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Mid Century Modern Desk Set from Sewing Desk

You know I love a good challenge, right? It seems I often undertake the most hot mess of projects at times and find myself scratching my head as to the why. ahem. Well, today is one of those days, and I know why. Meet this dilapidated sewing desk that is going to become a Mid Century Modern desk set with a cause.

Mid Century Modern Sewing Desk Before Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

We have: (1) water damage (2) fun carvings into the wood (3) missing veneer (4) legs removed (5) missing knobs (6) and a top that has taken a beating. Oy!

Damaged Sewing Desk Top |

Even smiley face stickers cover the back. I love it. If you haven’t seen my other Mid Century makeovers before, be sure to take a peek HERE.

Smiley Face Stickers on Back of Sewing Desk |

The story behind this piece is an exciting one. Why? Because I have been hoping to do something like this for some time now, and I think this is my starting point.

Also, just to give a true start, here is what Mandy first sent me to see if I was interested…would it scare you?

Upside Down Desk Before |


If you’re not familiar with my Finding Home program, I’ll do a quick breakdown. Over the last year and half, I’ve been taking applications for folks that nominate someone who deserves a hug. I want to bless someone who is in need of a special reward for a service they have done or are doing, or are dealing with hardships physically and/or financially by sending them a custom-finished piece of furniture.

Prodigal Pieces Finding Home - a furniture re-homing program for those who need it most |

When selected, the nominee receives, for FREE, one of my custom furniture pieces delivered to their door. In my past Finding Home posts, you can see the projects from start to finish with delivery to recipients. Unfortunately, after the first episode of my program launch I was finding it hard to get anyone to nominate anybody. How sad! I can’t wrap my brain around folks will jump all over a giveaway that’s for them, but not get involved in demonstrating love for others. It has happened every time I offer a giveaway where the goal is to nominate a recipient for this program or other offers.


However, for today’s instance, this Mid Century Modern desk is going to be finding a new home locally through the Paid in Full ministry run by my friend, Mandy. Though, keep in mind, I am still taking applications for my Finding Home program that can reach anywhere in the continental U.S.

In case you missed last month’s post, my Finding Home program presented a custom makeover to a buffet used in the Paid in Full new church location. Take a peek at the story and makeover HERE.

When I reached out to Mandy with my idea, she was interested and excited. Our hope is to inspire folks to love their home no matter what the circumstances, and to put a little DIY spirit into it. She had this desk donated and I told her would be a perfect candidate for a facelift. Don’t you agree?


First, to get this makeover started, I removed that awfully damaged desk top. However, keep in mind the top still could have a use being upcycled for another purpose – it’s wood isn’t it? {{wink, wink}}

Then, once I had the top removed, I reattached the legs and took a better assessment of what I was facing. The drawer pulls were present and made of brass, but the knobs are missing. No problem. I removed the drawers and set them aside. Also, the capped feet are brass too and just need some TLC.

TIP: to check for brass, use a magnet. If magnetic, it’s not brass. You can also use this for checking silver vs. silver plate. All bonafide junkers must carry a magnet with them at all times! hee hee.

As for the rest of the cabinet, I knew it would need to meet Mr. Wood Filler and Mr. Sander. ugh. Look at that hot mess-ness! Someone had a hay-day carving into the surfaces.

Wood Filler to Repair Damaged Sewing Desk |

*post sponsored by Zibra  (see full disclosure)


Of course, every desk is going to need a chair. I say it all the time that when I need one I can’t find one, and when I don’t need one, I have five waiting in my stash. ugh. After a couple of trips to various stores, I finally found this set of Heywood Wakefield chairs.

Vintage Heywood Wakefield Dining Chairs |

They are as genuine MCM as you can get and the perfect pairing for my project. Thank you to Revivals 2 Thrift Store for giving me a deal to help this ministry project come to fruition.

My sander and I had a job to do and we got ‘er done. The wood looks so refreshed now.

Sanded Heywood Wakefield Chair for Mid Century Modern Desk Makeover |

Not only did I sand this chair down, but the drawer fronts too so I could give them a fresh stain. However, the desk cabinet was going to get a stain-blocking primer layer to hide the bleed-through as well as the water damage. That’s when my Zibra 2″ Angled Brush comes out to play.

