Industrial Chic Desk

Ahhh, this desk. This darn desk took me many, many tries and 2 weeks to get just how I wanted it. This was a GREAT deal from goodwill. Marked as $39.99 but it was half price day on white tags so it was $20 bucks. It is solid and take a look...

Quality too! I was on the hunt for a small desk that would fit into a little corner niche in my husband's office. There are a few technicians that work floating schedules and sometimes, when everyone happens to be working at the same time, they need an extra workspace.

I am going with an "Industrial Chic" vibe in the office. It is a great Co-Op work space for small business owners. It has great concrete floors and a few industrial elements throughout the building, so we just went with it.

First order of business was stripping the wood. I really don't enjoy this process, which is why I usually just paint over an undesirable finish.I am lazy! Ha Ha I wanted to lose that red though and have a natural and weathered wood finish for the drawer fronts. So, off I went to strip away.

After 3 go rounds with the stripper, I threw in the towel. That red had permanently stained the wood. I got most of it off, and decided I would try our my new homemade wood stain to cover it up.

Take one steel wool pad

Put it into the bottom of a jar

Sprinkle used coffee grounds on top

Fill with vinegar

Let it marinate overnight and it is ready to use!

This will give your wood an old worn dark brownish gray finish.

I love the look, however, it was no match for my red drawers! I threw in the towel once again and used My Minwax Wood Sheen to create a dark brown finish.

I wasn't liking the brown, so I grabbed my homemade black chalk paint and threw a coat of that on top.This isn't exactly what I had planned in my mind, but I had had just about enough of fighting with these drawers and the red stain! I was also anxious to get to my Martha Stewart Precious Metals Paint from Home Depot. This is pricey, but it has great coverage, so I haven't had to use much. It also dries super duper fast, which this impatient DIY'er loves

I used it on this project and LOVE the effect, so I painted the rest of the desk with this silvery metallic paint and thank goodness tthis experiment went smoothly! I also had the trim to contend with.

I ripped off all of the cracked old plastic trim. I decided on an unfinished wood trim and stained it with the Minwax Wood Sheen as well. I have never worked with trim before and winged it, tried my best, and it looks ok. Definitely not perfect, but it'll do.

Right, I also had to do something about that stained desk top. This was what I tried first.

I sanded, primed, and sprayed that textured black paint. I loved the textured finish, but it had all of those spray paint blotchy circles. Do you know what I mean? Like you could see the spray strokes even though I applied it so lightly and carefully, Anyway, back to the black chalk paint and I rolled on one coat of that and it looked great.

Am I done yet? Jeeze no. What about the drawer pulls? This was easy. I went to the plumbing aisle and grabbed 2 different sized pipe fixtures and called it a day...or week...whatever!

Here she is allllllll done!

Now, seriously, that was WAY more work than it needed to be, but I learned a couple of lessons!

1. Red stain or paint that has been on a piece for 50 years, is probably never going to come off-so don't try!

2. I am not a good spray painter and on a big flat surface it will always look bad- so don't try!

Now, let's just look at lots of pretty pictures of the final piece, because, damn, I worked hard for this one!

For goodness sakes, it is going to take me a year to get this office done if I keep working at this mistake laden pace. I am excited to get to choose some accessories though. We need lighting, chairs,  shelves, bookcases, and candy jars. Doesn't every happy office need some candy jars? I am looking at some of these options but whew, these are difficult decisions!


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  1. Wow I love the end result! Gah hate things that end up not following the plan the are supposed to – but look at that final product! It is great ! 🙂

  2. Fab job!! and love the red that winks through the darker paint – just a hint, just right. Well done you…..B:)

  3. Amazing transformation! I showed my son and he wants me to make for him just like yours!

  4. Great job! think some of the greatest pieces are the ones we didn’t get to work out the way we wanted to in the first place. And just think, if it had, you wouldn’t have come up with such a GORGEOUS desk!! Ethan Allen would be proud! I love your lamp and chair choices, that is hard…I’m just thinkin’, are you wanting the red, or that chair in black to? Just curious! Can’t wait to see the reveal!!!

  5. Great project. What did you use for the handles? Are they from the electric dept.?

  6. Wow. I mean……wow. That’s is an unbelievable transformation! I’m so impressed! And it actually makes me feel like I could do it! But I know better. I’ll just enjoy yours!

  7. What a great transformation!! And what a steal at $20! Well done!! more please 🙂

  8. Love, love, love those pulls! What a great way to get that industrial look! And, for $20?!

  9. Looks awesome Kim! Love the pulls!

  10. Those drawer pulls, just genius! That’s got my wheels a-turnin’, wondering if they were painted and used on cabinets if they’d look farmhouse-y, sort of the barn-light-for-drawers, look.
    What a great inspiration!

  11. I loved you project so much, the it inspired me to redo my clothes drawer. The first phase, new drawer handles.
    Check it out. Derrick Douglass (ThriftStoreRemix)

  12. Wow! I so want this desk.

  13. WEST furniture revival says:


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