Tuesday, September 16, 2014

53 Wax On, Wax Off - Finishing Up the Studio Desk

I know how fortunate I am to have a great nook in our home to utilize for my home office and for crafting, sewing {ha} and working each day.  Although this has been by far the most challenging room to finish for a variety of reasons, I appreciate how much I continue to learn by the process and really miss the space when it is not being used.  In fact, for the past few weeks I have been working at our kitchen table again as we have worked to get the desk stained, waxed and protected.  It shouldn't have been a super long process, but we ran into a few road bumps along the way.  But the desk is done, the new - old chair is done and they look so fantastic together!


The entire staining process was completely new to this gal.  Nothing a first timer can't tackle, just a learning experience that allowed me to play with a new technique.  You can find the tutorial for how we built the desk here, and when I last left off, it was in an unfinished state.


There was a lot of thinking about the finish of the desk.  As a girl who typically loves all white everything, the studio just could not handle another piece of white furniture.  In fact, I have been on a "project warm up the house with wood tones" kick for awhile now, so I knew that some sort of stain was in the future.  Some mentioned the deep dark stain as the top and white legs as the bottom may do the trick, but in this space with the specific table style I feared it would be a little too farmhouse for me.  The floors were already a dark walnut finish and I have learned from the past that the room can't handle too much dark anything.  So I looked for a few inspiration furniture pieces and found this desk here as well as this table from World Market.


A soft, toned down wood finish with a very natural feel.  And also thanks to you friends, you introduced me to liming wax, which would be the key ingredient in achieving the finish I was after.

All that ends well did not start well.  Once I finally settled on a base stain color, which was Minwax's Special Walnut, I got right down to staining {we always recommend using a pre-stain wood conditioner prior to staining}.  Only problem was that the stain wasn't covering the wood filler!!


I seriously went into panic mode and maybe even shed a few tears.  All of that work building the table and something so silly was completely ruining it!  I looked up every last fact about the wood-filler that we opted to use, and it all stated that it was stainable!  Sure didn't look that way, but thank goodness my husband always balances me out and told me to chill.  After the stain had time to dry, he took his palm sander back over the entire table top and edges.  My guess is that we had waited far too long to apply the stain and the filler had cured.  Once we sanded everything down the second time, the problem was solved and those spots went away with the second coat.  Whew, crisis averted.


That was my thumbs up as I was staining.  I was happy to see the finish going on nicely and everything looking beautiful the second time around.

If you are looking for a beautiful colored stain, I would say this is it.  It really is the Goldilocks of stains; not too light, not too dark, juuuuust right. 

Once I stained the remainder of the table, my eyebrows may have raised a second time.  I know that stains typically will absorb and show differently based on wood types, and that was definitely the case here.  We used three similarly toned wood types when building the desk and I thought they would be close enough that the stain would appear consistent throughout, however, that wasn't really the case.  The legs are pine and they were thirsty.  Totally sucked up the stain and even gave off a really orange-red finish.  After the second coat, my panic level started to raise again {excuse the poor iPhone photos throughout - stain covered fingers didn't make for sharp photographing}.


But this is where the liming saved the day with this project.  I let the stain absorb and dry for a few days to be sure it was ready for the lime wax finish.  The can stated that it helps if you use a wire brush to open the grain of the wood {which is where the liming wax settles}, so I scraped the entire thing down with a brush found at Home Depot.


Here you can see the difference after halfway through - notice I went along the natural grains of the wood.


This started the lightening of the wood process as it essentially sanded / scraped a layer of the stain off of the top.  I was already breathing easier.


Once everything was brushed and wiped clean, I began applying the liming wax with a painter's tool.


I was very careful not to scratch the wood surface, but the tool allowed for me to press and smooth the liming wax down into the grain of the table top. 


I also used the tool for any flat surfaces on the edges and legs, and used a soft cotton cloth to apply the wax to curvier areas and nooks.  I let the wax sit for 15-20 minutes, then used steel wool {the finest grade of #0000} to buff the wax.  I definitely believe that the scraping process was a necessary step.  The wood was not super grainy to begin with and it allowed the wax to find a few grooves to settle in.

I then let the wax cure for a few days prior to brushing on a protective finish.  I opted to go with a water-based poly because I had it on hand and really love the product.  You could also use a furniture wax to finish things off as well.  I applied a few coats, following the dry times in-between.


And now I am back to working in my office!


The liming wax really did unify the entire piece.  The legs and top now match perfectly as if the entire piece was built out of the same types of wood.


With the lack of natural light in the office, I have an aversion to anything with too much orange - red undertone, as the overhead lighting only enhances that.  The liming wax definitely brought in that beautiful weathered, gray washed look I was after.  Although not spot on to the finish of the World Market inspiration, I am quite happy with the result of the staining and waxing process.


