Pottery Barn Look for A LOT Less

PB Bedford Desk

PB Whitney 

I have always loved the look of Pottery Barn's Bedford and Whitney desks but they were out of my budget when I was in dire need of a new desk.

Take a look at this hot mess, below.  The desk was way too small to spread work out and the bottom drawer wouldn't close properly,  fall of the tracks after opening it every single time.  If I didn't fix it, it would appear crooked and that just annoyed me.  It literally would take me about 20 minutes to get it back on track, to fall off again and go through the process all over again.  After the 3rd attempt, I'd finally get it (after a muttering a bunch of profanity and my brow full of sweat).  The file cabinet was given to me by a friend.  It had nails hammered in on the side and it couldn't fit my printer between the edges of the side, so it laid lopsided on it.  The barrister was my brother's, which I used to stage a play but he didn't want it back, so I became the proud owner.  It was scratched up with water rings on top.  This is not a scene to have a mind to work efficiently.


So while looking at the pottery barn desk, it dawns on me that, it looks like two file cabinets with a board on top.  So I do a google search to find inexpensive wooden file cabinets.  A lot of them are 2 drawers cabinets that hold hanging folders (insert whiney voice here) but I need a drawer for pens, pencils and other supplies.  This isn't going to work!

After searching various sites, I finally landed on amazon.com and found these two beauties.

One even comes with 3 drawers

Belham Living 2 drawer cabinet


and the

Belham Living 3 Drawer cabinet



I can do this!  However, they only come in rich cherry and I wanted something brighter as, most of my furniture is dark - I wanted a contrast and besides, I wanted it off white to match my Pottery Barn Isebella Chair.

I read quite a few blogs and have read how easy it is to use chalky finish paint (don't confuse it with chalkboard paint).  From what I have learned, chalky finish paint needs no primer unless you're trying to cover a bright color like red, is easy to use, usually takes one coat, a bit goes a long way, easy clean up and adds some texture (no worries about unsightly brush strokes because that's the whole aesthetic of this paint.  You brush in a cross hatch pattern and then you can choose to sandpaper it down with a brown paper back for a less brush stroke textured look.   There are hundreds of brands out there, like Annie Sloan or Amy Howard At Home but unfortunately, not only are they pricey but I had to travel quite a bit to get it.  The Home Depot, 10 minutes from my home, carries Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint.  It was relatively inexpensive and close to home to run out and get - WINNER!   It also comes in some really nice colors choices, too.  Now what you do need to know is, that chalk paint needs to be sealed and most brands have a wax you apply that seals it.  Americana Decor also has a waxes (indoor use only) and varnishes (indoor or outdoor use and is more durable and permanent than wax) to choose from.

According to the dimensions listed on Amazon, one cabinet would be 3/4" shorter than the other, so I had to figure out how to raise the shorter one.  I thought the easiest solution would be to just add boards on the front and back areas of the top of the cabinet.  However,  after I assembled it, the cabinets were exactly the same size and I went straight to painting.   The good news is, one cabinet is supposed to be 3/4 inch shorter than the other but it turned out that they were exactly the same height.  I was prepared to add a piece of board between the desk top and the cabinet.

While at the Home Depot,  I had a large piece of plywood $40, cut to the dimensions I wanted and stained it with minwax Poly Shade with polyurethane.  After, two coats of chalk paint and wax on the cabinets and two coats of minwax, I was done.  Not bad, heh?

Since I found it easy to use Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint and I had a lot left over (I purchased more than needed because, honestly, I didn't believe a lot goes a long way but it really does), I decided to paint the barrister as well.

FYI - the green on the glass of the barrister, is painter's tape.  I have to add a second coat to the inside of the doors.  I have to admit, I kind of like the look of the green boarder around the glass.  I am thinking of buying grosgrain ribbon and spray adhesive it on the glass once I finally finish painting and waxing the inside of the door.

I'm happy with the overall look of my work space now!


The lamp is from Pottery Barn (I got free!)

Chalkboard Calendar I got off amazon.com

The sage green bins and clip board are from Target's discount section $1 each

Clock, bulletin board, silk flower arrangement and ceramic orb are all from HomeGoods.

The wall shelf is from Ikea (from 15 years ago that I never put up and have been in the closet all this time).  The brackets were painted with the chalk paint to match the other pieces.

Dennis DelBene Headshot
Phone: 914-907-7538
Dated: March 5th 2018
Views: 281
About Dennis: ...

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