The diary of an antique writing bureau's Makeover
The listing said, ANTIQUE DESK, POSSIBLY 1920s $200. Castlemaine.
The seller stated that it had been her grandfather and then her mother's desk.
I emailed the seller asking for the size and condition of the desk, and also if she could deliver.
Height is 155cm
Depth is 20cm (top), 38cm (middle) and 35cm (drawer section).
Width is 83.5cm
Desk top is 49cm height
Internally - shelves are 16cm in depth & 23.5 height
With desk extended 67.5cm
No rot and no odour. Not sure borer. There are marks like a compass point but I know that there was a pencil box with a compass that came with it (was grandfather’s then mother’s desk).
I'm looking at all of that mahogany stain. Once, it would have been beautiful, and while it could be restored to its former glory, that dark tone would not suit my home. I'm in my seventies, and not fit enough to attempt to sand this back. I'll be wanting to paint directly over the existing finish. I'll not want to use dangerous chemical solvents or sealers. There is an easier way.
This week's project: Chicago Peace and Seduction Rose Painting
Tonight, I've continued to work on this week's project, the Chicago Peace and Seduction rose art and video.
All of that, plus poaching our homegrown peaches and nectarines. They are yummy. A year's supply of poached stone fruit in the freezer for our breakfasts with rolled oats and yogurt. Talk about The Good Life.
The Nanga Bay, Western Australia, art makeover, vintage country/seaside 1920s desk plan. I'd love your opinion.
The white would be a soft summer off-white. The seascape art will be oil on canvas and framed with thin rope cord in a dark beige or jute string colour.
I don't want the seascape to be too fancy as I want that lead light to remain a feature.
I am planning ahead for the 1920s writing bureau art makeover. That's one of the best creative tips I can give, always plan your work before you begin. That doesn't prevent spontaneous inspiration being a part of the process, it just ensures that you won't fail.
Cindy, my home help, helped me move my drawing table to create the space for where the 1920s writing bureau I'll be restoring will go. I'll get the delivery men to put it where it goes, to save Reg and me any heavy work, and I'll be making a special paint mix that adheres without prior sanding, so this makeover is going to be suitable for a less active person to do, a little different to the usual sanders and heavy labour renovation jobs that people see done.
I'll be taking lots of cheating, shortcuts, none of which will affect the finished work, but will make the project one that I can achieve, with minimal help, given my range of disabilities. I'm kidding myself that this project will be easier to do than a kitchen cook up.
Reg is searching the shed for the ingredients to make chalk paint and I'll pick up any other supplies I need at the hardware. I like to tint my own paint colours. I hope I can use found paint supplies and not need to buy anything more. I'd like to come in under AU$400. for the materials cost for this desk. Reg is afraid of Bunnings because roses somehow jump into my shopping trolly.
Original oil paintings on canvas completed on location, impressionist style, at Nanga Bay, Western Australia by Ryn Shell. These will be ideal used as a part of the artistic makeover of the 1920s writing bureau.
Five litres of homegrown nectarines are poaching nicely in the slow cooker as I web searched and bought these four different sized skeleton keys for AU$6. including postage. I hope one of these keys will fit the 1920's writing bureau that arrives on Saturday.
More web searching for the 1920 writing bureau reinvention done today. I found and bought this old stock 1930s key tassel (AU$17. with postage)and this (inexpensive AU$2.55) shell pendant, as I'm planning a vintage country/seaside look for the desk. Yes, I probably could have bought a cheaper tassel, but this looked to be around the same vintage as the desk and worked best for the final look I'm after.
The cost to create the key with tassel for the desk will be AU$25.55 — it's going to be worth it. I want the desk to sit beside a huge beach scene painting with a mother and child at the seashore, and carry over in theme.
I'm looking for a thin, rope-like cord to use as a frame around the oil painted canvases. I haven't purchased as yet. Prices vary wildly from a couple of dollars a roll of 100 meters including postage from China, for natural hessian twine, to over $400. for England for a white cord. I'll be buying a natural beige coloured twine. I shouldn't need to go over $400. in cost to create this project.
The main labour component of this work, the original oil paintings, is already completed and will form a separate art demonstration tutorial.
Value wise, the completed work will be worth more I spend on the supplies, and it will represent several weeks of work to complete, taking into consideration the seascape paintings on it.
I'd not consider reselling the finished work. I'll be using this art makeover as a feature statement and functional art piece in my studio.
My mother would say, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."
Well, as I've outlived my mother in years, I get to officially have permission to not abide by her advice.
I've given my recipes for chalk paint within myPatreon Blog.
New 5/10/25M Twisted Burlap Jute Twine Rope Natural Hemp Linen Cord String.
100% Brand New.
I bought 25 yards which will allow me to do other craft accessories to co-ordinate with the writing bureau, for AU $21.59 and free postage from China.
That will me the perfect finishing frame around the paintings on canvas mounted on the outer surfaces of the writing bureau.
After I came home, I decided that even with the staining effect of coffee staining the crevices of that synthetic cord, it would still look synthetic and out of step with my country/seaside vintage chic theme. I went on my second web search and discovered and purchased this from China. I'm already regretting not paying an additional $10. for express post. Having come this far I will be so eager to complete this vintage country/seaside chic writing bureau project.
I drove to the hardware store with images of dust masks required as I handled loose powders to make chalk paint.
As I got out of the car my husband said, "Why not just buy the paint ready mixed and save yourself work."
"It will cost more, " I said.
I'm already close to the AU$400. cost for this piece without adding on the cost of the quality oil paintings on canvas, the materials cots of those would possibly be around the AU$100. mark (that is for the canvas and the artist quality paint, and not the value of the paintings I created. So, being realistic and adding is the canvas and oil paint and the quality glue that I'll be using, let's call it a $500. outlay to do up this 1920s writing bureau to what's going to look superb in my home.
This is what I bought.
"Ryn Shell is an author and internationally successful award-winning fine artist. Her stories are timeless, her paintings are elegant and beyond fashion"