Shabby cottage chic desk and dresser

Found this little desk and three drawer chest at a recent estate sale.

Of course, it was the color that first caught my eye when I saw this little desk from across the room.  Alas, the top was a real MESS!  Cheap plywood that had cracked, stained and peeling paint, but not the kind that you can leave ‘as is’.  Still, the price was right so I bought it.  (and the drawer innards were nice and CLEAN!)

SCORE!!  Another piece in ‘my color’!?!  woo-hoo!  Ah, but wait!  Once I put my reading glasses on I could see that it had been very POORLY painted aqua over a medium green pain; which still showed in several places.  Still, it was nice and sturdy.  The backing was in good shape and the drawers were clean!


The chest was pretty ‘grimey’ and  required a good scrubbing; and those drawer pulls HAD to go.  The pulls were screwed on, which usually means an easy removal; but these had been painted over more than once, so simply removing the screws did not do the job.  I had to WHACK them really hard with a hammer to get them off.

Not all of the stain and grime came off when I washed it, so it was time for the orbital sander.  I was HOPING that I could ‘just sand it’ and leave it this color.  Nope.  This, and the desk were going to HAVE to be painted.  I opted to paint them both white.

The top to the desk turned out just perfect!  Just the right amount of each color, white, aqua and wood showing after I distressed it.

As I am in the habit of doing, I painted the backside also.  It really only takes a few more seconds to do this when you are repainting items; and it gives the purchaser a lot more flexibility on placement of the item, as they won’t HAVE to place it with the back to a wall.


Distressing brought out just the right amount of the original aqua paint along the edges and ‘here and there’.  I recycled some old metal drawer pulls that I had on hand.  The insides of the drawers were completely painted the same aqua as the desk, but the bottoms were a bit scratched up.  I glued some pretty wrapping paper to the bottom of the drawers.

Distressing the chest was a bit more difficult.  Usually I can just ‘sand away’ and not have to pay very close attention and it will turn out fine.  However, the aqua color was a very LIGHT coat of paint, and if I sanded too hard of too much, I went clear through to the green coat of paint.  A little bit of the green showing through wasn’t too bad, but I wanted more of the aqua to show.  At one point, I almost decided to just repaint the whole thing turquoise!  But then I decided to ‘give it a shot’ at selling with the bits of green showing, before I went to all the extra work of painting it a second time.  I used the same vintage metal drawer pulls for the dresser and I did for the desk.

You can really see the green around the edges of the top of the chest.  That little ‘reddish’ mark near the center of the top of the chest had been a ‘blob of paint’ that had to be sanded down.  Apparently the top had been RED at one time, and sanding went down to that coat on this one little spot.  SO, I may well have to paint this chest a second time.

But for now, it’s in my booth at Stars Antique Mall priced at $59.00.  The smaller size of this chest make it perfect for a child’s dresser and/or a bed-side chest for an adult’s room.

As is the desk; which is $49.00.  That aqua cute bow back chair is also $49.00.

While I had the white paint out, I painted up a couple of wood slat picnic baskets that I’ve had for a while.

The smaller square basket with the BEE on top is $24.00.

The bigger, dark brown one with EAT on the top is $29.00.

P1320918The shabby apple basket is $15.00.

P1320951White metal birdcage (decorative use only; it does NOT open!) is $ 25.00.

Upcycled candle chandelier is $29.00.  Made using old white metal garden edge fencing; with five frosted glass hanging jars for tea light candles or battery tea lights.

I’ve recently added a LOT more vintage milk glass dishes!  Look at that adorable little espresso cup and saucer!!  I’ve got LOTS of regular coffee’tea cups and saucers and creamers and sugar bowls.  Perfect for an elegant bridal shower.  Lots of vases too!

I also just took in a nice collection of vintage Taylor, Smith and Taylor ‘Boutonnier’ dishes.  I had been collecting these for myself for quite some time; and finally decided that I just didn’t have room for them.  It’s not a complete set.  But there are a lot of cups and saucers and dessert size plates.

P1320947Stop by soon and see what’s new!!  Don’t let the construction on the side street scare you away.  (they tore down the boys and girls club and are putting is a high rise condo building!)  There is still plenty of parking; actually MORE than what was available before on some days!!

MORE picnic baskets!

YEP!  I keep finding them.  No one else wants them so they sit in the thrift store until their color tag goes on sale for half price and I grab them up!!

