Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Roll-top Desk

It was Labor Day on Monday so Matt, Ollie, and I decided we should labor.

We made a stop at Home Depot, where all 7 billion of Earth's inhabitants were wandering the aisles at exactly the same time. This did not discourage us, but it did make our "quick trip" take about four times longer than we planned. And Mr. Pants was not pleased about this. But he got to ride in the cart EVEN THOUGH I ASKED FIRST. Apparently I was "too big" and "no, I'm not pushing you around again. It's embarrassing." 



At any given moment Matt has over 3 million projects going on and almost all of these projects involve skill and trickery I thought went the way of the Earth when my very handy Great Grandpa Hinckle died in the mid-90s. So I like to hang around and watch when he engages in such sorcery.

Monday's project involved creating something called "chalk paint" (mixing half a cup of warm water with half a cup of plaster and 1 1/2 cups of paint), painting a number of chairs, and then "distressing" them so they would look like they were made 1,000 years ago. I don't understand why we spend time updating furniture only to make it look as old as possible, but Matt's an "artist" so I just accept absolutely everything he says about anything.

I have a roll-top desk in my house that is kind of scratched up and matches absolutely no other piece of furniture I own. I inherited this thing a few years ago when Cathie told me they were "getting rid of it" and I chained myself to the side of it and peed into a bucket for five days until Bob and Cathie agreed to hold onto it for me until I lived somewhere that had enough room for me to take it in.

Their patience lasted only about 24 hours so by the good graces of my younger sister, Micalyne, it found a new home in her new condo until I could "get over here and get this piece of crap out of my house."

You guys. I didn't particularly love the look of the desk. I think roll-top desks are impractical. And I hated the color of the wood. But Bob gave Cathie this desk as a Christmas present on their very first Christmas together in 1976 and it was a permanent fixture in our home all throughout my formative years. I played games with this thing. Hid toys in it. I watched Cathie sit at it and write in her journal when she was nearly the same age I am now. And when I look at it now, I'm filled with happy memories of a simpler time.

I couldn't let this leave my family.

But. To be honest. It has been an eye-sore in my house for the last nine months.

So we went to work. Matt painted his gorgeous but damaged antique chairs.






And after six straight hours of painting, distressing, and waxing, I turned this:



Into this:



And I freaking love how it turned out.

I like to think that one day I'll hand it off to my own kids and they'll take it and morph it into something new. And their memories of their dad sitting at this desk, writing, or doing whatever it is their dad will do, will be like the fond ones I have of my own mother whose character will always be embedded in the fibers of this beautiful piece of furniture.  

It was a happy afternoon of work with a meaningful outcome.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ollie Pants, who had received a bath that very morning, was in my backyard turning himself into this:


When we walked to the gate and found him, we were laughing too hard to be upset.

~It Just Gets Stranger

27 comments:

  1. I also spent Monday chalk painting. I'm impressed that Matt made his own rather than pay $40 a quart. I painted my coffee table and every piece of furniture in my bedroom. I already did everything in my dining room and my kitchen cabinets in chalk paint! It's a great paint. I'm going to do a fabric chair next. Yes, fabric!

    The recipe I use is:
    2 Cups Flat Latex paint
    2 Tablespoons Calcium Carbonate
    2 Tablespoons Plaster of Paris
    2 Tablespoons Water

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    1. Angela if you're bored you could come to my house next. I even have an old ugly roll-top desk you could paint.

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  2. http://bbfrosch.com Is a chalk paint additive, you can use the powder in any kind of paint you'd like, and there's tutorials on the website.

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  3. Par. 6, word 1 should be "their." I am so disappointed in you, you didn't even bother to redeem yourself with a picture of your ultra-stunning, god-blessed, super duper extra fantabulous hair.

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  4. Also in paragraph 1, it should read "pleased".
    Still an awesome post! I feel that the grammatical errors are the world's way of making up for your hair being so amazing. It kind of evens things out in a way.

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    1. Paragraph 2 actually

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    2. I love that the proof readers have their own proof readers as well.

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  5. I prefer the piece before it was "updated". You did a great job, but it just feels like you painted over all the physical appearance that made the desk unique. Now it looks like something I'd buy from Pottery Barn, rather than something unique and interesting.

