(1st) stop: the upper west side Housing Works Thrift Shop. Lucky for us, we found a desk! It was buried under piles of frames and dishes, but we could tell it was a gem.
The style was simple with straight legs and two drawers, the size was great, and the price was right at $75.
(2nd) stop: Google, How to refinish furniture?
(3rd) stop: our local hardware store to stock-up on supplies.
I took pictures of our progress yesterday (sorry, not the best quality):
We spent most of the day/night working our fingers to the bone with scraping, sanding, scraping, sanding. Originally we planned on painting it, but it turns out the wood is beautiful so we are going to stain it.
Our apartment is covered in dust but we're making progress. At one point Brad said, "This is all part of being married to an interior designer." What a good sport.
Part 2 coming soon, hopefully.