First Edition of “Spruce News”

I’m sure that most people can relate to the “wishing” syndrome of seeing something that you absolutely want-must-have-need-dying-for …but can’t have. In my case, often times my dreams exceed my budget. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to achieve my design visions. The trick is to find something that mimics the basic design structure, and spruce it up! My first project came from a simple desk, with clean lines and classic structure from Pottery Barn.

Pottery Barn Office Inspiration

The Bedford Office System allows you to customize your desk and office with individual components, that work together in the configuration you choose.  Since each piece is separate, this makes it easier to replicate because you can put together a collection of difference pieces, and unify them.  I chose color as my unifying element.

Desk End Unit – Before

I wanted a basic desk with two end pieces and a solid surface top.  Searching one of my favorite on-line garage sale sites (craigslist) I found a pair of light wood file cabinets (and only $25 for the pair!). The base of the file cabinets was built up with particle board, and also used for the span of the desktop.  A strip of 1/2 inch pine added all around the desk top created a clean finish edge that hid the particle board. Next came many, many coats of white semi-gloss paint.  Between each coat, was a good sanding.

At first, I kept thinking I was  wasting all my time painting only to sand it off…but if a polished look is what you are after, take the time to knock down any and ALL brush or roller strokes.

Desk – Before

As a final touch you will never guess what gave the most brilliant glossy, smooth finish on the desk top.  Car Polish and a Buffer! That’s right… smearing blue car polish all over the beautiful white desk was a bit scary, but it buffed to a perfect smooth-as-silk finish.  Most of the work on this project was labor, but for additional wood supplies probably only $30 was spent.  As the finishing touch, the gold drawer pulls, locks, and label covers were spray painted matte black with some left over paint and the desk was complete.  I can now sit at my beautiful new desk, that cost only a fraction of the price, and search for new inspiration and great deals.

Desk - After



  1. I like your before and after pics – so cool to see it after hearing about the process and seeing the desk in person afterwards. You have a great blog my friend 🙂

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