Well, the desk, at long last (and through many changes of mind) is finally finished.
As a reminder, here's what the desk looked like when we got it...
And here is the finished product:
Overall? I'm happy with the result. I made a few mistakes and learned a few new things.
1) Just because trim and other things in your house are white, it does not mean that additional white furniture will go well. When we opted to paint the desk over staining (due to the wood just not holding up well), we thought white. But it was white overload.
2) Do not try to fix everything. After the white paint was on the tabletop, I saw indentations of where people had previously used the desk (indentations from writing, moving, etc). So, since I am currently sander-less, I thought "I'll just cover the top in some caulking." BIG MISTAKE. It dried too quickly and was far too thin to do the trick. I did start out with only putting it in a few places, but then I got carried away. End result: There are some rough bits on the top of the desk, but not too much that it will cause a problem.
3) I should have put the desk and hutch on risers when painting. It didn't cause too much of a problem, but the plastic drop cloth did sometimes stick to paint. Oh well. Or cardboard underneath. That would have worked well too.
Things I learned:
1) People have a large hatred toward you painting wood. I posted the desk on facebook for color recommendations, and I got a lot of "NO! DON'T PAINT!" responses. I would generally be in agreement, but a) it wasn't an heirloom, b) it wasn't fabulous wood or even expensive wood. It was pine. Luckily, I think those naysayers have been shown that sometimes it's good to paint.
2) Online paint places have great color suggestions! The site for Glidden Paint really confirmed my choice of "Dark French Chocolate" when I saw that coordinating colors for the color were the colors we already had in the room.
3) You CAN put a layer of polyurethane over latex paint! It also seems that this will help protect the latex from chipping as easily. However, it does add gloss to the paint. I'm ok with the amount of shine on the desk, but I also think that it could have used a little less. Next time, I think I'll poly only the top of the desk (so it's waterproof too), but maybe use a satin-type coating (like even mod podge) next time on the rest of a piece.
Overall though, I'm very happy with the piece. However, I'm quickly realizing how much stuff we had in the spare office. All our wine is in there, as well as our china. The wine rack and the china cabinet are two more projects to finish before those things can be removed from the room. Sigh! Not as easy as finishing the desk and having the room being done, sadly. Hopefully, the room, cabinet, and wine rack will all be finished soon.