Grandmother’s Secretary

I want some input here.

I have the finial that seems to be missing from the center of the top.
I have the finial that seems to be missing from the center of the top of the secretary.

I have my grandmother’s old secretary desk.

Here's a grey secretary with a bright interior.
Here’s a grey secretary with a bright interior.  Mine, too, will sit against a grey wall.

I have looked at lots of inspiration photos, especially a lovely article by Melaine at My Sweet Savannah.

Ultimately the secretary will sit against this grey wall in "Revere Pewter".
See the kitchen island in the background?

Suddenly I noticed how nicely it complements the kitchen island.

White seems to be the go-to color of these white desks found on Etsy.
White seems to be the go-to color of these white desks found on Etsy.

I still think I’d like to change it. Here’s a white one from Pamela at From My Front Porch to Yours.

I really love the dark blue, but I'm a sucker for blue.
I really love the dark blue, but I’m a sucker for blue. (This one can be seen on My Sweet Savannah.)

I especially love this dark blue distressed model from Jen at Repurposed Gems. Any preferences?

Do you paint wood furniture?


Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

15 thoughts on “Grandmother’s Secretary”

  1. As a rule I’m not one for painting wooden furniture ..until I saw the grey secretary how cool is that 🙂 but in it’s original condition it does tie in with your kitchen island
    Can you photoshop your secretary and see which image looks best before making a final decision ??

  2. I like natural wood with lots of cool colours, as you seem to prefer – they complement each other. But it’s your desk, do what makes you happy 🙂

  3. Maybe start by clearing the clutter and making a backing covered with a brighter color to fit inside so things show up better?

  4. I’d paint a post-WWII piece if it had no possible future appreciation as is. I’d only paint a pre-WWII piece if it was already ruined beyond restoration.

  5. I would start by seeing what you can do about restoring its current wood state. You could even do a light grey wash/stain on it to keep the wood grain but bring in a modern feel then paint the interior for a pop of color. I had a desk I planed on painting but once I stripped and sanded it down the wood grain was too beautiful to cover up so I stained and tung oiled it… I had chairs that weren’t worthy of that and they got painted lol. You can find both on my blog looking forward to seeing the finished product

  6. I’m always hesitant to paint nice wood furniture, but that really depends on if YOU like the finish. I think it would look great with a bold color on the inside. Or you could cover the back wall with fabric. Something to give it some pop!

    1. Some of the veneer is missing on the front of the drawers but I’m going to take the advice of my readers and start conservatively by removing the clutter and brightening up the back of the shelves with something non-permanent. Jo

  7. Your secretary is gorgeous! I have the same one and I painted mine. I love it!
    But if you are not sure, I will live it alone for a while and see how you feel about it. I will clean it and restore it the best I can. I will decorate it pretty inside and live with it for a while and see if you like it that way. If not you can always painted down the road.
    As someone else mention above, another great solution is to cover the back and shelves with wall paper or fabric for a pop of color and some drama!
    Lots of fun possibilities! Enjoy and have fun with it!!

    1. Thanks. I’ve had the secretary for about 30 years and I’m ready to “improve” it. You’ve given me great encouragement. Jo

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