Saturday, November 7, 2009

Before and After: Antique Secretary

This summer I was perusing the outside donation drop off area at Value Village just minding my own business when this gorgeous desk was literally dumped in front of me from off the back of an old Ford pickup truck. I quickly turned to the closest Value Village employee and groveled, "How much?" He said $19 so I paid, called my best friend and said, "I need your van."

Next thing I knew, this bad boy was sitting in my living room. Without hesitation, I cracked open a drawer like it was a safe full of money and to my surprise, I did find a small treasure. That is, I found what I consider treasure. Inside I found an old business card that read PUGET SOUND SALVAGE & EQUIPMENT CO., a company that came about in the late 1940s after World War II. In 1978 the company was sold to Murray Pacific Corp. Then in 1985 Murray Pacific became Pacific Industrial Supply Co. which is still in business today.

Inside the desk I also found an old tarnished key which I thought strange considering there are no locks on the desk. I also found an old canceled 1/2¢ stamp. {You may not know this about me so I'll let you in on a little secret -- I used to be quite the Philatelist long ago. I don't collect stamps anymore, instead I just hold onto the thousands that I have. This little 1/2¢ gem will be added to my collection where it will sit for years until I decide to reminisce my youth with my girls.}

After seeing these little specimens of the past, I've come to the realization that I may be the proud owner of a circa 1940s antique Secretary that onced was used by nautical seadogs to write checks or log inventory or compose wires and it makes me swoon just a little bit.

Something less tangible that I am most crazy about are the ink stains that run along the inside back and drawers of the desk. These markings satisfy my curiosity as to the age of the desk. These are real, honest to goodness, inkwell stains -- when pens were dipped in ink.

Now here's the bad news -- or good news, depending on which side of the fence you're on when it comes to painting wood.

See for yourself. . .

I already have a lot of dark wood in my home and wanted something different. I like it. Do you?

Even though the desk costs a mere $19 bucks and some change, I still spent $26 bucks on a full gallon of paint. {Now I know why the paint lady looked at me strangely when I said I needed that much paint to cover a desk.} I also spent $15 dollars on the roll of wallpaper that I used to line the inside.

As a personal touch, my girls and I painted the knobs uniquely different. I instructed the girls to paint them however they wanted and they did. We each took two knobs and I think it works. Here are a few up close shots:

Artist: Sammy

Artist: Alex

Artist: Mom


  1. I like it, Maya. I especially like the drawer pulls. Great idea.

  2. Unbelieveable, Maya. It is gorgeous and you'll keep it forever! Move over, Land of Nod! Thanks for your note earlier. Great to hear from you :)