June 10, 2013

Retro Desk Makeover

If you follow my Facebook page, you may have already seen this project, I am just a little bit behind in posting about it on my blog, sorry!

I found this little desk locally via Gumtree.
It had no top, and the back right leg was hanging on by a thread.

As soon as I see a piece of furniture that I can see potential in, I get a vision in my head of what I am going to do with it, and how it will look when it is finished.  The vision I got from this desk was a white painted body with a grey and white dotty oilcloth top on it.  As soon as I got it home, I ordered the oilcloth but found it was out of stock.  I had some other oilcloth in my stockpile already but none that I thought suited this desk so I went back to the drawing board.  In actual fact, the desk just sat for quite a while, with nothing happening to it.  

After doing this chair in Antibes Green, I knew the desk had to be part of the matching set.

I fixed the desk leg with glue and new screws, and painted the desk body in two coats of Antibes Green, and the drawer fronts (and handles) in Old White.

I had to make a new top for the desk, and decided a planked top was the look I was after.  I purchased some new dressed pine boards for the job and planned to stain and distress them a bit.
You can see in the below picture that I've started to stain the desk top - I stained the edges of each board before I attached them to the desk body.  The stain I used is Feast and Watson Prooftint in Oak.
I used my air furniture staple gun to attach each board to the desk body.
(*Edited to add that I set the pressure on my compressor up enough so that the staples sunk down into the top just a little, then I used some dark wax to fill the holes. I could have used matching wood filler to hide them completely but I like the rustic bit of character they add.)

Once my new desktop was attached I set about beating it up a bit, using a spanner, a couple of large drill bits, and some chain.  I just picked them up and dropped them onto my fresh new desk top...it was lots of fun! 
The result was just a few random dents and dings here and there - I didn't want to go overboard.

Once I finished applying three coats of stain, I waxed the whole desk with Annie Sloan Clear Wax.  

Here it is all finished, and paired up with the chair. The shine on the desktop now is amazing, and I'm really happy with how it turned out - better than my initial vision, for sure!


  1. Love it, looks fantastic in gorgeous green. Have a great day :)

  2. hi Karen - It is gorgeous and perfectly painted for the shape. I love it, so much fun and the chair fabric is great. I'm sure it will sell quickly. Can I ask, when you staple the plank onto the desk can you not still see the staple in the wood top? or does it punch it right down?
    have a good long weekend

  3. Hi Fiona, thanks and I hope you are right!

    Great question about the staples, I've edited my post with my answer :)

  4. i did see it there, but i love it even more now! it's so fun!

  5. Looks amazing Karen - love the colour combo with the wood. Next time I see frames in need to a whole new desk top I'll remember how good yours looks and try it out!

  6. This is my favourite refurb of yours yet! Gorgeous colours, wonderful chair fabric, totally inspired!

  7. that is gorgeous! I love the green color and the wood top

  8. Looks fab Karen!! Clever handywoman you are ;-)

  9. I can't tell you how much I love that!!! Perfect colours. Great work yet again xx

  10. I love that chair!! I'm a new follower.
    Come over from Savvy Southern Style.
    Faye @ The Shabby Cottage Home.

  11. this is fabulous!!! Makes me wish I was back in school again and could sit here doing homework!! Featuring in my weekly wow's on Friday.

  12. What a cute work space --so glad you saw the potential in the sad little desk -great fabic and I love the VW bus print and frame