How’s this for an analogy? I believe I have created the mullet haircut of furniture transformations. Now, hear me out: what sets a mullet apart is its element of surprise, right? “Business in the front, party in the back,” as the saying goes. And similarly, with my new and improved roll-top desk, we’ve got business on the outside, party on the inside!
Want to know how this beachy keen wonder came to be? Well, who am I kidding? We all know, I’m going to tell the story no matter what you say (wink), so you might as well grab some lemonade and get comfy, dear reader!
I have had my heart set on acquiring a roll-top desk for some time now. I mean, when it comes to the roll-top, what’s not to love?
- You’ve got teeny tiny drawers to help organize all your teeny tiny office supplies…
- An expansive workspace for writing, creating, and mess-making…
- Guests coming over? No problem! Simply roll-down that top and your desk is instantly clean.
(I know…now, you want one, too.) I had just begun to scour Craigslist in search of the perfect piece when one fell into our hands. My in-laws were doing some downsizing and asked if we wanted their old roll-top. Did we ever!
It’s a gorgeous piece made out of solid oak, with quality hardware, and not a dent or scratch to be seen. In fact, to be honest, it felt a little criminal to even contemplate painting such a beaut.
However, the bottom line was that the stained oak with gold hardware, though beautiful, just wasn’t our style. And while I eventually envision this piece in a room of her own someday, right now, she has to fit into the corner of our Rustic Nautical Master Bedroom. So, it was time to dream up a bright n’ beachy color palette to jive with the rest of the space….
The Color Palette
I decided on a combination of Behr’s silver screen gray and ultra pure white for the exterior of the desk, which would match our bedding, but are still great neutrals for different design schemes down the pike.
Then, I consulted my partner in crime (handy-man and hubby, Mark) about a wild idea for incorporating an element of surprise into the color palette. You see, I had once seen an incredible furniture project done by Liz Marie where the drawers of white desk were painted green…and I’ve always wanted to try the same.
Thankfully, Mark enthusiastically supported this idea! So, we chose gem turquoise for our interior drawer color and set to work. Here’s a closer look at that pop of color when you open a drawer…or three!
The “party on the inside” is definitely one of our favorite elements of the finished desk…but I’ll be up front and say that it was a significant time investment. Instead of just one side of the drawers to prime, paint 2 coats, and seal…we now had five sides. And a gazillion drawers.
I remember after our first work day (which was 8 hours), I was feeling pretty discouraged. I had cleaned the desk, removed all the hardware, and primed the main body of the desk, but I hadn’t even touched the drawers. I felt in over my head. Thankfully, Mark offered to take the drawers off my hands so I could focus on the exterior. It was a huge weight of my shoulders, and his drawers turned out great! Big projects like these are always better with a buddy.
You can spy more of our painting process in my post called 10 Tips for Painting Furniture with Latex Paint.
Now, I know I did say “business on the outside,” but I did sort of bend that mantra when I incorporated a little scallop stenciling on the sides and center corkboard. I couldn’t help myself! Those side panels were just beginning for some flair…and flair they did get! (Thanks to Royal Design Studios’ Scallops Allover Stencil.) If you’re curious to see more behind-the-scenes shots from that stenciling process, check out my post entitled Adding Scallop Stencil Details to a Roll-Top Desk. Then, you can see how do-able it really is.
It’s amazing how something so simple as swapping out old hardware for new can dramatically update a piece! We found some satin nickel handles for the drawers at Home Depot that we were keen on. Then, we simply bought some spray paint to match, so we could transform all of the gold hardware into satin nickel, too!
And yes, I have an entire drawer devoted to washi tape!
I think some of the most fun I had working on this mega-transformation was shopping for special pieces to help organize and decorate the desk! You see, I wanted it to be that perfect blend of beautiful and functional. You can check out Desk Styling 101 post where I share where I found all of these treasures and why I chose to bring them home with me!
The Winning Chair
I did put some serious research into desk chairs before settling on the Avenue Six Vista Task Chair on Amazon. While it wasn’t initially my #1 pick for style, I was sold on the genuine and positive reviews. Plus, I was drawn by the fact that I could tuck it completely under the desk since it was armless. Boy, am I glad I chose this one!
Not only is it one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in, but it looks even better in person than it did on Amazon. The cushion has a luxurious feel to it, and I’m determined to keep it white as long as possible. No Kool Aid chugging sessions in this chair (you know…because that’s something I do sometimes).
We even left out the center drawer when re-assembling the desk so I could sit at a most comfortable height without my knees bumping into the bottom of the drawer. Gotta keep things ergonomic!
Back to Balance
I also think having a designated workspace for my blogging and writing will continue to help me in my quest for balance. Up until now, I haven’t had a space of my own for my work. So, I think this new desk o’ mine might help me have more set work hours…which will be a whole lot healthier than simply having one never-ending work day in the living room. It’ll be so much easier to leave it all behind, too, when I need a break…considering I can just shut that roll-top!
Plus, how can you feel anything less than empowered after locking up a desk that declares, “winners only”?
Oh my goodness, friends. This is just the tip of the iceberg! I have so many more things to share with you about this whole process of transforming the roll-top desk…so many more things that they merit multiple posts. Click on the links below to hop around and explore them all as they go live! It’s going to be a grand old time.
- Roll-Top Desk Makeover: Business on the Outside, Party on the Inside (you’re here)
- 10 Tips for Painting Furniture with Latex Paint
- Desk Styling 101: Say Goodbye to Styling Anxiety
- Adding Scallop Stencil Details to a Roll-Top Desk
Plus, you can see the other dramatic transformations of our Rustic Nautical Master Bedroom Makeover:
- Rustic Nautical Master Bedroom Makeover: How We Found Our Shared Style
- IKEA Hack: Whitewashed Fjell Wardrobe with Pallet Shelves
- How to Stain Wood with a HomeRight Finish Max Sprayer: Video Tutorial
- How to Build a Custom King Size Bed Frame
- So You Want to Build a Pallet Headboard
- IKEA Side Table Hack: Such Great Heights
- The Thrifty Girl’s Guide to Coastal Decor
- Nautical Anchor Pillow Tutorial
- Felt Fish Pillow for the Nautically-Inclined
And remember: the mullet is officially back, my friends.
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