THE ONLY SECRETARY I’LL EVER HAVE—VIVA THE FLIP TOP DESK

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in MUFFINTOP DIY, Uncategorized | Posted on 29-01-2014

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Who wouldn’t love a secretary?

“I’m terribly sorry, Muffintopmommy cannot come to the phone right now, she is rather busy watching the Biebs burst into flames, whilst snacking on a Pop Tart. May I take a message and she will return your call when Real Housewives is over and the keg has runneth dry?”

Dreams are free people, come on! Come fly with me—-it’s one degree out and life is too short!

Ahem….if you can’t afford a real, live secretary…..tada! How about a flip top desk aka secretary? A year ago, the husband and I decided to paint our family room—when I looked at the gold I’d chosen years earlier, a French’s mustard nightmare is all I saw. What was I thinking? Add those walls to the list of personal and societal transgressions—pegged pants, banana clips, Caillou…need I go on??? This of course set off the inevitable chain of decorating and DIY events. One thing we despised about our family room were two indentations, roughly three feet wide, on either side of the fireplace. Total wasted, awkward space; they screamed for built ins. Finally, we decided to get a quote. And….nooooo. Moneymoneymoneymoneeeeee! Thanks for playing…..If only these pesky kids didn’t need to eat all the time.

Type B, Plan B. Craigslist ho’ing. I love the lines of the old secretary desks, and just like the sideboards, they are as sturdy and practical as they are beautiful. Dood! More drawers to hide stuff in style—I’m all in. I wanted one with a serpentine aka curvy front for added interest, and I held out until I found the right deal. Scored one for $75, solid cherry, Dovetail drawers, a little banged up but overall a solid piece. Due to the unfortunate 6 year old dumping my phone in the toilette incident of 2013, I do not have any before or during pics (but I do have eyewitnesses who saw me painting in the driveway!). This is a different one currently for sale on the CL, and is roughly what it looked like prior:

Behold...a facsimile!

Behold…a facsimile!

And…..after:

Cue up Stevie Wonder..."Isn't she loveeeely...."

Cue up Stevie Wonder…”Isn’t she loveeeely….”

Why are my pictures sidewards again???????? *puts down Pop Tart to investigate…..

Here you can see the indentation of which I speak and see how great the secretary fits in!

Here you can see the indentation of which I speak and see how great the secretary fits in!

*finishes Pop Tart….yeah, I still don’t know….*&^% Too bad I don’t have a secretary to ask! Damn!

Anyway, this is how the DIY went down….I painted the drawers and the outside of the piece in Annie Sloan chalk paint in old white, distressed it lightly, and added a coat of clear wax and a coat of dark wax, just like the demilune shaped sideboard in my last post. The biggest benefit to using Annie Sloan paint is that you don’t have to prime first. However, in this instance, because it was a reddish toned wood to start, I found with the old white it needed one more coat than usual—I did experience some reddish bleed through. Something to keep in mind if you’re doing a similar project.

Also, Annie Sloan paint dries to a flat finish, and that’s why you add the wax step after painting—the wax protects the piece, but it also adds a lovely silky feeling to the finish. As for distressing, that’s totally a personal preference. Some hate it, some love it. I like it but try to limit it to places on the piece that might have naturally worn away over time. On this piece I chose to keep the hardware because it’s classic and I really can’t imagine any other hardware on it. I painted right over the hardware and distressed that in places as well, and I do like how it turned out. You could always unscrew the hardware and spray paint it if you wanted a different look for a minimal price, as I did with the demilune.

Here is the finish up close...

Here is the finish up close…

I kept the inside of the secretary in the cherry finish because it was in decent shape and it cleaned up well with a coat of Restor-A-Finish. It could probably use another coat as it’s been several months. And check out the cool compartments inside the flip top! You invest in a piece like this and it can truly perform so many functions—it could be used as a writing desk, a lovely addition to a dining room to store dishes, or even a bedroom piece. If you had an old school bathroom, you could use it to store linens. I have a feeling my little secretary friend will serve me well for years, even if we wind up moving from the house with the awkward indentations some day!

Annnd....we're sidewards again. Have you been drinking?

Annnd….we’re sidewards again. Have you been drinking?

AGGH! For now, my little workhorse can house stuff like this…

It was no Trouble to finish this....I'm not Sorry I bought it...(I'll regret this like the French's mustard paint, won't I? Badum dum...)

It was no Trouble to finish this….I’m not Sorry I bought it…(I’ll regret this like the French’s mustard paint, won’t I? Badum dum…)

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I should really hide some top secret shiz in here….

I'm not gonna lie..I'm digging the two tone....

I’m not gonna lie..I’m digging the two tone….

As you can see, it is not perfect. And that’s okay— just like C is for cookie, it’s good enough for me! I’ve already found Lego’s and Beyblades bouncing around in there, so until the Queen of England comes to stay, we are good! (And even then? Pfft. What has she done for me lately?!!)

So that’s it—–if I can do it? You can too. Any questions before I go get my Bravo TV on?????

MUFFIN TOP DIY—OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN.

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-01-2013

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Itch, itch.

