About 6 months ago I painted two desks. The first one was a classic mahogany double pedestal style that was well-made and had a completely finished back so it didn’t need to be placed against a wall. It did have one unusual feature, however; the top was laminate made to look like mahogany. I painted it in Annie Sloan Old White and put some gilding on the edges. It was the first thing that I had painted in a true shabby style because I only had enough paint for 2 coats, so any wood peeking through or brush strokes were going to show. The end result was a decidedly feminine desk and it probably is the piece that most people comment on when they see my photos. Here it is:
The second desk had a solid mahogany top but peeling veneer on the drawers which I was able to remove easily. I refinished the top, painted the body in French Linen and Old White and added copper gilding to the brass Chippendale handles. I also distressed the molding on the edges of the desk and used dark wax on it. It is a bit more masculine than the white desk but still appealing to females. The copper really worked well with the mahogany stain. Both of these desks were bought by women.
And now I come to what I term the masculine desk. Let me start by saying that in general, painted furniture does not appeal to a lot of men. Many of them feel that it is sacrilegious to paint over wood, even if it is orangey honey oak. They seem to think that there is also something un-masculine about coloured paint. My husband has gotten used to it and actually likes the things that I paint but I think he is more the exception than the rule. My male Facebook friends are all former colleagues and they politely like things I post but I know they are just humouring me. I painted a lovely secretary desk at her request for my sister-in-law in AS Provence and her husband keeps calling it “that blue thing”. I have grown a thick skin about it.
So, the desk. It is vintage oak. probably about 40-50 years old judging by the knobs. I knew when I saw it that I wasn’t going to paint it white or a colour because it has straight masculine lines. I have gone for a bit of an industrial look that will appeal equally to men and women. I refinished the top and the knobs and used a mixture of walnut and ebony stain so that it would be dark but not black. The body is AS Graphite and I think it totally suits its look. We’ll see who ends up buying it.