DIY white lacquer deskI risked life and limb to bring this post to you.  But I know how you like  a good story. So, here goes.

Antique and thrift stores have ruined me forever.  I almost NEVER see new furniture I love.  Yet, nearly every time I go into a good antique store, the possibilities are brimming.  I could recover that.  I could change out the hardware on that.  I could repaint that and bedazzle it with a bust of David.  And on and on it goes.  So, when Emme needed a desk for her new tween room, I knew just where we needed to go.  There’s an antique store near us that looks like a bad, dusty version of the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter.

UnknownIn other words, it makes me  feel like I’ve died and gone to hoarder’s  purgatory heaven. Except that it’s way scarier than what you imagine hoarder’s heaven would look like. When you walk in the door, it’s dimly lit, with piles dishes and pyrex teetering ever so precariously from every narrow isle.  There’s figurines galore and enough salt and pepper shakers to season all the food in the free world. Don’t look upwards, lest you see the hundreds of sharp farm implements, which seem to be waiting to impale you at any moment. It smells like a stale, poorly ventilated Goodwill and my daughters have been known to dry heave whilst looking for hidden treasures with their mother.  Life is hard and full of funny smells, is all I can tell you.  The floor where the furniture is stacked slants at about a 30 degree angle, so stable shoe wear is highly recommended.

The ends of the isles are so full that you have to do a lot of backtracking to get to the next isle. That gives you plenty of chances to knock down a whole slew of scary looking baby dolls. What gives with the dolls, anyway?  I’ve never been in the market for nekkid, scary looking dolls with matted hair. So you might be tempted to ask the obvious question.

Why do I love it so?  Because there’s almost nothing you can think of, made in the last hundred years, that’s not in this building.  This is not a shopping excursion.  This is Operation Find That Desk— Without Being Crushed Under loads of Glassware Never to Be Found Again.  This is not a project for the faint of heart. You gotta to bring your A game.

And I’ve never been short on hustle.

In case you think I exaggerate, I present the room stacked with gobs of furniture.


photo 3

You see piles of odd furniture.  I see endless opportunity.

I asked if there was an old desk. He took me right to this baby—an old sewing desk that had just the right bones for a good rehab job.

What do I look for in a piece of furniture?  1) It hadn’t been painted, so would be easy to sand and paint,  2) It was structurally sound with no broken parts, 3) It looked possible to dislodge it from it’s current dwelling place.

So, we went to Sonic for slushes while the kind man brought our desk into the light of day.  I should have grabbed the typewriter, too, but I have enough things in my life that need attention right now.

photo 2
DIY white lacquer desk

I knew I wanted to paint it in high gloss white, so Nick and I sanded it and then began painting it with Valspar’s white lacquer paint.

Here are my tips for this type of painting project:

  • Sand it down well.  I use this mouse sander, Black & Decker MS2000 Multi Sander with Smart Select and it works wonders and is VERY fast.
  • Lacquer paint is oil-based and I don’t like to clean brushes that have oil based paint on them.  I don’t like paint thinner.  SO.  I use an old paint brush and just throw it away when I’m done. Lazy or brilliant.  You decide.
  • High gloss paint is so beautiful when it’s dry  but as you’re painting with it, you’ll fret and worry about brush marks,etc.  Don’t worry.  It will be smooth and shiny and beautiful when you’re done, almost no matter what you do.
  • I did two coats on this but it looked pretty darn awesome after one coat.  I bought 1 quart of Valspar high gloss white paint and had plenty left for other projects.
  • I use Krylon 1000 Premium Metallic Spray Paint, Gold for all my gold spray paint jobs and it is fantastic. I spray painted the existing hardware and it turned out perfect.

DIY white lacquer desk

I hope to have this room finished in the next week or two.  I’ve got a couple light fixtures to have installed and one certain disco ball and some pictures to hang.  But we’re close.

DIY white lacquer desk

The irony of this whole long post on the story of the white lacquered desk is this—she hasn’t sat here one time to do her homework.


I like to sit there, when I’m visiting the tween room.  It’s a great place to sit, dear friends.  It LOOKS like it would be a dandy place to study, too.

