New Year: Resolve to Repurpose

A new year starts with new resolutions: this is the year I will knit the family and all our pets socks and organize the pantry by alphabetizing my canned goods! But instead, you find yourself slipping back into old habits only two weeks later. I say why not challenge yourself to find a new use for something you’ve got laying around the house, collecting dust in the garage or headed to the curb on trash collection day? Spruce it up and then sit back and enjoy your handiwork and feel like you’ve rocked a goal. Let’s resolve to repurpose this month!

Last summer I had this desk, beautifully refinished in an elegant navy blue. I spent days stripping the top, sanding, and staining.  It had perfect knobs and boy was I proud of her. I placed her prominently in the front window of the old store on Union, wanting to show her off to the world.  It was July, she had the cutest 4th of July wreath hanging over her in the window. It was picture perfect.  I never knew why someone didn’t snag her right away, but there she sat over the hot 4th of July holiday in the window.

As I returned from a few days off work I went to admire her in the window and my jaw dropped……the top, the beautiful newly refinished top had split right down the center, and to make matters worse, it curled up.  Thank you Colorado sun, I love you but damn! So my desk was ruined, the top is shot, like GONE so I took it out of the window, ripped the top off and stuck it in the back of the warehouse.

Do you have an orphan desk like this? A nice desk, solid wood, drawers slide well, sturdy and well built but damaged, deformed or just plain ugly?  Do you need nightstands? End tables?  Well, you my friend are in luck!

The other day while rummaging through the warehouse looking for my next project I came across it again and thought, man, that desk is going to the dumpster.  As I started moving barn wood…boom there appeared a light bulb! I loaded up that ol’ desk and took her back to the operating room.  My dad was coming in that day and I knew he would be just the person to help me.

We started by removing the center supports, one was screwed in and the other was nailed and glued. Sometimes a hammer and a lil’ elbow grease works fine.  We sanded where the support boards were and filled the deep holes with putty/silicone.

Next came the fun part: choosing a new color. I love Dixie Belle Hurricane Gray chalk paint against aged and weathered gray barnwood. Trust me, it really looks great.  Simply apply two coats, wait about 30 minutes in between coats or until all sheen is gone.

For the top we had some thick reclaimed wood.  We used our Dewalt Mitre saw to cut our wood to size for the tops.  We then used 2″ brad nails to secure the wood to the top after applying a bit of Gorilla Wood Glue.   We ripped the backboard in half to create a cute little lip across the back of the stand.

Using watered down Hurricane Gray I touched up the sides of the wood where you could see the fresh cuts.  This is a simple step to ensure you have a uniform appearance.  Once the piece was dry I applied two coats of Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide polyacrylic. Once dry, I added new cast iron knobs from Hobby Lobby to finish it off.

This was honestly one of our easiest repurpose projects –turning one unusable piece into two great functional ones.  So next time you see an abandoned desk at a garage sale or thrift shop remember your resolution and give it a shot!


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