I found this vintage secretary desk at a thrift store on my last road-tripping-for-treasures day and instantly loved the lines and design of this solid wood piece.  I loved how unique the style was and how different it was from other pieces I had done so snatched it up and loaded it in the car. vintage_secretary_beforeWhen I began working on this piece, I wasn’t really sure what direction I was going to go (which is NOT like me!).  I was thinking maybe a pale grey and off white…  I had actually bought the paint, but, I still wasn’t terribly excited about it and something just didn’t seem to fit with those colours.  Despite that feeling, I decided to go ahead and dive in any way and am so glad I did!sanded_top_secretaryI began by sanding the top of the desk.  The old finish on it was pretty scratched up and peeling and even though I was going to paint it, I wanted a nice smooth piece of wood to paint.

Once I had sanded the top, I decided to continue with the front since I had the sander out, and what I found underneath was absolutely gorgeous! surpise_under_old_finish_secretaryI found this incredible pattern that looked like it had been burnt into the wood.  Now maybe when the piece was new many, many years ago, you were able to see this through the finish but there was only a hint of it being there now and it was a shock to me that this beautiful pattern was covered up.

No wonder the grey and off white colours hadn’t sat well… there was another plan just waiting in the wings.  There was no way I was going to cover up this lovely design with paint now that I had found it! hemp_oil_raw_woodInstead of covering it up, I simply gave it a drink and enhanced it’s beauty with Miss Mustard Seed Hemp Oil.  You can see above what a difference the Hemp Oil makes.  I just rubbed it on and let it revive the wood.miss_mustard_seed_milk_paint_typewriterFor the remainder of the piece I used Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Typewriter.  I wanted a colour that would magnify the design on the front and black seemed like the obvious answer.  hemp_oil_over_typewriter_milk_paintI gave the rest of the piece a coat of Hemp Oil as well once it was painted and distressed in order to enhance the beautiful colour and bring out the details.details_miss_mustard_seed_milk_paint_typewriterdistressed_detailing_vintage_secretaryTo finish the piece off, I put the original hardware back on because they matched the piece perfectly and painting the cubbies inside in a contrasting cream colour (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Cream).  cubbies_annie_sloan_chalk_paint_creamvintage_secretary_milk_paint_typewriterlittle_iron_bird_sitting_in_vintage_secretaryI am so glad that I let the piece tell me what needed to be done and didn’t stick to my original plan.  I absolutely love that I was able to highlight the incredible front and yet do justice to the age and style of the piece with the recreation.  vintage_flip_down_deskmiss_mustard_seed_typewriter_tableOh, and I found this little gem inside the little drawer when I was prepping it for it’s recreation… I just love little pieces of history like this!

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I have 13 lovely thoughts, I would love to hear yours.

  1. Such a beautiful job on a piece filled with character. You really did it justice, Lisa. So glad you shared it with us at Vintage Charm 🙂

  2. What a fabulous result! The paint and wood mix is very classic looking. The little “piece of history” is fantastic — I’ve found paperwork like that in some of my furniture rehab projects and I too just love it!

    • Thanks so much! I love the mix of paint and wood and was absolutely amazed when I found that incredible pattern.

  3. This is beautiful! You did a wonderful job highlighting the positives.

  4. What a great makeover! it looks wonderful in black! Would love it if you would share it on our “furniture only” blog party this weekend… Friday’s Furniture Fix… http://www.patinaparadise.com/2015/10/fridays-furniture-fix-11.html

  5. That turned out so beautiful! You highlighted the amazing pattern in the wood perfectly I love it!

  6. Lisa, this secretary is so beautiful! I can’t believe you found all of that gorgeous wood after you sanded the top down. Love the colors you chose. I wish I lived closer we could seriously shop together. I hope your day has been a happy one, CoCo

    • Oh thanks so much Coco! I am seriously in love with this piece 🙂 It is too bad we didn’t live closer!! I bet we could find some incredible things and have so much fun 🙂

  7. This is a gem. Really beautiful and you did a wonderful job of making it even more so by adding colors that enhance its beauty. Isn’t it nice when you find a surprise.

    • Thanks Mary! I loved this piece before finding what was under the old finish so was absolutely in love with it even more after 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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