sweet little writing desk.

I am still off enjoying Las Vegas, but don’t think I forgot about you guys!  I scheduled a post so you would have something to see on Friday.

Two weekends ago, I sent Mr. Q off for a writing desk.  It was a bargain, and even though it wasn’t special and it didn’t make my heart skip a beat or anything, I still thought it would be worth a quick trip to Minneapolis and a bit of paint.  It was listed as a ‘beautiful antique writing desk’ which may have been stretching things just a tad.

When Mr. Q got it home, I was a bit bummed when I realized there were some major flaws that definitely weren’t apparent in the craigslist ad.  Beware of this people!  Some photos are very artfully arranged to hide the true nature of an item (how does this still happen to me, clearly I should know better).

To begin with, the top was leather.  Oops.  How did I miss that?  Oh, now I remember.  In the ad pics the top was totally covered with crap.  Papers, books, etc.  Uh huh.  Don’t know if that was on purpose or not.

writing desk topEven more disheartening, the bottom trim on one side was completely broken off leaving a jagged edge under the bottom drawer.

writing desk before

My heart sank as I contemplated these flaws.  However, I should not have underestimated the power of the Ken; handyman neighbor extraordinaire!  He came over for a consultation, came up with a plan, took measurements and headed back to his workshop.

Several days later, he appeared at my door with new trim pieces cut to match the center drawer for both sides of the desk.  Like magic!

writing desk trim

As for the leather top, I decided to just try painting it.  I’ve had success painting suitcases, and books, so why not a leather topped desk?  After all, my friend Lori painted her cowboy boots with MMS milk paint!  I don’t know how well it will hold up to a lot of wear and tear, but my philosophy is that these things are meant to look distressed, so a little more here and there just adds to the look, right?

writing desk 1

I debated painting it turquoise.  It’s been a while since I used a true turquoise, and this would have been amazing in that color.  But that leather had some red ink stains.  That could have been a bleed through nightmare, so I went with MMS Typewriter, which seemed apropos for a writing desk.

I added a french address to the front of the desk to give it a little more personality.  And look at those charming drawer pulls.  Love them.

writing desk stencilAll in all, it turned out to be a sweet little writing desk.  It’s sure to inspire anyone who sits at it to write their memoirs or perhaps just pay their bills.

writing deskBefore I leave you, here are some handy tips I learned from this desk.

No. 1, if you are selling a desk on craigslist, be sure you pull the drawers out and check behind them for paperwork!  These sellers left a lot of personal information behind including pay stubs and medical bills.  Luckily I am not an unscrupulous identity thief.

No. 2, if you are painting with black paint, at night, in your living room that has wood floors … and you manage to splatter paint everywhere despite your numerous drop cloths … and you don’t see it until daylight hits it the next day, don’t despair.  A magic eraser cleans it right up from both the wall and the wood floor.  Good to know.

12 thoughts on “sweet little writing desk.

  1. Gorgeous, as always. It seems no matter what the problem, Ken is able to fix it – a fabulous neighbor and all around good guy for sure. This desk is really, really cute…I’m sure it’ll find a good home soon. Hope you are relaxing…as much as possible without a paintbrush in your hand.


  2. Wow, this desk is the perfect color, good choice. The drawer pulls were the original ones when you bought it? Nice, at least one wasn’t missing, as you usually point out, ha!! How fortunate to have a friend and neighbor like Ken, who is so nice AND talented.


  3. Ken is worth his weight in gold. That was the perfect solution, adding the piece at the bottom of each drawer. Love this color too. She is definitely a looker. Magic erasers are the bomb. Hope you are having a wonderful time!


  4. So good to know that the MMS paint will take to leather. I have a table ready know that has a stained leather top and the price to replace it is phenomenal. Did you use bonding fluid on the top? The sheen is lovely and Typewriter is perfect for this piece, making it sophisticated and classic. One thing I’ve been asking before I go to people’s house to buy vintage is this: Is it shop ready? On eBay, I ask, is it in gift-giving condition? That seems to help people be upfront about flaws.


    1. I did not use the bonding agent on this desk. I did sand the leather lightly, but that was it. I used the hemp oil on top, and that did take a day or two to sort of be absorbed by the leather. It does look great painted though, and my only wonder is how well it will hold up to vigorous use as a desk. But then, how well does any wood surface hold up to vigorous use?


  5. Wow! love it! – I painted the leather on the desk I did a couple of weeks ago – I’m pleased with it too. I have ripped the leather off desks before to reveal gorgeous wood underneath the glue used to stick the leather on – there’s always a way around things!


    1. I’d always avoided these leather tops thinking that they couldn’t be painted. I did buy a pair of end tables with the leather tops once, but that leather was in such bad condition that, like you, I ripped it off and just painted the top (with a really fun aqua, white and grey union jack as a matter of fact). I wouldn’t hesitate to paint a leather top again though.


  6. i just fell in love with this desk~ Everything about it came out just perfect. Ken comes up with the prettiest, most unique fixes! I knew you could paint leather tops with chalk paint but never dreamed it could be done with milk paint. Very good to know.


    1. The milk paint worked beautifully on the leather top. At the time I didn’t think too much about it, but knowing what I know now I think next time I paint a leather top I would just be sure to clean it well and make sure it doesn’t have a waxy or oil coating on it.


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