I’ve been bitten. By the DIY bug. I started and now I can’t stop. All aboard the cray, cray, crazy train????

Backstory…..Hubs promised 7 year old a desk last year so he would have a quiet (?? Under this roof? Dude.) place to do his homework. In theory, I like this idea because often wild hyenas little bros jump all over him, literally, when he’s trying to do homework. But this promise, made by a well meaning man, did not take into consideration that a first grader generally needs supervision and/or help with homework by a trusted adult or zookeeper. So, I procrastinated and then, to be honest, suffered from desk sticker shock. A little kids desk should not cost more than grown up furniture or a bender to Vegas. Wolfpack!

I'M SORRY, WHAT POTTERY BARN? YOU WANT $500 FOR THIS THING? FOR $500 IT BETTER GET MY KID INTO HARVARD SOME DAY!

 

What.a.racket. Even a simple desk at the unfinished wood store was a few hundred bucks and then you still need to prime and paint it.

No, Homie, no.

Enter my fun Craigslist furor! Feeling emboldened that hubs didn’t get stabbed with a pitchfork on the last Craigslist run I sent him on (let’s review…still alive….yay!), I had him grab this little beauty (and by little beauty, I mean, please disregard my Appalachia garage once again. The rest of the garage, like where I keep my beer, is extremely pristine. Note the funny angle because I was wedged between a bumper and a desk. Good thing I’m so skinnayyyyy! I mean, aren’t I getting to be a pro at this! Better Homes and Gardens will surely call me for these professional before and after shots!) Let me say we are 2 for 2 with no bodily harm–woot. Desk guy is a hipster and it was his dad’s desk—a cool, sturdy, dovetailed, well made Maddox desk. (Oh son, you might regret selling that one day but….fitty US dollahs says that ain’t my problem!) The top even has a glass top so 7 year old can put old ticket stubs and baseball cards underneath, or I might put a world map under there because he’s really into geography all of a sudden. (No, we can’t go to London for school vacation, dude. I am buying you a desk on Craigslist, connect the dots you high fallutin’ little thing! God save the queen and you save your pennies!)  So here she is:

I KNOW. I KNOW. AT THIS POINT I DON'T EVEN THINK A MOUSE WOULD LIVE IN OUR SCARY ASS GARAGE. COOL DESK THOUGH, HUH?

So this is the part where I tell you after I gushed all over the Annie Sloan paint that I used for my sideboard that I actually didn’t use it on this piece. Ahh. WHY, GOD, WHY?!! For this, I wanted a vibrant, glossy, strong red.  So I went with Heritage Red by Benjamin Moore in the semi-gloss (they can’t do gloss in red, boo) and I LOVE it. What I didn’t love? Priming and then painting that $hit thing three times! Wedged in a small space in my basement. (Again, skinnayyy! Not. I couldn’t walk for two days because twisting an almost 40 year old muffin top like a pretzel ain’t coo. But I love my boy!!!!! And he, in second grade now, needs a quiet place to do his homework all by himself. Not really. No. Not at all. )

GUYS, GREAT GAME BUT I GOTTA RUN. MY MOM PAINTED ME A DESK AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SIT DOWN ALONE AND DO ALL MY SPELLING WORDS. TWICE. .

No really.  Here is the result of my blood, sweat, tears, and salty linguistics:

WHAT'S UP, POTTERY BARN?!!!

I forgot to mention, I probably could have kept the old hardware, but I really wanted a total update so I scored those pulls for roughly $3 each at Lowe’s. I love the look with the red.

You know, even my brandy new slippers from Santa took a hit on this project…..

THIS IS NOT EASY WORK, PEOPLE. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW MICHAELANGELO'S DEARFORMS LOOKED.

The pink slips are now striped in red in places—every time I get something pink it gets sucked into the vortex of this frat house, I swear. But how about his chair?

HERE'S THE DESK IN ACTION....THAT LOOKS LIKE SERIOUS HOMEWORK HUH? AND THE CHAIR!

 

So I thought I was all DIY sly. I had a Windsor chair in my basement collecting dust that I was gonna paint, and boom, the seat was too wide to fit under the desk. DIY disaster! DIY disaster!  So I shot down to the local consignment shop and picked up that awesome ladderback chair with rush seat (in primo condition) which I LOVE. $15 dollahollah!!! It was a reddish cherry stain which would have clashed big time. I primed the chair and used some blue paint with primer combo (Behr–could not read the name on the label. Probably because I’m OLD!!!!). We had it kicking around from some previous furniture painting shenanigans. This thing took four coats and honestly? It needs one more.

Annie Sloan, I bow to your genius.

$15 and not over $100 like rhymes with Lottery Smarm!

 

So that’s it—I think I scored another muffin top DIY bahgain. If I can do it, you can too.

$50 bucks for desk

$15 for chair

$18 for paint

$21ish for knobs (They were $3 and change each. I forget! I’m an obvious accounting major!)

Swearing and multicolored slippers….free

For a grand total of….$104 and change!

(Plus the cost of admission to Harvard. I’m sure I can find some used textbooks on Craigslist!)