Everything, with even a few years behind it, has a story to tell …
Every person and every thing.
Some have more to say, some less.
Some show their age, their character more than others.
But even the youngest has lived some life, has history behind it, a story to share.
It’s precisely these stories that draw me in. They draw me to people, to books, to things.
The older the person, the book or the thing, the more interesting they become. The more history they’ve gathered. The more stories they have to share.
Honestly, I could listen to my grandparents tell stories for hours. I want to soak up each and every memory they have to share.
I dream of endlessly wandering through antique stores, flea markets and thrift shops and especially love it when the owner can tell me even the shortest story behind a particular piece.
This desk is the best of both worlds. Not only is it a vintage piece with an incredible story to tell, but because it belonged to my husband’s Grandfather, those stories hold an extra special place in our hearts.
First, let me just tell you a bit about the man that sat behind this desk…
I’ve never actually met Merrill Wolfe, as he passed away before Brady was even born, but Brady’s Mom talks of him often. She tells stories of his kindness and generosity. Not only was he a loving Father, but he was an incredibly successful business owner and a prominent member of his community. Her pride in her Father comes out in each and every story she shares about him.
I won’t get into listing each and every achievement and wonderful thing about Brady’s Grandfather because, honestly, I’d be here all day, but I do know this man meant an awful lot to so many people (in fact, his funeral was televised – how neat is that?!). His achievements and generosity have impacted people for generations to come.
Every thing has a story to tell and this desk, Brady’s Grandfather’s desk, definitely has a great one! Just imagine the contracts it held, the meetings it was a part of, the late night planning, the early morning phone calls, the interruptions from little ones … there’s just SO MUCH HISTORY in this desk! We are so honoured and proud that this desk has been passed on to us!
Now, despite it’s story of greatness, this desk had certainly seen better days. True it shows a ton of character and each & every scratch helps to tell it’s story, but it has been so well used that it was simply falling apart.
It made me so sad that it looked as though it’s best days were behind it.
It was definitely time to bring this desk back to life.
I started by removing all of that old hardware. It was quite pretty actually, but, after so many years of use, was missing a few key pieces that actually hindered the functionality of the piece. I hunted high and low for something that would look like it belonged on a grand old desk such as this and was so excited when I came across these simple knobs and these gorgeous pulls at D. Lawless Hardware! I loved that all of the measurements were listed right there, so I could be sure everything would fit perfectly and, even traveling across the border, they were on my doorstep in no time at all. You may remember my excitement when they arrived in the mail as I shared them on Instagram:
Aren’t they perfection?
With the old hardware removed I got to work patching and painting. I used a ton of wood glue, filling in the seemingly endless cracks and then clamping it all together (resorting to books and paint cans when I ran out of clamps), and finally letting it all set overnight. After A LOT of sanding, I finally had this desk ready to paint.
I started with a quick coat of primer because, as I learned when painting these dining room chairs, red wood tones tend to bleed through layers and layers of paint. I’m not sure what type of wood this desk is, but I wasn’t taking any chances this time. I then pulled out my new favourite white paint (read more about my adventures in finding the perfect white here) – Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White – and, after mixing it with a bit of Chalky Paint Powder from Vintage Storehouse I got painting.
Now my friends, let me just tell you about this brilliant Chalky Paint Powder … if you’ve been following along with me for any time at all, you’ll know that I’m a HUGE chalk paint lover. I love the ease of use, the way it distresses, and the vintage look it brings to a piece. The only thing I don’t like about the stuff is the fact that my colour choices are limited by whatever the manufacturer chooses to create. I almost always find myself compromising the colour I’d like for the chalky finish that I’m looking for. Which is why I was completely over the moon when I discovered Vintage Storehouse! Seriously, this was SUCH a game changer my friends! Kelsey at Vintage Storehouse has created the most brilliant Chalky Paint Powder which can be added to any (yes, ANY) colour of paint out there to turn it into chalk paint.
Mind blowing, right?!
I’m telling you, it’s my new favourite thing!
In the end, it took three coats to really cover everything perfectly (darn that red wood!), but I couldn’t be happier with the results!
I was so in love with this new white look that I struggled for weeks with the decision of whether I should distress the paint or just leave well enough alone, but in the end I decided that I wanted at least some of that beautiful wood to shine through. After a very quick once over with my trusty palm sander, this desk was looking more perfect than ever!
With a little help from hubby, we had the new hardware installed in no time and I couldn’t help but smile at this lovely desk that was taking shape!
Now, I’m not sure how Brady’s Grandpa would have felt about this (I’m not sure he was a flowery paper sort of guy), but I couldn’t help but brighten up the inside of those drawers too. I simply cut a bit of my favourite wrapping paper to size and used some folded up painter’s tape to secure it inside the drawer creating a bright and cheerful drawer liner.
This beautiful desk has definitely been given new life and I couldn’t possibly be more in love with it’s light & bright new look!
I love that even though some of it’s story has been covered with paint, there’s still a ton of character and memories shining through!
Just check out this old newspaper flyer that I found stuck to the back of one of the drawers…
I’m absolutely thrilled that this lovely old desk, Brady’s Grandfather’s desk, still has plenty of memories to make and many years of history left to share!
HUGE thanks to D. Lawless Hardware for providing the beautiful knobs and pulls you see and to Vintage Storehouse for supplying that brilliant Chalky Paint Powder that allowed me to find the most perfect white colour!
Wishing you SUCH a lovely day!
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.*
PS. You can find me sharing here and Savvy Southern Style.