Thrift Store Meets Versailles

French Desk Side

If you have read any posts on this blog you will instantly recognize that Paul and I love French decorating and French inspired furniture. Perhaps it is the understated curvy lines, or the feminine, but not overpowering, beauty of it. As our tastes evolve we find ourselves heading more and more toward French inspired design, or the Frenchy look as my husband likes to call it. When we decided to redo our bedroom I knew we needed a desk to reflect our evolving tastes. And we needed one small enough to fit the required space, as well as inexpensive enough to fit our already overburdened budget.

This is the part where I annoyed Paul. Normally he is a good guy and very tolerant of my quirks but on the occasion of the desk purchase he was not amused. I went on a day trip with a friend that included some school shopping and dinner out in a community that was a couple of hours away. On the way, we just happened to pass a thrift shop that was calling my name. In front of the shop was our desk. It was a perfect size and price was great. Actually, it was less than the price of McDonald’s value meal. I had to have it. The nice guy at the store loaded it in to the back of my van and the desk took the rest of the day trip with us. We didn’t get home until very late and Paul had to be roused from his sleep to help get the desk in the house. We needed the van early the next morning so we had to clear it out. He was not happy but we did it. Oh, and he was also not real happy with the fact that I forgot to take a before picture but I found this photo on the Internet. The desk looked something like this since it was in poor shape cosmetically but basically sound.Old Desk

Normally this is the time that Paul and I begin negotiating how we are going to finish the piece but since this one was for us, and not to sell, I got to make all of the decisions. I had decided that I wanted to do a value painting, one that is done with one color where interest is added through varying levels of transparency. In this case, the absense of color puts attention on the design and this is what I wanted. I used a variety of sources to come up with the design including the “Dover” books. These are wonderful and inspiring books that have a lot of ideas that are all copyright free. Check them out, we use them constantly.

Fantastic Ornament
French Baroque Ornament
French Decorative Designs of the 18th Century

I decided that a toned white with an Umber glaze would provide a lovely background for the “Versaille” painting. I then proceded to paint the garlands, roses and leaves with different transparencies of brown. Here are some photos of the desk showing the top, sides, drawers and back of the desk. Since the back of the desk faces out into the room, it received extensive design while the drawers are tucked into a corner of the room and cannot be easily seen, therefore they received minimal design.

French Desktop


French Desktop Close

French Desk Side

French Desk Back

French Desk Drawers

French Desk in Room

It’s amazing what $7.50, plus the price of some paint and elbow grease and a little flexing of the creative muscle can do for you. Now we have an heirloom piece of furniture that will grace our home for years. We couldn’t be happpier with the results.

Thanks for visiting. Please come back soon,

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