Monday, March 19, 2012

Two-tone Desk- New Look for an Old Piece of Furniture

My largest chalk paint project to date was recently completed and I’m pretty satisfied with the result. I wish I could say that I knocked it off in just a few hours, but the truth is that it took me over two weeks. I’d work on it when I could and being the perfectionist that I tend to be, I re-did it several times. Yes, you read that right. Talk about using a lot of paint! So anyway, the desk in my study got a complete overhaul and was completely transformed from its previous dark finish. I’d been trying to find just the right desk to no avail and actually had plans to order one on our buying trip to the High Point Furniture Market next month; but the more I thought about it, I decided to give painting it a whirl.  I’m so glad that I did. Here is the end result- a new two-tone finish.  Was it worth the two weeks? You bet!


The finished look incorporates  a combination of paint colors for this project, including ASCP Old White and Graphite.  Knowing that I wanted a bit of a distressed look, I did quite a bit of sanding to the body of the desk. I used a little more restraint with the top of it. After two coats of paint, (the first time) I went over it with a coat of clear wax and then a coat of dark. I wasn’t crazy about the splotchy look  so I used more clear wax to pull off the dark. I still wasn’t happy, so I re-appled the Old White, once again. I applied the clear wax and then another coat of the dark wax and thought it still looked awful, ( I admit to not having completely mastered the dark wax technique) so I employed my own method of removing the excess dark wax – I rubbed the entire desk with a rag dampened with mineral spirits. The end result was some darker shading in the sanded areas and a yummy shade of creamy vanilla on the body!



original desk finish

This is the only shot I had that shows the original color of the desk- I had already begun working on the desk when I took this picture. The finish was very dark and worn and I was hating it.  I wanted a cleaner and fresher look and felt that the Old White would work well for the look I was after. 



top distressing2.

The desk top has a  lightly glazed look but there are also areas where I sanded back to the original dark finish in a few spots. The  round opening in the desktop is where I drop my monitor, speaker, and lamp wires through to the electrical outlet inside the knee area of the desk.





I was after more of a smooth factory finish with this project and this glazed look fit the bill perfectly. Obviously, my unconventional method of cleaning up the excess wax worked beautifully to create this finish.




finish 4

Here’s a closer look of the apron at the bottom of the desk.




I thought that a completely light-colored desk might be a bit stark for the darker hues that are going into the study, so I entertained the idea of using a darker shade on the drawers.  They are a taupe-y gray and they look wonderful against the lighter desk body. Since I didn’t have the linen ASCP to mix a custom color and I was too impatient to drive 45 minutes to pick some up from a local supplier, I pulled some butterscotch brown latex paint from the garage and created a batch of my own “chalky” paint. I simply added some calcium chloride and a bit of ASCP Graphite to it. It changed the color significantly and I was very happy with my custom mixture.  Just like the desk body, I finished it off with a coat of clear wax and then a light touch of the dark wax.  I had absolutely no issues with the dark wax on the drawers. Go figure!

This was my first experience creating faux “chalky paint” (you notice I am not calling it “chalk’ paint) and I’m anxious to see how the finish wears. All I know is that the look is very similar to the ASCP. 

As for the drawer pulls, I’ve grown tired of an oil rubbed bronze finish, so I remained a purist by leaving the heavy brass hardware in its original state.  Brass is back, haven’t you heard?




contrasting drawers

I love the color that I achieved when I created my custom mix.   Inside the knee area of the desk, you can see that the finish is much more distressed. I must have been simulating banging my legs and feet around in there!




