DIY Teak Restoration

Nesting: It is a blessing. It is an affliction. At this very moment, I have about 25 different projects up in the air. Some, the validity of which is questionable. Why do the walls in the garage bother me so? Because I’m nesting. Everything MUST be perfect. Now. I can tell the garage walls haven’t been painted since the late nineties when our home was built, because there are other children’s heights and corresponding dates still on display. Add to that the one million nail and screw holes that decorate the space taunt me as I pull the car in each day. It was livable before this phase…at the current moment however, it is intolerable. Since I’m in the middle of painting and organizing my garage, I thought I’d rewind to a much more interesting subject: restoring teak wood.

This teak desk restoration project has probably been one of my favorites to date. (The only thing perhaps equally gratifying was the rust removal I got to do on my Saarinen tulip table way back when.)

Below are the BEFORE photos. This desk, although completely functional with sliding drop leaf, and drawers that can be moved from side to side depending on your preference, was in pretty rough shape. I can report fading, white drink rings, and what looked to be a burn stain at one side of the desk. I still felt like I was stealing it when I found it at a thrift shop. I mean people….this is TEAK we’re talking about here. Only the most gorgeous wood on the planet.

Desk 1 Desk 2

I consulted a trusted source of mine – someone who I have purchased a few pieces from over the years and who really knows her wood refinishing. I was surprised when she recommended I dilute some ivory dish soap, and clean the piece before deciphering the damage. You can really see the color potential when the teak is damp…

Wet with Ivory...
Wet with Ivory…
Desk 4 burn stain
Burn Mark? Let’s call it character.

Once the piece dried, it went right back to blah. I was ready to sand!

Here's our soap clean desk after drying
Here’s our soap cleaned desk after drying

I happen to have the sander my father so kindly loaned to me – complete with fine sand paper, which I used for this project. Here are some sanding shots:

Desk 7 Sanded Desk 6 Sanded

Important notes…with a drop leaf, you need to have the drop leaf extended for all-at-once-sanding, and don’t forget go with the grain! I used the electric sander for the desk top, which was in the worst shape. For the remainder; legs, sides, etc….I sanded by hand, using extra fine sand paper.

Once the sanding was complete, I again cleaned the piece with diluted ivory dish soap. Once dried, I applied two coats of Teak Oil – about 30 minutes apart. I used Watco Teak Oil. The scoop is, to apply liberally, let it soak in for about 30 minutes, wipe down, and reapply if necessary. Wait an additional 15 minutes for absorption of the second coat before wiping the excess oil away. Two coats were all I needed to completely transform this piece and bring it back to life!

Desk 9 2 Coats of Teak Oil Teak Desk Finals (1)

After 8-10 hours of drying, your teak is ready to go! See how the drawers can be moved side to side? Fantastic.

Teak Desk Finals (4) Teak Desk Finals (2)

AFTER:  BOOM!
AFTER:
BOOM!

I don’t think there is anything more gorgeous than oiled teak. This desk sold almost immediately, and I was a little sad to see it go. I hope to find another piece like it in the future – until then, I’ll be readying our garage for the next project.

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Nursery Nutbag & the Pouf Problem

I’m obsessing. I know I am. I can’t help it. I’m not a designer, nor do I have a bottomless budget for this new project I’ve embarked upon. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking me so long to finish our mid-century modern inspired nursery.

I’m getting there, but I don’t think I’ve ever given so much thought to one room. This really makes me re-think my “abilities” in the department of design. Okay, okay, so the budget is part of it. I can’t just see stuff and buy it. I have to scrounge, Craigslist some things to buy other things…I have to save, I have to be creative. (Let’s not forget I’d much rather recycle and reuse than buy new.)

I don’t want to give too much away yet…but I do need help from all you designer-istas out there!

Once again….here’s where my inspiration began:

Here's the idea board found on Pinterest.
Here’s the idea board found on Pinterest.

I’m not sticking to it 100%….there will be more vintage furniture than new – but you get the idea.

Here are my colors:

Color Pallette
Color Palette

And here was part of my challenge this week:

Feeding & Reading Nook - in need of side table and foot stool/ottoman
Feeding & Reading Nook – in need of side table and foot stool/ottoman

The scoop: this room that is becoming the “mid-century modern-inspired” nursery is the smallest room in our entire house. Tiny, in fact. It goes without saying that every square inch needs to feature clean design while being multi-functional. This particular corner that backs up to the closet – will be the “feeding & reading nook” as I’ve named it. After an exhaustive search for the very trendy floor “pouf” or ottoman, I decided to stick with traditional MCM instead. Can I just say how ridiculously expensive the little balls of fabric and stuffing are? Oh.My.Goodness!

A pouf such as this one from CB2 will cost you $80 before shipping:

knitted graphite pouf from CB2
knitted graphite pouf from CB2

…okay, so maybe not terrible, but it wasn’t quite the right color, and it was more than I wanted to spend. On a pouf. Do you feel me? Plus, my anal-retentive personality kicked in and all I could think of was trying to vacuum dog hair, dry spit up, and crushed up Cheerios from between the knits.  Stay with me….

So then I thought….how about a leather pouf? Or better yet, a Moroccan Pouf!!! In TEAL!!!

