Eloise – A vintage secretary desk

       Eloise was quite a project but I had a lot of fun changing up her look!

When we loaded her up in the truck to bring her home we had to remove the wood finial on the top to get the tailgate closed.  After I got her home I decided I like her better without it!  I also didn’t care for the decorative wood fretwork behind the glass so I removed it as well.

I wanted to paint the interior a different color than the outside and thanks to a great tip from another furniture artist, I learned I could remove the two drawer compartment inside the desk.  It is only attached with two small screws!  That way I could use spray paint to get into all those nook and crannies a lot easier!  Rustoleum Chalked spray paint is available in some of the same colors as the Chalked brush-on so I was able to use the same color (Serenity Blue) brush-on for the rest of the interior.

I removed the cabinet doors which made it easier to take out the fretwork and the glass so I could paint the doors.  I took the pictures of Eloise before replacing the glass in the cabinet doors because it is so hard to take pics with the glare from the glass.  The glass was originally held in place with the fretwork and some small wood strips that were tacked in place with some teeny tiny nails.  I didn’t trust myself to tap those back in without breaking the glass so when it was time for the glass to go back in I used clear silicone caulk to hold it in place.  Eloise has two adjustable shelves and cabinet doors that lock with a vintage key!

It took three coats of paint to cover the original dark stain on Eloise.  I sanded lightly between each coat and did some distressing around the edges.  I finished with a coat of clear wax.  If you’ve ever waxed a large piece like this you’ll know what I mean when I say I have some new arm muscles after finishing this piece!

I cleaned and spray painted the hardware with Rustoleum Antique Brass and then applied dark wax to bring out the details.


After removing the drawers, I cleaned inside the bottom section of the hutch with Orange Glo to give it a fresh scent.  I decided not to paint the inside of the drawers since they were in really good condition and they had such a beautiful wood grain.  I cleaned them with Orange Glo for a fresh scent and shine.

I applied a portion of a design transfer called L’ Horlage by Hokus Pokus to the pull-down desk section.  If you’re not familiar with design transfers they are kind of like tattoos for furniture!  They do not peel off, they are permanent.  I had to cut it into a few pieces and rearrange it a bit to get most of it to fit on the desk but I think it worked out well on the space.

Products used:

  • Rustoleum Chalked in a custom mix of White Linen and Classic Taupe
  • Rustoleum Chalked Serenity Blue (spray and brush-on)
  • Rustoleum Universal Metallic Antique Brass spray paint
  • Orange Glo wood cleaner
  • Hokus Pokus design transfer L’ Horlage
  • Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax Clear

Thanks for stopping by!  Let me know what you think of Eloise.


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