Friday, July 15, 2011

Before and After: Roll Top Desk

This roll top desk was in pretty good shape when I found it 
but the varnish was starting to dry up and flake off.  
I was going to sell it "as is" but I really wanted to shabby it!

It is really sturdy and the roll top works perfectly -
a great candidate for a makeover!  The polished brass knobs had to go.
I'm going to replace them with some glass knobs from my collection.

The inside of the desk was in great shape as well - but again, those shiny brass plates on the front of the drawers weren't going to look so great once I painted this desk white!  I love the main drawer handle - it is carved wood so that will just get some white paint and little sanding- no need to replace it with that detail.

So I sanded and painted and sanded some more until all the wood was shabbied!  Then I set to work on the plates - a light sanding and then primed and dried.  I thought the gray primer color would look pretty good but it was too severe.  So I painted the plates and screw heads with a light gray spray paint and reattached them.

Next onto the knobs!  The knobs can make or break a piece - I first tried pink knobs but I didn't think the pink looked that great on a roll top - perhaps on a desk with some ornate carving.  Then I tried some antique green glass knobs I had - green may limit the buyers and I was doing this piece for resale.  So I went back to basic clear glass knobs.  I had three different kinds; flower, beaded edge and star. I finally settled on the star ones.

So with the plates and the knobs back on I just had to finish sanding
the inside desk area again so it was nice and smooth.  
 A dry paintbrush works great for dusting out all the dust from sanding.

With the lid closed, I sanded the ridges of the roll top so they would be shabbied, too.  You can see the nice carving in the drawer handle here.

This desk is ready for a new owner to cherish!
The solid oak desk has received a fresh makeover and is ready for a new home.

As the sun sets, I load the desk into the car, 
ready to take to Melange for our Bastille Day Sale!

Come on by if you are in the area and have some French treats 
- and maybe you will win one of our gift baskets!!

I'm linking up to these parties - check them out!

Smart and Trendy Moms

The Shabby Nest


  1. You took this desk from shabby to chic!
    I love the picture of the house that inspired you!
    Kerry at

  2. You really made this roll top desk look amazing with the paint makeover! Shabby and chic and classy! Good luck with the sale. I can never get enough of traveling around and looking for treasures! Thanks for coming by my blog. :-) sue

  3. I am so jealous of your refinishing abilities!!! This turned out fantastic.

  4. how much did you pay? I got the same one from my neighbor and will paint it white but thought of adding some color?



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