Vintage Desk in Old Ochre

I love this style of desk and snatch them up from thrift stores whenever I find them. The style is known as either a twin pedestal or knee hole desk. I especially love the ones with rope trim.

Before and During

Wow the "before" looks great in this photo. Well apparently pictures can be deceiving -- it must have been the lighting. Actually the desk itself is good and sturdy, but the finish had seen better days.

Here's a closer shot which starts to give you an idea of the condition of the finish. Overall there were scratches, water rings, and missing veneer.

Another closer look.

Can you see the Spirograph design?

The drawers had some pieces of veneer missing. Sometimes I fill it in with wood filler, but in this case I just sanded the rough edge and incorporated the look into my design.

I'm including this shot of one of the drawers to show you the original stain. Many times it ends at the dovetail joints, but in this case the stain went about 3-4 inches on each drawer which I thought looked sloppy and unfinished. I ended up painting the sides but left the interiors as-is.

I sanded the top with my orbital sander.

The top had some pieces of broken veneer on the corners which I filled in later with wood filler

Here you can see the patched area on the corner. It's a little dusty because I was sanding it smooth. I used a stainable wood filler. I stained the top in General Finishes Antique Walnut and sealed it with a clear top coat.The wood filler accepted the stain just fine, although when you look closely you can see that it's not perfect. But since it's on the corners it's not noticeable really.

Next I got started on applying the paint. Notice the sunshine in the photo. The weather forecast was calling for rain the day I painted this, but not until 4 p.m., so I knew I had plenty of time to apply the paint outdoors and let it dry so I could move the desk back inside.

As luck would have it the rain started about 2 p.m. I was done painting, but the paint wasn't dry enough to pick up and move the desk indoors.

So I quickly scooted the desk under a very small covered area on my deck. Luckily I had a tri-fold privacy screen waiting for a re-do, so I set that up for added protection in case the wind shifted.


I wanted to keep the traditional look on this desk and choose a finish in Old Ochre with an antique walnut stain on the top. The hardware was in fairly good condition, so I kept it as-is.

The walnut stain works nicely with the dark hardware.

The scratches from the desk top are all gone.

Here's a close up of the rope trim against the stained top. I did not apply distressing to the rope trim as I wanted it to be understated.

I did apply light distressing in other areas where there was natural wear and tear. Especially on the drawer fronts.

The desk has a total of 8 drawers.

As I mentioned previously, I painted the sides of the drawers to give it a more finished appearance and then sanded it back to give it a worn finish. Sounds a little crazy, but it works. 

One last shot of the before and after.

So I wrapped this project up just before Thanksgiving and was able to take it to my booth the day after. We enjoyed a wonderful holiday meal hosted by my oldest daughter and son-in-law.  I am so very thankful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving with all my children. And as an added bonus my father and step-mother were able to join us from out-of-town as well.

Me and my children!
My Dad!


Popular Posts