Vintage 4-drawer Writing Desk

Vintage 4 drawer writing desk

I'm not sure what the correct description is to describe the style of this desk, but it appears to be made mid-century-ish. Perhaps from the 1960s? If anyone knows what the correct term is for the style I would love to learn what it is.

The desk looks to have five drawers in total, but the right drawer is actually one drawer with a wood divider for folders. In any event I love the style of the desk as it includes great storage, but with the bottom area open it gives it a lighter feel. Plus it's easy to get a vacuum underneath it.

Before

I found the desk at a thrift store but wasn't sure if I wanted to bring it home. Actually I did want to bring it home but was worried I didn't have enough room for it. I went back to the store a week later half hoping it would still be there. It was, so I decided to squeeze it in the house somewhere!

Vintage writing desk before.
Before.

Below is a photo of the drawer for file folders. The center divider is removable. You'll notice one of the handles is missing. Luckily the pieces were stuck inside one of the drawers. Someone previously made repairs to the dovetail joinery with a foaming adhesive. It did the trick but didn't look too good, so I sanded off the excess to clean it up.

File drawer with removable divider.
File drawer with removable divider.

The top of the desk was scratched and had a few gouges in it. I planned to sand the top and stain it. Which would have been great except I made a big "oops" while sanding and actually made the top worse by sanding to far down into the wood veneer.

Before: scratched and gouged finish.
Before: scratched and gouged finish.

Frankly I didn't want to share a photo of the mistake. But what the heck! We've all been there and hopefully it will help someone else learn from my mistake. I wasn't paying attention when sanding and sanded off a section of the wood veneer. I went ahead and stained it hoping it would blend in, but obviously from the photo below it stuck out like a sore thumb. I filled in the spot with wood filler then changed my design plan to a painted white top.

Oops!

After

The desk is painted in Duck Egg Blue and sealed with clear wax. I distressed the edges with sandpaper, but didn't smooth out the brush strokes as I wanted to retain a little of the texture. Next I applied a wash of Winter White glaze to soften the color and add some more interest to the design. I painted the top in Pure White and sealed it with High Performance Top Coat. The "oops" is undetectable now.

Vintage writing desk. Front view.
Vintage writing desk. Front view.

Vintage writing desk. Back view.
Vintage writing desk. Back view.

Winter white glaze over Duck Egg blue chalk paint.
Winter white glaze over Duck Egg blue chalk paint.

White glaze settles into the details and brush strokes.
White glaze settles into the details and brush strokes.

Side view of desk.
Side view of desk.

Top painted in Pure White.
Top painted in Pure White.


Before and after: Vintage writing desk.
Before and after: Vintage writing desk.

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Supply List


Below are the supplies I used for this project. Some links are affiliate links which  means I earn a small commission if you make a purchase. It doesn't cost you extra, but it helps support the time and effort of maintaining the blog. Thank you for your support and understanding!

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