Mary Julia – the Antique Desk

My friends, Tom and Laurie, were selling this old desk and knowing how much I love vintage furniture, they asked if I would be interested.  The desk once belonged to Tom’s mother and he believes it is about 100 years old.  He needed to get rid of it but I think it had a lot of sentimental value to him and he kind of hated to see it go.  I named it after his mother and hopefully, he likes what I’ve done with her old desk!  Truth be told, I will hate to let this one go myself!  It really is a beauty.  All of the original hardware was still with the desk but the screws had come loose on some of them and so it appears in the image above they are missing but I did have all the pieces.

I found the manufacturer label under the middle drawer, Bay View Furniture Co., Holland, MI.  From what little I could find online,  I think this was probably made in the 1920s.  I am not good at knowing what type of wood something is made from but I would guess this might be maple.  The top is a wood veneer.

The desk was in great condition, it just needed a little makeover.  Mary Julia was the perfect candidate for a whitewash since she was in such good shape.  The wash gives her an updated finish and highlights the carved details on the drawers while allowing her beautiful wood grain to show through.

I lightly sanded the entire desk with 220 grit by hand.  I didn’t want to take off a lot but just enough to smooth over a few scratches and get enough tooth for the fresh paint to stick.

I used a 50/50 mix of chalk paint to water.  I mixed Classic Taupe with Linen White for a creamier colored wash.  I painted the mixture on with a brush and before it dried, wiped it back with a clean cloth, leaving just a wash of color.  I used two coats.  Since the top of the desk is a veneer, it took the paint a little differently than the rest of the desk.  I ended up sanding and wiping it back with water a few times before I was satisfied with the outcome.  After it was completely dry I applied a clear matte sealer.  I had heard a few other furniture bloggers talk about applying a clear coat with a sponge rather than a brush to eliminate brush marks on the surface so I gave it a try and it worked pretty good!  No drips or brush marks!

Mary Julia’s gorgeous hardware is original and I just love it! 😍 I spray painted the knobs and pulls with flat metallic burnished amber to freshen up the color.  I think it is a nice contrast to the whitewash.

The interior of the drawers were all in good condition and I decided not to paint them.  The center drawer did have a stain so I put some decorative craft paper down with double-sided tape for easy removal.  I adore that little built-in pencil tray! 🤗

The back of this desk is also finished (although I forgot to get a picture of it) so if you weren’t going to have it up against a wall it still looks pretty from the back!

Products used:

  • Rustoleum Chalked Linen White
  • Rustoleum Chalked Classic Taupe
  • Rustoleum Metallic Flat Burnished Amber spray paint
  • Rustoleum Chalked Clear Matte Sealer
  • Scrapbook paper – Hobby Lobby

This was an easy project to complete, it didn’t take a lot of products or time and resulted in a great flip!  Right now it looks pretty good in my spare bedroom so I’ll take my time putting it up for sale 😉.

Thanks for stopping by, check back soon for this little number:


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