“Swedish” secretary desk

Marian ParsonsBefore and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Hand Painted Furniture, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint43 Comments

Sometimes I need to spend a little time with a piece before I know how I want to “mustard-ize” it.  Other times, inspiration hits me immediately and I can’t wait to get to work on it.  My furniture does not get the first-come-first-serve treatment.  So, even with a bunch of other pieces that have been “in line” longer, I set to work on this desk that I had just acquired from Craig’s List.

desk before | miss mustard seed

Just the night before I got it, I had been trolling Pinterest and came across some beautiful antique Swedish desks that were painting in various shades of bluish greens.  So, when I saw this secretary in person, I knew it wanted to look like one of those Swedish desks.

So, I painted it in a custom-mixed color – one part Kitchen Scale to two parts Shutter Gray, both from the MMSMP line.  When finished with Hemp Oil, it became the greenish blue I envisioned.

"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

I painted the interior in Mora, which was a nice compliment.

"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

I’m a little in love with this desk and everything I used for the photo shoot.  I just wanted to take it all home!

"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

I will admit that painting the cubbies was a pain.  I had to take off the back of the secretary and remove them, so I could get everything painted properly.  Trust me on this, it’s much better to take the time to take the piece apart than to try to wedge a brush in those cubbies!  With the back and cubbies removed, I was able to get the cubbies, behind, under and around them painted, so it looks sharp.

cast iron bunnies | miss mustard seed


"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

This desk has some pretty cool gears that move the supports out when the desk is open.  I didn’t want to deal with painting the sides of the supports, since they slide in and out of their recesses, so I just painted the ends.  (I need to try to find a little brass knob to replace the missing one…)

"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

I thought the legs on this desk were so pretty and a little unexpected.  The hardware and wood tone speak more to a Queen Anne style, but the legs aren’t cabriole.  They are straight, with a turned, almost cannonball detail.  I really liked that.

"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

I reused the brass handles, knobs and keyhole cover, because they seem to suit the piece.

"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

cast iron bunnies | miss mustard seed


This was one of those fun shoots when everything came together just as I planned it out in my head.

"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

"swedish" blue desk | miss mustard seed

The desk (along with most of the other things in the photo shoot) will be available for sale at the Lucketts Spring Market, May 15-17, 2015.  It’s priced at $285.

I’ll share more about the chair in another post…

“Swedish” secretary desk

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43 Comments on ““Swedish” secretary desk”

  1. I really like what you’ve done with this secretary! I’m usually so torn about painting over pretty wood but you show how it can work out beautifully. Thanks for sharing another lovely transformation.

  2. Beautiful! Love the props in your photo shoot, too–especially the lamp and the painting (hoping that will be at Luckett’s!) Your booth is going to be amazing this year (as always!). I hope you’ve got even more space this year! Sounds like you are bringing a lot of furniture! Can’t wait! Praying for a beautiful DRY weekend for Luckett’s! 🙂

  3. I am head over heels for this. I’d love to just wrap up this whole vignette. The lamp, the painting – its all perfect. This is a really pretty piece, and I think you gave it so much oomph with the colors you chose. She really stands out, now!

  4. This, like 99% of your projects, turned out great, and i agree with the styling – I’d take it all home in a minute!
    My sister painted a similarly shaped desk, and she said those cubbies were a total pain in the a$$. Like you, she took them all apart.

  5. Love the color, love the desk, love the styling!
    One question – in the before pic, the desk has an obvious sheen (looks like finish was in good shape) – what was your procedure for this piece? Light sanding + bonding agent? Thanks – you are an inspiration!

  6. Love the custom color blend you used on this desk…its perfect! I just don’t know how you bare to part with all these beautiful pieces of furniture. I also love the way you styled the desk and that little footstool hiding under the desk reminded me of the one we have that belonged to my husbands late grandmother. I need to dig that out of storage ASAP and start using it!

  7. Dear Marian,
    I have followed you for over a year, maybe two. I know this is your business and that you and Jeff are trying different things to grow it. Your plethora of ads right over your text and photos is too much for me. I’m having to deal with them before contributing to enjoy your post. You are losing me as a follower ,I’m afraid.. Makes me sad but it’s too invasive and nothing I want. Nothing I asked for. . .
    If it’s part of the deal now, I’ll pass. And I’ll miss your beautiful inspiration.

    1. Colleen,

      I think some of those ads are rogue. I wrote to Marian about the same issue and she replied that some of them are not from her. She’s working on trying to eliminate them.

    2. Check out my comment’s below, as it relates to eliminating most ads from your browsing experience. Installing the extension could dramatically change your browsing experience! 🙂

    3. I use Google Chrome and love it. Chrome has the ability to block ads, fill in your passwords and it even has a way of notifying you when you have new mail. You’ll love Google Chrome. When you get a new password a pop up from Chrome will ask you if you want them to remember it for you, next time you go to that new site Chrome will fill in the password for you. It also allows you to be incognito if that’s your preference…you can turn it on and off whenever you need it.

