Friday, November 12, 2010

Vintage Desk Makeover

A total overhaul of a vintage kids desk took place and no I am not starting homeschooling - meet our newest furniture piece:

vintage schooldesk makeover

I saw this desk posted on Freecycle and just knew the kids would love it! 

vintage schooldesk before

I however did not love the bubble gum pink paint and I knew that wooden seat was too amazing to cover up with paint.  Plus I wanted to be able to use the desk on the main floor for homework and play so I knew it was going to need a serious makeover.

vintage pink schooldesk

The top even opens for storage and holds straight for writing level - brings back some memories!

vintage pink school desk

You know how they say "it's going to get worse before it gets better"?  Well that was definitely the case here.  This picture is after an entire can of stripper and lots of sanding with the mouse sander:

stripped vintage school desk

vintage schooldesk stripped

Here you can see the original salmon color slightly on the inside, it was all over the desk portion too, hiding under that bubble gum pink:
paint removed vintage desk

Once I saw the chrome I knew it had to stay so out came the steel wool for some clean up and shine.

paint removed vintage chrome desk

And then I found some aluminum paint (Rustoleum oil based enamel) in the basement and went all over the metal parts including the inside, two coats, it looks so smooth and sleek and shines like the top of the Chrysler building!

rustoleum aluminum paint

rustoleum oil based enamel aluminum

aluminum paint on chrome

Look at that detail on the feet, it's like an airplane ready for take off. 
It was beginning to remind me of a kids version these chairs:

Aviator Chair
image from Restoration Hardware

The wooden seat needed a nice stain, I used Minwax medium brown with some satin poly on top.  It looks so great and really shows the age and beauty of a wooden school desk seat.

stained swivel seat

stained desk chair

Looks like these chairs (no longer available):

Schoolhouse Kid Chairs
image from Pottery Barn Kids

Then for a little color I sprayed the bottom of the desk portion with Rustoleum in Colonial Red gloss finish. 

desk painted colonial red

Now she's really ready for some schoolwork and lovely enough to have a place in the main living area.  Thank you to Freecycler Gary, hope you don't mind the color change!

vintage red schoolhouse desk

A shiny fresh inside:

vintage desk interior

vintage desk stained and painted

vintage desk swivel seat

vintage desk painted red

vintage school desk makeover

Someone woke up this morning and decided to lay her claim already:

vintage school desk girl playing

So an official before and after:

vintage school desk beforevintage school desk after

It was definitely worth all the time and effort and I only spent $4 on stain and $4 on paint.


  1. Beautiful! I absolutely love it! I have seen desks like that at flea markets, but never though of repainting and revamping them. I think my little girl would love her own space like this. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Love the desk redeaux. You not only brought it back to like, you added a fun and cool twist.

    Please do me a favor. I'd love to have one of these desks.

    Can you tell me the name of the manufacturer?

    Derrick Douglass