Old Desk to Dining Table

This is one of my favourite transformations so far. Sure, it’s not very fancy and won’t blow your mind though I just adore the unpretentious lines and character-filled patina of this piece.
Here’s the table before, looking very lonely and feeling sorry for itself:

And now:

Originally a teacher’s desk, this old table was missing its drawer and had quite a heavily ‘distressed’ finish after years of service. I found it on eBay for $10 – score!

After an initial tidy up and light all over sand the drawer cavity was filled by gluing and caulking in a piece of scrap timber – much easier and faster than making a whole new drawer. Once dry, two drawer fronts (which I already had thanks to my junk hoarding!) were then glued and clamped over the timber infill to create faux drawers.
One coat of acrylic primer, two acrylic top coats, a light distress and then an acrylic seal coat followed by the addition of two turned timber knobs completes the look of the base.

The honey-toned timber top was badly worn and looked tired though I really wanted to retain its character so I needed to enhance and add depth to the patina. After a light sand, three score lines were added to give the appearance of old boards (you can read that tutorial here) then a diluted walnut stain was wiped on and allowed to seep into all the grooves, marks and gouges before being wiped off.

The stain helps mute the overall tone yet creates subtle variations which gives the timber a tactile appeal. Looking at beautiful old wood like this just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy!
The top was finished with two coats of danish oil. I can’t sing the praises of danish oil highly enough. It’s super easy to apply, provides a protective coating and gives a mellow lustre which is hard to achieve with regular sealers – love it!
Again, just cause I can, here are the before and afters:

  1. Jackie says:

    Kristine, your table is simply gorgeous. Love the idea of the faux drawers.

  2. Sandra says:

    I absolutely love it. Love the top. I’ve never tried Danish oil, I’ll have to give it a try. I love how you scored the top to make it look like joined boards. You did an amazing job!

  3. Hi Im Sue says:

    Love, love ,love!!!
    I would love it in my home!

  4. Love the table. The top is just stunning. What a wonderful patina. Just gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  5. HI Kristine, I just love seeing other bloggers tranforming pieces. Can you tell me how you did the score line? YOu have done a wonderful job with this piece I love it. Also the danish oil is that something that you can purchase from Bunnings? Sandy x

  6. Turned out fantastic!! Thanks for the tip on the Danish Oil. I may have to try that. I also love the tip about scoring the top to look like planks!

  7. Lee says:

    Kristine, it’s incredible how you can see the potential in such pieces – if it had have been me I would have walked (or scrolled) straight past this desk/table, but after your transformation, I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. Lee :)

  8. Kacey says:

    Major transformation! Love the creative touches – especially the score lines. Very cool!

  9. Anna says:

    Oh Kristine…absolutely fantastic! love a good before and after..and this one is especially juicy!! Awesome job honey x

  10. chair up says:

    Awesome job Kristine. I was wondering, like Sandy was , how did you do those score lines? They are so effective in finishing off the detail. You clever wee thing!!

  11. Kerri says:

    Looks amazing Kristine. What a clever chicken you are! K xx

  12. I love your table Kristine! What a great transformation. I think it looks fabulous and I would love one just like it! xx

  13. Jen says:

    This looks GREAT! What a transformation!

  14. Sarah B says:

    What a fabulous piece! You did a great job :)

  15. Hiya Kristine, great table! I’m thinking of doing a similar thing with a roadside find that is also missing its drawer. I’m thinking the faux drawer is a great idea!

  16. Hi Kristine!

    The table looks great! You do such a great job :D

    Do you keep all the furniture you re-do or do you sell it on?

  17. Shaunna says:

    It looks wonderful Kristine! Reading the part about the stain made me laugh because just last night I was trying to explain to my husband he should wipe off the stain…yada yada…and he wouldn’t listen, and well, we know I was right. The table looks amazing! (On a side note, we are leaving a day earlier than expected and I may not be able to pull off the details of featuring you while I’m away…but I would love to do so as soon as I get home! If I can get it done today, you’ll hear from me again!) -shaunna :)

  18. Amanda says:

    Hi Kristine – what an amazing makeover – can’t believe it’s the same piece of furniture in those before and after shots and what a great ebay bargain!! x

  19. That is beautiful! One of my projects that has been challenging this past week is a coffee table. I am doing the walnut top with the white base, but man have I been having a hard time with the stain!! I am going to have to look into the danish oil to seal it. What color and brand stain do you use? Thank you for coming to my party. This is just what I wanted to see.