DIY white lacquer desk

But, inevitably, she and her sister choose the schoolroom, where we’ve spent so many hundreds of hours, learning and crafting and reading together.  I’m doing better and I know it was the right thing to do for now, but giving up homeschooling was one of the hardest things I’ve done.  I miss those girls like something awful.

I guess old habits are hard to break, not matter what age you are!

My question for you is this.  If you ever come to Bean Station to visit me, will you make the trek to the Room of Requirement with me?  I’ll buy you cherry limeade and we’ll dig for treasures together!


A whole post, with sources, is coming for this room.  Check out my Tween Room Pinterest Board for lots of tween room decorating ideas.  Hopefully, we’ll be ready in a week or two!

Happy Weekending!

I’m linking this project at Sara’s awesome blog!

70 comments on “DIY White Lacquer Desk {and Tween Room progress}”

  1. Wow! That turned out wonderfully! I would love to poke and peruse in that place with you. I can’t look at anything- old or new and not see a new look or different use for it. Also? I throw out old brushes rather than clean them too so I vote brilliant 😉

  2. The desk is cute and turned out beautifully! Great bones indeed.

    Now, I’m concerned about this pile of teetering Pyrex that you’re JUST NOW telling us about…? Did you even stop to think if any of it might need a new home? Because I can make space if I HAVE to.


    • Oh, Ms. Heather. You would DIE in here. And trust me, I’ve bought many a Pyrex piece but it is not at all easy to dislodge it.
      You’re just gonna have to come South!!
      Miss you and hope baby boy is happy and healthy!

  3. You know painted furniture is my jam. This looks fabulous. Any, yes. I’ll make the trek to Bean Station (wherever the heck that is) just to dig through old treasures with you. That’s my kind of day. PS: The gold chair is the icing on the cake. Totally.

  4. That room of stacked and teetering stuff looks like heaven. I’ll put on my steel toe flip flops and be ready before you can say ASTHMA ATTACK!

  5. Oh Edie! That desk looks AWESOME! My kids never used their desks for studying either. But it looks fabulous in the room.

    I’m getting ready to do my very first DIY paint project. Two night stands. I was lucky to swoop them up on Craig’s List. They are pretty old and solid wood. I will refer back to your method. Thank you.

  6. I need to find me a place like that – a hidden gem! I would definitely dig in there with you – that desk is worth risking life and limb for 🙂 Turned out beautiful! Can you use the lacquer over water-based paint? It would have been perfect for the dresser in my girls’ room. I bought that y’all sign too – so awesome.
    Have a great weekend 🙂

  7. Oh, what fun! I would MOST DEFINITELY forge my way into the Room of Requirement with you. Love the desk, the paint and the sneak peeks … and does that hat say ‘Mama Tried’? Because Mama did a mighty fine job!

  8. Oh, I love The Room of Requirement…..we have a place like that in our little town…well, we did …it closed a year ago because people (idiots) complained about the mess (treasures) that occasionally poured out onto the sidewalk . My daughter and daughter-in-law and I have found the most wonderful tables, china hutches and chairs at this crazy place. Honestly, it looked just like the Room of Requirement , you kind of expected a snake or raccoon to jump out at you.
    I love the white desk and totally agree about using an old brush and then pitching…..I do it all the time.
    Have you posted the 3rd & 4th installment of not being a Christian Feminist? If you did, I have missed it and need to know how to get to it. I love you and enjoy your blog so much!

  9. Love the way your desk turned out and especially the Hey Y’all sign. Would love to visit the Room of Requirement with you I’m ever in your neck of the woods.

  10. I’ll come to Bean Station and go with you to the Room of Requirement. I could use a desk for my computer(right now I am using my dining room table) and a writing desk for Bible study and journaling. I could also use a nice rocking chair

  11. I have been reading your blog forever but I am 🙂 or a blogger…just a reader;) The desk is precious…I love a good ole junk store that others see as mess…I see potential! Wish you lived closer…we could be great buds! Love your blog…your faith-style-humor-etc…and your southerness…from one Charleston SC girl! I want those spindle beds;) Now if I can just get these people in my house (1-4-8 yr old girls and boy) eating some soup…I love the recipes! Know your Mamas heart aches with transition concerning your girls….that’s the subject on my mind…transition…they aren’t easy but necessary. I am a SAHM now since last May w #3 but have taught middle and high school English for 15 yrs in both private Christian school and public school…and it can be a true source of inspiration fun and adventure! I hope things settle into beautiful things, covered in His peace;) Mandy

