Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vintage Secretary

Two weeks ago I made a visit to Frankie's Garage to pick up a buffet (which I'm super excited to get working on) and sweet ol' Frankie asked me if I'd be interested in this secretary.  

Now, she's not much to look at, I'll admit.  She had a terrible stain wash job and some ugly pulls and poor Frankie could not figure out why she wouldn't sell.  I took pity on the poor thing and decided I would use her as an experiment. 

I've been working on this set of 4 tables all week, which I love how they turned out, but I was ready to do something different.  I left the last table for tomorrow and decided today I was going to fix this little secretary up.  

You know how I feel about Sausha from Sweet Pickens (if you don't, I just love her).  A while back she did a few pieces with napkins and, of course, I was intrigued.  I get tired of seeing the same fabric and scrapbook paper so I thought napkins were an unexplored territory of mine.  I jumped on the net and found a few different packages.  When they arrived I wasn't as thrilled with them as I thought, but since I already paid for them I thought I might as well go ahead and see what I could do with them. 


I wanted a soft color for the body of this piece so it wouldn't be too much with the floral print I chose. It's a soft gray/green and it's not matchy matchy with the napkins, which at first freaked me out (yes, I still struggle with matchy/matchy) but grew on me as this project progressed. 


 I used Modge Podge to adhere them to the drawer fronts and when that was dry sanded the bejeebers out of them to really rough them up.  The drawer fronts were bare wood underneath, so the wood ended up showing in places (which is what I wanted).  I then gave them another coat of MP and then glazed them (General Finishes Van Dyke Brown) and then sealed them with a good coat of poly. 

 I added the wood applique and then glazed the entire thing to age the paint. 

I'm a perfectionist so glazing freaks me out, too.  But, I just tell myself to go with it and everything turns out ok (after a few repaints because I don't like heavy glaze). 

 She's got a cute little bottom, too. :)

 Here's a little tip....don't forget the drawers.  Nothing is worse than seeing a cute piece and opening up the drawer to find it's nasty inside.  If they're in good shape, great.  If not, then either paint them or line them.  Nobody wants to put their clothes or treasures in a yucky drawer (plus painting them can help get rid of funky odors, too!).

 I love these pulls and think they hold their own with this bolder print on the drawers.

 I included this pic to show you the texture of the napkins.  I like a smooth finish, I cannot lie.  But, texture is fun, too, and I really like how it adds a vintage feel to this piece. 

This secretary took me out of my comfort zone and I'm so glad I did a little something different with it.  I can totally see it in a little girls room, in a bathroom, or in an entryway/hallway.  So fun! 


  1. Oh Lisa, it's beautiful! Are the pulls the originals? I didn't see any on the before pic. Kudos to you for branching out! The result is amazing. :)


    1. Thank you Andi! The original pulls were those hideous airplane thingys I hate. The new ones are from Hobby Lobby. :)

  2. I think it's beautiful and definitely a one of a kind piece that went from sorry to special! It may have been a project that took you out of your comfort zone, but as usual, you nailed it! :)

  3. This is absolutely beautiful:-). Would love to try this on a piece I am working on...its antique white with coral accents. The drawer is not flat across though, has a curve in it-do you think this would still work?

  4. This is beautiful and SO far beyond my imagination!

  5. I love everything about it! You balanced the colors, prints, and hardware together so beautifully.


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