      Don’t tune out your favorite site like Miss Mustard Seed, get Chrome for blacking out those ads.

      I’m an rank amatuer when it comes to the computer and don’t have a horse in the race or stock in Chrome, just like it for it’s ease.

      1. I use Google Chrome too, but the ads permeate the blog. I really prefer the desktop format. There needs to be a switch button to choose to use the reader’s preferred format. Many websites default to mobile but give the user the choice to use the site either way. This would be a blessing.

  8. Very inspired by your beautiful furniture and upholstery transformations! So much so, that I bought an upholstery stapler and milk paint. I’m hoping for some good results! Keep up the good work.

  9. I love this piece. The color is beautiful….thanks for the “recipe”! Kitchen Scale is my fave so any variations are good! You’ve turned me into a blue addict!

  10. That has to be the most perfect shade of blue ever… What a difference. I want to take it all home too, the whole set!


  11. Guess I’m going to have to travel to Virginia to buy some of your pieces since I guess you’re not planning to haul them to Arizona! LOL

  12. OMG that looks wonderful. I was just thinking of all those cubbies then read farther that you took it all apart. Great idea. Beautiful for sure.

  13. Nice job, Marian! Can you do a post to help us find good deals on Craigs List? I noticed that you find a lot of your pieces there. How do you search? What filters do you use? Do you look under “antiques” or “furniture”? Most of the items that I find are far from me. I’m in between Lancaster and Philadelphia so there’s no major city in between.

  14. I have no idea what Colleen is talking about. I do not see any ads over text. Love what you did with the desk. I have a desk almost like this one and now know what I’m going to do with it.

  15. Just wanted to chime in and say “You’re amazing!” Beautiful work you do when you breathe new life into a discarded piece!

  16. Beautiful! I do hope you find the little brass knob…I’m searching for one also for a large cherry desk that has been in my husband’s family for seven generations…that we know of. I’m a fan of everything you do!

  17. I love that you share your process and how you spend time with a piece, in order to get a real feel/sense of what to do with it. And when it comes together in the way you envisioned, less any hiccups or road bumps, even better!

    Lovely work, as ever.

  18. As relates to ads: If you use Chrome, select the “Apps” icon, then the “WebStore” icon, from there “Extensions.” Once there, select “AdBlockPlus.” It’s free and should block most, if not all, ads and you can enjoy Miss Mustard Seed’s site nearly ad-free!

    1. Thank for the heads up. Hopefully this will eliminate the ad that keeps coming up at the bottom of the page. It’s a pesky rascal.

  19. This desk is perfect. Such a great blue-green hue. Another viewer commented on the lamp,and I had to scroll back for a peek! I was so smitten with the pair of rabbits, I hadn’t taken in the rest of the styling. Thank you for your inspiring posts!

  20. Good evening Marian…Love the desk and the color…one of these days I am going to buy several different colors and mix like you do…the colors are awesome alone but love what you can do with them..thanks for the inspiration as always. Lori

  21. I am a long time reader & love to read your blog on my cellphone, for the most part. I noticed the change to your website recently, and read your explanation for the change to the new mobile format. Now maybe it’s just me & my very large Samsung Galaxy Note 4 screen, but I never had a problem with the desktop format, & actually prefer it to the mobile format. Is there a way to choose between the two formats, or am I stuck with the mobile one? Can you place a choice button or something on your mobile site., please?

  22. I am a long time reader & love to read your blog on my cellphone, for the most part. I noticed the change to your website recently, and read your explanation for the change to the new mobile format. Now maybe it’s just me & my very large Samsung Galaxy Note 4 screen, but I never had a problem with the desktop format, & actually prefer it to the mobile format. Is there a way to choose between the two formats, or am I stuck with the mobile one? Can you place a button to turn off the mobile site, please?

  23. Beautiful job on the desk, Marian. But what i really love are those little rabbits!! Are they for sale? I have all types of rabbits figurines that I display at Easter time and those are so dear. They look like they are made of iron; can you tell? They would be heavy, if so.

    Always inspired by what you do.

  24. You know, a lot of people prefer wood over painted pieces, but I must say everything you do is stunning!! I personally love both – I love gorgeous wood, but I also love almost all of your painted pieces. I so wish you were closer!

  25. The desk is an awesome color. The inside looks lighter so I’m assuming its not a blend color. Could you share what color you did the cubbies and desk top inside?

  26. I have a very similar piece that I’m going to attempt, but I’m still pretty new to this. How did you remove the Escutcheons? My writing desk has several of those same handles, and one over a keyhole, and there are no screws on the other side, so I think they might be in there with tiny nails?

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