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Antique Desk: Duck Egg Blue and Coco

Duck Egg blue chalk paint on antique writing desk.

I found this desk at a thrift store literally buried under other items. It was manufactured by The Widdicomb Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Desk by Widdicomb Furniture Company 1901

The underside is date stamped from January 1901.

Label Widdicomb Furniture Company Grand Rapids Michigan

Manufacturer stamps from January 1901

Outside for sanding

The desk was previously painted black which I liked. Except the paint was a bit rough on top, so I used my sander to sand it smooth.
Bumpy finish on surface

Sanded top to bare wood

I stained the top in Antique Walnut. I liked the color of the stain, but it ended up being a bit too blotchy, so I decided to paint the top instead. You might have noticed in the "before" photo that the drawer pull is missing from the center drawer. I put a temporary knob in place while I did the prep work.

Stained top in Antique Walnut

Rather than sourcing a matching drawer pull, or instead buying three new pulls, I decided to use a knob that I had left over from a previous project. But since the original pull had two holes, and the replacement knob only needed one hole, I needed to fill in the existing holes and drill a new hole that in the center.

Missing drawer pull

Here's a quick tutorial on how to fill in existing drawer holes. First place painter's tape on the back of the hole.

The first step to filling in holes is to place tape on the back side of the hole.

Next add a small amount of wood filler to a syringe. Using the syringe eliminates air bubbles which can cause the wood filler to crack after it dries. (I have a small supply of syringes that I ordered from Amazon and use them for various art projects including mixing small batches of custom paint colors.)

For best results, add wood filler to a syringe.

Place the syringe over the hole.

Place the syringe over the hole and inject the wood filler.

Then plunge the syringe and inject the wood filler into the holes.

Plunge the syringe and inject the wood filler into the holes.

Overfill the hole and then use a putty knife to smooth out the excess. Apply extra wood filler as needed to get good coverage and then let dry. Sand the surface smooth after it is completely dry. I used a drill to add a new hole in the center of the old holes.

Overfill the hole and then use a putty knife to smooth out the excess.

You will see below in the after photos that the original holes are no longer detectable.


I painted the desk in Duck Egg Blue (now called Bliss; see note at bottom of this post).

Antique desk from 1901 painted Duck Egg Blue

The top is painted in Coco (now called Cocoa). I sealed the paint with soft clear wax.

Top of desk painted in Coco.

Instead of distressing the paint I created a subtle aged finish using paint. I used small amounts of Graphite and Coco to create shadows and dimension.

Serpentine drawer fronts

Missing drawer pull replaced with knob.

Here's a closer view of the replacement drawer knob.

Replacement knob

And a few close up photos to illustrate the shading created with paint:

Aged finish created with paint

Shading created with paint

Subtle dimension created with paint

I lightened up the drawer interiors with a couple of coats of Old Ochre. 

Interior drawers painted

Desk paired with upholstered vanity stool

Thank you for stopping by The Black Sheep Shoppe today. A supply list is included below (affiliate links) for your convenience.

SUPPLY LIST (affiliate links):

Jolie Matte Finish Paint Bliss (formerly Duck Egg Blue), Cocoa (formerly Coco), and Graphite for shading. (Dec 2019 note: the brand I used was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but there was a change in the distribution in the US. So now I use Jolie Matte Finish Paint which is the same formula, but the names of the colors have changed. Bonus there are some new colors, too.)


  1. Beautiful! Thanks for the syringe tip.

  2. Beautiful makeover! Thanks for the tip about using the syringe.

    1. Thank you Debra. I'm glad you found the syringe tip helpful.

  3. It's stunning Patricia! I assumed you got those gorgeous highlights from dark wax and impressed you did it with paint. Thanks for the syringe tip! Pinned

    1. Thanks Marie. I'm glad you enjoyed the tip about the syringe. And thanks for pinning!

  4. I can only reiterate what others have said - truly beautiful. Love the syringe tip, will remember that for future use and the knob is a great idea, being circular it matched the handles.

  5. Oh my goodness. I absolutely love the finish on this table, it looks amazing. I would Love to be able to paint something that beautifully. Wonderful job.

    1. Thanks so much Stacy Lynn! I bet you could do something similar. If you're new to painting furniture then I recommend you start with a small project and give it a try. Just be aware that it can be addictive!

  6. Hi Patricia,
    I love your work. I just found your blog and i'm hoping to learn some tips and tricks from you. I am 55 years old and i just now found my passion for painting furniture. Its never too late. thanks for the syringe tip. I have put that on my Amazon to order list. Thank you for your blog.

    1. Thanks so much Cheryl. It was great to hear that you have found a passion for painting furniture. I find it so enjoyable and love working on projects. I hope you will find the same enjoyment!

  7. Love the desk. It' beautiful. I am thinking you also made the stool cover too. That is what I am trying to make and need a pattern but can't see to find one. Do you happen to have one on your blog? Thank you in advance...

    1. Thank you CC. I wish I could say I made the slipcover, but that was actually made by a professional seamstress.


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