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Monday, February 27, 2012

Desk Makeover~How to Update an Oak Rolltop Desk

Well, I'm happy to finally be finished this project! I started it last spring just before I started feeling icky with my pregnancy. I worked at it s-l-o-w-l-y for awhile then ceased altogether. Until last week. I had a burst of energy and decided it's time to get this project DONE!

I had bought this vintage age roll top desk from Craigslist with the intention of giving it a few updates and reselling it. So, it's now for sale if you know someone in Northwest Ohio looking for a good solid desk. :)

The people that were selling it had cats (read there was cat hair all over it) and it was their daughter's desk. It was good and solid but dirty and not pretty. They lived in a very small house and were getting a piano for their daughter so the desk had to go to make room for the piano.

Here are some pictures of it "Before":



And here it is after I added some cute little bun feet, changed the drawer pulls, painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint (old white), and waxed it. I think it's 100% improved.





You notice I didn't paint all the cubbies.... I was too lazy. :) I thought about just removing that part of it but there's just something I like about having it for organization. It was in good shape, unlike the top and the work surface.



So, I just left it as it was. And I think it looks ok this way.



 The insides of the drawers were kinda marked up and ugly so I lined them with some pretty damask scrapbook paper.


I didn't like the big 'blocky' drawer pulls so I found these pretty, vintage knobs with back plates on eBay. They were white so I gave them a coat of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. I think they're much better.


And here are some other shots 'just because'.





In this picture you can see how I did the feet. First I added a board that was 1" larger than the bottom of the desk on 3 sides and screwed it down.  Like this:

These two pictures are shown with the desk upside down.

Sorry, this is a really poor shot but it's the only one I have like this.

Then I put cove (I think that's what it's called) moulding around it on the ledge I created. For the feet, I just bought bun feet and mounting plates from Menards. Screw the plates to the bottom of the desk and then screw the feet into the mounting plate. I didn't take any progress shots (they're boring anyway). And because I like side by side comparisons here's the before and after again:

So there it is. Hopefully it will find a new home soon.

Linking to:

Between Naps on the Porch's Metamorphosis Monday

Coastal Charm's Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia's Tuesday's Treasures

Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesday

DIY by Design's Winter Blues Wednesday

Chatty Chics' Wild Wednesday

Beneath My Heart's Best DIY Projects of February

Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday
Tip Junkie handmade projects

27 comments:

  1. Hi Rachel! Wow ~ what a gorgeous transformation! Your desk turned out with such character and style. I love the hardware and the feet you added. Well done!

    Sorry to hear your pound cake didn't turn out. I have made it many times without a problem. I really don't have any suggestions for you. It is dense as any pound cake is, but not chewy. Well, thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment.

    Kindly, Lorraine

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  2. Oh, she's beautiful! Great job! What an amazing transformation! And I love that verse too. :)
    Melody
    ChattyChics.com
    PS Please come show this off at my party on Wednesday if you can!

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  3. That's a beautiful transformation. It looks much happier now. Love the verse too.

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  4. very, very nice & i like the bun feet idea! Esther

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  5. Great job, Rachel! I had a big roll top desk like that {for over 25 years} that I would have liked to paint, but I think my hubby would have killed me. We wound up selling it before we moved anyway because we downsized and it wouldn't have fit in the new place. I sold ours to someone who came to look at something else I had listed on Craig's List {she bought both things}. And, we moved to Ohio from New York! I'm near Dayton though, but it's nice to meet another Ohio blogger! : )

    Visiting from WUW! : )

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    1. Yay, another Ohio blogger! :) I'll have to pop over to your blog and check it out. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Ooooh...SO pretty! I love how it turned out! I think the inside still being in it's original wood adds some nice character to it. The only thing I was wondering is if it would be at all improved by painting the brass hardware black to match the other hardware? Either way, GREAT job!

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    1. Yes, Stephanie, I think you're right. I'll have to take those pulls off and freshen them up. Unless it sells first. :)

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    2. I agree... the wood adds character. I hadn't thought about the drawer pulls but I agree with that too. :) Nice job, Rachel! Wow!!!

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  7. Love what you did with the desk-the feet and drawer pulls especially! I'm your newest linky follower-stop by for a visit!

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  8. You did a beautiful job! Is a great piece now! Thanks for share it!