Zibra 2" Angled Paint Brush for Furniture Restoration by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Priming Mid Century Modern Desk with Stain-blocker |

You know I love my Zibra brushes! I chose this particular one because it would allow me to easily switch from paint to poly for the larger surfaces.

Meanwhile, I applied a Hickory Gel Stain to the drawer fronts, let cure, then added two coats of a satin poly with my same brush.

Poly Topcoat Added to Mid Century Modern Desk Drawers |


Then, while those cure, I set about to polish all the brass hardware with my Bar Keepers Friend. Talk about amazing stuff!

Polishing Mid Century Modern Desk Brass Pulls with Bar Keepers Friend |

This is my must-have product for my enameled cast iron sinks, tub, and my stainless cooktop. It is cheap and works wonders.

In addition to the polishing, I also began my work making a new top for the desk. I’ve saved the old top for another new life, but the sewing machine hole would deem useless for this makeover.

I purchased a project piece of ¾” birch plywood, cut it to size, and then prepared to add edgebanding. This hides the ply sides and gives a beautiful finish.

Birch Plywood Edgebanding for Desk Top |

I simply iron it on, trim, and sand smooth. Easy-peasy!

Applying Edgebanding to Mid Century Modern Desk Makeover |

Once done, I give the desk top and the chair a new stain called Summer Oak. Then, they receive a few coats of a satin poly as well. For the chair, however, I used my Square Brush to cover the surfaces properly and avoid drips. Notice my furry photo-bomber?

Zibra Square Brush for Smooth Finish |


After all is said and done, it’s finally time to see it all put together.

Mid Century Modern Desk made from Upcycled Sewing Desk by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #home #furniture #midcentury #modern #homedecor #vintage

Newly Refinished Mid Century Modern Desk Top by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #home #midcentury #modern #furniture #homedecor

How about that new top? I am so excited with the outcome of it all. It has the rich tones I love that accent the wood. Whereas the paint also adds the needed contrast that stays true to the Mid Century style. No brush strokes here thanks to the awesome brushes. Yay!

I even lined the drawers with a vintage roll of drawer liner I found at the thrift store and used on this luggage turned stand HERE in this post. Just so fun!

Mid Century Modern Desk drawer lined with vintage liner by Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #furniture #home #diy #homedecor #midcentury

Vintage Mid Century Modern Desk Set with Heywood Wakefield Chair by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #midcentury #modern #furniture #home #homedecor #vintage

Thankfully, I was able to find some coordinating brass knobs to compliment the original pulls.  Aren’t they sweet?

Mid Century Modern Desk Drawer with Original Brass Knobs by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #furniture #diy #home #homedecor #midcentury #modern #vintage

Upholstered Heywood Wakefield Desk Chair by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #midcentury #furniture #vintage #retro #home #homedecor

Also, the upholstery is a remnant piece I had from an Art Deco vanity that I refinished in a weathered copper patina. You have to take a peek for yourself to see it – glam! And it went to a studio in California. So fun!

Well, my Mid Century Modern desk makeover is complete and I’m excited to see whose home it will become a part of. I’ll add an update here when applicable. Keep reading for more details!

Upcycled Sewing Desk into Mid Century Modern Desk Set by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #furniture #midcentury #modern #home #homedecor #vintage

Restored Mid Century Sewing Desk becomes Desk Set with Retro Funk by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #midcentury #vintage #furniture #diy #home #homedecor


Now, my awesome finish is due in part to those amazing brushes. Zibra and I are all about empowering you to tackle those DIY projects with the best brushes available on the market. We’re offering you a chance to win this boxed set of brushes.

Win this fantastic Zibra Paint Brush Prize with the giveaway by Prodigal Pieces | details at #prodigalpieces #giveaway #paint #furniture #diy #home #homedecor

Easy entry – just complete the widget below for as many entries as you like (daily even for more entries). Open to U.S. & Canada residents 18 years of age and older. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. In addition, be sure to check your spam!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


As I mentioned before, this desk makeover is done to support the Paid in Full Ministry by my friend, Mandy. Not only and I hoping to really bless someone with a custom piece of furniture, but inspire folks to see the potential in what they already own.