  12. One of my favorite places to hunt for treasures requires the owner “unearthing” lest I topple the whole of it over! How fun would it be to hunt with you?! The desk turned out lovely even if there is no studying going on. I belive I could just sit there and dream an afternoon away looking into the painting…

  13. Love the desk! Do you have to wait 3 to 4 weeks for the oil based paint to completely dry or cure? By wait I mean not put anything on it and leave the drawers out so it will not chip the paint?

  14. Adorable desk & that’s my kind of thrifting adventure. There’s a place here in Chattanooga, TN where you are literally warned by a sign at the door “enter at your own risk!” The floor is collapsing with giant holes here and there. It’s like a safari in a junk jungle!

  15. Life is hard and full of funny smells? That needs to be some chalkboard art right there! LOL! Glad you are feeling better about the girls and are spending your days creating. Hugs!

  16. Maybe she won’t ever use it for homework, but it looks like it would make a good vanity when she gets to that makeup/hair stage!

  17. Maybe she won’t ever use it for homework, but it looks like it would make a good vanity when she gets to that makeup/hair stage! Is the “old” shared bedroom getting any changes as a result of the switcheroo?

  18. Her room is looking wonderful, you’ve done a great job with it.

    I knew the school room would still have life in it, so great that they have a place they are comfortable with & want to hang out together & with you while they get homework done. I bet they miss it too, mine still hang out in ours to work on projects.

    Good to know that you all are transitioning well. We just finished our 1st week & are wiped out.

    I’d love to come hang out some time we’re only few hours away and I might be offended if we didn’t make a visit to some great thrift shops.

    Blessing to you all, sweet Edie!

  19. Fabulous makeover!! 🙂 Love the lacquered paint! I was laughing all the way through and read the description to my husband. We could relate. I actually ran across your instagram yesterday (via Ruth’s?) and saw your picture and read through the comments to try to figure out which store this was so I could go!! If the commenters were correct I googled it and “pinned” directions and told my husband that I wanted to go the next time we drove down to Pigeon Forge. 😉 I love a dusty musty smelling slanted floor place like this!! 🙂 Who doesn’t? 😛

  20. Hi Edie! I’m a new follower to your site and LOVE everything you do! You’ve inspired me to paint a piece of my own (thanks much for the specifics on the products you use)–but my questions is, what do you do with the insides of the drawers? Clean them up and leave as is, or do you paint them too?
    Thanks for being my vacation entertainment, I will definitely continue to follow when I get back to the “real world!”

  21. a) Beautiful. JUST beautiful.
    b) thanks for the practical tips on high gloss business. May try soon.
    c) pretty spots for studying are used for other things here at our farm, too. It’s totally ok.
    d) I also cannot remember the last time I preferred a new piece over a recoverable treasure.
    e) YE. If Bean Station is ever, ever, ever on my travel plan, I would be so thrilled to treasure hunt with you Slushes or coffee on me.

  22. Southern California has nothing like your Room of Requirement. It looks like a dream come true for me! My favorite thing when visiting family in the mid-west is going to places like that!

  23. That thrift store looks kind of like a dream. Maybe a nightmare, but a dream none-the-less. I’d love to go poking in there.

    You did an AMAZING job on that desk. It looks SO beautiful.

    Can I ask about that gold lamp? I just redid a desk and I’m looking for a lamp for myself. It’s beautiful.

