Pssst. Wanna know a secret? This divine black and ivory lacquered desk, with beautiful brass hardware, only cost me $50. Oh, it didn't look like this when I bought it! Read on to find out where I scored it and how I turned an eye sore into my chic new workspace.
I've been in need of a proper desk for a good long while. Writing from my sofa (while watching The Real Housewives of Miami) is really no way to take yourself seriously as a blogger. It is, in fact, a great way to get distracted and waste time. Besides, hiding all my unpaid parking tickets and RSVP cards in the cabinet under the stove was not really working out. It turns out that those are bad things to have out-of-sight-out-of-mind. Being that I live in a shoe box--albeit a shoe box located on one of downtown Miami's most coveted streets, for which I pay the equivalent of a suburbian McMansion's mortgage--I am loath to drop big bucks on a desk that may not work in my future home (as I am sure I will be forced to move soon, being that my place is bursting at the seams with all my junk).
Enter the savvy decorator's secret weapon: The Bargain Barn. Warning: This place is not for the faint of heart. It's in a scary part of midtown, the kind of neighborhood that my mom warns me against, because as she would say, "Te hacen salchicha!" But if you go right when they open in the morning, there is a good chance you will not be robbed or murdered, promise! ;) You should also know that everything is covered in dusk and in dire need of some TLC. But if you can recognize good bones and you're not afraid of puttng in a little elbow grease, this is the champagne-on-a-beer-budgeter's dream. Bring your hand sanitzer and dive in!
I almost always find what I'm looking for at The Bargain Barn, and was lucky enough to notice this neglected and abused diamond in the rough on my most recent trip. Yes, someone had disgraced this desk's lovely facade with that putrid Laura Ashley green. And yes, it appeared there was some sort of splatter of bodily fluids along its sides (vomit?). But these things were all cosmetic and cheap to remedy. When I looked at that desk, I saw a lacquered finish that was still beautifully in tact. Great clean lines to complement my tight space and eclectic furnishings. And those irresistible touches of brass that always make my heart swoon. I knew I could restore it to it's original glory. I knew I could make those bones sing.
Whenever I rescue a piece that I know is an antique or vintage, I do try and do a little research to see if it's feasible to be faithful to the craftsman's original work (sometimes the craftsman had a good idea that was mistakenly executed in intolerable colors or finishes, and then I feel it's my duty to improve the situation for posterity). But researching, at the very least, allows me to learn about the piece's history and feel that I am part of an enduring legacy. Upcylcing furniture can be a beautiful thing, people. All that sentimentality aside, a quick Google search on the manufacturer, Kent of Miami, yielded nothing in the first five pages. Feeling satisfied with my attempt, I gave up knowing that my plan to keep it classic would surely make any craftsman proud.
And so I sprayed...
Until I could see its hidden glory begin to surface. And then I sprayed and polished and scrubbed some more, 'cause that sucker was really, really well coated with dusk, icky green paint, and scary splatter. Seeing the before and afters, what do you think? Did my hard work pay off?
I really feel that my hard work did pay off. For about $50 and two hours of work, I got some much needed extra storage, a workspace to keep me focused and organized, and great design! I must say that I feel very grown up indeed, finally having a visible place for my mail, to-dos, and in-need-of-immediate-attentions. And I am waaay more efficient blogger.
Best of all, I can now write while occassionally musing at the view from the window above my desk. So very Sex in the (Tropical) City, no?
Now, to begin the hunt for the perfect lamp and get started on my DIY gilded cork board!