This is the hand that I bought last year at the The French Hen Farm barn sale up in Marysville. Looking forward to Linda’s spring sale, once again! It will be May 11-12.



desk re-do

I like using a desk mat under the monitor because of the protection it offers messy ol’ me! I must confess that I like to bring in my cup of coffee or glass of Coke when I’m in here. Oh, and sometimes (?) a snack….



bunny cloche 1

Since my desk is always so cluttered with “stuff,” I don’t usually keep to many decorative items on it. But in preparation for Easter, I put together a bunny cloche and placed it on top of a small suitcase. I was shopping at our newly opened Home Goods Store last week and found this beauty for only $29.  It called to me when I saw it, so I listened and put it in the cart. Aren’t I obedient?



     bunny cloche

The bottle brush tree behind the bunnies says “Spring has sprung!”


mr  bunny      mrs bunny

Both bunnies have filled baskets- Mr. Bunny has tulips and Mrs. Bunny’s basket holds carrots.




bird topper

The glass finial of the cloche dome is topped with a little bird.




I love the footed base of the cloche  which features a wire edge on top. I’m contemplating a paint job for the metal parts of this cloche.  White?  A fun color?  Silverleaf?  What do you think?  I need to strike while the iron is still hot! LOL

I’ll be gone this weekend for a furniture show in Indiana, so I’d like to get it done by then. Let me hear from you!


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ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

That turned out fabulous Sue!!

sissie said...

Love your desk and love the cloche with the bunnies.


ann said...

I hate it when things call to me! I do love the desk and admire the work that it took to get looking so elegant. Much better than a new piece.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

You did a great job ! You have a lot more patience than I, as I would have probably given up after a couple of days. Like the cloche with the bunnies.
Enjoy your evening.

Teresa@oursoutherncountryhomeandfarm said...

Looks great Sue, and oh how I wish I could go to that spring barn sale!!!!!I so wish we had things like that around here.

Janis said...

Nicely done! Love the finish. I'm about to start my first chalk paint excited to get going on it! Thanks for sharing!!

Blondie's Journal said...

I love this, Sue, and I think you did an awesome job! You can come over here and do a couple of pieces for me anytime!

The cloche is very pretty and I love the bunnies. They are right out of a book! The base would be pretty in a pastel, maybe white if you are going to keep it on the desk?

Have a great week!


{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Sweet SUE!

It looks just fabulous.....and isn't it satisfying to redo something you already have? Love the little cloche you purchased with a bit of the leftover $$$ saved on the remodel.

Good for you!


NanaDiana said...

That turned out great- Absolutely great! I love the color. I have a mat under hubby's desk, too-same reason!;>) xo Diana

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

I love everything but my favorite thing is the little bird on top of your cloche. It all looks wonderful!

Olive Cooper said...

Your desk is in my favorite grey. The cloche is wonderful. Painting furniture wears me out so I am one of the few bloggers who does not do it.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I really like the two tone colorway, Sue! I think you will really enjoy sitting at your "new" desk. Love your cloche and I meant to get to that Home Goods when it opened. Oh well, maybe it will be less crowded after the opening week!

Jill Elaine said...

Good job with the paint! I like your finished look no matter how you got there!!!!

Jo said...

Great job! Love it!

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

The desk looks great Sue! It reminds me of my desk makeover last summer. I did the drawers in a gray color too. I think wax is hard to get right...especially the dark wax. I do LOVE that cloche! The bunnies are so cute! Reminds me of chocolate molds.~Hugs, Patti

A Few Pennies said...

Your desk is lovely--I'm really liking the two-toned painting I've seen on the blogs--I've got to try it. and your bunny vignette is adorable!

Kathleen said...

Great job! Good brass was never out, like a cashmere blazer, a classic!

Love those bunnies, so different!

I am just finishing taking down St. Patrick's Day, no bunnies out...well, dust bunnies, they are always hopping around! They give me gray hare! :)

Shelia said...

Hi Sue! I love how your desk turned out. Your bunnies are darling under the cloche and that little tree! You've done it up right!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Lori E said...

You did a great job. A lot of work. I am always careful when I make a custom color, to make sure I make enough at once or I will never match it a second time round if I need more.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Sue dear, how brave you are to take on such a project! Spray paint is as far as I go! The desk looks fantastic!
Also those little bunnies..the detail on them is wonderful. :)
I'm loving this entire post!!

