…dear, sweet desk

I am such a sucker for a secretary. I think they are its own perfectly, cozy space. They are a beauitful piece of furniture, but also functional. A perfect spot for a laptop. I can imagine it in a kitchen as a “mother’s desk”, a study or even a bedroom.

My sweet client, Rachel, brought me her little secretary to refinish. These are just coming out of the wood-work! I have done about 5 of them in past few months! And they all look the same when they come to me. Some have the hutch part on top and others have just the little desk.


We talked about the right color for her home and since I had done some interior work for her, I knew a lighter color would look great. Anything in the white family will pretty much work in any space. I encouraged her to think about doing the interior. I just love how the belly of a secretary looks painted.


Due to the long, narrow crevices, the paint cannot be applied thickly with your brush. So, the look becomes a lovely, distressed one. I think it gives this older piece so much personality.


Here is the exterior. The lighting is not great as it is at the end of the day, but you get the point.


Rachel let’s me distress as I see fit. Yes, with a piece done in Old White you will notice the aged look more, but that is the charm. Who wants a white piece with a ton of coverage – it will just look like a replication or something you can buy in a store. Please distress your secretaries!

She shared this dear picture with me and I think it’s a perfect image.


Being the dear she is, she also dropped off zuccini bread, a lovely card & homemeade granola in a blue mason jar! Thanks, Lovely.


Looking for a sweet secretary? I happen to have 2, maybe 3 for sale at the moment. Email if interested: cbensten@gmail.com



  1. julie jones says:

    Hi Christen !
    The story of your fall and all you are learning from God is really touching : very profound and healthy aftermath.we are all listening and learning !
    a few questions on this secretary :
    what is the blue color used inside ?
    did you paint over the hard ware and not even remove ?

    I bought old ocher as my first AS chalk paint and like it fairly well, but am ready for color #2, especially since the trial size is now available !

    merci !
    julie Jones

  2. So happy to see you back to painting!
    I hope you are feeling better, give yourself time to heal.

  3. Marilyn in Mt. Vernon, Virginia says:

    Take it easy, sweetie! We all hope — and pray — that you’re getting better, that each day is better for you.

    I have that desk; got it when I was a single girl and it’s in perfect condition, although now you’ve tempted me, Christen!

  4. Love my secretary! My girls have officially stole it from me.

  5. I love this secretary!! And ironically, I am in the process of painting a very similar secretary at the moment. I am having trouble reaching all the way to the back of the “cubbies” to paint them because a typical size paintbrush isn’t long enough? What did you use to get the backs of those cubbies painted?

  6. Really love that cute desk. I have been looking for one just like it. Love the new cooler and the blue inside too! Wonder what the chances of finding another?
    Glad you are healing too, enjoy the painting tips. Now for Spring to come so painting is easier.

  7. I just sold one of those as is because I couldn’t face trying to paint the interior, and it was a bleeding mahogany finish, so it would’ve needed shellac first. If it wasn’t -400 degrees outside, I might have tried spray shellac, but the thought of doing it indoors with the fumes just made it impossible. Yours looks delicious. 🙂

  8. Christen ~ OMG! I’m painting that EXACT secretary now for a gentleman. It was his grandfathers. AND, it has consumed my life…but because of the finish that was used on it, I guess back in the Depression days. Lots of bright pink bleed-through. Have used both Kilz and shellac on it, and about 8 layers. Ha! ALMOST finished and it’s gonna look amazing. Customer wants heavy distressing. THANK YOU so much for posting this picture. Gives me hope! Hugs!

  9. Love the desk! I’m praying that the Lord will heal you up quickly, no matter what the doctors say! Just to let you know that you have people praying for you! God Bless!!!!

  10. I really love this type of desk, or ‘bureau’ as they call it here.
    We live in UK and have a big passion for furniture makeover.
    If you are fancy to look at our work please visit us and let us know how we are doing.
    You can find us on Facebook as well.

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