Antique Vanity to Desk Makeover

A few years ago, well, ummm almost 6 years ago, I bought a vintage vanity for my then 5 year old daughter.  *Insert tears and nostalgia here*  At the time, she was starting kindergarten and I thought it would be cute for her to do her homework on.  Ah, the good ole’ days!  Now that she is in 5th grade, I yearn for that kindergarten homework!  I recently spent a very long night fashioning a teepee and hot gluing moss and rocks to a 12×12 board.  That was super fun.  Did I mention, I love sarcasm?

After stumbling upon the vanity at an antique market in Washington State, I knew the size would be a good fit for her. There was plenty of drawer space for all her junk that she would eventually stuff in there.

Now again, this was almost 6 years ago.  This was long before my “take a picture of everything” self.  Please forgive me for not having the original photo.  But let’s picture it together.  Imagine a dingy white, scuffed up and plain old filthy piece of junk.  Add in a few spiders hiding in the drawers and there you have it!  See, who needs a picture?

The vanity needed a little TLC with some cleaning and a fresh coat of paint. Maddy’s favorite color was purple, so I painted the majority of it purple with a white top and drawers.  On top of the white paint, I added a layer of shimmer paint.  It was so cute and most importantly, Maddy loved it.

Looking back, I am kind of questioning my judgment. I know over the years, my style has changed.  This is a true example of that.

Maddy has now outgrown the desk.  She needs more room…you know, for all that evil 5th grade homework now. I decided it would be better suited for my son, Rylan. I jokingly tried to get him to jump on board with the purple color scheme, but he was reluctant.

I began by stripping the white paint off of the top of the vanity as well as the drawers. The best method, I found, was using a heat gun and scraper. When I first got the vanity, I painted right over the old paint.  This time, while removing the old paint, there was a strong scent of women’s perfume.  I made my husband Marion come out on the front porch to smell it to make sure I wasn’t going crazy.

After it was all stripped, I (meaning my husband) sanded the entire vanity. I covered the purple with a gray chalk paint.

The top of the vanity and drawer fronts were stained with Minwax Red Mahogany. After it dried, I added some character to the gray painted areas with an antique wax. I sealed the drawer fronts and top with 2 coats of polyurethane.


I like this look a lot better than the purple. It looks more natural with the stained wood. I know the day will come when Rylan will outgrow it, but until then he is enjoying stuffing all his junk into it just like his older sister.

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