Vintage Executive Wooden Desk with Carte Postale Top | The Interior Frugalista: Vintage Executive Wooden Desk with Carte Postale Top
Vintage Executive Wooden Desk with Carte Postale Top | The Interior Frugalista

Vintage Executive Wooden Desk with Carte Postale Top

Last summer I picked this vintage wooden desk up at a neighbor's garage sale for a song. Several weeks later I discovered a wooden ladder back chair sitting in our back yard, compliments of the same neighbor. Running out of room bursting at the seams with furniture awaiting makeovers I finally dusted them off and got to work unifying them as a set with matching Carte Postale graphics and chalk paint.
Painted Vintage Executive Wooden Desk

Vintage Executive Wooden Desk Makeover


This is what the desk used to look like...
Vintage Executive Wooden Desk Before
You can see in the photo below that the top had seen it's better days. I discovered a few messages carved into the wood.
Vintage Executive Wooden Desk Top Before Makeover
I hummed and hawed about sanding it down to the natural wood but that would have required taking it outside. At the time the temperatures were ranging around -26°C (that's around -14°F) and there was no way in H E double hockey sticks I was doing that so I opted to stay warm indoors and paint the stop instead.

Desk Makeover

The carcass of the desk was painted in a custom white color consisting of a 1:1 ratio of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint­­™ in the colors Old White and Pure White. The drawer fronts were painted in the color Pebble Beach (medium gray color) by Country Chic Paint.
Chalk painted Vintage Executive Wooden Desk
To give it a timeworn look, using 220 grit sandpaper, I distressed the edges of the desk and drawers.
Vintage Executive Wooden Desk Makeover Left

Vintage Executive Wooden Desk Makeover Right
Instead of replacing the bat wing drawer pulls, I spray painted them with Rustoleum Painter's Touch in the color Primer White (matte finish).
Painting original bat wing pulls for executive wooden desk makeover
...and distressed them with sandpaper to reveal some of the original finish underneath.
Painted Bat Wing Pulls on Vintage Executive Wooden Desk
The desktop felt like it was missing something and so I headed over to The Graphics Fairy website in search of the perfect graphic to transfer onto the top. As I always do, I found the perfect Paris Letter with Postmark.
Vintage Executive Wooden Desk with Carte Postale Top
I enlarged the graphic to fit the desktop over at the Blockposter website. I printed it and taped the graphic together. Using graphite paper, I traced the graphic onto the top.

Deciphering the Paris Letter and Postmark

Here is where the fun came in. As I was tracing the graphic it became difficult to superimpose because some parts of the original image were worn, making deciphering the cursive French handwriting a challenge. Wanting to accurately transfer the image I did some creative research on Google.

After a lot of digging, I managed to figure out that the circular date stamp was postmarked on November 2, 1837, in Boulogne-Sur-Mer, a city in Northern France with a mileage stamp of 643. It was addressed to Madame Sugat at 9 Rue Neuve in St. Denis, a northern suburb of Paris.

The oval stamp on the top left says Bonne Frères Boulange S•M.  I'm going to assume that is the name of the post office - Good Brother's in Boulange-Sur-Mer.

I'd love to hear from anyone well versed in marcophily to confirm if I am correct. Regardless it was a little eerie tracing the handwriting of someone who was alive 177 years ago!
Carte Postale Graphic on Vintage Executive Wooden Desk
I always like to add an element of surprise when the drawers are opened and thought this Old World Map wrapping paper was perfect. My preference for lining drawers is using wallpaper paste because I achieve far fewer air bubbles and wrinkles.
Executive Wooden Desk with Old World Map Lined Top Drawer

Executive Wooden Desk Makeover with Old World Map lined drawers
Most likely the bottom of this double drawer won't be seen once hanging file folders are in place but I gave it some paper goodness too.
Executive Wooden Desk with Old World Map lined double drawer

Ladder Back Chair Makeover

Now for that chair that mysteriously appeared in my back yard. It looks like it originally was stained in a cherry color but had been spray painted gray. Unfortunately fortunately for me, the reason it landed in my yard, was that it was full of paint drips. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before taking the power sander to it.

To unify the chair with the desk I painted it in the same colors as the desk and also gave it a timeworn look by distressing along the edges.
Ladder Back Wooden Chair Unified with Executive Wooden Desk | The Interior Frugalista
I transferred the same Paris Letter with Postmark graphic in a smaller size onto the seat.
Ladder Back Wooden Chair with Carte Postale Graphic
Now they look like they've always been a matching set.
Executive Wooden Desk and Chair Makeover

Executive Wooden Desk Ladder Back Chair


Vintage Executive Wooden Desk Before and After
If any of you know anything about old postmarks I'd love to learn more about the one on this envelope dated back to 1837.

This wasn't my first desk rodeo. I've done a few in different styles like this Queen Anne Writing Desk or Curbside Secretary Desk and French Provincial Secretary Desk.

You will find this project linked to these fabulous Link Parties.

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