The other week, David and I were thrifting and he found this commercial office credenza. We were planning on building one, but it's a lot of wood, which makes it pretty expensive, plus our last credenza took forever to build and paint (lots of different surfaces!) So while I wasn't thrilled about the commercial look, I decided to give it a try. At $40, it wasn't a huge investment.
My number 1 goal was to take it from commercial to custom .. I think the overlays and subtle gold detailing does that!
When David loaded it in the truck with a Goodwill employee, he realized that it was HEAVY!! When we got home, we barely got it in the house .. it had to be dragged the rest of the way on cardboard. We were starting to regret our purchase at that time. So first things first, we had to make it lighter. The entire piece is made out of 3/4" MDF (with veneer) or thicker. To lighten it up, we took off the back (after constructing the new base it was sturdy enough .. see below.) We may add a thin piece of plywood later, but for now, you can't see it unless the middle doors are open. We then took off any extra hardware. Now we can move it without fear of dropping it (yes that did happen once, luckily my toes were out of the way and the tile didn't break!)
and you know how some pieces, you're like oh I wish I knew the history .. not the case with this piece. It had a property of a bank sticker on the side and a gold money chain inside .. umm, weird. I don't want to know where this came from.
Moving on... next we reconfigured the base.
We loved the idea of chopping off the legs and insetting them to make it feel a little lighter on the bottom. So we drew a line on the side and chopped it off with a straight cut blade (it's wider than normal) with our jigsaw. We moved it in to the center of the drawer, applied wood glue and used several long screws (through the bottom shelf) to secure it.
Next, we built a frame for the front out of 1x2 poplar strips and used scrap wood to brace the leg. (also, we did add an extra metal angle bracket for added support.
After that, I prepped it for paint! I cleaned it up, wiping it down with vinegar and water. Once dry, I filled the imperfections with wood filler and lightly sanded it.
Since I was painting inside (is it spring yet?) I opted for Annie Sloan Chalk paint (purchased from Perfectly Imperfect) Chalk paint is famous for the lack of prep work, but I'd recommend lightly roughing up the surface, it takes a minute, and I think the paint sticks better.
I put on one coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint and had some bleed through from the stain once dry, so I put on another (ok, maybe 3, I really didn't want to drive back to the store) and it bled through again .. so I decided to run to the store and get a water based stain blocking primer. I tried Kilz Premium High Hide Stain Blocker - it worked great to cover the bleed through. I'm looking forward to trying it on bare wood next, to see how well it adheres! Then I put on one more coat of the chalk paint. So moral of the story, if you see your stain bleeding through, don't apply more paint .. get a stain blocking primer!! I ended using almost the entire quart of chalk paint when I should have only used about half or less.
I decided to try rolling on the chalk paint with a smooth foam roller. It worked surprisingly well! It did leave a little texture, but with a sanding block, I lightly sanded the surface between coats, and it was so smooth!
The center doors were inset from the outer doors, so we thought it was the perfect application for overlays.
We drew the pattern in Adobe Illustrator, scaled it, and printed it on multiple 8.5x11 sheets of paper, which were then taped together. We used a little spray adhesive and attached them to a piece of 1/8" lauan. David's been working a lot recently .. so I tackled cutting it out myself, it was frustrating at first but after a little practice, I quickly became a pro!
First, I drilled an opening for the jigsaw blade (you want a blade that is designed to cut detail, since there are a lot of curves). I lowered the speed on the jigsaw, so that it would cut slowly. Then I cut to the middle of a line, going at an angle till I hit the line, I followed the line to the end point, pulled the saw back and then went at an angle towards the other line. To finish, I went back and cut off the little pieces that I couldn't reach. Let me know if that doesn't make sense ..
Tip: rotate the board as you go so that your jigsaw is resting on something to take the stress off of the thin wood - I used two drawers from the credenza, just be careful not to cut the drawers. I did break some pieces off since it's pretty fragile, I just glued them back and used wood filler to fill the gaps.
I'm not going to lie .. it took a while, I broke it up over about 3 days. But, I think definitely worth it! I love how it came out!
For the overlays, I wanted the inside edge to be gold - for a little contrast to bring out the detail, but the top white so it would still blend with the rest of the credenza.
I tried a few different methods, but in the end I got the cleanest edges by painting the front white, and then once dry, flipping it over and painting the back and sides gold with spray paint (holding it down with my fingers as I went (learn from me - WEAR gloves). Once dry, I lightly applied wood glue and smoothed it out so it wouldn't bleed out the edges and then weighed it down with heavy books.
I finished with clear wax, I used SC Johnson from Home Depot (in the cleaning aisle). It was only $5 and kinda stinky - it worked well, but it would be best to do outside. Make sure to apply it lightly!
DLawless Hardware kindly provided the hardware, Hooiser Cup Pull and Colonial Antique Brass Allison Knob. Love the finishes on both, but since they didn't match, I lightly sanded and spray painted them gold, finishing with a few thin coats of Rustoleum Triple Thick Clear Glaze for a more durable finish.
With spray paint
I LOVE the gold on the edges .. it really brings out the detail!
I couldn't get a good straight on picture since my desk is in the way (we're limited on space in Ohio .. hopefully when we move, I can get some more pics.)
and one last before.
Ahh MUCH better! Goodbye commercial office credenza hello custom credenza!! It's official, I'm in love :)
and if you haven't voted yet (or want to vote again, you can vote once an hour!) stop by Better Homes and Gardens and VOTE for me in BH&G's Makeover Madness event!! Seriously still pinching myself that I'm included!! It just takes one click!
Vote >>> HERE