We stained, we saw, we conquered.

Last month I left you with our progress on the double desk in our office/bonus room. At that point it was looking like this:

The desk was complete but in need of stain (if you are new to this blog you may wish to catch up on the vision for this space here).

Well, wait no more. Ta da!


We went with a nice rich brown that was deep, but not too dark. Here is how we did it...

First, I taped around the wood desk top along the walls and cabinets. The desk is fixed to the wall so I could not pull it out.

Then, I gave the desk a thorough light sanding (220 grit sandpaper) and followed that with a tack cloth to pick up all the dust.

Next, I did a coat of wood conditioner. Wood conditioner is great for prepping your surface to receive the stain uniformly. I used Miniwax Water based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. I chose the water based product because it has less fumes and clean up is easier.

I applied the wood conditioner with a brush and used a rag to rub it in and pick up the excess conditioner. After it dried I did another light sand and followed again with a tack cloth.

For the stain, I tested a water based stain (on a scrap piece of wood) but was not happy with the results. In the end I went with a oil based version as I liked the finished product better. I chose Varathane Ultimate Wood Stain in Chocolate.

To apply, I used a foam brush and applied quickly in sections. Then I followed with a rag to rub it in and pick up the excess stain. You can use a brush or rag to apply but I opted for a foam brush because I could just throw it away when done. I hate cleaning brushes after they have been used with an oil based product. Blech.

I only needed one coat of the stain, so once that was dry I applied my first coat of polyurethane. The poly protects the surface and helps seal in the stain.

For the poly, I went with Miniwax Oil-modified Polyurethane.

I brushed the poly on in thin coats. Since I didn't need to follow with a cloth to rub in and pick up excess (as in the previous steps) it went quickly. After the first coat dried, I again sanded and used my tack cloth. Then I did a second coat of poly.

Once that was dry, I removed my frog tape. Oh, and luckily I had the foresight to tape UNDER the holes that were drilled for cords. Just to, you know, catch any wayward stain (cough cough). Phew...

And here it is all conditioned, stained and poly'd up!

I love how the stain really brings out the grain (hey, that rhymes!)

And the black desk grommet - meow. Looking good kid.

Now I just need to load it all up and get busy. Oh, and get chairs. Maybe that should be one of the first things I do at the desk. Chairs. Look for chairs...

Stay in touch and follow along...


Man Space (not to be confused with "spaceman")

Chef Kev's recreation room (or "man cave" as some may say) needs help. We haven't done anything to the room since we moved in this past summer and it's time to show it some love. Manly love of course. So, we're going to be a dude and bromance this space.

Eventually we are going to take over our whole lower level and make a large media/recreation room (part of the basement is currently a suite). The future reno will be a big one, so won't happen for awhile. Until then, we definitely want to infuse a little character into Chef Kev's space and make it look better then it does currently.

The room does not have much natural light since it's in the basement which isn't a big problem really, as the room is mostly used for TV watching. However, it still feels drab and dull.

Here are a few photos that I shared in my "settling in" post back in the Fall.

Well, this just can't work the way it is. Sure, it's moderately functional but... Oh but. The mustard walls and brown painted doors and trim sneer at me each time I walk downstairs. I sneer back mind you, but they are still #winning. SO, I did what any person who claims a wall is sneering does... I made a plan to change it!

Here is a mood board of where we are going...

1) artwork - I have some AMAZING vintage London Underground posters that my mother-in-law gave me. I plan to frame those and get them up. I also have some awesome English pub trays too which will definitely find a home here (Did I mention Chef Kev's family is British)?

2) industrial shelves - will add a masculine touch plus provide room for storage. Something like these ones (shown above).

3) a manly clock or something along those lines. The one in the mood board is from here.

4) bookshelves to go in the weird 'nooks'.

5) our existing sectional

6) our existing TV - we'd like to update our TV stand too (not shown)

7) farmhouse style coffee table - I'd like to redo a Craigslist find with a rustic treatment (reference photo)

8) paint! - a light grey on the walls and a dark charcoal in the media alcoves. And the trim, all getting a fresh coat of white paint.

So this is the vision for where we are heading. As you can probably tell, I'm going for a rustic, masculine space. Everything Chef Kev needs to drink his beer in peace. I mean watch hockey. No, I mean drink his beer. Actually, I mean drink his beer and watch hockey in peace.

Until I come down. Bwwaaa haa haa.

AND, the best part? The painting has started! I will post an update soon!

Stay in touch and follow along...


February Desktop Calendar round up

Yay! February is here! Break out the cinnamon hearts and pink decor!

Here are the desktop calendars that caught my eye this month. To download, click on the link below each image and follow the prompts on the artist's blog. A lot also have smart phone versions too so if that's your 'thang' then go and get 'em.


dawn nicole

the cottage market

beauty and the chic
the front door

sarah hearts
salt design

Zsolt Szilvai via Smashing Magazine
"Love'ly aren't they? 
Happy February!

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