That moment when you find yourself at a furniture auction with your hand shooting up into the air before you even realize what you are taking home. That was me. Of course I’ve seen auctions on TV and you see the nice lady there who slowly raises her number and gives that half smile and nod….


There I was the new proud owner of a rotting pile of wood. This was my first auction and I had told myself I had a $5 limit. Naturally this meant, by default, I was taking home the only thing no one wanted. The auctioneer chuckled as he found a way to politely describe the last item. “Next up…this….primitive…desk. I’ll start the bidding at $2.50.” WAS THIS REALLY HAPPENING!? I was the proud owner of my very own “primitive desk” in less than 3 seconds and I didn’t even have to compete for it! The auctioneer looked at me, and my family, and said “you do know you have to take that home with you tonight”. My Dad said “at least we can burn it…that’s cheaper than firewood”.

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Like a kid on Christmas I jumped up and ran over to admire this little charity case I was taking home. I was too enthralled with the fact that those glass windows were intact and actually slid back and forth (with the assistance of a body builder) to see what everyone else was seeing.

look at those sliding glass doors!

look at those sliding glass doors!

My joy elicited giggles from strangers as I rambled on about my vision to those I came with. “I’ll show you”, I said. Blake, being the excellent husband he is, never once questioned me. There may have been a smirk or two….or ten… but he never actually voiced that he would rather have a bonfire and a couple beers with my Dad than bring my new baby home.

The next morning we (did I mention I have the best husband ever?) set out to give her a makeover. About 10 minutes into sanding Blake decided whoever had made the decision to TAR the top onto the desk should be eaten by wolves. So, we replaced. A trip to Lowes for a nice smooth piece of wood and some stain made about a million years of difference.


After that it was really just some screws to tone her muscles back up and two coats of covering in Kilz2 and she was looking much younger already. Once all that dried we went back with a tube of caulk and filled in the gaps. Wrinkle filler if you will.

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Look at her now!

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Total cost:
Desk: $2.50
Wood: $13
Stain: $5
Caulk: $3
Kilz2: had this on hand
Screws: had these on hand
Time: we did this over a weekend
Total: $23.50

7 thoughts on ““Primitive”

  1. lindseyatdelightful says:

    Wow! I stumbled on your blog after scoping out the “before and after” tag. This is seriously awesome! I don’t know about you, but I’d take your renovated desk over a store bought piece any day! all it takes is a little love! nice work 🙂

  2. Melinda says:

    I just found your blog this evening and am reading through all your backlog of posts. 🙂

    How is the primer holding up on this desk? I’ve always been afraid to leave furniture in their primer without a coat of real paint, even if the primer is the color I’ll be eventually painting the thing… Maybe I’m being too cautious?

    • numbers and nails says:

      Hi Melinda! So glad you found us! The primer is actually holding up just fine. I wouldn’t skip the final coat on a high traffic piece of furniture but for this it worked 🙂 Also, there is probably a layer of caulk on the whole thing covering up all the little cracks 🙂 One thing we don’t ever skimp on is a high quality primer so that might help a little too. Happy refurbing!

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