A Spooky Secretary Desk

It’s my favorite time of the year. Fall has come in with the cool northern breeze and the Maryland trees are slowing giving into the season with pops of orange and vibrant reds. The nights and mornings are cooler and I have bright yellow mums and pumpkins on my porch. As a native Texan, there isn’t a fall day that sneaks by without me being fully caught up in the magic of the change of seasons. I’m seriously loving ever colorful leaf that falls from the trees around me.

I felt inspired by the season while photographing this sweet secretary desk that I just finished for a new client. It must be the mix of the old claw feet, smooth black milk paint, and the deep grain of the wood that has me swooning over mystery that this piece holds. I LOVE it and it’s just fitting for the month since the claw feet give it a creepy-factor that’s very Halloween.

I don’t photograph a lot of my custom work. Not because I don’t want to, but it’s simply just hard to keep up. Between running a business, working on my projects, and trying to keep a blog going, I often forget to grab a before photo, or the editing process takes too long. I’m learning and getting better, but my only before picture of this one is TERRIBLE quality. However, I’m still going to share it so you can get an idea of the red mahogany that was this secretary desk.

My clients had purchased an industrial dresser I finished at the end of the summer. They loved the black milk paint mixed with the beautiful natural wood drawers, which is exactly what they asked I recreate for them on this piece. I used General Finishes Lamp Black Milk paint and their satin High Performance Top Coat to achieve this finish.


This antique desk had been in their family for generations, and now it’s ready to keep serving the family and to be proudly displayed.


The soft distressing really brought the curves of the dresser to be the star of the piece. I love the way it ties into the drawers as well.

I was entrusted to be the keeper of the key to this piece -no pressure! This was my first piece of antique furniture to have the original key to, which totally made me geek out. Most keys get lost after 50 years or so. Even the key -alluding to the fact that there is something that needs to be locked up, gives this piece a hint of spooky mystery.

I could go on and on about how long it took me to hand paint the inside of this, but I’m sure you can imagine so I’ll spare you the interesting details. I love how all the wood of the inside drawers was different. I thought about staining them all to match, but something about their differences spoke to me; the contrast in wood was part of their history and I wanted that to speak for itself.

Do you have a piece of furniture that’s a little on the spooky side or an antique heirloom? I’d love to hear about it!

Take time to enjoy the season my friends; pick some apples, bake a pie, watch an Alfred Hitchcock movie with a friend…  life is too short to not stop to enjoy it!

Thanks for reading!