Rocking the Suburbs: Creating a Landing Strip

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I know I’ve been lax with posting a house tour, folks, but I’m kind of loving these little sneak previews and DIYs I’ve been sharing, and I hope you do, too!
A tour of my new abode will be ready within the month – we added an egress window at the end of last month, and once it’s inspected, we’ll be able to frame it in and I’ll be able to 100% move in to my bedroom! As it is now, I haven’t attached my headboard to my bed yet, and I’m working on some other boudoir renovations as well (tease :D).

As for today, I’d love to share how I went from having nowhere to set my purse and phone when I get home to having the perfect piece.
For a couple of years now, I’ve had a secretary. No, not the typist kind. The telephone table, breadbox, small-space storage kind.

Now don’t get me wrong.  It’s a cute piece.  The old 1970s veneer, which was falling off in a few places, wasn’t exactly my style, nor were the brushed brass handles.  I even took this picture after removing the ugliest one from the bottom door.  It used to be my grandmother’s, and the poor thing was ready for a facelift.

So I lightly sanded the veneer – rather than take it all off – and painted it with a layer of mixed primer.  Now, if you read my guest post on Adventures in Dressmaking, you know how not to mix primer now.  By the time I primed the secretary, the primer was thick and chunky and quite unattractive.


So I waited a while (like, a week) for the primer to dry, and gradually added layers of yellow to it.  Sand, paint.  Sand, paint.

But it turns out that a bright, buttery yellow semi-gloss wasn’t what I needed to go with my chosen living room colors.  (Note: the color on the top of the piece, next to the blanket, is truer to the actual color. The semi-gloss was seriously that glossy.  I didn’t even use my flash for this picture.)

The yellow was just too sunny for my basement cave.  And having it covering the entirety of the piece… it just didn’t work for me.  So I decided to wax it.  I got some Minwax Paste Finishing Wax and went to work, waterproofing and de-shining the exterior of the sunny semi-glossed piece.

And even that didn’t work 100%.  That’s when the situation became desperate (in my head).  I dug out a bronze metallic marker and took it to the edges to “age” the piece.  Since it was a veneer, I couldn’t use the traditional plan of sanding the edges to age it, so I scribbled over the edges and rubbed it in.  I left it overnight to let the marker dry out a bit, and did another layer of wax over the marker.

From there, I was in love!  I buffed the piece out, added new hardware, and moved it in to my living room!  Now it, with my old and entirely serviceable coat rack, provides me with the perfect place to set down my purse, keys, and phone, kick off my shoes and take off my coat.

My next plan is to fill the drawer with those things that I always need spares of when I’m switching purses: chap stick, Burt’s Bees, gum, nail clipper, measuring tape, pen and paper… Really, this little secretary will become my junk drawer, but in the best possible way!

2 comments on “Rocking the Suburbs: Creating a Landing Strip

  1. Mags, I’m sorry. But your house will not be ready for a tour inside a month. It’s just not how you roll with unpacking and settling in.

    The secretary turned out great (can’t wait to see it in person). Isn’t it nice having a fake entryway? Which reminds me that I still have to get pictures of mine.

    • Oh, it’ll be ready by October 23rd because that’s when we’re throwing a housewarming-slash-birthday party.
      Really I’m just worried about getting pics of my living room, studio space and bedroom, since those are the areas I have creative control over. And they’re mostly done, and I’m doing a decent job keeping them clean. Except my studio. That’s always going to be a hot mess.

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