A new look for an old desk

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Francois Oberholster

Photographs Francois Oberholster



  • Annie Sloan chalk paint in the colours of your choice

We used: 

- Greek Blue

- Provence

- Emile

- Old White

- English Yellow

- Arles

  • Annie Sloan Clear Lacquer
  • new handles
  • wood filler


  • screwdriver
  • scraper
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • soft cloth
  • a ruler and pencil
  • paintbrushes, sponge roller and paint tray
  • stencils of your choice
  • drill
Project notes
  • You only need a teaspoon of paint for each drawer – it’s the perfect way to use that last drop of paint in the tin.
  • Paint only the front of the drawers and leave the rest of the wood natural; this uses very little paint and the combination of wood and paint looks lovely.

Here's how ...

1. Pull out the drawers and remove the old handles; fill the holes with wood filler.

2. Wait until the wood filler is dry before sanding the drawer fronts; wipe off the dust with a soft cloth.

3. Paint each drawer front a different colour (we used Annie Sloan Provence, English Yellow, Arles, Greek Blue and Emile).

4. Sand the painted fronts to a smooth finish; sand the edges as well to give them a slightly scuffed look.

5. Position the stencils on the drawer fronts and paint each one a contrasting colour with the sponge roller. For a weathered look, wait until the surface is just dry and then wipe over it gently with a damp cloth.

6. Paint the rest of the desk one colour (we used Annie Sloan Old White) and allow to dry.

7. Sand the edges so the wood shows through in places; also sand the flat surfaces lightly. Wipe off the dust.

8. Seal all the painted surfaces with Annie Sloan Clear Lacquer. Measure and mark the position of the new handles, drill the necessary holes and attach them.

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