Desk Rescue in Memphis Blue from Catskills Barn by Just the Woods

Desk Rescue Painted Jazzy Memphis Blue

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Who Doesn’t love a Barn Sale? Desk Rescue From an Old Barn

This desk rescue occurred in upstate New York. This beauty of a desk was saved from an old barn in the Catskills. The barn was originally a working barn with a silo on the property. It was transformed into a living space with a kitchen, bathroom, and second-floor loft for sleeping.  The transformation is amazing as well as all of the vintage furniture and finds left inside.

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Desk Rescue Painted Memphis Blue

Materials Needed / Source List

Staging / Home Decor

The History of a Vintage Desk

Vintage Vanleigh Furniture, vintage desk, unfinished desk, vintage vanity

According to the previous owners, the desk along with the matching nightstand and dressers was a wedding gift to the original owners back in the 1940’s. It seems it was originally a vanity and had a mirror, but over the years the mirror can no longer be located. Due to limited space in my truck, I was only able to bring back the desk and nightstand but hope to get back up there to retrieve the dressers as well. 

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This Duncan Phyfe set was originally made by Vanleigh Furniture Co New York.  They made excellent quality furniture from the 1930s- 1970s, which dates this set from somewhere in the 1930s-1940s.  The set itself without a doubt shows signs of age but is still in excellent condition. 

The Makeover – Painting a Vintage Desk

Kristi Kuehl, Pure Home Paint, Memphis Blue, chalk paint, painted desk, teak wood stain

From the moment I saw this piece I had a vision for the end result.  I have been waiting for the perfect piece to paint in Memphis blue and this is it!

The desk is prepped for its makeover. This is my process for How to Prep Painted Furniture.

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I decided to sand the top down to smooth out as many of the scratches and imperfections as possible.  I then gave it a new fresh stain using Protective Wood Stain in Teak.  Teak is a dark non-toxic stain and protective finish in one that went on like a dream and managed to bring out the detail in the wood grain as well. 

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The rest of the desk received the royal treatment.  Two words: Memphis Blue.  Oh, my this color!!  There are so many words that come to mind to describe this gorgeous color – it’s warm, jazzy, blue with hints of teal green and gray undertones, it’s both masculine and feminine, grungy and elegant.  I admit, some of these apply more to the finished piece than just the color, but I hope you get the idea. 


Ornate Vintage Hardware, hardware, vintage desk, vintage vanity, nyc, nj, staten island

The beautiful ornate hardware was cleaned and left in its original condition to preserve the natural patina that comes with the age of the piece.  The patina combined with the distressing gives a bit of a grungy feeling to the desk while the details and curves create an elegance. 

The Result – Desk Rescue in Memphis Blue

From barn to beautiful. You never know what you might find in an old barn.

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The entire piece was sealed for protection using Kristi Kuehl Pure Home Paint & Finishes Satin Protective Finish.

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For more painted furniture before and after projects, and makeovers, make sure to check out all of my chalk paint furniture tutorials with over 90 projects here: The Ultimate Guide for Stunning Painted Furniture Ideas

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Do you love this color? You can find accent furniture in this color (or similar) here: BLUE ACCENT FURNITURE

blue teal accent furniture

For more fabulous desk makeovers make sure to click here and see Ten Amazing Vintage Desk Makeovers.

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Don’t Forget – Follow Just the Woods and Share this post to Inspire Others:



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  1. Kandice, there are so many things I like about this desk. I love the top and the blue color for the body of the desk. I still have to talk myself into painting certain pieces of furniture, as I’m afraid I’m “ruining” them, but this project makes a good case against that kind of thinking.

    1. thank you so much. This one actually had more dents and dings than were obvious in photos so it really was crying out for paint. and I know what you mean.. Ive had a few pieces that I refuse to paint, or some that I try to combine both preserving and painting. I can honestly say Ive never regretted painting a piece 🙂 Have a great week and go ahead and paint it xoxox

  2. Hi Kandice, What a beautiful transformation and it’s so nice that you know the history of the desk – that makes it even more interesting! Blessings, Janet

    1. thank you! I always love when there’s a story to go with a piece! 🙂

  3. Absolutely love the color you chose for this piece, gorgeous choice of stain on the top too! Saving to my Before & Afters board!

  4. Truly a gorgeous piece even before the paint. I love the top after you refinished it. Blue has me always and it is stunning.

  5. The desk and nightstand are lovely. You enhanced the desk’s beauty with your Memphis Blue makeover. Thank you so much for sharing at Vintage Charm.

  6. This came out great! Love the top with the Teak Stain! Pinning to find this post for my next furniture paint job! Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Have a great week!

  7. Pingback: Vintage Charm #37
  8. Kandice I think this is one of my favourites of your transformations! So classic! Thanks for sharing at Friday’s Furniture Fix.

  9. It was great seeing you at Peace, Love, Linkup #013! The next party goes live tomorrow at 6. Hope to see you there!

  10. HI.I’m visiting from My Thrift Store Addiction linky party. I absolutely love your transformation on this beautiful desk and nightstand. Your color choice is lovely. Pinned it, and now following you.

  11. What a gorgeous makeover! I love the colors you selected. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle Sunday. Pinning.

  12. Love the desk. Have a desk setting in my garage ready to be painted. Was 8 ozs enough paint for the entire desk?

    1. hi Cathy, I would guess that 8 oz would be enough to paint the desk. I always work with the 32 oz containers so Im not 100% positive, to be honest. Memphis Blue has great coverage and I don’t see it needing more than 2 coats.

  13. Kandice, that deep and rich…it really is stunning. What are you going to do with the nightstand? Can’t wait to see.

    Have a great day.

    Hugs, Lynn

    1. thank you so much! I actually managed to get the matching dresser too, so I plan to keep the nightstand with the dresser and hope that they get scooped up for custom at some point 🙂

  14. This turned out beautifully! I love that blue! Thanks for linking up with Merry Monday.

  15. Lori Green says:

    I love how this turned out! It almost looks like it has a darker glaze on it. All you did was paint, distress, and top coat?

  16. Hi!! I am loving your desk make over, how much Memphis blue paint did you need?

    1. thank you! (I always keep the largest containers in my shop) but Im going to guess that 16 oz would be enough 🙂

  17. Love the Blue…brings new life to the piece for sure.

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