Friday, August 4, 2017

Tall Secretary Desk Re-Do

We've had this vintage secretary desk sitting in the garage, patiently waiting for it's turn to be refinished.   After we finished the cedar chest last week, we decided it was time to tackle the desk.

As you can see, it was in pretty bad condition.  I removed the framing behind the glass doors and pulled them out, along with the ugly broken wooden stencils that were attached to them...

 I found an old yellowed newspaper article in one of the drawers where someone had written in asking about the history of secretary desks.  It dated the desk to between 1920-1940.  .

So check out what is written on the back panel.  What do you think?  I'm guessing it was the 30th desk made in October of 1935.  Any other guesses?

You can easily see how worn and scratched up this desk was...

I removed all the hardware and started sanding everything down...

After everything was sanded I washed it all off with some soapy water and let everything sit outside all day in the sun to dry.  I've been reading a lot about Fusion paint and how nicely it works on furniture.  They have a marvelous and vibrant color selection and I was torn on what color to use.  I flip flopped between a couple of different choices and I finally chose Homestead Blue for this project.  I couldn't wait to try it out.  I located a retailer less than an hour from my house - From Shabby to Fabby and placed an order online.  Within days my paint was delivered along with a sweet note from Karri, the owner, and a coupon for 10% off on my next order.  Don't you just love personalized customer service??  

The Fusion paint covers really well and in most cases doesn't need a primer coat.  Due to the dark color of the original wood, I applied 2 coats of paint and I really liked the matte finish.  The paint dried fast and I was able to safely apply the 2nd coat within a few hours.  Considering that it was hot and humid when I tackled this project, I was really surprised at how quickly it did dry.

The inside of the desk, the shelves and the drawers all got a fresh coat of espresso colored stain and all the drawer pulls were soaked in vinegar and salt until they shined.  The glass got scrubbed down and carefully reinstalled into the doors.

The wooden organizer in the middle got a coat of stain as well and I glued a couple of pieces of felt on the bottom of it so it won't scratch the desk if it's moved....

I wish I had someplace better than my driveway to stage these photos because they really don't do justice to the beautiful blue color of this piece.

I thought the history of the desk was interesting, so I typed up an information sheet and included it in one of the drawers...

For sale in the Chicago area for $ 349.00.

Since I finished this piece, Louie and I have already driven out to From Shabby to Fabby so I could see all the paint choices on display in their showroom.  I was lucky enough to meet Karri in person and chat with her about Fusion paint and her adorable store.  If you're anywhere near the Winfield, Illinois area, you have got to stop and say hello.  In the meantime, if you'd like to try Fusion paint, you can order it direct from her.  Check out her FB page here.

27W460 Chicago Avenue  Winfield, Illinois 60190
Monday – Closed
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – 10am to 5pm 
Friday – 10am to 7pm
Saturday – 10am to 5pm
Sunday -11am to 5pm
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  1. It turned out beautiful Kim! Great job!!


  2. Great job! Do you ever feel like a Fairy Godmother? LOL!

    I've a (builders basic) vanity in my bath that is pretty awful with a build-up of spray and chemical stains. Suppose there's any hope for a quick and dirty cosmetic job?

    1. Yes. Too bad I don't live closer - I'd come do if for you.

  3. The desk turned out very nice!

  4. It is a great piece of furniture but it was in a great need of care! You did excellent job and it turned out gorgeous

    Thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration Link Party


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