Teacher Desks – They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

I remember my teachers’ desks looking similar to this – minus the linoleum. Lol

It all started when my sister-in-law spotted this desk on the curb and called me to go look at it. So, we did.

Someone had turned this vintage teacher desk into a workbench, complete with a sheet of linoleum glued and tacked to the top.

We saw the potential in this piece of history, picked it up, and added it to our hoard….I mean collection….of pieces to lovingly paint someday.

As luck would have it, we were going to the open house of a retired teacher friend just minutes from then, so we just left it in the truck until later. This friend had built a new house and invited everyone over to see it. Her decorating skills are amazing and wouldn’t you know, there in her office was a desk almost identical to the one we still had in the truck! Minus the linoleum. Lol

Another retired teacher friend had been to the open house and had seen her desk, too. She told me later she would love to have one like that for her house they were in the process of remodeling. I laughed and told her we had picked up one almost exactly (lol) like it. Showed it to her and she said she wanted it at some point. I told her it wasn’t going anywhere, and so we waited until her house was finished.

And then the day came to get started. She wanted it painted and picked out the color in our Missouri Limestone Paint Company Chalk-style paint “Bourbon Street” with a little copper highlighting. Inside of the drawers will be painted with “French Roast”. The top will get at least four coats of Varathane water based Crystal Clear Satin Polyurethane. The rest will have Wise Owl White Tea Salve to seal. It was going to go in a large corner of her beautiful new kitchen and the pop of color and copper would work perfectly. She was thrilled to bring a little bit of teaching history into her home.

Products used:

The first thing to do was to find out if the original top was still on the desk under the linoleum. It was!!! And it was in good shape. The glue had long disappeared so the linoleum lifted right off. The top was veneer, though, so we opted to strip it rather than run the risk of sanding too much into the veneer. After many coats of Citristrip, we discovered some gorgeous detail.

It is wet with Mineral Spirit here after we cleaned it, but it shows off the beautiful detail. It still needed more Citristrip!

Top corner is dry, the rest wet from cleaning. Can you believe this beautiful grain was hidden under linoleum and years of yucky varnish.

Finished top of desk

We then sanded all the drawers, the writing inserts that pull out and the desk. It was ready for painting.

But wait!!! Oh my gosh! When I was cleaning all the sanding dust away, the panels that were on the inside and outside of the desk, including the back, showed this gorgeous grain when wet with our cleaning mixture of 50/50 vinegar and water. Upon closer inspection they were all 1/4″ solid wood panels. Forget painting the inserts. These were getting stained!

Just Wow!

One of the drawer handles had a chunk out of it, so we repaired it with JB Weld KwikWood. This is awesome stuff. Even I had to look closely and search for the repair after I put the drawers back in when finished.

Painting finished, drawers back in place and we are ready for the final reveal.

But….there is one mystery I can’t figure out. Behind the center drawer, there is a shelf. Seems to serve no purpose, but I realized I needed to paint it as you can vaguely see the edge of it from the back. It almost seems like it is a hidden shelf put there on purpose. The center drawer locks. Could it be that the teacher, at the end of the day, takes out the drawer, hides the gradebook, and then replaces and locks the drawer? If the desk was broken into, the gradebook would be safe? 🧐🤷🏼‍♀️ Inquiring minds want to know. I have done a bit of research but can’t find anything. My son thinks it isn’t a shelf at all, but a support board. I like to imagine otherwise. Lol

By the way, isn’t it cool the back of the desk is finished, too? But think about it. This is the view of the teacher’s desk students usually see. They need to look at a finished piece of furniture, right?

Now, for the final reveal! I will add a photo of this vintage teacher desk in the home of my retired teacher friend just as soon as it is delivered. As a retired teacher myself, this one was hard to let go.

As promised, here is the desk in its new home. Have you ever seen a more perfect setting??

Paint the frames on your French Doors? Why not?

Our friends had a major makeover on their home. Every bit of trim in the home was replaced and stained a beautiful rustic shade from Varathane called BriarSmoke.

Unfortunately, the frames of their French doors were that orangey looking faux oak. They now stood out like a sore thumb. They didn’t want to buy new doors, so they asked me if they could be painted.

I knew that type of door could as I had painted them before. I also was confident that our Missouri Limestone Paint Company chalk-style paint (MLPC) could be blended to match pretty closely.

Materials used:

* Base color – Round Bales (MLPC)

* Blending colors – French Roast and Gray Goose, and a little more Round Bales. (MLPC)

* Water

* Several size brushes including a flat artist brush I used for blending

But first things first – I did a sample board. Even I was impressed how closely it matched!

I did forget to take pics, but hope I can explain the technique I used. First of all, my friend had cleaned the door well and even taped off the glass for me.

After painting just one coat of Round Bales on the doors, I was ready to blend. I didn’t need full coverage, as I would be blending other colors with it.

1. I put French Roast on a 1″ chippy brush and painted some random stripes on a small section.

2. I took the flat 1″ artist brush, dipped it in water and blotted it on paper town and blended those stripes, sometimes leaving a little of the round bales showing.

3. I used the same Round Bales brush (sometimes adding a touch more paint) and blended it with the French Roast.

4. I continued blending and adding both paints until I got the look I wanted.

5. I then randomly painted just a few dabs of Gray Goose and blended it in with the Round Bales.

The result was very close to the trim and after drying overnight almost spot on!

That’s it! These French doors now look like all the other doors in the house, match the trim, and saved my friends from having to buy new doors. Pardon the shadow on the lower left door.

A Painted Desk Chair

Our Missouri Limestone Paint Company Chalk-Style Paint … Sour Green Apples … a wash of January … champagne glaze ….sealed with Varathane Polyurethane.

My friend came to visit and brought a chair Lol. So in between jobs for my kids, we painted her chair. Can’t wait to see it in place in her house.

An Outdated Red Brick Fireplace Gets an Amazing Transformation

Our son and daughter-in-law wanted to update their family room and asked us to help paint the walls and wainscoting and use our Missouri Limestone Paint Company Chalk-Style paint to update their outdated red brick fireplace.

The walls were painted with Valspar “Tempered Gray” and the wainscoting and trim with “Snowcap White”.

I mixed Missouri Limestone Paint Company Chalk-Style Paint “Winter Gloves” 50/50 with water. I found using a sponge brush didn’t make much of a mess. Working in sections, I brushed the mix on, then wiped it with a rag. I then lightly brushed it again (without dipping the brush). I used a different brush to smooth it out and blend it. This was a big fireplace so it took awhile, but still less than a day.

We didn’t quite get all the wainscoting finished, but the fireplace is stunning!

At least they won’t have too much more to do to finish up and have a beautiful new room!

Here’s the color scheme for the room:

Walls: Valspar Tempered Gray and Snowcap White

Floor: Vinyl floating floor from Menards

We finished all the walls, but this is as far as we got on the wainscoting, but the room is going to be beautiful. I can’t wait to see it all completed!