The Ugly Secretary Desk

Annie Sloan Coco Antique Secretary Desk

You know the story, The Ugly Duckling?

Antique Secretary Redo

I’m sure you’ve heard of it.

I couldn’t help but think of this story as I was working on this desk.

It was ugly.

A whole lot of ugly to be exact.


I can’t even explain what they did to it.

It appears they painted it.

I’m not quite sure with what, but it had to be some kind of secret concoction of ugly and more ugly.



And more ugly.

It was caked on so bad that when I removed the drawer pulls I had to get out all kinds of tools just to get it unstuck from the drawer.

Then, once I finally got it off, it left behind a lovely imprint.



I sanded it down, and filled in the holes so I could use a drawer pull with just one screw.



Next, I painted the desk in Annie Sloan’s Coco. I left the inside alone at this point because I wanted to paint it a totally different color from the rest.


Stenciling Furniture

I used a stencil and painted a pattern on the front door of the desk.



I painted the drawer Coco as well, measured out where I wanted the new knobs, and drilled a new hole. (I just need to add here that I drilled the hole all by myself. For the first time ever. With no help. I’m just a tad proud.)



Next, I added these beautiful knobs. They are glass knobs with a little bit of turquoise paint in the bottom that reflect throughout the whole pull. I just love them!!


Annie Sloan Coco Antique Secretary Desk

Once the paint from the stencil dried, I put the desk back together.


Annie Sloan Coco Antique Secretary Desk

Have I told you how much I LOVE keyholes?


Annie Sloan Cocoa Antique Secretary Desk

Have you figured out what color I painted the inside yet?

I’ll give you a clue.

Drawer pulls….

Yep! I painted the inside turquoise. Annie Sloan Provence to be exact.

Annie Sloan Coco Antique Secretary Desk

I painted the little drawer on the inside to match the outside, and added a little Provence to the knob to make it stand out.

Once it was dried, I went over the entire desk with Miss Mustard Seed’s Clear Furniture Wax.

Annie Sloan Coco Antique Secretary Desk

Annie Sloan Coco Antique Secretary Desk

No longer an ugly duckling, but a beautiful swan…. or…secretary desk.

I love it! What do you think?

Linked Up:

Savvy Southern Style

Well Crafted Home

All Star Block Party

Someday Crafts

French Country Cottage

Redoux Interiors

Becoming Martha

Funky Junk Interiors





My name is Claire and I am behind the blog... The Rustic Pig. I am a wife, a mother to 2 boys, and I just might be addicted to Craigslist. I love to buy antiques, paint them, and give them a chance to be loved again! Please feel free to pull up a chair and stay for a while. If you ask a question or leave a comment, I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!


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Texas gal, wife, mother to 2 boys, author behind the blog The Rustic Pig, business owner, antique lover, and Christ follower!

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  1. What do I think? I think that I am in love love love love love with this. It might be a new obsession: searching for ugly desks at the flea. You did an AMAZING job! Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  2. My wife wants something like this now looks like I have my work cut out 🙂 it looks stunning well done 🙂

  3. Absolutely beautiful! I love the turquoise inside and the hint of color from the drawer pulls on the outside.

  4. Love it! Those pulls are amazing. I love how it looks so quiet from the outside with just a hint of color with the knobs and a pretty stencil. Then you open it up and it is beautiful! Gorgeous!

  5. I love this, Claire! I’m a huge fan of stencils! They give a piece so much personality. I also used a drill all by myself the other day to drill holes for drawer pulls! I got sick of my husband always having to do stuff like that for me, so I said “show me how to do it, and I’ll do it all by myself”! He showed me, but I think he secretly wished he could have done it…he sure loves his power tools! 😉

  6. I’m always thinking of what to do with the door on a secretary–this turned out beautifully! Love the pop of color on the pulls and the inside! 🙂

  7. Beautiful transformation!

  8. gail moretz says:

    Love the transformation. Very nice use of color. Did you use wax over the paint? If so, what type and was it light or dark?

  9. That is so, so pretty! That piece is unrecognizable now. Wonderful job.

  10. This looks so awesome!

  11. This is gorgeous! I love your comment , “it was painted with ugly and more ugly – several kinds of ugly” something like that. Just hilarious! I’ve seen so many pieces just like that!

  12. Claire! I love the stencil and the pop of color on the inside! So gorgeous!

  13. Hi Claire,love what you did with the desk.It realy was a ugly mess !!!This is my first time her,but will be back.

  14. How cute! I love love love the turquoise inside. Today I attended an estate sale and saw some really ugly furniture super cheap. I actually thought, “What would The Rustic Pig do?” LOL

  15. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    LOVE it! The pop of color and the gorgeous knobs really make the piece. Great job.

  16. The secretary is marvelous. The turquoise inside is divine! How do you possibly find the time to get so much accomplished in a week? Impressive.

  17. Love, love, love it!!! Such a sweet secretariat and you did a fabulous job giving it new life! GREAT job!!! 🙂

  18. I think “ugly” might not be the right word to s=describe this secretary.
    I had something else in mind, like: gorgeous, creative, happy, pretty, etc….

    Good work!


  19. Wowzers! What a transformations!! I love the design and the pop of turquoise. I’d love it if you linked this to my new linky party, “What We’ve Accomplished Wednesdays.” It is live right now.

    Have a great week!

  20. What a transformation! I recently found a secretary desk abandoned on the side of the road… I think I know what to do with it now! haha

    I’d love it if you would share this sometime at F-it Fridays!

  21. Your desk turned out gorgeous Claire!

  22. I adore secretary desks, and I love the new color combination and stenciled pattern! I found you at Someday Crafts. Thanks for sharing!


  23. Well, this is right up my alley. I love how your makeover came out. Beautiful ! Come link it up with us at the linky party at http://www.FineCraftGuild.com !

  24. Great job. Just read the ironing board post, love it!

  25. Claire you are an artist. Love the transformation from very ugly to lovely.

  26. What a great transformation!!! You did an amazing job! Pinning this! =D

  27. I love it – the turquoise interior is PERFECT! Well done!

  28. You did a beautiful job on this. The entire piece is just darling now!! This interior is an extra sweet surprise 🙂

  29. Hi Claire!! I just read your guest post from the Aloha Friday share. Love your story about the windows and how it lead your direction to painted furniture. Am your newest follower!
    kelly arent {copper roof interiors LLC} recently posted…Keeping it real…My Profile

  30. I love the stencil! Where did you order this one?
    Tabatha recently posted…Unfinished End TableMy Profile

  31. That Secretary turned out beautiful. I realize this is an old post for you, but I found it by doing an image search. It looks the closest to what I would like my great-grand father’s desk to turn out. I’ve been hesitant to paint it because I’m afraid of doing the inside. How exactly did you get into all those little nooks and crannies of the letter holder? Oh, so scared to try! 🙂

  32. Chistina says:

    I love this, my daughter is re doing her room in grey and turquoise and she would adore this piece!


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