I mentioned a while ago that I was working on the 1940’s office desk that had been terribly neglected. There are a few small details left to finish, but the desk is now ready to grace my living room. It looks very different than I envisioned it when I first started sanding. The old, pigmented stain had not weathered well and the top was missing completely, leaving the exposed plywood in very bad shape. I removed all of the old varnish, chiseled out the worst of the top and cleaned up the drawers and inside the body of the desk. At this point I thought I would paint it cream, tile the top with shattered tile in creamy colors, and give it a hint of ‘Shabby Chic’, despite its monstrous size and straight lines.
To condition the now bare wood I stained it, hoping to moisten the wood enough to let the paint sit on the surface. Once stained it was apparent the natural beauty of the wood needed to remain visible. I gave the worst area another coat of stain, then poly-urethaned the whole thing to protect it further. Still determined to use the mosaic tile in creams, I shattered many tiles. When I began fitting them into the top of the desk, I was discouraged by how chaotic it looked. Needless to say, I changed my mind.
It took a couple of attempts to get the look I decided to pursue, but by working with three inch square ceramic tiles and one inch-mosaic glass tiles, I was able to fit them inside the desktop without needing to cut tiles. With such a vast surface, I chose to visually frame it with the smaller tiles and then scatter a few within the body of the solid color tiles. As we no longer hand write on single sheets of paper, my computer and journals will not be bothered by the bumpy surface.