Challenging Old White Desk

Today I’m sharing with you a custom piece for a client who knew exactly what she wanted.

A friend mentioned she was looking for a simple desk with a few drawers. And two days later, I found one.


She wanted it right away and sent me this photo as her inspiration.

white desk inspiration

That shouldn’t be hard at all, I thought.

Think again, self.

She wanted Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White and so I did what I normally do, I just painted it all and then sanded it. I actually used a sanding sponge since I needed to get past the original finish to the wood.

IMG_0767 IMG_0574

That is where I ran into problems. Sanding and distressing may be an art, but it’s definitely not an exact one. So when I sanded down to the wood I was left with the pure white finish exposed as well. It didn’t look good.

I tried just painting over those areas and it wasn’t working. I got more and more frustrated.

Finally I called up my insanely talented friend Jessica from lovefifty50. We went to graduate school together too but now talk more about how we love re-doing furniture. I approached her with my problem and she suggested mixing a very thin wash with the Old White and water to blend the colors.


It took a few coats of the wash but it did even it all out while still leaving the exposed wood (I would wipe the wash off a little with my finger in those areas).

I finished with Annie Sloan Clear Wax and was finally done.




Thankfully it turned out great. And my client sent me this picture soon after- her inspiration come to life! She even bought my vintage silver-plated toast rack which is perfect for sorting mail.white desks

This piece did not have to be that hard, and here is how I could have made it easier: I think if I were to do it again I would sand off the top coat strategically in places I KNEW I would distress (sides of legs, top of table edges, around drawers). And even take photos so I knew exactly where to distress after I painted. Then I could just paint and distress.

Thankfully the wash turned out ok- big shout out to Jess!! And I learned something new. :)

What do you think of this table? It’s pretty great how similar to the inspiration it is!

Linked up to Miss Mustard Seed and Thrifty Decor Chick


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