Vintage Desk Makeover

This is an exciting post for a couple of reasons. (Okay, really it’s exciting if you’re a DIY nerd like I am… but I assume, if you’re here – you’re sorta in that nerdy club…so I’ll just continue on in my nerdy ways…)

Number One – since more or less finishing our foyer makeover, we are now able to move onto another sorely neglected room in the house. We have set our sights firmly and squarely on our basement rec room. We hang out down there A LOT and #WinterIsComing… so we want it to be cozy and ready for nachos, popcorn, pop, beer, movies, Netflix, Crackle, Crave, woolly socks and blankets, board games, video games and long cozy naps.

Number Two – this makeover piece is the official start to the rec room makeover! Hooray! I’m also so dang proud to have a post I can call a Vintage Desk Makeover. 🙂

Before we get to the project, let me set the scene.

The rec room is an odd place. It has weird floors (that will be addressed, we plan to have a post in September all about that.) It has a VERY WEIRD ensuite bathroom situation happening (so weird that I’m using that bathroom as my furniture hoarding closet and not as a bathroom.) It has TERRIBLE lighting (we’re talking the smallest boob light on the planet with mismatched blue and yellow light bulbs. Whoa – so many boob jokes. I’ll just leave that there.) It has indoor windows to the stairwell and an awkward ledge by the real window. It has a hideous and hard to hide electrical box in one corner with a cover that is on crooked. It has two weird corners that aren’t really corners because the walls are purposely installed at an angle so putting in normal shelves is impossible. (I have no parenthetical rejoinders for those last few elements because, honestly, I don’t know how we are going to deal with them yet.)

So ya – the room? It’s a hot friggin mess.

Hence why I’m celebrating that we’re finally taking some steps to make it stylish and purposeful.

We picked up this old waterfall desk on a recent thrift store trip. Dan instantly loved it. Another challenge of the rec room is that Dan likes to work down there with the big television on. So we needed to incorporate a desk space for him into the room.

We had been using an ENORMOUS Ikea desk that was eating up the whole room, so when we saw this smaller and solid wood desk being sold for a song – we knew it was the one.Waterfall Desk BEFORE

I was pleasantly surprised at two things:

  1. The top part of the desk pops right off
  2. The kid paint all over the front came off fairly easily with some sanding and scrubbing

All we had to do was decide on a style. Dan really wants the room to feel a bit masculine, but also nautical. Less turquoise and sea glassy and more ship’s captain and rugged.

We settled somewhere in the middle for this desk, opting for a wonderful white in an atypical finish.

After priming the whole piece, I gave it three solid coats of PARA Paints’ Crysler Hall White* – but the trick was I used trim paint. It has a glossier finish than I’d typically use on furniture – but for this desk, it’s amazingly perfect. It gives it a sheen and a lustre that will look awesome in the basement space. Vintage Waterfall Desk Makeover

As for the top, we did something a little different as well! We clad it in a navy blue vinyl. It was a little complicated in that we had to use our table saw to shave 1/4 inch off two sides of the top to make it fit in place with the vinyl – but after that was done it was as simple as wrapping a present, adding in some staples and popping it back in place. Vintage Waterfall Desk with Vinyl Top

The bonus of using the vinyl is that the computer mouse will glide smoothly! AND – it’s super easy to keep clean. We tend to eat and work at our desks a lot, so crumbs and soda can rings are a reality 🙂Vintage Waterfall Desk in Navy and White

We were going to do some rope detailing, but as soon as we saw this brass hardware at the store, we both knew it would be the perfect thing to add visual heft and ‘manliness’ to the piece. Waterfall desks have amazing lines – characterized by the traditional curved front – and we didn’t want to detract from that in any way. Vintage Waterfall Desk with Brass Handles

We are both quite enamoured with this piece. I know I say this often – but I think this is my favourite makeover we’ve done in a while 🙂

I’m trying my hand at a new Before and After photo technique. Didn’t quite nail it this time – haha… next time, I’ll do a better job at measuring – but I think you get the effect with this right?

Vintage Waterfall Desk Before and After

Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend 🙂


PS. Sharing this post with any and all of these fine link parties and Remodelaholic!

*We are members of the 2015 PARA Blog Crew and they give us paint and we do cool things with it and blog about it 🙂

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Hi! I’m Erin and I wrote this post!

I’m a former broadcast journalist turned DIY blogger; I love all things paint, and power tools. My husband and I work on DIY Passion to share our commitment to inspire others to see beauty in the every day. I love dogs, cats, Han Solo and pie – probably in that order. If you’d like to chat about working together, please get in touch and sign up for our email updates.

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14 thoughts on “Vintage Desk Makeover

  1. Being a fellow DIY nerd I have to admit, I’m not sure I would’ve seen the potential in that desk before. Amazing job, it came out great!! Look for your feature tomorrow!

  2. I found your post over on Houseologie and popped on over. Think I’ll have to add you to my feed.
    Wow, nice job on the desk. I love how it turned out. Can you tell me where you purchased that adorable lamp?

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