From 50's Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk | The Interior Frugalista: From 50's Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk
From 50's Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk | The Interior Frugalista

October 11, 2013

From 50's Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk

Several years ago we inherited the horizontal and vertical dresser from my parent's first bedroom suite purchased in 1958. Our daughter occupied the smallest bedroom in our home and was in need of both a dresser and desk for doing homework. Unfortunately, the small footprint in her room didn't accommodate both so we came up with a plan to turn the 4-drawer dresser into a Faux Secretary with pull out desk.

Vintage Dresser Repurposed Into Faux Secretary Desk

This is what it looks like without the desk extended.

Vintage Dresser Repurposed Into Faux Secretary Desk

There is where I normally include a before picture but unfortunately, this desk conversion was done in my pre-blogging days and I never took a photo of the original dresser.

From 1950's 4-Drawer Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk


They don't build them like this anymore. Solid wood, including the drawers with dovetail joints.

Faux Secretary Desk Dovetail Joint Wood Drawers

This is the manufacturer stamp on the back.

Furniture Maker's Stamp on Vintage Dresser conversion

Removing the top drawers

The first thing we did was remove the top two drawers and the wood sliders. We kept the scalloped trim between each drawer to reuse.

Removing the drawers provided room for our daughter's school books and supplies and her (old school) computer tower and monitor.

The original brass pulls were replaced with more playful round metal IKEA knobs that we spray painted black.

Vintage Dresser to Faux Secretary Makeover

Adding a pullout desk

Immediately above the second drawer, we installed metal drawer slider hardware on each side. Next, we cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to fit the opening and attached it to the sliding hardware to create a pull-out desktop. On the back of the sliders is a locking mechanism when the drawer is fully extended.

We reattached the scalloped trim that was formerly between the top two drawers directly above the slide-out desktop. Using another piece of plywood we built the shelf and attached it with brads from the sides of the dresser.

Using a spade drill bit, we drilled a hole large enough to feed the power cords through the back and added a decorative plastic cover for the opening.

The original blonde wood was stained with a white pickle stain (pictured below).

Vintage Dresser Turned Faux Secretary Makeover

Our daughter used this faux secretary desk in her room for several years. When she left the nest I didn't have the heart to get rid of it because of the sentimental value. 

The faux secretary gets an adult makeover

We converted our son's adjacent childhood bedroom into a guest bedroom and so I decided to give the faux secretary an adult makeover for that space.

1950's 4-Drawer Dresser now Faux Secretary with pull out desk

Adding feet

To dress the faux secretary desk up a bit we added these stock wood feet from Home Depot.

Adding Wood Feet To Faux Secretary Desk

I added paintable beadboard wallpaper onto the back of the opening to dress it up. The beadboard and trim pieces are chalk painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in the color Duck Egg Blue and the rest is painted in Old White.

Everything is protected with a coat of clear wax and antiqued with dark wax. I didn't do any distressing on this piece because the finish underneath is white so there wouldn't be no contrast. New metal pulls from Home Depot were added on the drawers.

Faux Secretary with paintable bead board wallpaper back

Here is a close up of the painted feet.

Painted and distressed feet on faux secretary desk

The center of each drawer looked bare so I gave them some French goodness with fleur-de-lis stencils.

Stenciled Fleur-De-Lis on faux secretary desk

The pull out drawer was begging for a pretty glass knob.

Glass knob on faux secretary desk

The pull-out desk was also painted in Duck Egg Blue chalk paint.

Pull out desk painted Duck Egg Blue on Faux Secretary

I always like to add an element of surprise inside the drawers of my makeovers. The drawers were lined with floral wallpaper that I scored in a clearance bin at Home Depot.  Because the wood on the drawers was in such good shape I decided not to paint them.

Wallpaper lined drawers on Faux Secretary Desk

Because the desk was going in our new guest room, I added a French "Bonne Nuit" graphic on the top found at Graphics Fairy website.

I added the graphic using my go to transfer method of carbon paper behind the printed graphic and traced with a pen onto the surface. Using a script liner art brush I paint the details with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in the color Graphite.

French Graphic on Faux Secretary Desk

If you enjoyed this Vintage Dresser Repurposed Into A Faux Secretary project, please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

From Vintage Dresser To Faux Secretary Desk
I had a small gold colored picture frame in my stash and painted and distressed with Old White Chalk Paint. In my scrapbooking stash, I found some pretty paper and stickers from the dollar store to make a guest room Welcome Sign to sit on the faux secretary.

Guest Welcome Sign for Faux Secretary Desk

The chair paired with the Faux Secretary Desk is one I gave a makeover from the inside out. Have you ever seen the inside of an antique chair? I can attest that it isn't pretty. You can find that post here at Antique Balloon Back Chair Makeover

I've had the privilege of giving a couple of "real" secretary desks a makeover. You can find those posts here at Curbside Desk Makeover and French Provincial Secretary Desk.

You will find this project shared at these fabulous Link Parties.


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