  20. This looks wonderful, Kristine! I love the walnut stain on the top ~ I think that has become my new favorite for stains. It seems to look so good with every painted base I’ve seen. Very creative on taking care of the missing drawer, too.

  21. Your table looks fabulous! You are very talented. Thank you for visiting my blog and I did check out your puppy. Definite resemblance to my grandpuppy…if only they lived closer!

  22. Cathy says:

    So beautiful…loving the blue! Wonderful transformation!


  23. Katie says:

    I LOVE how you left the top stained. That is one of my favorite looks!

  24. oh i love this table! the colors are perfect- so beachy and fresh! LOVE LOVE it! did i mention that i love it? it would fit in beautifully in my home. ;)

  25. Sandra says:

    I find you inspiring so I just gave you a “Sunshine” Award. Check it out here: http://sawdustandpaperscraps.blogspot.com/2010/04/id-like-to-thank-my.html

  26. Patti says:

    I love that you kept the top dark with the white bottom – came out great!!

  27. Love the redo – looks great!

  28. becca says:

    i love this! i’ve always wanted a farmhouse style table. you are an inspiration! thanks for sharing.

  29. Susan says:

    it turned out to be a beautiful farm table……..High five!!

  30. Leslie says:

    What a score – this turned out amazing! Your blog is beautiful, I’m your newest follower :o)

  31. So pretty! I love the shade of blue you chose!


  32. Charity says:

    WOW! I love it!!!

  33. Wow I love tha table — what a steal!!

  34. Love your farmhouse table!!! Thanks for sharing it with us at the POPP.

  35. Kate says:

    As a teacher, I love this desk. I especially love that you turned it in to a table. Isn’t that the idea behind teaching? Taking something rough and making it more refined? I love it! Thanks for sharing!

    (I will now be frantically searching ebay for a find like this!)

  36. I LOVE what you did with the table. My kitchen table has been lovingly abused by three boys for 15 years. It is shouting joy that I found your blog. I’ll be attempting your idea in the near future!

  37. wow! it’s gorgeous! You did a fabulous job on that table. Not sure I would have thought about faux drawer fronts…. good thinking!
    thanks for visiting and commenting on my “half” table.
    have a great weekend!

  38. Suzanne says:

    Love the redo. It’s beautiful.

  39. Love it! What a great transformation.

  40. Robyn says:

    OHHH this is just FABULOUS! I’m jealous…I’d love to have this as a sofa table and add a bench for extra seating when we eat! YOU did an AWESOME JOB! Thanks for sharing1

  41. gina3 says:

    Coming over from the Shabby Nest Link Party. This is amazing. I work for a school district and believe it or not, there still may be a few of those desks around. I’ll have to keep a look out for when they decide to get rid of them!

  42. Julie says:

    Wow! that’s gorgeous!

  43. Gorgeous! I love it!

  44. This is beautiful; I soooo love it. I have not heard of Danish oil. Do they sell it at hardware stores?

  45. Great transformation! Thanks for the tip on the danish oil and the faux drawer fix was inspired! love it!!

  46. Wow, that looks so different! I love that you kept the top unpainted.

  47. Tina says:

    Hi Kristine:) I have been away this week and am trying to catch up on my fave gorgeous blogs. What a fabulous post! You have done such a gorgeous makeover on this table, it looks fabulous!! I love the score lines on the top, genius:) Hope you have had a fabulous week ~ Tina x

  48. What a gorgeous table and I can’t believe you got it for $10! It is a fabulous piece of furniture!

  49. Looks gorgeous! I love the top – simply beautiful! Great job!

  50. lovely table…the new look is stunning! well done!

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