Thursday, September 01, 2011

[DIY Dilemma--What Do You Think?]

So, I've got this antique desk that my mom bought for me at an auction. She paid something like $50 for it--for me--and, apparently, it's worth a lot more. In fact, there's one on Ebay (in better condition) up for auction for $579. I do like that it's got a ton of drawers for storage, and it's pretty sturdy, although the drawer faces drive me nuts by popping out of their notches all the time. But the thing is, my taste is far more modern or contemporary. I like clean lines, streamlined storage, and bright colors (though white or black would suit me fine!). Mom "knows" this, but somehow, she managed to pick out the one that's probably the most old-worldish you could probably find out there--bulging shape, ornate hardware, leather top (the pattern mostly worn off)--and she bought it because it's worth a lot of money.

Now, the finish is thin in many spots, especially on the top, and it's never going to bring in full price in a sale, auction or otherwise. so I'd like to modernize it by painting it. Yes, we're talking about me, so I'd probably end up going with teal (like my door and accent color in the office) or white, not a traditional color. It'd make up for the nicks and scratches, while making the ornate, French provincial shape more palatable for me. I called Mom to ask her how she'd feel about that (I didn't mention teal, though... that'd be pushing my luck, I'm sure), and that's when she told me why she bought it--its worth. And I verified it online. But she gave me her [reluctant] blessing, saying that it was mine to do with what I wished. She said okay, but her voice bespoke disappointment... as usual. Implication: Be artistic! You're smart! You're talented! I love anything you do--as long as it's my style.

Cue the guilt.

Honest truth? I think it's hideous. It feels massive (though it, in reality, takes up no more space than most streamlined desks), bulging (which gives it the massive feel), nicked, faded, and about as in-between of a color as my natural hair color (and we all know what that's led me to do for the past ten years). And, to me anyway, it seems to be at war with my otherwise lovely yellow walls. If you like traditional style, it's great, but I'm definitely a lover of mod and contemp. Here's what it looks like:

So, dear readers, what do you think? Should I grin and bear it out of gratitude and guilt and respect for antiques, should I try to sell it for something that's more my taste, or should I let my artistic juices flow and paint the thing teal (white with a black dog in the house is asking for trouble) with chrome or brushed nickel hardware, and just ignore the eye-rolling from my mother? I'm honestly torn and genuinely want your input, so please let me know your opinion.

Over and out!


Anonymous said...

I say paint it! An antique is no good if you're miserable with it. I think it's a good piece. You can always take the hardware off and replace it with something more modern. You could also sand it down and stain it black or they sell colored stains. And you could always keep the original hardware in case you ever decide to just refinish it back to original condition and sell it.

Anonymous said...

Oh and wood glue and some clamps or heavy books on it's side will fix the drawers falling apart.

Andrea@Fancy That! said...

Honestly? I doubt you'll be happy with it even if it's painted. I'm a shabby-chicer all the way and love to paint and distress old furniture, but it probably still won't be quite what you want...even in teal :) Do a cheap Ikea or Target desk.

Niki said...

I'm going to start looking at consignment shops for a mid-century modern desk with drawers that I could paint without guilt. I'm also going to start asking what they'd be willing to pay for mine.

If I have no luck over the next month or two, I'll consider building one. I did pretty well in shop class in junior high. ;)