If you know someone in our local Paid in Full community that could use that hand up from my Finding Home program I described earlier, please use the orange button below to complete the nomination. However, do note that the nomination is for someone other than yourself. This program deadline will be until NOON EST on October 17th, 2019. Recipient will be announced on Tuesday October 22nd, 2019. Sign up for my free email newsletter for updates.

Submit application for Finding Home Furniture Rehoming Application for Paid in Full |

In addition, for folks outside of the local Paid in Full community and know of a deserving recipient, I am always taking applications for my regular program for upcoming furniture rehab projects. Please submit using the gray box below.

Submit application for Finding Home Furniture Rehoming Application |


We have selected a nominee!! I can’t say enough how excited we are to deliver this Mid Century Modern desk in person to Morgan.

Larissa of Prodigal Pieces Delivery Finding Home Desk | #prodigalpieces

She was nominated by her mother to be celebrated as a person who has undergone life trials that could have overtaken her. However, she is persevering and making the best of all that life gives her.

Delivering Mid Century Modern Desk |

The desk is finally home! {{applause and happy dance all in one!)

Recipient of Finding Home Mid Century Modern Desk by Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

And even more good news…we are working on the next steps of the Finding Home program for the other 7 nominees via Paid in Full. More news to come!

Do pin and share my Mid Century Modern Desk makeover. I’m sure there are many more sewing desks out there needing new life.

Sweet save! This dilapidated sewing desk got new life as a gorgeous Mid Century Modern Desk Set by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Head to to see #prodigalpieces #furniture #home #midcentury #modern #homedecor #vintage #retro

Up next, I have this entertainment center that was a custom client request for a makeover. Head here to see the fun new look!

Entertainment Stand Before Makeover |

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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Also, more projects like my Mid Century Modern desk set:

From damaged to Boho beauty, this vintage Ikat Mid Century Modern Dresser Makeover is one you need to see. Full step-by-step video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.come #prodigalpieces #diy #furniture #home #homedecor #homedecorideas #bedroom #boho #midcenturymodern #vintageCheck out how this vintage Art Deco buffet was given a modern feel. Makeover at Prodigal Pieces |


  1. ColleenB.~Tx. says

    1st; Thank U 4 this wonderful giveaway opportunity.
    At the moment I have a couple of old swivel bar stools that need to have something done to them but just haven’t decided what I’m going to do as yet.
    Enjoy your day; ‘Today Is A Good Day To Have A Good Day.’
    Have a great week end as well.

    • Larissa says

      My pleasure, as always. 🙂 Those sound like a perfect project piece. Good day to you too!

  2. Nancy F Lambert says

    Awesome awesome awesome….

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! This was a fun learning experience for me. It felt good to restore it.

  3. Sherry Fram says

    Love the makeover! MCM is my favorite style for makeovers. I have a louvered door wardrobe that needs updating & the brushes would make quick work of it.

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! I just love the lines of the era. Sounds like a good work piece.

  4. Susie Wilcox says

    Good brushes are the key to a professional finish versus what I get when I redo pieces. I need these brushes in my life! Great job on the desk and what a wonderful cause. You have me thinking about the many people that do wonderful things for others.

    • Larissa says

      I couldn’t agree more in more ways than one. You will love them! I’m eager to see how this all unfolds. Thank you.

  5. Lori Sawyer says

    You have the most beautiful heart! Great job on the desk and i love the mushroom pictures on wall😀😀

    • Larissa says

      aww…thank you, Lori. Aren’t those fun? If you look close, a hired plumber made a mess all over my vintage prints…I could have cried! But…I love them alas.

  6. Amy Mercier says

    You really are one of a kind. Six kids, ,a pup, homeschooled kids and all of this. I don’t know how you do it all, but you do with such ease.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Amy. I have the best crew that help me and work hard too.

  7. Amanda Pennington says

    You vision for restoration is truly a gift, and what a worthwhile cause! The desk is lovely!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you for saying so, Amanda. I’m so excited to see the ending of this story.

