Saturday, June 2, 2012

The desk that had wings (and a little secret)

I love furniture make-overs!  I love them even more when they surprise me! 
I bought this funky little desk from a local thrift store and I had to ask a fellow customer in passing about it’s “wings”…

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He said that they were for you to rest your elbows on while you work.  Okay…

As with all furniture around here, this one sat in the the garage marinating for a couple of months before I started on it.   *That’s my excuse for the furniture hoarding*

First I cleaned off the top to try to get rid of those rings and dirt.  They didn’t come off easily, so I got out my electric sander with some 150 grit sandpaper.  The yuck came right off and much to my surprise I found the most beautiful yellow chippy paint underneath that faded white.  I went all around the skirt and legs to expose some of the yellow everywhere.  The top had these wonderful wormholes and chippy paint….


It was then that I decided that this desk did NOT need to be painted!  I just cleaned it up and sanded it to show the beautiful yellow.  I then made the
 difficult decision to REMOVE THE YELLOW WINGS!  I know, I know.  It’s a tragedy to take off those cool elbow rests.  But honestly, there was a little drawer under those wings that couldn’t be used with the wings intact.  The wings were old and wonky and not really all that pretty the more I looked at them.

Here it is with the wings closed.  Can’t even see the drawer.
So off they came… 

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A little more sanding…  That electric sanding is kinda addicting isn’t it?  I then used a clear poly to go over the top and chippy sides. I wanted to retain the “chips”.  I knew I’d be taking this to my shop.  I always touch furniture before I buy it, and I imagine most people do.  I envisioned coming in to find the cute little desk sitting next to a pile of paint flakes on the floor.  Oh, the horror!! 

Here she is all prettied up in my side yard before I threw her in the car with 2 minutes to spare before picking up my kids from school :) Or should I have said “gently placed her in my car to take her to my booth for sale.”?  Either way, here she is…

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Oh, and I replaced this knob with a dark brown wooden one right after this picture….

I took it in to the shop on Thursday afternoon, and I was in the store on Friday morning when a cute young couple came in and was looking at it.  They stalked it a while and then told me they had to have it for their wedding.  Their wedding colors are to be yellow and white.  I think I was as excited as they were to see this sweet little piece go home with them!

Happy Wedding sweet couple!

Happy Weekend ya’ll!

Linking up to these great parties:

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8 click here to comment:


Hi Kim!
Looks adorable! Would you believe I picked up the same table today and wondered what those darn wingie things were? Good timing for this post :o)
Stacey of Embracing Change

Kristin@ A Vintage Fairy

I had a desk like that when I was a girl. My wings had fabric stapled to them, so when folded it it skirted the legs and hid the stool. I kept my "secret" stuff in there, since you couldn't access the drawer until the wings were open :)

reFresh reStyle

It's a true love story! She looks gorgeous!


Stacey, I've gotten several replies on my FB page saying that the "wings" are supposed to have fabric around them to hide the secret drawer. And girls used it as a vanity to sit and put on their make-up. Guess the GUY who said they were elbow rests wouldn't have known that :)

Donna Wilkes

Yes, this was once a girl's vanity with a full fabric skirt stapled all around the the top. The fabric would overlap in the front. To access the drawer you would pull out the wooden supports to reveal both the drawer and usually the vanity stool underneath. These pieces are getting harder to find intact - sorry I loved it before you took it apart. At least you saved the chippy paint. It would have been beautiful with a full ruffled skirt.


What a find! How fun to not only have a cool story behind it but something lovely waiting for you to find after sanding a bit. Love it, now following :)



Kim, My heart was racing when you started talking aout the wings for the elbows. This was not a desk at all. When I a young teen I had the most beautiful dressing table, just like this one. My mother made the prettiest ruffled chintz skirt to go around the sides and across the wings. You opened the wings to pull out your stool, like the other lady said. The drawer was for your cosmetics. One didn't have as many products back then. On top I had a pretty makeup mirror, jewelry box and a picture of my beau, oops, I mean my parents.
My dressing table was lavender and the skirt had lavender and purple cabbage roses.
Sounds like this one found a good home.
xo ginger

Lucy Designs

hahaha! "marinating" Love it! It turned out great, nice find!