As far as how I set up and organize my space, although I have a whole lot of surface to play with now, I opted to keep things fairly basic and simple {because I know I have zero problems creating paper piles and leaving out project materials}.  


I added some clear acrylic paper trays to hold my current notebooks, magazines and any documents that require my immediate attention.  I always have a small dish on my desk as I strip myself of my jewelry whenever I work - totally speeds up my typing and feels freeing.  During the spring, fall and winter seasons when my yard no longer blooms florals, I find myself falling into the habit of snagging a $4 Trader Joe's bouquet each time I grocery shop.  It is always a pleasure to have a fresh element on your desktop while you work.  And of course, my planner is always by my side,


I receive a lot of questions regarding the acrylic desk organizer I use for my favorite office supplies, it was found in the bathroom department at Target.


Every angle offers a slightly different look depending on how the light hits.  I sort of love that about it, it keeps it fresh and fun.


As you may recall, the room was not going in the right direction and I forced myself to take a step back.  I tapped what was working and took out what wasn't, and things are coming together quite nicely so far.  Here is a little before and after peek at how the room has evolved over the past few months with some small changes.



Although I am never officially done with any space so "revealing" it seems a little odd to say, I have a few more finishing touches to add before calling it "done for now".  I will hopefully get those wrapped up within the next few weeks and do a full tour of the room.  But for now, I am thrilled to have my workspace back and to be sitting in my new fabulous chair each day.

If I took anything away from this process it was that I really love learning how to use new products and techniques, and I am happy that I didn't I didn't quit when things didn't look so great {multiple times}.  It may not be perfect but it was a labor of love and it has character and fits me and my space so I am beyond happy that we stuck with it.  OK, I will stop the cheese fest... for now...

53 comments:

  1. Oh, Jen! The wood brings so much warmth to the space! And I feel like i've never seen this room from the fireplace angle, what an AWESOME space! You've maximized it to be perfect for your family. Such a gorgeous place to work!

    xo
    Kylie

    ReplyDelete
  2. So beautiful, thanks for sharing Jen! I totally feel you about sticking with something. It's hard but always worth it! The space looks great-enjoy!

    <3-courtney @it'sPretty[&]Cheap

    ReplyDelete
  3. The new space looks great, but then again, I've loved every update you've done to the room. It's so great that you have such a space! I'm still trying to figure out the best layout and what room should be what in our new place. My husband is getting tired of me changing my mind, I'm pretty sure. :D


    Wendy | Fashionable Heart

    ReplyDelete
  4. Absolutely stunning! I'm also an "all white" gal myself, but I've really gotten into wood stained pieces. I love adding textures and neutrals into a space. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It looks so good! I love the darker wood in the white space!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jen, the desk looks fantastic! I love how your studio space has evolved and appreciate your transparency with rethinking it. I do that quite often, so it's comforting to know that others do as well!

    Beautiful space! :)

    XO,
    Lindze

    ReplyDelete
  7. I actually like the resulting stain more than your inspiration! The room looks great :)

    Sarah
    Sweet Spontaneity

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this Jen! I love the color and it does look really nice in your studio. And I have to tell you, I love a vase of fresh blooms as well. It feels SO indulgent.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Absolutely love love love your chair! What a gorgeous fabric! Beautiful space.
    http://www.sweetwordsprettypictures.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Stunning! I may just steal this look (limed table top and lovely floral chair) for my dining room. You're always such a great source for inspiration. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow! This came out so beautiful! I want that table! What color are the walls in the new room? It looks like a pretty subtle blue.

    Christie
    Www.classifybychristie.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Christie! The wall color is Behr's Reflecting Pool. :)

      Delete
  12. Jen, the space looks so beautiful and calming. Love everything you do! You are a true inspiration. Keep up the awesome work! Lori Swearingen

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your whole space looks gorgeous. I am especially in love with your table and the finish you chose.

    Have you thought of adding a few more prints to the right side of the cabinet? Maybe a few floral or prints with bright pops of cool with thick white mats? I think that could be super cute without adding too much color to the back wall.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This new space looks amazing! I love the table so much x

    www.wild-cherrytree.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've been following your blog for so long, and not quite sure why I haven't commented as to now. I just wanted to say that I love reading your blog and everything you do is so inspiring. Also enjoy reading your teams blogs as well. Oh BTW I love the table and the room. @FITNESSNLIFESTYLE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for taking a moment to comment with your sweetness Aline!

      Delete
  16. Omg, this is a great interior! Totally brings up inspiration for me! Great post <3

    http://www.kinikunormal.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post!
    http://charlottesophiaroberts.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've never heard of liming wax - I love the look! In fact I have two pieces that would be perfect for that treatment. Thanks for the tip, and the trial and error. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. It looks awesome - great job!
    Where are your transparent stationery holders and trays from?
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Caley-Jade! The paper trays are from amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0006HW2OY.

