I’ve been wanting to set up a home office area in the house since we moved in (ahem, two years ago, ahem). I manage the bills and budget for our household, and the kitchen table just wasn’t cutting it. I would inevitably work on the budget too close to dinner or the end of the day, leaving a mess of receipts and the bills shoved to one side of the table. One day would fade into the next until, before you know it, that mess of paper is a permanent resident on our table. Yuck!
We have a long narrow living room, so we planned to add a small office area behind the living room furniture. As we donated all of our office furniture when we moved out of our last home (it was college stuff anyway, hardly our style anymore!), Dan was oh-so-kind to offer to build me an Ana White desk, the $55 Fancy X Desk. I was skeptical, but it was just as cheap as the plans advertise. It is made almost entirely from 2×4′s which are really cheap. We did customize it a bit for our needs. We left off the “X” in the back and we shortened it to fit our space.
Dan, with the help of a buddy, built the desk, and I finished it. I might learn how to use power tools for myself someday, but for now, I’ll stick to what I’m good at: making wood pretty!
I didn’t take a lot of photos, so I’ll try to fill in the blanks with my eloquent words.
Imagine Dan building the desk, and it looks just like the ones in the Ana White plans, minus the “X.”
Insert picture of built desk of naked wood.
Then I stained it using Rustoleum’s wood stain in Kona.
Stain makes even the cheapest wood so beautiful!
Then I wanted to try my hand a liming wax. While I’m not a huge cottage/rustic-y style decorator, I like the look of limed wood. Also, I wanted to break up the monotony of dark walnut that is present in my living room. I read many, many tutorials on the stuff, Briwax Liming Wax, and I was almost too intimidated to try after some of the stuff I read. However, this tutorial over at i Heart Organizing made it look super easy. So I went for it!
I followed the tutorial’s directions for application (putty knife) instead of the directions on the can – mistake #1. I used WAY too much wax. This stuff is pricey, and I wasted a whole bunch by applying too much. I learned from my mistakes though and just put a little bit on a rag and rubbed it in when I did the legs of the desk.
Below is my progression to get to my finished table:
- freshly applied liming wax (applied with putty knife) – WAY too thick!!
- first buffing with steel wool (#0000 grade steel wool)
- second buffing with rags (old t-shirts…this took serious elbow grease!)
- third buffing on of clear furniture polish to seal the desk and get rid of the grey haze left by the liming wax
All that to say, I LOVE my desk. It looks fantastic now!
It was a lot of work to get it to this point though, much more than I anticipated. I learned a lot from the tutorials I read, and the research was invaluable as I maneuvered around the hurdles I encountered finishing the table. My recommendation to anyone using this product is to (1) follow the direction of the manufacturer and (2) when in doubt, keep reading and finding more tutorials!
Lessons learned from liming wax:
- Apply sparingly
- Take your time rubbing it into the cracks and knots of the wood. You want to highlight the imperfections of the wood, the more the better!
- Finish with another type of clear wax (I used furniture wax. This will also remove any grey haze from over application of the liming wax.) instead of polyurethane. I read over and over not to put an oil-based top coat over wax; it will bubble and peal over time. However, I don’t know how to water-based polys will hold up. I was too nervous to try. I always get to a point in these projects where I feel too much time/money has been invested to experiment now. Just finish it the right way, Emily!
- No need to workout the days you use liming wax….or at least you can skip your dominant arm.
Here’s one more look at my finished desk. Isn’t she a beaut?