The Secretary gets a facelift


As I sit and write this, my son is in the next room watching his tablet and sleeping while he runs a fever… I needed a distraction this evening, I thought writing this would help.

Over a year ago now, I saw a Facebook marketplace posting for a secretary desk, like this one, but it had been “restored.” I hate it when people use that word loosely, it had been painted, and poorly. While I am not a fan of painting furniture (says the girl with five painted pieces in her house), I really liked the idea it gave me. So I started looking for an inexpensive piece.

This adorable thing had been through the ringer. The lady who sold it to me told me that her two children used to hide their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the drawers, she had used it as shoe storage in college, and she and her husband had “repaired” the handles (she used expandable foaming glue, which leaked out onto the drawer face, not my idea of a repair).

What you cannot see from this first picture, is the inside of the secretary drop down desk, where it appears a previous owner had spilled nail polish remover and removed a chunk of stain or that some of the dental molding is missing. Those adorable and mischievous little children must have used the shelf/top as a place to slam toys, because there were more dents that Swiss cheese has holes.

The plan was simple… sand, clean, fill the holes, and paint… but this girl is a beast and I needed help lifting her to the garage for a good sand. But hubs was not feeling helpful, and has no appreciation for my crazy timeline. When he did get around to being helpful, mother nature decided not to be, and dropped hail for a few hours along with so much rain, the yard looked like a swamp. So, plan B was put into effect! I sanded by hand in the dining room (I admit it was a flawed plan, but it worked) with a drop cloth to catch some dust and TSP drips.

I worked on it for a few days in the evening after work, hogging up a huge portion of the dining room with saw horses. Could have been outside in the garage, just saying…


I choose Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy in eggshell. I wanted a durable paint, that I could wipe clean since it will sit in the dining room, and things happen in that room that need soap and water! The eggshell sheen gives it a little light reflective quality, without being too shiny.

While planning this little project, I knew I wanted to add something to the interior back of the piece, and decided on this adorable paper by WallsByMe on Etsy. All of the re-positional wallpaper is phafalates free, LEAD-free, VOC-free and printed with water based inks. The paper was so easy to use, although I wasn’t matching up the pattern, it was still super easy to install using the instructions provided. I was super excited to get to use the paper, having had it stored away for at least three months.

My goal is to one day strip the drawers and re-stain them, but there is just too much on my plate right now, so a little Restor-A-Finish, on the drawers and Brasso for the hardware and she looks exactly like I had envisioned. What do you think?