From Dated Desk to French Secretary

Find out how I took a dated desk, added a book shelf, and got this!
This was my husband's great aunt Thelma's desk. My MIL gave it to us when Aunt Thelma passed away. I've had it about 25 years and have enjoyed the history and the functionality but I always wanted a secretary. So over the years, I would watch for a small hutch that would sit on top and never found one.
One day, it suddenly occurred to me that one of the shelves I had might fit. And it did! This is just an inexpensive press-wood shelf like you can find at Big Lots.
My husband added crown moulding to the top of the shelf and I primed it with Kilz 1-2-3, which sticks to anything. I also primed and painted the desk.
And then I put the shelf on top of the desk. The shelf is a little deeper than the desk but because it's up against the wall and fits perfectly in this little corner, you can't tell.
Since this first makeover, I've painted the whole thing a more French Country greige. Using two colors of chalk paint that I mixed myself, I gave it a softly, uneven finish. I then lightly sanded it and gave it a light coat of chalk wax. The next day, I buffed it for a durable finish.
It's a perfect fit in our living room.
This picture was taken when we got new windows and my French shutters were not there. But it's a better view of the desk.
To see more pictures, please visit my blog
love and blessings~
Lynda @ Gates of Crystal

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Lynda @ Gates Of Crystal

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 12 questions
  • Carol Brown Hargrave
    on Jun 27, 2016

    Did you attach the bookcase in any manner or is it simply sitting on the desk? It's beautiful!

    • Diane
      on Aug 22, 2016

      No, the pieces are not attached to one another, just resting on top.

  • Diane
    on Jul 15, 2016

    It is lovely!!...How did you secure the shelf to it's base? Seems it could present a possible tipping danger if not safely attached.

  • Diane
    on Aug 2, 2016

    How did you secure the top piece to it's base for safety??

Join the conversation

2 of 145 comments
  • Sue103059
    on Oct 15, 2016

    Absolutely STUNNING & so incredibly clever!!! LOVE it and your living room decor too!

  • Christine
    on Jan 9, 2018

    Amazing transformation. I have a secretary that belonged to my husbands mom. If none of his siblings want it, I would like to transform it to something similar to yours. This will be a first for me and would love some step by step help. I will of course start with sanding it down and see what I get. Thanks!!
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