Desk Part 1: Design and Getting Started



Do your projects always turn out exactly as planned? Occasionally mine do, but usually my plans change and evolve to some degree along the way. Sometimes my initial vision doesn't look just right after I get started, or the piece I'm working on presents an unexpected challenge which requires a design change. I typically will post a "before and after", but for this project I will post the step-by-step process as I work on the desk.

Color Inspiration

Deciding on a color scheme is one of the first steps. Sometimes it comes right to me and other times I need to search for inspiration. I found these beautiful dresses on Pinterest and love the combination of pale blue and off-white with a darker contrast color.
Day dress, ca. 1904-1905
Found on Pinterest

Pale blue 2-piece pigeon waist dress, no date. Boned cotton camisole closing w/hooks at center front. Lace collar & jabot hook onto camisole. Blue cotton lawn outer waist hooks below jabot for vestee effect. Narrow black velvet ribbon at collar with bow. Bodice front heavily decorated w/embroidery & clocking. Long, sheer narrow sleeves have narrow cuff w/matching embroidery. White cotton petticoat w/narrow ruffles. Skirt has matching handwork in black & ivory, & clocking. Woodland Farms Vintage
Found on Pinterest
The tricky part for me will be the pale blue. Mixing colors is not my strong point, so if I cannot get it just right then I will have to rethink the colors. But for now I'll stick with my color scheme and plan out how to apply it to the furniture. I will use a dark contrast color on the top and hardware; pale blue on the panels and drawer fronts; and off-white on the base and trim. However, I don't want too much of a contrast between the top and the base, so I will use the trim on the edge of the top as a transition area.





Since the back of the desk can be placed either against a wall or forward facing (think greeting visitors) I am considering adding something decorative to the back. I haven't decided exactly what I want yet, so I will keep it in the back of my mind as the project progresses. 

Getting Started

Deep scratches
I started with the top of the desk. It has quite a few deep scratches and the finish is in overall bad shape. Sometimes it's hard to capture the extent of the damage in a photograph. But I'll add a couple of shots to give an example of the condition.



Overall damage to the finish.
The easiest and quickest way would be to fill the scratches and paint the top. But I decided to see if sanding it would do the trick and then stain the top. I used an orbital sander starting with 60-grit sandpaper. I progressed upwards from the 60-grit to 80-grit, 150-grit, and then finished with 220-grit.
After sanding with 60-grit sandpaper.
After progressing up to 220-grit.

No more deep scratches! So smooth!
I am very pleased with the final result of the sanding, so I will proceed with staining the top rather than painting it. I have a variety of stains on-hand, but not the right shade, so I'll need to go to the store before proceeding with the project. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :-)
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