Gray and Coral Secretary Desk

I’ve been working several hours a day to finish painting all pieces I have in my garage. I’m not sure if I will be able to sell them all at the Lucketts Spring Market in May, but even if I don’t, at least I will finally refill my Etsy shop inventory.

You know how much I love my paint sprayer. It saves time, and I really like the smooth, neat finish it gives to my projects, however, spraying is very messy, and working in my a freezing garage during the winter months is off the table.

The pressure to finish as many pieces as I can by mid May has forced me to go back to my paint rollers and brushes, which allow me to work in the warmth of my basement. What seemed to be a limitation actually turned out to be very liberating for my creative process. Without the need to achieve a perfectly smooth finish, I’ve been exploring artistic techniques and finishes that look beautiful precisely because of their imperfections.

This secretary desk and chair set is a good example. The visible brush marks as well as the coral and gold highlights placed unevenly over the gray tones are, in my opinion, what brings interest to this set.
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This is the “before” picture of this gem I found on my local ReStore Habitat for Humanity.


To avoid the messy process of sanding and priming, I chose to use chalk paint on this project. A good cleaning with water and vinegar was all the preparation I needed.

I used several colors of DecoArt chalk paint for this project. For the interior, I mixed red and yellow and, instead of orange, which was my original goal, I got this beautiful rosy coral. I rolled it with a good-quality paint roller and used an artist brush to paint the corners and hidden areas my roller didn’t reach.

For the exterior, I mixed several shades of gray on my chip brush and applied it on the piece always keeping my brush wet so the colors would blend smoothly.


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This is the same technique I used to paint an industrial metallic look dresser showed in the video below. Check it out if you don’t remember seeing it.

I added a few hints of the same coral I used on the inside on the outside of the desk using a very wet small brush.

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The original knobs were gorgeous and just needed a good cleaning, so I soaked them in a mix of water and vinegar overnight and scrubbed all the guck off with an abrasive sponge.

To enhance the beautiful gold of the drawer pulls, I rubbed some aged gold wax to the edges and details of the desk and chair and sealed everything with Annie Sloan clear wax.

I was lucky to find this cheerful floral fabric at Joanne’s with the perfect upholstery colors for the chair that completes the set. Isn’t that a beauty?

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As a final touch, following my sister’s advice to have some surprise on the inside of the drawers, I stenciled a delicate lace pattern with the coral paint I used on the inside of the desk.

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And now, all the pictures!

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Let me know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by.


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It all started in the spring of 2013. I realized how tired I was to see my house entirely decorated with IKEA stuff. Nothing against IKEA, but after 12 years, I just needed some change. I wanted stylish, original furniture, but noticed that everything I liked from retail stores was way out of my budget. Thanks to Google, Youtube, and a couple of amazing blogs, I was able to discover and explore the world of furniture refinishing, and it was the beginning of my addiction. I now spend my days rescuing old, dull, unwanted pieces of furniture to give them a fresh look so they can be displayed, used and loved again for many more years to come. Thanks for stopping by.

27 thoughts on “Gray and Coral Secretary Desk

  1. Thanks for another beautiful inspiration project. I’ve got an old-style (partially plywood reproduction, though) secretary desk that’s pretty blah. Can’t wait to tackle it with this idea.


  2. Your artistic eye always astounds me! Your pieces are never boring, you don’t repeat the same technique in the same colors over and over again, and you always seem to come up with something unique, beautiful and eye-catching. I know I always gush over your pieces but your art is always gush worthy! LOL! I can’t ever get enough of your work. Best wishes at Luckett’s! I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you sold out!


    1. Pat, the secretary is beautiful! It always amazes me how you come up with the perfect blend of paints. They are very unique and beautiful. I think a more elegant chair covering would have been a better choice though for this beautiful pairing. This one I feel is a little to whimsical for my taste BUT, different strokes for different folks!😉


  3. Pat…. your work is stunning! Coming from a family of three generations of professional furniture refinished I compliment you highly. Love that secretary. The stenciled lace pattern in the drawers puts the piece over the top.


  4. Love it and I love the background, also. Is that really your floor and wall colors? I never would have thought to do that. So beautiful!


  5. What a gorgeous piece…I absolutely love it! I’m definitely inspired! I’m going to get out my paints and do some practice pieces that I have laying around!🤗😁🥰


  6. Hi!, I’ve never worked with chalk paint, so I’m wondering if you did some type of sealer? Like that clear sealer spray paint?, OR does that chalk paint not need it?????


  7. Your work is gorgeous, beautiful and vibrant! What a joy to look at your before and after photographs~ such an inspiration~ Certainly appreciate your creativeness~ thank you!


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