      Delete
  20. You were right to change the room, the new look is so much fresher and has a more open feel to it. Although the seating area is charming I personally would have left the other work station intact - my kids always like be around me while doing their homework. But overall still beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the best part about the new oversized desk. Although the kids typically do their homework upstairs while we cook, the hubby and kids can sit across from me to work on their things, with plenty of space to spare!

      Delete
  21. I am head over heels for your desk! It turned out so amazing! I've been stewing over how to get this look for a project I'm doing for my living room, so thanks for the tutorial! I have touches of the same wood in my living room and love it!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've never heard of liming wax, so I'm glad you introduced me to it! I'm also glad to know I'm not the only one who has doubts midway through a project. Sometimes it is hard to see things through because you never quite know how it will turn out. I'm also an all white girl but I've adjusted over the years to bring in more wood tones because I really do think it balances it out nicely. (In my living room I now have mostly stained furniture with one painted piece and I really like how it all works together.)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Jennifer! I love the desk it turned out beautifully. I have a question regarding how you sealed it. I am currently doing the faux granite look on my countertops and have been sealing with polycrilic. I have followed the directions (and done tons of research on the best way to apply it, brushes, etc) but on my kitchen island, no matter what I do, the finish is coming out streaky (to be specific, there are areas in the light that look matte whereas the rest is glossy. I guess from overworking the product) With the island being so big Im having a hard time finding a way to put it on evenly before it starts to dry and I think thats where my problem is comming in. Its really bumming me out because the counters have turned out beautifully otherwise! However everytime the light hits my island a certain way (which is pretty much all the time) it sticks out like a sore thumb. Do you have any tips or tricks for this? I would be so appreciative!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, so super sorry to hear about your poly issues. I experienced the quick drying problem on a piece awhile back and found this article to be super helpful: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/m/photos/0,,20414984_20833401,00.html. Hope that can offer a little guidance and you can achieve the counters you are after.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Jen! I will give those tips a try. I think I will try the brush. So far I've been using a foam brush because a lot of people recommended that and seemed to have a lot of luck with it. The foam brush has actually worked great on the rest of my counter tops but my island is still giving me a hard time! So I think its time to switch it up and see if I have better luck with a brush. I appreciate it!

      Delete
  24. Looks really great, Love the fabric of the chair!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love the weathered finished it ended up having - gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  26. It looks so great! Can I ask what happened to the desktop computer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Crystal! Right now the family uses it upstairs for homework... But it will get brought back down when I start working on new printables again.

      Delete
  27. Love the desk... so worth all of your hard work... it looks fantastic! Well done. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hey Jen! Everything is just gorgeous! Love it... question: where did you get your carpet from? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lizabeth! The rug was from Joss & Main awhile back, but I still see it on there occasionally. Or maybe Wayfair as I know they are affiliated. :)

      Delete
  29. You might have mentioned this previously, but where did you find the drawers for underneath the desk? I have been looking for something organizational like that for AGES and can't find anything! I love the way it looks with that desk!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Megan! The drawers are from CB2 - bit.ly/1qhZhDK I really love the cabinet, rolls great and nice drawers.

      Delete
  30. I also love the rug. I have seen it on Overstock. I'm considering getting the runner for our bathroom.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wow, your office is so inspirational! I would love to have a space like this of my own some day! Love everything about it - its just so cheery :)

    Kassandra

    ReplyDelete
  32. Room looks beautiful. What is the chair fabric?

    Thanks,
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love this! Great choice with the finish. And any and all blogs about organization are exacttlllyyy up my alley!!! :)

    www.myreverielane.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. The desk came out beautiful!! I love the warmth it adds while still coordinating so beautifully to the white!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I love how the stain turned out and how everything is organized on the desk.

    ReplyDelete
  36. The desk came out great!!!!! I love the contrast in the room and subtle splashes of color, I was wondering where you bought your pen holder? That would great for my daughters desk!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Great instructions, and beautiful result. I am curious if the poly finish is holding up well over the wax as I've been cautioned against sealing wax with poly of any type. "It will peel like a bad sunburn" was the phrase used.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting to hear! Luckily, I haven't had that happen at all and everything is holding up well! Not sure if it has to do with dry times or the types of poly being used? I will be sure to update the post if anything ever changes down the road. xoxo!

      Delete

IHeart you taking a moment to comment! Although I absolutely appreciate, consider and read each and every comment, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like. This blog is my happy place, let's keep the drama at bay!

Don't see your comment? All comments are moderated and may take a moment to appear.

Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...