The rebirth of my childhood campaign desk

Hot on the heels of our move from downtown to the suburbs last summer, my parents shocked us all by announcing that they would be moving ASAP into a condo.  This was a serious downsize for mom and dad and they needed to get rid of tons of furniture in order to squeeze into their “home in the sky – maison dans le ciel” (Alix-speak for their 18th floor high rise condo).  Hello!  My newly acquired suburbian home was desperately needing furniture and, with a kitchen reno in progress, there was no money left in the bank account to buy any.  So I gladly accepted loads of their furniture, some more modern pieces, and some that I had known since my childhood.

That’s how I came to inherit this little number.  My parents had purchased two of these in the late 70s.  Positioned side by side, they served as homework desks for my brother and I throughout the entire time we lived at home.

I dumped it in my sewing room last summer and completely forgot about.  Until I saw this on Pinterest:


I thought immediately that these two dressers, found on Craigslist and transformed by the talented graphic designer and blogger Joy Deangdeelert Cho, were amazing!  The colours, the hardware, the vintage style… and then it hit me!  I actually owned the desk version of these tall boys. Right there in my home!  Woohoo! No scouring Craigslist or Kijiji for me! It was there, buried deep in my sewing room, waiting to be rescued.  All this time, I had never seen the potential for that little desk until now!  (By the way, if you’re looking for a dose of design inspiration, check out Joy’s blog Oh Joy! here.)

Since the desk was already in pretty good shape, all it needed was a few licks of paint.  The toughest part for me was to pick my paint colours.  That’s ALWAYS my issue!  I love colour, and I love pattern… I just suck at putting various colours or patterns together!  Looking back to those inspirational dressers, I quickly realized that it was the colours of the top three drawers that made my heart skip a beat… and as my little desk had only three main drawers, I decided to go with those beautiful colours. Call it an hommage to Joy!

Off to the paint store I went! I lucked out in picking up a $2 can of “oops” paint.  I can’t figure out the name of the actual colour, as paint was smeared all over the top of the can.  My best guess is that it might be Salmon Rose 2003-3C by Valspar.  I then purchased two small sample pots:  the red colour is Valspar’s Autumn Fire 1007-1 and the mint is Green Gala 6003-9C, also Valspar.  The smaller pencil drawer was painted grey with Valspar’s Urban Sunrise 4004-1B, which was left over from Chaughan’s office makeover.

Valspar 8 oz Autumn Fire Interior Satin Paint SampleValspar 8 oz. Paint Sample - Green GalaValspar 8 oz. Paint Sample - Urban Sunrise

After cleaning out the desk, I gave the drawers a quick sanding with 100-grit sandpaper.  The drawer fronts are made of laminate so priming them was a must in order for the coloured paint to stick.  Primer is also mandatory if you really want your bright colours to pop.   After the primer dried, I applied 3 (or was it 4?) coats of each colour with a sponge brush.  I took my time in applying my colours, as I didn’t want to see any streaks.   I let that dry for about 24 hours before putting them back in the desk.

And that’s about it!  So far, the paint colours have held up beautifully!

I just love how this happy little desk lifts my spirits every time I walk by!

Do you have anything from your childhood that you’ve refreshed and given new life?  I’d love to hear all about it in the comments section.  Feel free to link to any picture that you might have on the Internet!
I love me a good linky party:
The DIY'ers

The 36th AVENUE

15 thoughts on “The rebirth of my childhood campaign desk

    1. Hi Kayla,Thank you so much for stopping by! As this is a brand new blog (not even two months old yet!), I still get relatively little traffic so I have to admit that I do the happy dance everytime someone posts a comment! (I literally do a happy dance, no joke!!!)And I would love to join your link party! I am so excited that you asked! As a matter of fact, I am heading over right now… 🙂

  1. Amy, thank you so much for your comment. Don’t hate me but I actually have TWO little desks like that, and a three drawer dresser from the same series… As children, both my brother and I had a desk and I lucked out in inheriting both of them plus the dresser. So I still have one kicking around that I can transform! I’m sure that will be another blog post at some point soon 🙂 By the way, I checked out your Etsy shop ( I love love love your felt hairclips. Those little red owls are to die for!!! I’m going to have to keep them in mind for Gaëlle’s first birthday that’s coming up soon!

  2. Great job! Such a cute desk now! You’ll have to do the other ones you have for sure! I have a desk at home that I keep trying to decide whether or not to paint, and if I do paint it, what color etc.. Hard to take the plunge. I’ve only done a few thrift store/free pieces so far. Anyhow, love the colors you picked.

    1. To paint or not to paint! I struggle with that all the time. Generally though, things around my house end up painted! Ha! But there is something to be said about restraint and enjoying wood in all of it’s natural beauty. But few wood pieces stay intact around these parts. 🙂

  3. Reeves, thanks for all the info you emailed me on campaign pieces! I had no idea and indeed I followed your suggestion and did a search and am finding tons! I already liked my little desks tons, as they are reminders of my youth. But now I have to admit that I LOVE them!!! :-))) Thanks for taking the time to get back to me so quickly with all this info… I am totally in love with your furniture makeovers by the way!!!

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