A little history: This picture is me at 13. God, thank you for time! Haha!!! Way back then at 13, living in Chicago, my love for writing began. I was a quiet, shy, introverted pre-teen, (I know, very hard to believe if you know me now!) and I would hear a song or see a movie or a photograph and be inspired to develop and write a story around it. I could and did, sit and write for hours on end, sometimes late into the night while everyone in the house was asleep, hand-writing stories at my desk. I loved my desk. It was a vintage Secretary desk that my Mom got from an Estate Sale. I wrote my stories there, and did my homework there all the way through high school. It stayed a part of my room décor at home all while I was away at college. And when I’d come home from my Atlanta college life, I’d once again, sit at the Secretary desk and write. I paid my first bill sitting at that desk! My Mom had painted it once before, and stripped it years later, and it was still in my room. The Secretary stayed behind at my folks house after I moved out on my own, remaining there through my Chicago apartments, my Atlanta apartments, and my Phoenix homes until….
Fast forward to now:
A couple years ago when my Mom was considering giving it away or taking it to a consignment shop during her declutter process in preparation for her move here to Phoenix. Considering the history and sentimentality of it, I convinced her she should keep it and it wound up in my laundry room of my second house. I know it seems odd right? The laundry room? But it was a very large laundry room and it actually looked good there. I’m sad that I don’t have any photos of that room. Anyway, when I moved into this house, I felt it didn’t match my new home style so it sat in the garage, wrapped in the packing padding that swaddled it for the eight months it was in storage while the house was under construction. Then one day in October, I had a bright idea. Why don’t I paint it white?! I’d seen some DIY blogs on painting Secretary desks and the results were all kinds of fabulous according to the images I saw online. I brought it into the kitchen where there was more space to work, and where it was cooler. (It was still 90 plus degrees every day back in October.) Here’s what it looked like after unwrapping it, just before painting it white…
A really great antique piece, right? I I never doubted how much I would like it once it was painted white, and even though I’d never painted furniture on this scale before, I was confident I could tackle this project and make it into something I would absolutely love. I mean I am my mother’s child when it comes to decorating and room styling, (read I Get It From My Mama here), I was sure I would accomplish this task. So I got right to work deglossing (with my liquid sandpaper below), priming and painting.
I was dead set on placing this piece in a certain spot beneath the stairs on the first level once it was all white. It was the only place it would fit in with my decor schemes. The only other place it would have fit was the master bedroom where there is darker furniture. But the Secretary had an even darker finish on it from a paint stripping process decades before, and while it didn’t look bad, I was certain it would’ve been too dark to blend upstairs. I should have just taken it up there and placed it anyway, just to see how it would’ve looked. I think the slight darkness would have worked out just fine. Hindsight is always… well you know the saying. I was so convinced that it would go better in another spot, in another color. It took me about four days to complete the painting project and here were the results.
Not bad, but guess what? I HATED it white! I mean really hated it. So much so that even though it was well after midnight, I immediately jumped online in search of “how to strip paint off furniture” videos. The thought of tackling that was quite daunting and I was just threw with myself! After reading up on the process, watching a few videos, reading a few reviews, it didn’t seem too intimidating or difficult, but I certainly didn’t have the strength to work on it right away. The very next morning I pulled it back out into the garage where it would remain for almost two months for me to lament over every single day as I would come and go. Finally, right before Christmas, I said enough was enough and I took it all apart, AGAIN, collected the necessary products (below), and got to work. It wasn’t bad, just tedious, time consuming and a quite messy.
I started on a Friday afternoon and was determined to have all the heavy chemical work done by my 2:45pm nail appointment the next day…. priorities. And I made it! Mainly because I was up until 2:00am to ensure that I would! Once back home from my nail appointment, I took the rest of Saturday to finish paint touch ups to the inside and the matte finish applications to it. Sunday morning I brought it inside and put it all back together AGAIN, in the Master Bedroom.
I like how it turned out. It truly looks antique now. And I love that it’s a lighter color that matches the decor in the room better. I’ll post about the entire room soon!
I am sooo happy this story had a happy ending, however I have definitely learned my lesson. If I never have to strip paint or lacquer off furniture again, I think I’d be okay with that, haha!