Gail said...

You did a great job Sue! It looks beautiful and I love the two tone paint treatment. Hope you have a wonderful day, Gail

Rettabug said...

Ooooo, how PRETTY, Sue! Nice restore job & also nice score on that darling bunny cloche on top of that small suitcase. I love it all!!


Pat said...

It looks beautiful Sue!

I haven't done any paint projects for awhile. I want to do more to J's mother's cabinet but don't know when I will get around to it.

Betsy@ coastal-colors said...

Sue, this turned out beautifully! Your color choice is gorgeous! I love, love, love your cloche! The bunnies under it are perfect for this time of year!

Rettabug said...

Popping back in to answer your question....yes, I've installed the 'no pin' html & it is working great.

I also learned how to diable the 'right click' option that so many use to capture photos.


They have the code that you copy & then paste as an html BELOW the body of your posts.
Hope this helps you.


Pam said...

I like the two tone look. You'll never leave your office now! I saw those little bunnies at Meijers and didn't get them. Went back to buy them two days later and they were all gone! I have the clerk holding some for me when they get more in.

Ramblings of a Southern Girl ~ Rhonda G said...

It may have taken awhile, but the end result is fabulous!!!

Love the little silver bunnies! :)

chateau chic said...

Hi Sue, Your desk is beautiful. I really like the two tone you went with. Great job!
Mary Alice

✿ⒹⒺⒺ✿@ A Lapin Life said...

Hi Sue,

Your hard work paid off. I love how your desk turned out. The cloche is just darling. I adore the sweet looking rabbits.


Katherines Corner said...

Love it all Sue, you are awesome! Hugs and wishes for a lovely week ahead! P.S. I'm your newest linky follower

Jemsmom said...

Sue!!! That looks fabulous!!! I love the two tones and how it is distressed. You did a great job especially mixing your own colors! I am impressed! I think Mr. and Mrs. Bunny should come home to me. I adore them! Where did you find them? Hope all is well. We have been crazy around here, but sold our house in less than 2 weeks!!!! Crazy!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

no...don't paint the cloche base. Love that old worn gold look! :) Your desk looks fabulous Sue!!! I just bought a sweet very ornate old desk that I am going to do in gray and white and antique with the dark wax (soon as I find the time). Wonder why you had trouble with the AS dark wax? How did you apply it? I didn't use a brush. I used an old sock and it worked for me. If I get my ducks in a row I hope to be winging my way to Illinois. :)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love your desk's new look, Sue! I just got a drop down leaf desk from my Mom's estate and I know I will have to refinish it one of these dasy. I will bookmark this page in case I do the chalk finish.

Your little silver bunnies under glss are so adorable! What a cute vignette!

Balisha said...

Hi Sue...Love what you did with the desk. So professional. Now we can picture you when you are on your computer.
Have a nice evening...Balisha

bj said...


Sandy said...

Wow! You are persistent! Love the new look of your desk project. I had to laugh when you talk about eating snacks at your desk. My husband always yelling at me about all the crumbs I leave behind. Have to keep a container of canned gas around to clean that keyboard. Lov the cloche and bunnies! That would be calling to me too. I have a terrible time painting. I want to paint my fireplace mantel but not sure if I should paint it bright white, cream.....

Have a great weekend! Yeah Friday!

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

This looks fantastic Sue! I am so impatient I don't do well with the ASCP! I love the finished look....I can't seem to keep going with all those layers until the end....I am crazy like that!

But this desk is perfection! I just love it!

Lou Cinda :)

Deserae said...

Your desk turned out amazing! I love the color and the hardware is just perfect!!! Love your little bunny cloche too....very sweet :o)

Diann said...

Oh your desk turned out wonderful! A terrific redo. And I love your cloche! Thank you for joining TTF and have a great day!

Anne said...

Love it! Finally had a chance to go looking for your desk post & I wasn't disappointed. The paint colour and the texture are perfect and those handles!! awesome choice.

Have a great weekend,