Creative Furniture Refinishing and Fiber Arts
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Painted and distressed secretary desk

Sometimes it is fun just to bring back the memories of past projects…I refinished this secretary desk  June 2012 and I kept it myself!  I use it as my own desk and I write all my posts sitting at this desk.   Here is the post that was originally published June 18, 2012:

Painted and distressed secretary desk

I did not write too much lately but I have been super busy painting, what else?   Finally I finished my antique secretary desk, and yes, it was a pretty big job for me.    I actually bought her on Craigslist, just a day or two after Christmas.   A very good time for furniture bargains!  The desk was fairly beat up, the glass was broken and it had been stored in the garage for a while.  But, you know, I saw potential and I got her for a good price.

Here is the before picture:

yes, she needed lots of TLC!   The first thing I did was replacing the glass doors.   It took me some time to figure whether I should paint her or not.  But she was not in great shape and I believe the desk would look much better if painted.  Soooo next step was to decide what color to paint her (I tried a slate blue on one of the drawers)  and I decided on light distressing with wax method.  I posted the wax method in my very first post and it is just a no-fail way to distress.  I absolutely love it!   After sanding and sanding and sanding (that cherry stain is so stubborn) I primed her with Zinsser and also some Kilz.  I gave the desk two coats of Valspar Jade, after the two coats I waxed (candle wax)  her completely (a bit heavier on the sides) and after that step I gave her two coats of Honeymilk (Valspar) a lovely warm shade of white.   The inside of the hutch  I just painted in honeymilk.  Work in progress:


The final result:

I sanded and stained this part of the desk with Minwax dark walnut stain.

O boy, it was not easy to carry her outside..but hopefully this picture gives a good impression!

I use gold tone rub ‘n buff on the handles, easy does it!  After distressing I just put two layers of poly for protection.  She is finished and ready to go!  (or should I keep her?)




  1. Oh it’s just beautiful – I have the identical secretary that I redid – but I am missing the top ( always on the look out for it )
    I’m your newest follower – would love to have you follow back

  2. Looks good! I have been looking for a long time for a piece like this.

  3. so pretty, hetty! love the layers and chippy finish!

  4. I like the end result. I have a secretary like yours, and think you are so brave to paint it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. GORGEOUS PIECE. I love the green peeking through. GREAT MAKEOVER.

    Im now following you. Please come visit me at THANKS. 😎

  6. Oh, she turned out beautifully!

  7. bookmarked!!, I love your web site!

    • Thanks Lenny, your comment is much appreciated. Now I have to go back to work…painting that is!

  8. I am planning on doing this with mine. It is beautiful! What did you do with the inside? Mine has so many little drawers … Im wondering what is the best way to prime and paintbinside?? Thanks. Anne

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