10.20.13 BAR pics 027This one needed a bit of repairs where the braiding is.  A bit of tacky glue and a few carefully placed finishing nails solved that issue.

10.20.13 BAR pics 038The slat part is super fast and easy to ‘dry brush paint’.  Then I use a small foam roller to paint the lid; two coats, inside and out.  Use the dry brush on the braided handles too!

10.20.13 BAR pics 039Then I sand the lid, inside and out.  (oops, a little paint drip on the inside!)

10.20.13 BAR pics 040The base of this one was particle board (which I LOATHE!!!!)  And it had a few water mark type stains that bugged me.  So I grabbed an old atlas and my jar of Mod Podge and covered the inside base.

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I had just received some new stencils, so I used one on the top of this basket.  I just can’t seem to leave these spots ’empty’!  They feel too much like a ‘blank canvas’ to me!

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10.25.13 BOTH + etsy + projects 016

Finished off with a couple of coats of matte varnish.

10.18.13 both malls prijects 185This small one was in VERY good shape too.  And while the bigger ones ARE more popular than this size; it always looks cute to have various sizes in a stack.  These are a good size for storing kids toys in too.  A pretty basket that you can slide under the coffee table and pull out as needed.

10.18.13 both malls prijects 186Always remember to check for clean ‘innards’!  I’m so happy that they aren’t adding those fabric liners as often anymore!  HATE those things!

10.20.13 BAR pics 036Again with the dry brush technique.  It LITERALLY will take less than five minutes to paint the entire thing!

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I continued the paint to the inside trim on the lid on this one; then sanded it a bit.

10.20.13 BAR pics 041Since I couldn’t add any ‘decorative features’ to the lid of this one since it wasn’t flat, I decided to STAIN the inside and over the top of the dry brush paint on the outside.

10.20.13 BAR pics 043It’s a very SUBTLE color difference.  A greyish brow
n, like cedar fence boards naturally turn with age.

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Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . . now that I look at this again, it might be fun to hand letter some kind of saying around the trim on the top of this one???  Any ideas?

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I TRIED to put these two photos ‘side by side’ so you could compare the color difference; but it just wasn’t coming out right.  I hope this is good enough!

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This is BOTH baskets, side by side.  The big ‘just painted’ one at the back; and the painted and stained smaller one at the front.  VERY subtle aged wood look.

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The bigger basket has already sold.  The smaller one is stashed away until after the holidays.

Getting SPOILED by all this sunshine!!!

Eighteen days straight of dry sunny weather here!  Second longest dry spell this year!  Yeah . . . we get a little giddy from too much sunshine around here!  It’s been so nice to be able to work outside this late in the year.  I’m getting LOTS of sign boards ‘prepped’ (sanded, base coated, painted and distressed) ready to be stenciled on later when I am ‘stuck’ inside.  Getting a good number of other painting projects done too!

10.18.13 both malls prijects 011Little three drawer apothecary chest I picked up last week.  I liked the bird/garden themed drawer pulls, just not on here.

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The color was a little ‘different’ too.  Almost a Periwinkle blue.  Removed the drawer pulls (set aside to use on another project later on)  Sander off the sheen and painted it my signature Aqua.

10.18.13 both malls prijects 033Another round of sanding and some new knobs and voila!

10.18.13 both malls prijects 098It’s now in my booth at Stars; $29.00.

10.18.13 both malls prijects 013Ceramic Father Christmas from last weeks thrifting.  Will be leaving him ‘as is’.

10.18.13 both malls prijects 018Vintage AQUA aluminum compote dishes!!  To keep or to craft with????

10.18.13 both malls prijects 021Of course I HAD to look to see just HOW small these pieces were?!?

10.18.13 both malls prijects 020REALLY small!  Don’t even ask me why I bought it?!?!?  Maybe use it as a ‘gag gift’ for the Larson Family Christmas exchange??

10.18.13 both malls prijects 019Anybody got any ‘puzzle pieces’ craft project ideas??

10.18.13 both malls prijects 027Another picnic basket!  (needs a little repair work along the edge)

10.18.13 both malls prijects 029Another apothecary chest to pretty up.

10.18.13 both malls prijects 023Too cute little blue bunny and single cup teapot, cup and saucer.

Stocked up both malls today.  BIG  SALE at STARS Thursday – Sunday.  25% off all regular priced items in my booth.  Still Lots of Halloween goodies available too!

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10.18.13 both malls prijects 105