Colonial Style Secretary Desk

Cup of coffee on secretary desk


I painted this desk about 1.5 years ago but am just now getting around to posting pictures. I use it everyday and really like it as my new office space. It is a Governor Winthrop style secretary desk with a slant front top, bat wing key holes & pulls, and four serpentine drawers. The top includes a hutch with glass doors.

Before:

There were a few relatively minor spots of damage to the desk, but otherwise it was in fine condition.

Vintage secretary desk.

I used it to store painting supplies. Not a great interior design look for my living room, but hey it worked.

Painting supplies stored inside a secretary desk.

It had some missing pieces of veneer which I filled in with wood filler before painting.

Chipped veneer on desk.

I really wanted to use the desk as a mini-office, but the interior cubby prevented me from storing my laptop inside. I was temporarily using my dining table for my workstation, but "temporarily" became 10 years, and I was tired of clearing it up each night for dinner. So I finally decided enough is enough. I removed the cubby* and made it into a piece that functions perfectly for my needs.

Cubby inside secretary desk prior to removal.

I ordered replacement drawer pulls and key holes to give it a fresh new look. The desk didn't come with a key, but I have a skeleton key that fits it.

The original bat wing style hardware prior to replacement.

In order to remove the interior cubby from the secretary desk, I removed the bottom back panel. The cubby was attached to the back panel, so I carefully pried it off. Luckily I didn't damage the back and was able to re-attach the board.

I removed the back panel of the desk in order to remove the interior cubby.

AFTER:

And here's the new look! I think it's so much brighter. I am looking for a chair to pair with it, but in the meantime I'm using the one shown in the photo. It was an old chair that I was practicing learning a new technique for a seat replacement. You can read about that project HERE.

Vintage secretary desk and chair painted in Duck Egg Blue.

The new drawer pulls add just a touch more elegance to the piece.

Replacement drawer pulls for the secretary desk.

I love, love, love the serpentine drawer fronts.

Serpentine drawer fronts on secretary desk.

I painted the desk in Duck Egg Blue and Old White. I sealed the paint with soft clear wax. It gets put to daily use and I am happy to report that the finish has held up extremely well.

Duck Egg Blue and Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

The top of the cabinet has decorative molding with a flame finial. I've seen other projects where the top is removed and replaced with something more modern, but I love the vintage look.

The secretary desk is topped with decorative molding and a flame finial.

Love, love, love! It's so curvalicious!

I love the details and curves on this secretary desk.

The slant front opens to reveal the work space. With the cubby removed I can now tuck my laptop away when it's not in use. I drilled a hole in the back panel so I could slip my power cords through to the electrical outlet.

The front of the desk opens to reveal a work space.

Oh look, the screen in the photo shows a charming painted tea cart! You can view that project HERE.

Project by The Black Sheep Shoppe shown on laptop screen.

The pretty handles on the door fronts open to reveal . . .

Charming vintage handles on the glass doors.

. . . three storage shelves. Instead of storing paint supplies, I now store various staging items that I use in photo shoots.

Secretary desk with glass doors open.

The display changes almost daily as I move things around and sell items in the booth. As I type this blog post the display has already changed.

Display shelves inside secretary desk.

I recently painted the Paris sign and just took it up to the booth for sale. It looks pretty good here though, so I won't be too disappointed if it doesn't sell.

Hand painted Paris sign.

The vintage tea cups that I used in the tea cart photo shoot were temporarily displayed inside the secretary. I just finished wrapping them in tissue paper and put them back in storage.

Vintage tea cups stacked for display.

And a few pretty flowers that I like to leave on display most of the time.

Flowers inside an antique bowl.

Thanks so much for stopping by The Black Sheep Shoppe today! I hope you enjoyed the project.

Before and after painted secretary desk.
*Disclaimer: The use of power tools in this project (and honestly just about every other project) was most likely done by a team member (my husband). The story just reads so much better if I say I did it.

Roses inside an antique silver sugar bowl.

Comments

  1. I have nearly the same secretary, but I want to paint the insert. How would you suggest I do that? Your piece is just so gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you Donna! I saved the insert but haven't painted it yet (I plan to repurpose it into something else). The easiest way would be to use a paint sprayer, but that's an expensive option unless you plan to use it frequently. For tricky spaces like this I use a variety of paint brushes and test them out without paint to make sure the brushes will be able to reach all the spaces. So probably some flat artist brushes to reach into the back spaces and a short-handle angled brush. I hope this helps!

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    2. Thank you Patricia!

      This was my grandmother's secretary and if a litter of puppies hadn't used the bottom corner trim as a teething spot, I probably would never have considered painting it. But it is what it is.

      How did you get the insert out? Mine is different, but it's still similar enough that it should be close t the same.

      You used chalk paint? I'm thinking a mix of Sherwin Williams and calcium carbonate for the recipe. Not sure I want to wax it. I think I'd rather use polycrylic as the top coat.

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    3. Puppies do the darnedest things. But they are so cute, you just have to forgive them! The insert was nailed to the back panel, so we took the panel off and used a hammer to remove the nails, then put the panel back in place. My waxed finish is holding up beautifully, but you could definitely use a different sealer. However, I recommend testing it first on a scrap piece especially if you're using a lighter color. Some polycrylics will yellow the color. Not always, but just in case I would test it first. Good luck with your project Donna! I would love to see photos when you're done.

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  2. This piece is absolutely fabulous. I love what you did, as well as the color of paints you chose. Thank you for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Ivory Jean! Duck Egg Blue is one of my favorite colors. :-)

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  3. Hi! Your secretary is beautiful. I'm wondering where you got the new hardware. I have old eagle shaped key holes and pulls on mine that I'd like to replace with something a little nicer than what I'd find at the big box stores. Any ideas?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jackie! I ordered the hardware online for this piece from D. Lawless Hardware. I also use Kennedy Hardware for many of my projects, too. Good luck with your project!

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