DIY: Upcycled Writing Desk


The Piece:

Today’s project is a American of Martinsville writing desk. Age: My best guess would be mid – late 70’s. This little beauty came to me already “done”. The issue was the paint was peeling and it was frustrating the owner who just dumped it in my workshop and said, “have at it.” Whoever painted it jumped on the chalk paint trend without doing their homework. You cannot cheat the work. Painting over furniture without first removing the old layers is a recipe for disaster. Especially if those old layer include stain and vanish. Any heavy object placed on the painted top will have the paint sticking to the object and peeling away for the furniture.

The Work:

I love the desk as is. The wood is solid, the center drawer large (and broken, but that is an easy fix), and the legs are rounded and shapely which gives it a soft, feminine feel. I think it would be perfect in a entryway, girl’s room, or as a dressing table. Therefore, I have decided to upcycle the piece and give it a softer, newer look.

First things first, I need to strip all the layers.

Curves, nooks, and crannies are particularly tricky. The best way to handle them is to let a wire paint brush do the hard work. It will get in those tight corners easily.

Once you have all the old layers off wipe the furniture down with a clean cloth soaked in mineral spirits. Finish by wiping the wood again with a water-moistened cloth. Let dry overnight.

Now for the fun! It’s time to refurnish the piece. I’m really loving this French Moire from Sherwin Williams. I went with a satin finish because I wanted to add a coat of butcher block oil. I wanted to ensure if the desk is used for writing down little girl dreams it will hold up.

I placed this project in our shop, Cottage Quarters, and it SOLD. We are excited it found it’s forever home and hope the new owners love it as much as we do.

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