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  9. Wow. amazing. I see these desks for sale all the time, but I didn't think they could look this good! Nice vision w/the feet and new hardware.

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  10. I'm considering undertaking a similar project on a larger version of your desk. I love your idea for the bun feet, and will probably use it. Can you tell me a little about what you went through to remove the original wood drawer pulls? Mine appear to be glued on, not screwed...were yours? I'm just wondering how much damage might be done to the drawer by trying to remove glued-on pulls...do I pry them off, or cut them...and just sand down and paint over any damage?

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    1. Hi Janna! Regarding the wooden pulls; mine were just screwed from the back. If yours are glued, that could make it more difficult. I'm guessing that if you pry them off, the damage would be to the pull and not the drawer front. If it does damage the drawer front, you could use a wood filler/spackling type material to fill in the holes. (I like a product called Fast and Final.) Since you are painting it (I assume) you could just sand it after that and paint over it. Good luck with your project! I'd love to see pictures when you're finished. I welcome you to post them on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheOldeFarmhouseOnWindmillHill

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  11. Okay so not only is my name also Rachel, but I bought this exact same desk this weekend from someone on Craigslist. And I was thinking of painting it white... I was gonna do a contrast color inside the roll top but now that I've seen how lovely yours looks, I might just have to be lazy and leave the wood. Thanks for posting such great pictures/ instructions. I'm excited to get started now!

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  12. I just love how this turned out! I recently purchased a roll top desk very similar to this one and would love get this same look. Do you think the Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax hold up to daily use?

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    1. Yes, the ASCP/ wax is a very durable finish. It takes awhile until it fully hardens (I think around 30 days) but once it's fully hardened, it's a great finish for daily use. The gal who bought this desk is using it for a reception desk in her hair salon so it gets lots of use. If you feel your's is becoming worn, just rub on another layer of wax. Hope this helps and I'd love to see how it turns out. You're welcome to share pics on my facebook page!

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  13. Here from Better After. Gotta say, this is one of my favorite ever Afters. (: I especially love the feet.

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  14. Hi! I'm about to start refinishing a rolltop myself and only have one other project's worth of experience. Do you have any tips to share? I'm specifically worried about the paint on the roll top part (and the groove) preventing the top from closing and opening smoothly. Did you take all the pieces off and paint them individually or just paint the desk as a whole? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Marie! I did take the top half of the desk off to paint. Mainly because I was painting it in my dining room and it made smaller pieces to work around. :) I can't think of any specific tips. For the groove where the roll top slides, I didn't paint exceptionally thick because I wanted to be sure it would still slide up and down. I'm thinking it may wear off there first over time but if you don't open and close the lid often, that wouldn't be an issue. The 'slats' of the roll top themselves painted nicely and the lid still worked smoothly after painting.

      I'm not sure I've been much help but I will be happy to answer specific questions you have. Good luck with your project! You're brave to tackle a big job like this for your second piece. :)

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  15. I don't know if you will see this or how active you are on posts but I hope you see this. I am a reporter with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and I used this as inspiration to create a DIY story and redo my old roll top desk. There is one downfall, I lost my before photo after my husband wiped our laptop. Would you be willing to let me use the photo of your before picture? We mentioned your blog in my favorite DIY blogs that will go along with the story. My email is tparker@arkansasonline.com if you could send a higher resolution photo.

    -Tina Parker

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  16. Beautiful job!
    You've inspired me to paint my rolltop. Question...can you give me a more detailed list of the steps you did for the painting? I'm new to ASCP, and need as much help as I can get!

    Thank you!

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  17. Beautiful job!
    You've inspired me to paint my rolltop. Question...can you give me a more detailed list of the steps you did for the painting? I'm new to ASCP, and need as much help as I can get!

    Thank you!

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  18. I second Alice's request - can you please provide a more detailed step by step on the ASCP paint and the wax. I'm tackling a huge roll-top as my first ever project!

    p.s. and yours is STUNNING! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  19. Came across this from a Google search. Beautiful job! I've been eying secretary desks on Craigslist to paint and I love that you left the inside wood. I think it looks beautiful and I love the contrast from the Old White. I too am a huge fan of ASCP.

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  20. Hi Rachel, I have a roll top desk exactly like the one you remodeled! Except my desk is missing the bottom left drawer. Do you know how I can get that replaced?

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Thanks for taking the time to make my day with your comments!