Moroccan Pouf Found on AllModern.com
Moroccan Pouf Found on AllModern.com

That’ll be $139 before shipping. And too big for my tiny space. Beautiful. Fun. Colorful and functional. Don’t get me wrong. Just not what I needed.

So then I turned (as I have a milllllllion times before) to Etsy.com. Low and behold, I found it. My solution. An orange vinyl foot stool/ottoman with fantastic atomic legs just like those on my sweet little rocker.

Hello, Gorgeous!
Hello, Gorgeous!

Stool top

Once I get the okay – I’ll let you know what shop I found this little treasure in! This little guy will soon be on its way to me – and I can’t wait to be able to feature it in the room reveal.

Here’s what I need help with from my design-savvy readers:

Finding an affordable side table that is small, functional and affordable. I was originally thinking a Saarinen tulip side table (not necessarily name brand)…

Tulip Side Table Repro
Tulip Side Table Repro

… and then Google knocked me down a few notches. Even the reproductions start at close to $200. Vintage is twice that! Yikes!

So then I got to thinking about our very loose “woodland animal” theme… and thought about bringing some different materials in. What about a wood side table? Have you seen these around?

Eco-Friendly and Pretty unique.
Eco-Friendly and Pretty unique.

Eco-Friendly Wood Stumps…your thoughts?

That’s where I’m, well, stumped. This Nursery Nutbag needs help. Texture? Color? Materials? Functionality? Any suggestions would be sooooo welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elbow Grease

It’s amazing to me what a throw-away society we live in. I see it all the time in my MCM groups on Facebook. Pictures of gorgeous solid wood furniture, thrown out with the trash. Completely salvageable and not to mention beautiful pieces left on street corners, alleyways and in dumpsters. Luckily, there are folks out there that value the old, and can see the sometimes hidden potential. I can’t say I’ve been dumpster diving before…but I have great admiration those that have. I’ve seen some really stunning pieces saved and given new life by some of my fellow MCM fanatics.

While I tend to find my treasures in thrift shops, (my city is considered wine country, and its overrun with rod-ironed Tuscan fever. Yikes) I almost feel a duty to regularly frequent said shops to “save” neglected pieces. When I take a break from stocking my store, or looking for something for my own home, I feel as though somehow I’ll be missing out on something. (That might also be considered addiction…but who’s judging!?)

In recent weeks, I’ve found some pretty serious treasures that just needed some good old-fashioned elbow grease. In fairness, I can see how someone might have passed them by; either too busy to bother, or maybe they just didn’t know what they were looking at. You’ll see why I’ve been busy – but not busy blogging. I’ll bust these out into separate DIY tutorials later…but for now, here are some of the things I’ve been working on:

PROJECT 1: Bar Cart Revival

-So this piece was Nasty McNasty. Cobwebs, worn finish, scratched glass from being used to hold flower pots outdoors…

BEFORE PHOTO 1
BEFORE PHOTO 1
Bar Cart Project
BEFORE PHOTO 2
AFTER: Cleaned, sanded and painted.
AFTER: Cleaned, sanded and painted.

I kept the glass, just cleaned it up a bit and refinished the frame with some gold spray paint. Voila! We are so HOLLYWOOD!

AFTER PHOTO 2 - Bar Service
AFTER PHOTO 2 – Bar Service

PROJECT 2 – Dorothy Thorpe Roly Poly Glasses

-These guys were simple…they just needed some time spent polishing them.  Come on now… who wouldn’t do a little work to have these beauties at your bar?

BEFORE: Dorothy's looking pretty varnished
BEFORE: Dorothy’s looking pretty varnished
001
DURING PHOTOS: I used a soft silver cleaning cloth in order to minimize silver loss, rather than using harsh chemicals. After all, they will be used to DRINK out of.
DURING PHOTOS: I used a soft silver cleaning cloth in order to minimize silver loss, rather than using chemicals.
Do you see the difference in the three on left and three on right? Night and day. I did feel like I might be developing carpal tunnel, but the end result was worth it!
Dorothy Thorpe (1)
AFTER: Oh it’s HAPPY HOUR, GUYS AND GALS!
AFTER: Oh it's HAPPY HOUR!
No seriously, these are going up for sale tomorrow in my store! 🙂 If you want them, go get them! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MidCenturyObsession?ref=si_shop

PROJECT 3: Arne Vodder Teak Drop Leaf Desk FOUND!

-This desk was dull and sad-looking. He had some white water stains, what looked to be a burn mark, and just needed a facelift. Challenge accepted!

BEFORE: Arne Vodder Danish Teak Desk
BEFORE: Arne Vodder Danish Teak Desk

Desk 4 burn stain

DURING PHOTOS: Stains and all, this baby just needed some lovin'.
DURING PHOTOS:
Stains and all, this baby just needed some lovin’.
AFTER: BANG!
AFTER: BANG!
AFTER:  BOOM!
AFTER:
BOOM!

I’m not tooting my own horn, here. This is just what I love to do. I’ve learned that despite whatever others might tell you, wanting to improve things and make them beautiful again is not a shortcoming, it’s a gift. The best part is that these projects are relatively simple. You just need a little time, maybe some caffeine and some tenacity. Next time you’re in need of something for your home, consider hitting your local thrift stores; recycling and reusing. Try to resist the “immediate gratification” we’ve become so accustomed to. The amount of pride you will get out of bringing something unwanted back to life again is worth the wait (and the elbow grease).