For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Realtor by day. I was working with investors who bought a rundown home, and the sellers decided to leave behind most of their furniture. My investor knew that I refinish furniture, so he suggested I take what I wanted! Yep. That’s right! For free!
This secretary desk was one of the best pieces I picked up.
This 1940’s masterpiece was in rough shape. It was in a home that had major water damage, so this piece had some areas that needed attention due to moisture.
See that middle screw? It was stripped. I fixed it by using wood glue and wooden tooth picks. I filled the hole, let it dry, cut the excess toothpicks flush with the top of the desk, then did some light sanding to get the tooth pick all the way flush. After this, my screw went in perfectly!
I removed the doors, and all of the hardware. I made sure to place the hardware in a bucket with 1-part vinegar, and 1-part water. Soaking the hardware will start to lift all the dirt and grime off and make the cleaning process easier.
Some of the drawers needed some wood glue between the veneer and the drawer front. I applied the glue, then used my trusty clamps to ensure proper adhesion.
After I fixed where needed, I sanded all of it down using 120 grit. I just had to rough up the finish so the paint would stick, but I did put in extra work on the pull-down desk piece since there were so many deep scratches. After a good wipe down with my tack cloth, I decided to add a coat of primer in spray paint form. I didn’t want any bleed through from the original finish, and since this was such an old piece, I figured there might be a chance that bleed through would occur. I used a Rust-oleum 2X primer in a flat finish.
It was time to paint. I used my homemade chalk paint recipe and made chalk paint using Valspar Urban Sunrise (gray shade), and Valspar Silver Fox (blue shade). I decided to paint the secretary the Urban Sunrise color, and paint the inside of the secretary the Silver Fox color, while still painting the small drawers Urban Sunrise for contrast. I know you guys are asking yourself how I got into all those small spaces… Well, small brushes, and patience! I must have touched up spots missing paint more that 20 times!
Now, I wanted to paint the drawer pulls black. But first, I had to clean and prime them. I put on some gloves, and got to work. One by one, I used a green scouring pad and scrubbed all the drawer pulls, and hinges. Then I placed them on a newspaper to get ready for priming. I used Rust-oleum Clean Metal Primer.
I am so mad at myself for not taking any pictures of this process, but when you are priming/painting any hardware with handles, flip the underside of the handle first to prime, and flip it back to the front side to finish up the priming. Then paint the same way. Here is another project I did that shows the process.
You see how in the first photo the handles were flipped upside down? Then I flipped them the right side up for the second photo? Repeat this step for the paint process as well.
I choose Valspar Project Perfect Paint+Primer in a flat black to finish up my handles.
Oh, and I couldn’t forget to paint the pulls on the tiny drawers either. That was another chore! I used painters tape, and some more patience!
So far, I had done a LOT of work on this thing. But the most tedious part was yet to come…
Remember the doors? You didn’t forget about those did you??? Well, I had to take out the frame that was holding the glass in, sand, clean, prime and paint. Then put it all back together. Here is a picture of the frame I’m talking about.
See that little piece holding the glass in? That is what I had to carefully take out. It was nailed in with itty bitty nails.
Once I had painted all the pieces, it was time to put the whole thing back together, distress, add a top coat, and finish with some drawer liners. Although I love wax, I didn’t want to use wax on the inside of the desk because I knew this area would get the most use, so I picked up this Minwax water based Polycrylic in a clear matte finish. I used Minwax Finishing wax in a natural color on the rest of the piece.
Now or the final reveal!
Secretary Desk Makeover
Do you have a piece that you want to makeover and need advice? Feel free to reach out to me! Comment below, or send me a private message at RoadsideRevive@gmail.com. I’m happy to help!
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