Furniture Rescue Before & After: An Abandoned Desk Gets a Second Life

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Let’s just say that Emily overlooked a lot of flaws to see the true beauty in this MCM desk. Heavy, stinky and in a pile of snow, she was nevertheless determined to salvage her find and turn it into a welcome new addition to her home.

From Emily: A few weeks ago I was heading to pick up my daughter from school in -16 temperatures, when I saw this beauty sitting on the sidewalk.

I love Mid-century style furniture but it usually it comes with a hefty price tag, but this solid wood desk was totally free, though very heavy and smelly! I frantically texted my husband to come help me. His job has flexible hours, so in an emergency roadside find situation, he can be there, with gloves, to do the heavy lifting. I was very appreciative!

We live in a tiny apartment with three active kids, so I knew it had to be a weekend project and no longer. We don’t have a garage or a yard or any extra rooms to store a project like this for when it’s convenient.

I washed the desk and drawers, inside and out, with Lysol wipes as well as a water-vinegar mixture with some essential oils in hopes of getting rid of the awful smell. Then I put baking soda in the drawers which was an awesome suggestion from a friend, and it totally worked.

I sanded the whole desk three times with varying strengths of sand paper and finally, painted two coats of white paint that we had leftover.

The largest challenge was the beautiful hardware, which was impossible to remove, so I had to use my kid’s tiny paint brushes to free hand around the handles for the two coats of paint.

It’s now in our kid’s room and I just love it! This year my oldest began having nightly homework, so it was the perfect time to introduce a desk into the kid’s bedroom. To make room for the desk we re-arranged some pieces and gave away others – an active discipline when you live in a small space but love change!

We are thrilled with the huge drawers for storage and the lovely white finish on this classic piece.

Thank you, Emily! You can see more on Our Nest in the City.