Oak Desk with Industrial Farmhouse Flair

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As a kid, I remember my parents taking me to farms and country properties to go to auctions. Mmm…the smell of the outdoor spaces and the thrill of the hunt. Especially for me as I was knee-high to a grasshopper and had the perfect height to dig through the boxes looking for treasures. Sometimes those days lasted long as we waited for the items to come up for bidding. I remember my dad picking me up and telling me to lay my head on his shoulder. It wasn’t long before I was sound asleep in the best place ever.

My mom knew how to sniff out a deal at a garage sale and also knew how to haggle over prices. She would usually allow me to pick some sort of treasure while on our hunts, and like most garage sailing, sometimes you come up empty and sometimes you strike it rich. Oh…those were the days.

My parents are my treasures that I feel sometimes I have yet to fully appreciate. Do you ever long for a rewind button? My days fly by and it seems time is slipping away too fast. One thing that hasn’t changed is their love for me. Take this oak desk for instance. It could have been cast aside as my dad went through the newly purchased property he had acquired. He’s been a fixer upper long before that title became a household word,  and, I must say, the best one there is. When he asked me if I’d like to have it, I said, “Sure!” I mean…who wouldn’t, right?

Vintage Oak Desk Before Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

At first glance, the only major issue was with the top. Somehow, one of the boards had been attached out-of-line, and there was the chemical stain damage.

Damaged Top of Oak Desk | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

*post sponsored by Zibra and contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

No problem. heh, heh, heh.

First, I took apart the top to take a look at why that board had separated from the rest. It looked as though two of the boards had been joined properly and this one was just butted up. Hmm…

Next, I whipped out my trusty sander and gave that lone board a sanding to see if those stains were as bad as I thought. Yep. No can do.

Sanded Desk Top | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I was tempted to run with it and have some fun with that stain by turning it into something artistic like I did with my Farmhouse Desk, but then and idea dawned on me. Flip all the boards and start fresh on the other side. {{head smack}} Oh, and in case you’re curious, I could have easily sealed that stain and hide it with Kilz like I did with these pieces.

Now I had a fresh surface to work with and no fussing with those stains. Yay! Because I flipped the boards, I had to fill some holes with wood filler and make everything look new because this top wasn’t going to be painted. Same was true for the drawers. Sanded those down and even found some fun pieces of history while working, like this text on the drawer back.

Hand Writing on Desk Drawer | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

There was even some text written on the inside of the cabinet frame. I love finding bits to the story. Sometimes it even makes my hair stand up and I get goosebumps to think about the person that put their life into their work.

However, though I had no intention of painting the top or drawers, the cabinet was a different story. Since my favorite way to finish a piece is a paint/stain combo, you know I had to do it. tsk.

Enter in my highly favored Zibra brushes. After a century of not finding a brush worth repeat buying, I finally found one!! Zibra has went to great lengths to create not just one brush, but many different styles to suit every need that a DIYer can encounter. I have showcased them in these makeover posts and you can seem them in action on the their blog Creating (Simple)!

Assorted Zibra Paint Brushes for Any DIY Project | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

The have fast become my favorite so much so that I now offer them in my shop.

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Let me show you what I’m talking about. First, I use my 2″ angled brush to give the top and drawers a fresh coat of Provincial Stain. Yes, the brushes work for paint and stain. woot! Then to deepen the color, I used another layer of Espresso.

Staining Desk Top with Zibra Brushes | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com


While the top and drawers are curing, I tackle the cabinet with my 2″ stubby brush – made for easy handling in small spaces.

Painting Oak Desk with Zibra Brushes | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

After adding a bit of whimsy to the drawers with my stencil and waiting for all to cure, the last step is to topcoat it. Since I used Fluff by Dixie Belle Paints, same as I used on this dresser, I decided to finish with their poly.

You may be thinking to yourself that a desk isn’t much good without a chair. Well, that’s when I head to my favorite Craigslist and don’t you know the first listing I found was the one I wanted. A 1940’s oak desk chair with a gorgeous patina and a story to tell. Don’t they look fantastic together?

Industrial Oak Desk by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

The top came out wonderful and I am always loving that rich dark color of wood.

Top View of Oak Desk by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

The stenciling added that bit of fun to bring more of an industrial twist to the oak desk.

Numbered Drawers on Industrial Oak Desk by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I even whipped up a little sign with one of my favorite sayings. You can find both this oak desk and sign available in my shop. (SOLD)

Life is Better on the Farm Sign ~ Farmhouse Vignette by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Oak Desk Made New with Industrial Farmhouse Flair by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

This makeover was fun and got the itch out of my system to see this desk redone. Now, I just need to give my parents a hug and thank them for all they do.

