I knew this antique desk was special when I first laid eyes on it.
Despite the fact that it was covered with books in the thrift store, I saw potential underneath.
Between the carved wooden handles, the WORKING KEY, the shape, and the solid construction, I was smitten at first sight. I mean, c’mon…how often do you find a piece of furniture that still has a key, let alone a working one?
When I first got it, it had awful red leather glued…no, make that shellacked…on the top surrounded by chipping veneer. My first step was to remove it with the help of my heat gun and Marc’s muscles.
After the leather had been peeled off, there was a horrible layer of adhesive that refused to come off, even with chemical stripper. A few hours of sanding at my parents’ house took care of that!
Progress was slow, but the sander was doing the trick.
Can you see the chipping veneer and the adhesive? It was incredibly satisfying watching it be devoured by 60 grit sandpaper. Mwah ha ha ha…
After about 2 hours or so, the desk had a clean new top!
My mind immediately started churning with ideas on how to finish it off. Should I stain it with Milk Paint? Should I use Java Gel Stain? Light or dark? Hmmm….
In the end, I decided to go with General Finishes Java Gel Stain.
This dark and rich gel stain goes on like a dream and creates a finish that’s as delicious as a chocolate bar. I have never regretted using this product on my refinished wood tops, and this desk was no different.
After the stain had dried for 24 hours, I applied 3 coats of General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Satin.
Once the top was refinished, I began working on the bottom. I decided to paint it in Miss Mustard Seed’s Grain Sack.
Grain Sack is one of the whites in the MMS Milk Paint line, but it has a subtle gray quality to it. It’s meant to invoke the tone of a faded antique grain sack.
Here’s how Grain Sack compares to the other whites in the MMS Milk Paint line.
Can you see that subtle gray undertone I was talking about? It’s subtle but pretty.
I mixed up 1 cup of Grain Sack with equal parts Bonding Agent. Even though I had scuffed this piece, I wasn’t 100% sure if it would chip or not, so I mixed in Bonding Agent to make sure. This additive can be mixed in to Milk Paint to help it stick to glossy surfaces. It looks milky white in the bottle but it doesn’t change the color of your paint.
After one coat, things weren’t looking very impressive, but that’s typical with the first coat of Milk Paint. It’s ugly, streaky, and nothing like what you think it would be. Have no fear though! Push through this point and keep going.
I let the first coat dry for about 2 hours while I did other chores around the house. The second coat was getting closer to the look I was going for, but in the end, I wound up painting three coats. I used a total of 1.5 cups of Milk Paint with Bonding Agent.
After some distressing, I applied a finish I haven’t used in a little bit – Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax.
Usually, I grab my Hemp Oil to finish off my furniture pieces, but for this desk, I turned to Furniture Wax. There wasn’t any special reason why. I just wanted to switch it up.
This wax is my absolute favorite to use. It’s ultra creamy and doesn’t have a strong chemical smell. It goes on like a dream and there’s no special technique needed. Just apply and wipe off the excess. Allow 30 days to cure and you’re good to go.
Here’s the desk in all its antique glory.
I can’t even tell you how happy I am with the way it turned out. It’s clean, simple, and absolutely gorgeous. Just look at the handles and the WORKING keyholes.
The trim around each drawer and the special corner pieces on the middle drawer are completely charming.
My shipment of cotton just arrived, so I grabbed a few sprays and popped them into an ironstone pitcher I picked up on my last picking trip. The lantern is from Decor Steals and believe it or not, I actually made that clock!
I’m not quite ready to divulge my method for how I made it, but I can share that I used a 50/50 mix of Curio and Typewriter to get such a rich stain.
It’s fully functioning and takes one AA battery.
I just love how it turned out.
Just about everything in this vignette is for sale. They should be making their way to Morgantown Market soon, but for now, here are the prices on everything:
Grain Sack Antique Desk $295
Farmhouse Clock $95
Ironstone Pitcher $28
Cotton Spray $13.50 each
All of the Miss Mustard Seed products I used are also available in my booth downstairs at Morgantown Market if you want to replicate the look.
I think this before and after shot says it all, don’t you?