Secretary Desk Before & After

I am so over this desk.  I picked it up for free after seeing it posted on Nextdoor and thought it would be a challenging DIY.  I’d take my time with it, I told myself.  Move slow.  No big deal.


It’s like Tae Bo.  Remember Tae Bo?  It seemed like such a good idea at the time.  Cardio kickboxing!  What could be better!?   I was all in for a few months.  But a few weeks of jabbing and uppercutting with Billy Blanks and I was over it.

Same with the desk.  I was as enthusiastic as it comes when I first lugged it home.  But the dang thing has been sitting in our garage in various states of (dis) repair for five months now and I’m over it.  I Googled, I YouTubed, I talked with the nice folks over at True Value and I put in many hours of elbow grease. I did the work.  But now I’m sick of it and I’m ready to bid it farewell.

I forgot to snag a picture when I picked it up so this is the one I took right after sanding it.  It had a medium dark brown finish with dings and rings all over, sagging or nonexistent hardware, and drawers that stopped instead of slid.






I borrowed an electric sander from friends and gave it a solid sanding.  Then I primed it.  Then for a fun intermission I spilled an entire can of black paint on the floor of the garage. Good times.  Then I gave it two coats of black paint on the outside.

After which, I gave it two coats of red paint on the inside.  Then I repaired the original hinges on the interior and spent two weeks closing the front of the desk only to have the (DRY!) paint stick and peel when I re-opened the desk.  Finally I wised up and added some of those little bumpers (you can see them up at the top, just under the black ledge).


Finally I moved on to the glossy finish.  Which was… a disaster.  For whatever reason, the gloss kept clumping and streaking and I couldn’t figure out what to do.  Honestly, though, by that point, I didn’t have the energy or the interest to troubleshoot it.  I just let it dry, sanded it a tiny bit where it had clumped and then added more black paint.


New drawer pulls were added and I’ve now shoved it over to the edge of the garage where it will remain in furniture purgatory until someone claims it.  But, hey, if nobody comes for it I guess I do need something to hold my old Tae Bo tapes.

UPDATE – SEP 13th: I sold it on Craigslist yesterday for 50 bucks.  Good riddance!

Other Projects

Boxed Corners
Bookshelf Before & After
Dresser Refresh
Laundry Room