I encourage you to pin and share this project so other can be inspired to get out there and DIY too!

Vintage Oak Desk Gets Industrial Farmhouse Style Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Later on this week, I will have another project for you. Do sign up for my newsletter to get updates and also your FREE Furniture Shopping Checklist and coupon code to my shop. Sign up via the sidebar or bottom of this post. Until next time!

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More projects like this oak desk makeover:

Farmhouse Desk Rescue with Woodburned Top by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comWorn-out Desk Gets Makeover by Teenage Boy by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

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18 Comments

  • Sharon Smith

    Love it! Free is always the best! A desk anyone would be proud to own! Have a wonderful day!

    January 17, 2017 at 6:28 am Reply
    • Larissa

      That’s wonderful to hear, Sharon. Thank you! Yes, free is best.

      January 17, 2017 at 9:57 am Reply
  • Jamie K

    What a difference! Wow! The stain color is gorgeous! I’m sure if the maker of this desk could see it, they would be very proud!! Yummm!

    January 17, 2017 at 6:51 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Aww…thank you for saying so, Jamie. I sure hope so!

      January 17, 2017 at 9:59 am Reply
  • Mary - the boondocks blog

    Larissa I would have given up after seeing the wood piece on top. But of course that is the difference between an amateur and an expert like you. My dad has always been my inspiration too when it comes to DIY so I guess these things run in the genes. Great job and an amazing save!!

    January 17, 2017 at 8:33 am Reply
    • Larissa

      It had to be done. 😉 Thanks, Mary, and that’s wonderful to hear your parents were inspiration too.

      January 17, 2017 at 9:59 am Reply
  • Marie from The Interior Frugalista

    Sounds like the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree and now you are giving your children those same special memories. My Dad was an avid DIYer and could turn a lemon into buckets of lemonade, so I can relate to your story. As for the desk – bravo as always!

    January 17, 2017 at 9:09 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, both my parents have made me appreciate much. What a blessing! You had awesome parents and it shows. Hugs, Marie!

      January 17, 2017 at 10:00 am Reply
  • Louise

    Fantastic! I never would have thought about flipping the top. Are most held in place with screws? Did you have to glue and clamp funky board? I’m always impressed with your creativity.
    Your sweet childhood memories warmed my heart. Just yesterday I was thinking about how my parents positive influences led me to be the person I am today. My Mom (79) is creative and can fix/make anything, my Dad (78) is a health oriented Kung Fu master. I’m so very blessed and thankful. I hope I have been half as good of an inspiration to my three boys.
    Thank you Larissa for sharing Love and Inspiration. Namaste.

    January 17, 2017 at 9:28 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, they were screwed on and flipping them was easy. I just butted up and reattached and all was good. What an awesome set of role models you have. Yes, I’m sure you are a wonderful inspiration to your children. Thank you for the love!

      January 17, 2017 at 10:02 am Reply
  • kim

    Another great project! I’m curious, how do you clean your brushes when you’re finished with them? That’s always a pain for me and I can never get them really clean.

    January 17, 2017 at 9:53 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks, Kim! I’m anal about prompt cleanup, so as long as you use warm water and get at it they will be fine. I also make sure to not get paint up in the base of the brush which causes build-up and stiffness. Sometimes a good scrub brush can be used to help loosen dried paint, just make sure you start at the base and work in the same direction moving down the bristles. You can also soak them in rubbing alcohol to loosen old paint too.

      January 17, 2017 at 10:04 am Reply
      • kim

        Great – thanks for the tips!

        January 17, 2017 at 10:09 pm Reply
  • Sherry Stuifbergen

    Great “vision” for your projects! What an inspiration you are! One of my favorite blogs to read! Go, girl!

    January 17, 2017 at 11:02 am Reply
  • Angie ~ ambient wares

    This is wonderful! Flipping the top pieces over was a genius idea and now I know to keep that option in mind when looking at/for pieces to redo. Thank you!

    January 17, 2017 at 11:37 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Wonderful! It can really come in handy for sure. 🙂 Thanks!

      January 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm Reply
  • Kimberly

    Hopefully your vision is starting to rub off on me. As soon as I saw the stain after your first sanding, I said, “Why not flip the board?” 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration as always.

    January 17, 2017 at 12:14 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Wahoo! I hope so! I have done that before, so I was kinda like, “Why didn’t I think of that earlier?” Ah well. It worked out for the best.

      January 17, 2017 at 7:12 pm Reply

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