Tessie Fay

Why Hello!

I'm Tessie Fay. I'm a water color artist and surface pattern designer. My patterns and artwork are for color loving women who want to create joyful homes with a touch of modern femininity.

Tessie Fay Design
Coral Desk

Coral Desk

This desk has been sitting in my garage for almost 2 years!  My husband likes to joke about the "furniture graveyard" in the garage, but this one was so worth the wait.

Here is the "before" desk I bought on Craig's list for $30.....

And here is the after....

Isn't she beautiful!!!  I love the little bow tie handles.  They give it such a nice retro feel...

And these dainty legs.... swoon!

I even painted a chair to go with it!

I recovered the seat using the same technique I used



Here are the steps I took to take this desk from "dirty and dated" to "oh so fabulous"...

First, I removed all the hardware and drawers. Then I sanded everything using an orbital sander.  Normally, I would just quickly buff it up by hand but this desk had a thick varnish that was chipping away in places.

After the sanding, I primed the entire piece with Zinsser Cover Stain. (*Note- I used a cheap brush because this is an oil based primer and super annoying to clean up.  Much easier to just throw the brush away.)

For the chair I used a spray primer, because it is so quick and easy.

After the priming, I turned the desk upside down so that I could spray the legs.  The metal on these was quite corroded, so I first cleaned them with steel wool, then taped them off and spray painted them gold.  As I was spraying the gold, I held up a small card board box behind each leg to catch the over spray.

Here are some of the tools I used...

  • 2" angled Purdy Brush (Must have a high quality brush!)
  • Blue Tape
  • My favorite primer Zinsser Cover Stain (Comes in spary or brush on)
  • Krylon Short Cuts spary paint in gold leaf (for handles and leg tips)
  • Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Coral Gables

After the sanding and priming, I was ready for the fun part... the paint!

This was the first time I had used the BM Advance paint.  I heard from

Centsational Girl

(the girl who practically taught me all I know about furniture painting) that this is one of the best paints for furniture because it dries super hard and goes on really well with out a lot of brush marks.  You can read her post about it



After the first coat...

I didn't paint the inside of the desk or the sides of the drawers.  This helps to ensure that the drawers still slide properly.

The man at the paint store warned me that I needed to wait a full 24 hours before doing a second coat.  So I followed his advice accordingly.

*A note about the color "Coral Gables": It can look very different in different lights.  I was freaking out a bit because it looked too salmon (orange) in my garage, but once I brought it into the house, I loved it.  Just make sure to test the color in the room you will be using it in.

After 2 coats of paint, I applied 2 coats of Polycrylic to protect it.

It is important to get the water-based formula, because others can yellow over time.

Then the only thing left was the hardware.  It started looking like this (1) then I used a steel wool pad and some serious elbow grease and ended up with this (2).  I almost kept it as is, but decided in the end that I wanted the handles to match the legs.  So I gave them a quick coat of gold spray paint (3).

And there she is.  All lovely in her coral glory!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Painting!

Linking up to

Miss Mustard Seed


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