Friday, June 1, 2012

Before & After: The Old School Desk & Cabinet

We've been homeschooling for 8 years.  During that time we have tried every imaginable combination of desks/tables/workstations for our three kids.  We are blessed to have a room in our house that acts only as the school room (though it is the room through which most people enter the house.  yikes!).  A few years ago I built in an L-shaped desk that had work space for two kids plus one computer station.  Nearby was the bar on the back of our kitchen counter, and that provided another desk/workspace and another computer station.  That worked pretty well for a couple of years, but recently it dawned on my that my older kids almost never do their work in the school room anymore.  The go to the couch, table, bedroom, or even the tree house.  Bekah was the only one still doing most of her work in the school room, seated at a desk.

While browsing one of my favorite thrift stores, I found a little vintage school desk.  You can read all the details about it here, but I got it for just over $6.

Isn't it cute?  It had some rust, particularly around the rim of the desk, and the wood on the seat shows some wear, but I loved it.

I brought it home and began to work on it.

I sanded off all the loose rust with a wire brush.  Apparently I broke the cardinal rule of Before & After, and I forgot to take enough pictures.  I thought I had more, but can't find them.  I coated all the metal parts with rust inhibiting spray primer, followed by inexpensive white spray paint.  Using the white all over helps the final color to look more even with less paint.  I even taped off the wooden parts of the chair and painted the metal.  Here is the end result.

So cute!  When I asked Bekah what color she wanted it to be, she said "Baby blue or yellow."  I don't know why I asked, because I had planned to use turquoise all along.  That was close enough to baby blue for her, though.  The color is Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze.

To give her a pop of sunshine every time she opens the desk, I used a BRIGHT yellow inside.

The little cabinet behind the desk is another B&A.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  I knew that once I got rid of the L-shaped desk area with it's drawers and cubbies she'd need some place to keep her books nearby.  I got the little cabinet for $2.97 (i know!!) from the same thrift store, but many weeks earlier.  It looked like this when I brought it home.

After a little scraping, a little sanding, a coat of cheap white spray paint, and a coat of the turquoise, this is how she looks now.

The funny thing is, since I got this set finished and put into the school room, I have found all three kids using it!  I guess everyone likes it, and that's good.

I'll be linking this post to Vintage Thingie Thursday next week.


  1. Both items look amazing - love them both. If I could fit, I'd sit at the desk too!

  2. Love the color. Love that you got the desk! I keep telling Rocky we might need to move into a bigger house cause I'm running out of places to put my new stuff! LOL

  3. Great that you are able to home school your children and how fun that you salvaged the desk and the little cabinet. I love it when people are able to reuse items. Not everyone is as talented as you nor do they have an eye for seeing the potential in a thrift store item.

  4. It looks fantastic! This would look great in a modern or traditional home.Rx