Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Updating a desk with Chalk Paint

Update your traditional furniture with Chalk Paint and a few tips.
Often times we are asked at the shop to hunt for specific pieces of 
vintage furniture for clients. We have contacts with auction houses and 
can usually source what we need to find in a few weeks.  Ana wanted
a drop front desk that we would paint to go with her decor.
Sometimes it seems that what you were looking for was plentiful,
but as soon as you want to buy it becomes very scarce!
It took us about a month when finally we came upon two options
at one auction. A very french style drop front desk up on legs.
and a more traditional New England style drop front desk
we call a Governor Winthrop desk. 
We purchased both at auction and Ana chose the Governor Winthrop.
We still have the french desk, and I will be painting that soon for the shop.
This grainy auction pic above shows the mahogany desk with ball and claw feet.
 After Ana made a visit to Maison Decor at 150 Main Street, Reading, MA, 
the colors were chosen for the desk.  Here it is with two coats of 
Coco Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan on the exterior.  
No waxing had been done yet. All the hardware was removed, 
but was being painted and gilded per Ana's custom order.
 This is our trick for painting hardware if we have to remove it. 
 Get some thick cardboard and push the drawer pull right through 
the cardboard and it will stay still while you paint and wax it. No dirty fingers! 
And no lost hardware, it all stays nice and neat until its ready to be reattached. 
The hardware above was just getting coated with the clear and dark
 wax to protect and seal it.  After this step it would be gilded for the finishing touch.
 The interior of the desk has a little surprise! 
It is finished with a contrast color, Duck Egg!
A pale green-blue color that is the number one selling color in our shop. 
The desk above is shown before wax was applied. 
 Ana wanted a dark wax finish, and as you should know, 
that is done only after clear wax is applied.  
We waxed this in traditional fashion by first applying clear wax,
 followed by dark wax.
Do it in sections and then wipe off the excess wax with a soft clean rag.  
We use our large wax brush to apply the clear wax and our 
special dark wax brush to apply the dark wax. If you only have one wax brush, 
use it for the clear wax, and apply the dark wax with a rag. 
 Don't cross contaminate your wax brushes as you want to 
make sure clear waxing stays clear on your next piece.
  Look for all of our wax brushes in our online store as well if you are interested. 
Many ask how do we paint and wax the cubbies? 
 Switch out your brush for a soft rag. Use one rag for clear wax 
and one rag for dark wax. Using my fingers wrapped in a rag 
I get a little wax and spread it around. Then I follow up 
with a rag using dark wax, rubbing it all into the painted wood.
For the narrow side slots I wrapped a rag around a 
painters stirrer stick and applied the wax 
into the recessed area where fingers could not fit.  
After the waxing, I applied German Silver Gilder Paste using 
our Gilder brush to highlight the outside edges of the cubbies.
The edges of the cubbies and the tiny knobs to the apothecary drawers 
were gilded afterwards with German Silver Gilder's Paste, 
our number one selling color of gilding paste.  
Its a champagne gold color and looks pretty amazing
 with any choice of Chalk Paint color.  
Makes for a pretty interior, doesn't it?
Interior is all finished and it looks amazing!
This is such a neat little touch that really makes for an 
elegant presentation when the drop front is opened. 
The interior and exterior shown above with clear 
and dark wax with gilded cubbies.
Now all that is left is to add the hardware back on!
It is also gilded for a bit of understated bling.
Update your older furniture~its simply amazing!



  1. Absolutely gorgeous Amy! I love the touch of silver gilding.

    Kansas City Culture

  2. I absolutely love the colors! Especially the surprise inside. It puts it over the top! As they say, "it's all in the details!", and you've shown that beautifully here!

  3. Perfection!!…I WANT IT!!!
    xo, Mariaelena

  4. just gorgeous amy!! I want to try out that paste, it really finished it off.

  5. Just gorgeous !!! You do such an awesome job. I appreciate all of the tips that you give as well. Thank you . HUGS and hope that your 2014 is blessed.

  6. Oh, wow, Amy -- this is absolutely frickin' GORGEOUS!!!! Next bit of extra money will be going towards some of that German Silver Gilding Paste.

  7. That's a beautiful desk! I have a secretary that I painted a while back and remember how tedious it was to paint the cubbies. I like the addition of the gilders paste. That looks great.

  8. What a gorgeous piece. You have a wonderful knack making such plain pieces into works of art.

  9. Hi Amy!

    I needed to come here today and see this. I have a similar piece waiting for me in the garage and I was wondering how the heck I was going to get into those cubby holes. Yours turned out beautiful and I am trying to decide on a color for this one as I want to keep it for myself.

    I am going to do a "surprise" interior, too, because I think it is so much fun. xo Diana

  10. Really much more of a statement piece now! I wondered, did you have to shellac or prime first since it's that red mahogany ? You didn't mention and I have a similar piece I'd like to paint.

  11. What a transformation!
    I could use some guilders wax on my face!!!

  12. Nanci, no we did not have to shellac this piece, we were lucky as often they will bleed. Just start painting and if yours bleeds, then stop and do a coat of clear shellac then after it has dried continue on with the painting.

  13. You are the best with this paint! This piece looks fantastic. I would love to redo my armoire with this color.

  14. Absolutely stunning. I wish I live in your area to participate in your classes. I'm so impressed by this desk.

  15. Yet another, amazing piece! You do really beautiful work!

  16. Oh wow, Amy....that gilding makes all the difference in the world on that piece. Just beautiful! I need to buy some of that stuff. It could really make a vase or lampbase or table look very "florentine"!

    xoxo laurie

  17. Lovely piece Amy and a wonderful

  18. Beautiful results,
    I have a fondness for refinishing pieces. And creating my own chalk paints for the pieces I use in Model home decor as well as my own home.
    Love seeing all the different finishes, soooo so inspiring.

    Beautiful visit I had here,

  19. I've had this same desk now for over 30 years, so I was surprised and happy to see what you did with yours. I painted a farm scene on the outside of the drop leaf on mine, but that was many years ago, and I'm a little tired of it. I may just have to find some of this chalk paint and see what I can do with mine now!

  20. Oh my goodness, it is absolutely stunning! The colors are beautiful! and the touches of gilding make it look like a million dollars!


  21. Hi Amy!

    I have a very similar piece at home but it's very dark wood, what did you do to get the dark color out?


  22. Only thing I can't figure out is the hardware, you showed it being rubbed with dark wax? then suddenly it's silver...where's the process?? that's where I'm at with my project and now I guess I have to do another search to find that.

  23. So beautiful!! Love the colors!! Did you chalk paint the hardware?


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