  8. Kaitlyn says

    Love this piece! You’re so talented!

  9. Stacy says

    This piece turned out beautifully! I always appreciate your vision!

  10. Sherry Riggs says

    I have one of these sewing desks in blond laminate. Maybe a makeover is in its future.

  11. Janina says

    Your work is beautiful and well thought out (as always)

  12. Audra says

    Wow! That is quite a makeover! Awesome of you to do these furniture blessings!
    Fwiw, I would use the brushes on a buffet in my dining room.

    • Larissa says

      Hooray! Thank you so much. That sounds like the perfect project piece.

  13. Jane Clelland says

    I have never been a fan of MCM, but I always find that I love the pieces after you finish them. Love the desk! So are you still giving away the refinished products to someone deserving? I have someone in mind.

    • Larissa says

      That’s fantastic! Music to my ears. Yes, I am still doing the regular FH program. I have the button in my post for you to submit a nominee. One button is for this project, the one below it (in gray) is for my regular program.

  14. Lynn Beeman says

    I love the idea of both of these programs. It takes a huge heart to do so much for others. I have so many projects I don’t know where to start lol. I have a room full of pieces and I know these brushes would be a blessing…..thank you for the opportunity.

    • Larissa says

      I know the feeling, Lynn! 😀 It can be overwhelming at times…trust me. haha. I know you’ll love Zibra brushes as much as I do.

  15. SONJA H. HANSEN says

    Beautiful piece from something that looked like it was headed to the dump. I especially like the brass on the legs. I have an old wooden file cabinet with legs like that and I kept them when I refinished the piece 30 years ago. I am ready to re-do it again. Thanks for sharing all of your fun ideas.

    • Larissa says

      The brass accents makes my hear pitter-pat for sure. I’m so glad they were there! I love that you’re willing to rework a piece instead of dumping it. Good for you!

  16. Linda C Johnston says

    I can’t wait for your posts to see what you have been up to! Here’s another winner (all your projects are winners!). I love that you give so much back. Awesome desk!

    • Larissa says

      awww…how fun that is that?! It makes my day. Thank you! I just love sharing.

  17. Jennie Dugger says

    LOVE Mid-Century Modern! You do great work. Very creative!!

  18. Julie Squillante says

    Desk looks amazing!!

  19. Judy Lincicum says

    Larissa, this is one of my favorites of yours! Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Larissa says

      Awesome! I wish I had brushes for everyone. Thank you, Judy. 😉

  20. Mary Mayo says

    Very nice makeover! I would give these brushes to my husband for his many projects. Next up might be the inside of our buffet and hutch. Finges crossed

  21. Darlene G. Ricker says

    Well done Larissa! You are fantastic, love what you do!

  22. Doreen says

    Wow—an amazing transformation once again! Thanks for the tip on the iron-on wood edging tape. Have a wonderful day.

    • Larissa says

      Yahoo!! I’m happy to share. That stuff is so cool and makes it look like solid wood.

  23. Monica says

    I love the contrasting tones of the finished piece. You have such creativity and vision. Love your blog.

  24. Marie says

    🙏🏻 You do such beautiful work physically and from the heart. 🙏🏻 I will share this in any way I can to get the word out. Lucky is the recipient of this beautiful desk makeover. Talk about trash to treasure!

    • Larissa says

      You know I love it. Thank you, Marie. I really am hoping not only this, but my entire program for all areas reaches those who need it most. I so appreciate the love…really!

  25. Amanda Corbet says

    This turned out so lovely! Not my particular style, but beautiful! I have a desk that I need to makeover soon too. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  26. janet a phillips says

    These brushes look amazing and I sure would like to win them to fine tune some of my projects. You always do an amazing job on yours

  27. Kaycee says

    Hi Larissa, What a difference is such an understatement, right? I mean look at that gorgeous birch desk top, the stain and paint colors, and the fabulous brass hardware (I swear by Bartenders Friend also). Your beautiful desk and chair set will surely bring countless smiles and hugs to it’s recipient.

    • Larissa says

      Just a bit, me thinks. hee hee. It was a doozy, but so fun too. Thank you for the love, Kaycee.

