Spring 2018 One Room Challenge / Wk 4 / Vintage Glam Designer's Office

Spring 2018 One Room Challenge / Wk 4 / Vintage Glam Designer's Office

One Room Challenge

WK 1 WK 2 | WK 3 | WK 4 WK 5 | WK 6 (The Reveal)

What is the One Room Challenge?  Linda from Calling it Home created this challenge years ago for herself and friends to design and complete one room in 6 weeks.  They are now on their 13th season!  The challenge is now a bi-annual nationwide event that House Beautiful has partnered with ORC to follow 20 featured designers as well as guest participants like me!

Remember Cramming?

Remember being in school and thinking you had plenty of time to study for your upcoming test?  So each day you thought to yourself, "no problem, plenty of time, I'll start tomorrow".  Well, I would liken the ORC to the same retro-experience!  My new "Vintage Glam Designer's Office" is a project that I would like to devote 100% of my time to, but of course, life gets in the way!  I am a mother, a designer, an actress and a programmer and a human!  Is that all?  Many you of visiting this blog may well also be entrenched in the challenge and looking for solidarity.  ORC guest participants Unite!  We will see this through to the end, and no matter what the outcome, we are happy that the ORC has spurred us to begin the project we longed to get started.

My Beloved Louis XVI Desk

This week, I was able to complete the refinishing of my beloved Louis XVI desk.  I picked up this desk at a French antique auction some time ago.  The desk was a bit battered and worn, but I could see the potential and snapped it up.  For many months, I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting at it, and imagining the many lives and situations it had been in before it became mine.  That is what I truly love about antiques...their soul.  For example, my desk still had a vibrant patina to the wood stain on the back side of the desk and one of the pull out extensions.  This means that it was likely situated next to a wall where the daily punishment of the sun's UV rays could not get at it.  The drawer fronts, well worn from countless opening and closing over the 100 years of use.  I find it exciting.  Well, after many months of enjoying her in her acquired state, I was excited to refinish her in a manner that would pay homage to her roots.  

As a reminder, here is a before photo of the desk.

Beautiful shape, and the side extensions are a clever design feature for extra surface area when needed.  I personally love the Louis XVI styling as I am more a fan of the straight legs.  This desk frame is made of mahogany with inset panels of oak likely.  These two woods have such character in their own right.  I wanted however a more dramatic look, so I decided to play up the frame with an ebony finish, and leave the inset panels in natural wood. I am working on posting a complete DIY regarding the stripping and refinishing of this desk, it will be posted here shortly.

Take a look at some interim photos.

The wood stripped just beautifully and I was left with a natural lovely finish.  The stripping went quite quickly thankfully with the help of some stellar products. 

Paint It or Stain It?

Now you may be asking yourself, if you wanted an ebony finish, why not just paint over the existing finish so you don't have to go through all the trouble of stripping?  Good question!  And one that I asked myself repeatedly.  In the end, I decided to strip and stain ebony rather than paint, because I wanted to stay true to the piece.  Slapping paint over it just didn't seem fair to me somehow.  Actually, I wanted to try an authentic ebony finish which would involve some chemistry to ebonize the tannins in the wood (a completely different process than staining).  But since I have never done this before, I would like to try out on some scrap wood and with more time on hand.  When you stain would, you are staining the top layers of the wood with the selected finish.  When you ebonize, you are darkening the wood deep within its layers which gives you a finish that if scratched, does not reveal the wood's original colour.  One day I will attempt this as I am intrigued.

Here is a midway photo after I began applying the ebony stain to the desk.

I was very happy with the look that was emerging, classic.  Currently, I have completed the staining and lacquering of the desk and all that remains is dealing with the replacement of the red felt desk top.

For my household, the felt is a no-go.  I have a beautiful Bengal cat ("Blaze") whom loves to visit me while I am working.  Although he sheds very little, all of his little kitty hairs seem to end up trapped on my desk!  So, I would like to replace the top with leather, ultimately, but for the time being, have sought out some quite inexpensive vinyl fabric to do away with the fur that he leaves behind.

And is it too much to ask to find said vinyl covering in chartreuse to blend in with the design of my room?  Yes?  NO!  Couldn't believe it, but a trip to our local Fabricland and boom, there it was, chartreuse vinyl fabric on sale for $7/m.  What?!  I snapped up the remaining remnant which was exactly the quantity I needed.  Sometimes, things are just meant to be.

So photos of the final reveal of the desk are forthcoming, and I believe you too will be amazed at what a vision and a little TLC can do for your cherished piece of furniture.

Go Bold or Go Home!

I have made a small (but rather bold) change to my final design.  I've decided to paint ALL the walls in a deep dark teal.  Having a focal wall is a nice accent to my office, but I felt I wanted to make a bold statement and wrap the entire room in this comforting and warm colour.

The colour I have selected is Benjamin Moore's "Teal" (2055-10).

However, I am thinking of darkening the shade 25-50%.  I want the shade to transform throughout the day as the light shifts.  Is it black?  Is it blue?  Is it green?  The mystery and enchantment this colour can portray is its allure.

This colour is quite similar to "Dark Harbor" however, there is more blue in it from what I can see.  I refinished the two campaign chests in Dark Harbor, and while I do like the colour, I think overall there is too much green in the shade for my liking.  I didn't want to go with navy either as this would be too stately.  I wanted to stick with the teal colour group as I feel it is more extraordinary than navy.  So I will pick up some paint in the next few days, take a deep breath, and transform the room into a teal paradise.  Please join me next week for the reveal!

Please come back weekly to check-in and see the progress on the room.  As promised, I will also post separate DIYs for the refinishing projects in the room.  Its going to be a lot of fun!  

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comments (2)

  • avatar

    on September 7, 2020 21:00


  • avatar

    on September 7, 2020 21:00


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