October 25, 2017

One Room Challenge: Week 4 | Restoring an Antique Typewriter Desk Part 1

Most important news first, the ORC will be extended this season by one week! Due to all of the natural disasters which have affected many states including largely delayed shipping times, the reveal date will be moved to November 15th for the featured designers and November 16th for the guest participants. It's lifted a weight off my shoulders since this desk restoration is taking longer than expected and will end up being two posts.

While I was in high school my parents got this antique typewriter desk that had been painted white. It has the flap that you would push up and it would bring the typewriter up to use. Thankfully they deconstructed it and just screwed the top flap straight to the desk so I didn't have to. This desk has been siting in the guest room since we moved in where it has served as my vanity/desk. The bad thing about it was it's size. It is bulky and incredibly deep - making in a great middle of the room desk in the office. The white paint had also been worn down and stained from my painting over the years that I could either paint the whole thing again or strip it down to its raw wood. Of course, I took the hard way.

Week 1: The Befores
Week 2: The Mood Board(s)
Week 3: Salvaging A Fox Hunt Print

How the heck do you start restoring an old piece like this? I read several articles, and posts, and watched videos before I decided on the best method which was ultimately Kim and Scott's headboard restoration.

The supplies you need for this project are a bottle of Citristrip Stripping Gel, a paintbrush, and a paint scrapper (or a putty knife). The bottle is only $20 and I have used a little more than half of it for this project.

The first step is to make SURE you use protective gear when working with paint strippers. Ideally, you want to do this outside, but if you can't make sure to open the windows and use adequate air circulation. I had the overhead fan going and a box fan going the entire time. You also need to wear a paint mask with rubber gloves to protect those beautiful hands. Lay down a tarp or some protective covering for your floors. I used an old 7x10 rug that is basically my work rug now.

After you've gone through all the precautions, the next step is to paint a coat of the gel directly onto the surface. Since this desk was so big, I worked on one surface at a time. After the paint starts bubbling up after about 30 minutes, the putty knife almost takes care of the rest. And let me tell you, peeling that paint off was the most satisfying feeling ever. Like peeling a sunburn and popping a zit at the same time. The hardest part was getting the paint out of the cracks where the wood had been cross cut which was the top and the insides.

After one coat on every side, here's how she turned out!

Not too shabby for the first round! The leftovers will easily sand off and out of the cracks. You can see where I detached the old typewriter panel so I could get the sides and to the inside easier.

Below you can see how the first coat of gel got about 95% of the paint off. 

Next, I took a sander to one side to lightly sand the rest of the paint away. You can see the difference and how pretty the grain looks. Over the next week I'll sand the rest of the desk and give it a pretty medium-to-dark stain.

I didn't realize what a big project taking on this restoration was, but I am so glad I decided to do it. Even though it is only half finished, I can see the finish line and boy will this thing be the star of the room. I'm keeping the reveal and progress a secret from Auston so he'll be surprised with the reveal. Maybe because we binge watched Season 4 of Fixer Upper in a few days, but mostly because it'll be fun. Keep in touch with my IG stories this weekend because I will definitely need help picking out a stain. 
As always, check out the other Guest Participants on Calling It Home and the featured bloggers below. 


  1. It's a gorgeous desk! Appreciate the hours of work you must be putting in to it! Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  2. It is coming along beautifully! I love the wood grain.

    1. Thanks Stacy! Same, I'm hoping it'll get even better with sanding and restaining.

  3. Nice article, Which you have shared here about the desk. Your article is very interesting and this desk is looking very beautiful. Thanks you!
    Reference: https://homeofficeexecutive.com/9-best-computer-desks-with-hutch-under-350-reviews/


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