  28. Laura says

    Great makeover! A beautiful piece for a deserving recipient! And I don’t have any Zibra brushes but have heard so many good things about them. I’d love them in my painting chest!Thank you!

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! I’m eager to see the outcome of our efforts. 😀 You will no doubt love the brushes like I do.

  29. Hanna Quana says

    Always so creative! You bring furniture back from the dead and beautiful again! Amazing!

    • Larissa says

      Wahoo!! It sure makes it fun for me to share. Thank you!!

  30. Deb Townley-Sparkle says

    Job well done! Personally that would scare me 😳

    • Larissa says

      tee hee! It’s these kind that really challenge me in my artistic side as well as my builder side. So fun!

  31. Kim says

    Larissa, I love how you’re so often willing to tackle a piece most others would give up on. And once again, you did a great job.

  32. Christine Varner says

    I love this make over! MCM is one of my all-time favorites. I really like the two-toned wood colors

  33. Alison S says

    I have a dresser I would like to paint.

  34. Toni says

    I recently bought some chairs and I would use the brushes to paint these.

  35. Mary says

    What an amazing transformation! Clearly a “trash to treasure” project – wow!Most would have tossed I think. Love your projects/posts…learn SO much from you. I’ve never heard of this brand of brushes, but definitely need something different than what I use now so would appreciate them very much if I won….Thank you for your generosity!

    • Larissa says

      What a wonderful compliment. Thank you! You will love the Zibra brushes. I’ve been using them for a few years now and still think they are the best.

  36. Cara says

    This piece is beautiful! I have the exact same one. My husband also made a new top for mine. I need the polish the handles and didn’t even think of Bar Keepers Friend! Thanks for the tip. Also, can you tell me which white paint you used? I don’t think I saw that anywhere. I have a dresser that I’d like to do and I’m having a terrible time choosing a paint that isn’t too yellow or too blue. This one looks perfect!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Cara! You have quite the treasure. Yes, BK is the best thing ever! 😀 The paint I used is a basic Glidden white off the shelf. I use it for all my standard white pieces.

  37. Dale Cundy says

    Another Larissa masterpiece! You did an amazing job on this piece. 💗 Thank you for offering the chance to win this wonderful set of Zibra brushes. I have so many projects to paint…the brushes would be so helpful! 🌹

    • Larissa says

      Thank you for the love, Dale! It was quite the challenge, but fun too. I know you’ll love the Zibra brushes too!

  38. Shelly says

    Great vision, as always!

  39. Mary says

    Larissa you know I have a soft spot for MCM. And this one is no exception!!

    • Larissa says

      yahoo! You and me both, Mary. What a fun challenge this was. 🙂

  40. Tammi says

    I have only done 2 furniture pieces now, but each time I can just feel myself relax and settle in for the enjoyment of letting the creativity God has blessed me flow out. I loved the sewing machine makeover, and I watched a dresser rehab you did with the homerights sprayer. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    • Larissa says

      It’s surely my kinda therapy. Art is just that in any form. Good for you! I’m so glad you enjoy my work. Thank you!

  41. Michele says

    MCM is usually not my style, but this is super cute. I actually have a very similar sewing desk sitting in my storage right now. It has been there for several years, but I have never been inspired to do anything to it. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration!

    • Larissa says

      How wonderful to hear you are inspired. Thank you for the awesome feedback, Michele.

  42. Melissa Storms says

    I just picked up a cabinet for a corner of my kitchen and I need to paint it to match the rest. I would use the brushes for that.

  43. Erin says

    I’d paint an old nightstand I’ve been waiting to do something with.

  44. Jaye Smith says

    My living room wall. Everything is ready and waiting, I just need to get to the start place.

  45. Christie says

    What a fantastic save!! Beautiful work as always.

  46. Kay says

    Both pieces are beautiful. I recently painted an old table, but someone set something on it soon after I finished painting. You know what happened, now I must do the top again. How long do you let paint “cure” before using?

    • Larissa says

      Thank you so much, Kay. I’m sorry that happened to you. For my own home, I like to wait a week at minimum. My family is hard on things. 😉

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