Secretaries Desk Makeover

8 Materials
4 Days

I’ve been searching for a storage solution for our entryway. It had to be shallow enough that it wouldn’t be obtrusive and block the stairs or make the space feel even more cramped than it already was. I found this cute little antique maple secretaries desk at “Lisa’s Upscale Garage Sale” for $65 and it was pretty close to being the perfect size! But it has some issues and was not very attractive! So this is how I transformed it into a cute little storage cabinet just in time for the scarves & mittens & hats (Oh my) season!

Step 1:

The hinges were scraping the inside of the top shelf. My original plan was to replace them with new ones, but after discovering they are $17 each, I decided to work with what was there! I simply moved the brackets until the hinge no longer rubbed and screwed them back in. Problem solved!

Step 2:

I used wood filler to fill all the holes and cracks on the piece. There was one spot on the bottom of a drawer that had a fairly large chunk missing.  I created a “dam” using painters tape and filled the area with wood filler. The next day that filler crumbled away from that spot! I think it may have been too humid for it to dry properly. So then I used LePage plastic wood…and that worked great.  

Step 3:

Sanded the piece with an orbital sander. Then cleaned everything with TSP heavy duty cleaner.

Step 4:

I wanted to do a layered paint technique, using 3 shades of blue. I watched several videos and felt confidant to give it a try. I pained the entire piece in periwinkle blue (which was a combination of navy and white I created).

Step 5:

I attempted to use paint with a little water mixed in and feather the colours together. It did NOT work! It turned out streaky and you could clearly see the 2 separate colours. Then I tried spraying with water and using a wet brush to blend. This failed also. LOL So I painted the entire piece with a darker navy blue to hide the mess.

Step 6:

My next attempt was to use a very tiny amount of teal paint on the brush, and brush in a very light-handed flicking motion, barely touching the wood. I found this quite challenging, as my instinct was to do an even coat of each colour. But eventually I got the hang of it.

Then I applied the 3rd and final colour, which was the teal with lots of white added.

Step 7:

I spray painted the hardware with a primer, followed by a matte black. For the top fold down cupboard I splurged on a glossy black knob I got at home depot.

Step 8:

Every entryway needs a mirror, so I found an ugly brown one online for $10 and used the 3 left-over paint colours to do the same paint style on the frame.

Step 9:

I painted the inside of the drop down desk Tuscan orange!! LOVE this colour!!  

Step 10:

When I purchased the desk it had a little angel keychain crudely taped to the inside. So once my make-over was complete I hung a command hook and put her right back where she came from.

Then I sealed everything with fusion mineral paint clear tough coat

We finally have ample storage in our entryway for all my daughter’s “stuff.” When she reaches the age where she doesn’t require 4 pairs of dry mittens per day I’ll replace it with something smaller. But for now, we’re both happy with our whimsical new addition.

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Martha Knight
    on Nov 21, 2018

    At the foot of stairs?

    • Rick Kale
      on Dec 3, 2018

      Though I personally think it in itself looks a bit awkward where it is placed, I have not seen the rest of the home to pass judgement on why.... the mirror above it is a great touch it needs to be turned to draw your eye up, thus not making the the desk look so awkward... it would elongate the piece on the wall, and the chosen accessories would fit a little better making things look less cluttered in an open space as such!!

Join the conversation

3 of 56 comments
  • Joan Gaspar
    on Dec 2, 2018

    very inspiring,oh the possibility,hats gloves in the drawers.Wallet keys and much morr

  • Cm Clow
    on Mar 30, 2019

    Hi Valerie, I have written it all down and I am going to try something like this for sure. Thanks

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