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    1. I agree; my first response to the photo was "Why?" (yes, I'm sitting here, alone, next to a cat, and I asked the computer, "Why?")

      ... but Eli loves it, and that's all that matters.

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  6. I had to look up what "chalk paint" was, as I'd never heard of it before. If you liked how it turned out, then you'll be more prone to use that desk, which means it's a win-win. Good for you!

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  7. Wait - they let dogs into Home Depot?????

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    1. See...once again Nicole and I are on the same page. I was thinking the same thing. I've never known any store that allowed dogs. Except for pet stores.

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    2. Ugh. In my little corner of Oregon people take their dogs everywhere with them. I work in a primary care doctor's office and people bring their dogs with them to their appointments. All. The. Time. They are NOT service dogs. We had a dog fight in the waiting room a couple years ago.

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    3. Kismet Lee . . . . kismet . . .

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    4. That's insane. I don't even think that's allowed anywhere in Canada. Especially in a doctor's office. They are allowed to bring dog's in to see cancer patients in hospitals to help lift their spirits, although the dogs have to be approved first. But not to an appointment or into a store. Seriously...leave your dogs at home!

      One of the guys I work with who lives in the US takes his dog with him and his wife on vacation. And when he came up to Canada (not where I live) I told him to go to certain places or restaurants and he would tell me things like "oh we can't go to restaurants, or such and such a place, they don't allow dogs". I said just leave the dog in the camper and he's like "oh no we can't do that". Sorry if I'm offending anyone, but if you have to have your dog attached to your leg like that, that's just sad. I love my dog, and she's part of the family...but she's a dog...even people have to be alone sometimes. Plus dogs can't tell time and know how long you've been gone anyway.

      Psshh...Eli and Matt...taking Ollie with them to the store. PSSSHHHH!

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    5. Home Depot and Lowes have doggie treats at all of the checkout stands to give to Mr. Pants! I would take him to work with me if I wasn't worried about him barking while I'm on a serious phone call!

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    6. Last year the college I work at created a policy about dogs not being allowed in the buildings. During the school year everyone follows it but in the summer when students aren't on campus and faculty are hard to find people violate this rule left and right.

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    7. I work at a bank and customers bring their dogs in all the time. I used to think it was weird but I guess you get used to it.

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    8. You can get fined or arrested or burned at the stake for leaving your dog in a hot car here. Taking them in the store with you is your only option. Or leaving them at home but psshh. We have a farm dog that doesn't know what a truck is so it's not really a problem. On a related note I once had to take 2 rabbits into Wal-Mart with me. We bought them at a local swap meet and had to stop for some bargain shopping on the way home. We had them in little pet carriers and good grief did they stink. Nobody said a work to us about it. Probably not the strangest thing they had seen at Wal-Mart.

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  8. Darned puppy!

    The desk looks great! I'm so glad you turned it into something you love.

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  9. Incase you were wondering my foot is home to tami's half sister Tina. Half because she's half the nail Tami is. I'm very new to this though and was wondering if there's any accommodations you provide Tami with that I should be providing Tina with.

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    1. I was wondering! Thank you!

      Just provide lots of love and support.

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  10. Darn all you handy people and your handiness, handily fixing things while I sit here envying my own lack of handy skills. ;)

    Love the desk and the sentiment. And of course, Mr. Pants. I've been a lurker here for a couple of years, but Stranger is one of my favorite blogs.

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  11. I was hoping to get to chime in on the Nicole/Lee comment regarding dogs/pets in public places, but for whatever reason, Stranger's not letting me, so I'll chime in here.

    I live in Los Angeles, and yes, it is illegal to leave your dog/pet in your parked vehicle while you shop. It is also unhygienic and possibly UNSAFE for both your pet and the humans in the building for you to bring it inside, and therefore, most establishments will have signs posted regarding "Service Animals (ONLY) Welcome". I think the idea is for you to LEAVE THE DAMN THING AT HOME, PEOPLE! It's ridiculous how entitled people are when it comes to taking their pets everywhere. If your cute little puppy or otherwise not socialized pet has yet to be trained not to nip at the hands of strangers who approach it, you're in for some Big Trouble if an equally not-yet-trained small child gets bitten. Leave the Damn Thing at Home. Please.

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    1. I just want to hug you for that comment. :D

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