    Here’s my desk redo…

    Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

  24. Well Miss Edie! You have intrigued me with this post! I must admit – I’m a lover of new furniture but am scouring my brain trying to find some new creative outlets as my children head back to school in one week. I have a daughter that is going into 6th grade and a son who is starting Kindergarten .( Insert BIG sniff sniff and a sigh here!) I never home schooled them but am the kind of mom who is NOT happy to see them go back to school. I want to keep them at home with me forever:) I too am going to be redoing my tween daughter’s room this fall and your pictures and posts are truly inspiring to me. Boy do I know we would have a wonderful time together in THE ROOM OF REQUIREMENT – mostly bc this is quite new to me and you would get a lot of laughs just introducing me to your passion for older things and digging to find buried treasures.
    **** I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found your blog. I just feel ” at home ” here in your space in blog land:)
    I am so excited to sign up for your E COURSE that begins October 1st. Where do I sign up?
    I’m redoing my whole home right now – It is an old farmhouse (circa 1741) in Chadds Ford, PA! You would love it…I’m excited to begin my decorating journey with you, your blog and your fabulous E Course by my side!!!
    Your work is beautiful, your writing – delightful and your fun loving creative spirit is contagious. Thank you.

  25. I have two of those great chests from Bombay…remember that store?
    Anywho, they are the bedside tables in our master bedroom. They are really dark wood and shiny…hoping I can sand them and paint them some kind of shiny wonderful in the next few months….ready for a change.

    LOVING all the gold you’re adding to the house. Who knew it would ever come back?

  26. Oh Edie this desk makes me swoon. Now I want to kick myself for passing one like it on because the drawers were in bad shape. I knew I should have held onto it.
    I would be thrilled beyond words (of course, you would probably know the perfect words to describe it, but I on the other hand…), to come to Bean Station and peruse every last inch of the Room of Requirement with you. You know, I have still not read any of the Harry Potter books. But we could dig out amazing treasures from those heaps you see there.

  27. @Missy…I live in Chattanooga. Where is this treasure cave?
    I love those kinds of places. There was one down the street from where i worked in college and I would walk in there after my shift. Can’t remember the name of it, but it was in Old Towne in Knoxville. Got lots of fun things for my apartment there.

  28. I’m new to your blog. Love the desk makeover! I’m trying to work up the courage to do something. Sounds funny, huh? I feel like the whole house needs a makeover and I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been tempted to take pictures and ask some of you “handy people” what would you do if this were your room? I so wish I were handy or at least could see a vision of something. So, weird question – did you make that notebook on the desk? Is it a journal or something? I have a thing for notebooks…..

  29. I am so there! I honestly love those old bed frames in your sneak peek picture, and can just imagine them painted some fun color. Honestly, I would probably be so overwhelmed by all the great stuff that I would not even take into consideration the danger of it all. I think that place needs to be on American Pickers! Rusty gold!

  30. I’m dying to know where you find all your busts. Ok, that sounds weird, but you know what I mean! The one in your tween room, and your powder room, etc. Do you have a good source? Thanks so much!!

  31. Good Morning Edie! I would love to know where you got the gold bamboo-type frame for the Hey Y’all picture. I love that combo.
    PS) You are absolutely precious! Love your style and your blog!

    • It’s from a local thrift store, which is usually THE best place to buy frames!!
      I just look for a frame I like, and then spray paint as needed!
      Hobby Lobby will use the old frame and then just do the matting, etc for you.
      Makes it SO much cheaper!

  32. I would go in a skinny minute! I’m on the look out for a chest of drawers or dresser like everyone else in the world. Maybe there’s one hidden in the aisles of that heavenly place.

  33. The desk is beautiful,you did a wonderful job on it. Tomorrow kicks off the football season and I can’t wait. GO VOLS GO!!!!!!!!!

  34. Besides black and brown melanin pigments, dopamine is involved in the synthesis of light coloured pigments and also in sclerotization. N alanyl dopamine (NBAD), a derivative of dopamine, is a precursor for the yellow/red cuticular pigments of Drosophila18 and the larva of swallowtail butterfly, Papilio xuthus15, and for NBAD o quinone, which crosslinks cuticle proteins in sclerotization22, 23. Another derivative of dopamine, N acetyl dopamine (NADA), is a precursor for NADA o quinone, which is also involved in sclerotization of transparent or very light coloured cuticles22, 23, 24. Dopamine is converted to NBAD by the alanyl dopamine synthetase encoded by ebony gene, whereas NADA is synthesized from dopamine by arylalkylamine N acetyl transferase (aaNAT) activity.

  35. I’ve been looking for a desk for my daughter and I absolutely LOVE this one. What is the name of the antique shop that you got it from or what is the company/model of the table.

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