keeper:
- Look for quality: If the legs seem uneven, it’s likely the whole piece of furniture is warped, so take a pass.
- Stick to pieces made from solid wood; you’ll run into trouble trying to sand a veneer.
- If there are drawers, do they slide smoothly in their tracks? If not, walk on by.
- Remove the hardware and sand the surface.
- Fill in large gashes with wood putty.
Shopping list: Our secret weapons
- Start with a vibrant color splash (we used Charlotte’s Locks paint by Farrow & Ball; 1 pt., $30; farrow-ball.com).
- A Preval spray gun makes painting furniture easy ($10; preval.com).
- A Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Kit (from Flax; $11; 415/552-2355) adds gilded drama to the dull drawer pulls.
- DecoColor Liquid Gold Opaque Paint Marker defines small details ($2.50; amazon.com).
- Extra credit: Tuck a collection of photos under a glass top (when ordering glass, ask for clear spacers).
Once your materials are in hand:
- Prime and paint with the spray gun. Do 2 coats!
- Use a paint marker to add gold trim; gold-leaf the drawer pulls, then reattach them.
- Add the glass top (with some fun pics underneath). Voilà!