Shabby Chic desk and chair


Isn’t she pretty?! She didn’t always look this fabulous. I’ve had this desk for about 7 years now and it’s been dragged across the country. It’s been in various rooms serving different purposes but it’s always felt so blah to me. The last few years it’s been hiding out in our garage. I’ve been wanting to re-do this for so long now but just never got around to it. This is what it looked like before, yuck:

I was out one day searching for a dining room buffet to fix up for a friend when I stumbled across the claw foot chair. Sometimes I just see things and it sparks inspiration! I thought the curved lines of the chair would soften the boxiness and heaviness of the desk. I started thinking of ways I could coordinate the two (other than paint color) and I came up with fabric. I’ve always adored the look of chicken wire cabinets with fabric behind. It’s so country but classy looking, in my opinion. I decided this would be the perfect project for that!

I started by popping out the center of the cabinet door with a sledge hammer. Luckily it was a separate piece so it came out fairly easily. However, if it was a solid door I would have had to use a saw.Once that was completed, I wiped down the desk and chair with mineral spirits. This helped to remove the years of dirt and grime. Next, I lightly sanded all over to create a little bit of a tooth for my paint. Then I started painting! I did two coats of chalk paint in a light turquoise color. I decided to do a white interior to give it a little dimension and contrast. Not going to lie, painting the inside was awful. All of the little cubbies took me so long and my hands were literally covered in paint! I’m not sure why I didn’t just spray paint it, or wear gloves. After painting I lightly distressed then finished with wax. I cleaned up vintage pulls I saved from a previous project and think they match the look of this piece perfectly.

On to the awesome door fronts. First, I measured the openings and cut out my chicken wire to fit. I used hedge trimmers, probably not the right tool but it completed the task. I didn’t really love the silver look of the chicken wire straight off the roll so I spray painted it black. This made it standout from the fabric and match the dark hardware. Once dry, I whipped out my handy dandy staple gun and stapled the chicken wire to the back of each door making sure I didn’t warp the honeycomb pattern.  Next was the fun part, attaching the fabric. For this I considered making pleats with a sewing machine but decided against it. Instead, I simply cut my fabric so it was 1.5x the width of the door opening. Then used adhesive velcro and stuck one side to the door and the other to the fabric. I bunched up the fabric as best I could until the pleats looked perfect to me. Then I used liquid stitch to permanently adhere the fabric to the velcro. Voila gorgeous door fronts!!

Last was the chair seat. Since this had been sitting out in the elements for a while the seat was rotting underneath and the fabric was obviously dated and very faded. I removed the old seat (before I painted) and cut a new seat cover out of scrap wood. Next, I covered it with foam and batting. Then I simply whipped out my handy dandy staple gun again and stapled the fabric around the seat. Voila, a stunning “new” chair!


I think she turned out so beautiful! From orange and boxy to soft and feminine and oh so shabby chic!


Thanks for reading!


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