A Family Heirloom Restored


Start to finish: a restored piece of my family's history.

Start to finish: a restored piece of my family’s history.

Let me start this blog by saying that almost any piece of old furniture is worth saving. I take pride in finding or being gifted with a piece of furniture that the previous owner deemed as trash and bringing it back to a work of quality design. That being said, almost every piece of furniture in my home has been gifted to me so that I could restyle it and make it my own. Nothing “matches” however it all works well to create a rustic cottage style.

The many layers of paint, seen here, which took quite some time completely remove.

The many layers of paint, seen here, which took quite some time completely remove.

I’ve been quite busy working on several restoration projects simultaneously. I recently completed an antique French writing desk that had suffered years of use and abuse. This was my great grandmother’s desk, purchased new in New York back in the late teens/early 1920’s. It has exquisite wood carvings just above the 2 front legs, and locking drawers (I have yet to find the skeleton keys, but I have a few that came from her so I shall have to try them all).

You could finally see her gorgeous legs and wood carving details once the many layers of paint had been stripped off.

You could finally see her gorgeous legs and wood carving details once the many layers of paint had been stripped off.

Over its almost 100 year lifespan it’s been handed down to my grandma and then to her children to use for homework or as a vanity. At one point, several of my aunts used the same paint which was used to repaint my grandma’s kitchen (a terribly scary muddy brick color) and slather it all over the desk. The desk remained that color for the next 25+ years until I inherited the desk and used it as a desk or a hall table.

This beauty is finally ready to be the shining star, and create many more years of inspiration and great memories!

This beauty is finally ready to be the shining star, and create many more years of inspiration and great memories!

I had thought about refinishing the desk from time to time, but had never acted on it. One day, I decided it was time to make this elegant lady shine again.

The 4 layers of paint were so thickly laid on that it was difficult to see how delicate and graceful it was in its former glory. It became my mission to chisel it all away, thus creating a lasting tribute to my great grandmother and something I’m proud to use and one day hand down to my children.

I chose the color Tantalizing Teal to paint this elegant masterpiece because I had heard that my great grandmother, who had passed away when I was a baby, was charismatic and lived life to the fullest. I also found some antique drawer pulls in my garage (I love what people give me) and used those rather than the simple wood knobs to dress up this vintage marvel. The end result was a piece that is full of vigor and creates inspiration.

french desk6

Yes it’s a dainty piece, and when I sit at it I can imagine my great grandmother sitting at it scrawling out a letter to her sister or a distant cousin. For me it’s the perfect size for my laptop.┬áThe finished writing desk can be seen at my shop in Sanford and Sons Antique Mall on Broadway in Tacoma.


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