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Monday, December 27, 2010

I was flipping through iPhoto the other day and stumbled across the photos I took while dressing up my desk, at which I'm presently sitting.  I remember taking these photos before I even started the blog, planning to eventually share them in some vague, nebulous fashion.  Well, I have a blog now and I'm going to show you how I put together my (in my opinion) very cute writing desk/vanity!

I started with this vanity from the local unpainted furniture store for about $250 to $300 (I can't remember the exact price).  I was drawn to it because of its scale - it's relatively small, probably just over three feet in length - and the pretty turned legs.  I had scoured Capital City for a "shabby chic" desk and it just wasn't happening.  Shabby chic desks were practically nonexistent or were a little heavy on the shabby and a little light on the chic.  So I decided to make my own, and surprisingly, it wasn't that hard.

I spent ages picking out a white.  The first white I chose was Bridal Veil, by Behr.  There are a shocking number of whites to choose from and I spent at least two hours choosing a white.

I felt ridiculous.

Honestly, though, some were too "white", to the point of feeling cold, while others had a hint of grey, blue, red, yellow etc.  Bridal Veil felt like a true white without being cold.

One problem.

Because I only wanted a quart, they couldn't make the pigments in small enough fractions.  Apparently, because it was just barely not pure white, to get the proper color in such a small quantity, they had to use like 1/365th pigment which the machine just couldn't do.  

Back to the color wall.

My next selection was White Glove, also by Behr.  This one, luckily, they were able to dispense and away I went.

I didn't care for the metal medallion on the front of the desk.  It felt too traditional and not country enough for the shabby chic style I was aiming for.

Luckily, it was screwed in rather than glued on.  A quick removal of the screws and a little elbow grease and the medallion popped right off.  Unfortunately, I now had the small issue of two not-so-small holes in the middle of the front panel of my desk.  

Wood filler to the rescue!

I filled them in, let it dry, gave the front a good sanding, and primed the whole desk, including the inside of the drawers and the liftable mirrored center.  After it had been primed, I added a wooden applique I found at a local craftstore.  I was a little disappointed in the selection, as even this new applique was a little more traditional than I had hoped for.  If I ever try this project again, I'll pick up an applique from Do It Yourself Chic.  They have a great selection of shabby chic appliques; too bad I stumbled across their ad after I'd finished the project!

After priming and using wood glue to attach the applique, I painted the whole desk White Glove.  I used a brush instead of a roller because I thought it would make it feel more vintage, like it had been painted and painted and painted and you could see the brush strokes.  I also learned this lesson when I was painting the new old doors in my house - one got rolled and the other got brushed and the brushed one looks more original (live and learn, folks, live and learn).

After the paint had dried, I took a piece of sandpaper and sanded the edges of the desk top, the wooden applique, the drawers, and the legs to make it feel more vintage and less "right off the factory line".  I didn't take too much off, because I prefer a less shabby feel, but if you were doing this project yourself, you could take off just tons.

I replaced the boring brass-ish knobs with some pretty crystal ones with an antique iron finish.

And then I was finished!  When it was all said and done, I'd spent maybe $300 - $350 and no more than five hours, including dry time, and had a fabulously shabby chic desk that now proudly sits in my girly-girl master bedroom.  The best part is that it doesn't matter if it gets banged up - it will only add to the character.  I so plan to put this in my little girl's room some day (along with the rose bed).  You better believe I'll be raising a little princess.


  1. Wow! Pretty cool project that you did with this vanity. I really need to get with it and be more crafty!!!



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