Stenciled Diamonds

The diamonds drove us crazy and nearly defeated us. More on that later.

We acquired this lady’s writing desk on an estate sale’s final day. We’d first laid eyes on her a couple days earlier and expected someone to snap her up. Imagine our surprise (and my secret happiness) when we returned for deep discounts and there she sat, lonely and neglected. No question about it. She was coming home with us.

Lady's Writing Desk Unpainted

Her body is exceptionally narrow. With the lid closed, she measures 11″ at her widest part. That’s a big positive for the owner of a small house or apartment needing a petite desk. I also love her convenient pigeonholes.

Lithe and beautiful, that’s what she is. Just look at those details.

I checked with our furniture expert and learned that she was made around the 1900s, probably birch wood and stained mahogany. Ohhhhhhh. We prefer not to paint antiques.

David and I tossed around some ideas. But first he needed to do a few minor repairs and replace the old, worn-out hinges.

Lady's Writing Desk Unpainted

We decided to paint her something special, something that would make her the most attractive girl in town.

Annie Sloan’s new Burgundy paint was perfect. For a contrasting interior color we chose  Aubusson Blue. Wait. How about stenciling diamonds with the Aubusson and gold? How hard could that be?

Annie Sloan Burgundy
AS Burgundy
Annie Sloan Aubusson Blue
AS Aubusson Blue
Royal Design's Antique Gold Stencil Creme
Royal Design’s Antique Gold Stencil Creme

I love the Burgundy. Annie Sloan compares it to dark cherries. Personally, I see it as a bowl of juicy, ripe plums on a sizzling summer day. The color looks unbelievably rich once the Dark Wax goes on.

I studied videos and read blogs to learn about diamond techniques. I began enthusiastically, confident in my abilities. By Day 3 my enthusiasm shrank to crankiness. No matter how hard I tried, my diamonds refused to follow a straight line. Thankfully, David stepped in to save the day.

He salvaged most of my diamonds and carefully traced the outlines for new ones.

Lady's Writing Desk

Here’s the board that flips outward. See how he’s using painter’s tape for the points of the diamonds?

Stenciling diamonds

The full writing surface is below. He struggled with those diamonds for a few days and was so happy to finish them.

Stenciled Diamonds

While David worked on the diamonds, I painted gold stockings on our little lady:

Gilded table foot

It took us weeks to get her looking glamorous. Look at these details:

Lady's Writing Desk

I just want to mention that the lowering of her lovely lid provides a writing surface but throws her off balance. She must be affixed to the wall for maximum support, but that’s not a big deal. Another thought: while I used AS Clear and Dark Wax on the exterior and pigeonholes, I only used Clear Wax on the Aubusson and Gold diamonds.

Lady's Writing Desk

Look at her gold stockings! Imagine sitting here with your laptop, drink in hand, taking care of business as twilight descends. The creek is just a few yards away.

I have the perfect chair for this desk but that will take more time because I must reupholster the seat and paint the chair. As for this little lady, she’s heading to Avonlea Antique Mall tomorrow.

Lady's Writing  Desk

Thanks so much for visiting. We love it when you leave comments.

Ann Marie and David

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10 Comments on Diamonds For A Lady

  1. Poppy
    February 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm (7 years ago)

    Hello Anne Marie and David,

    What a beautiful transformation, indeed! Your chosen colours are ideal for this lovely lady’s writing desk, and highlight its unique, curvy lines. I can definitely picture this pretty and petite treasure in a bedroom or library, overlooking wonderful garden vistas outside. So happy that it waited patiently for you to return, to give it new life.

    Wishing you a pleasant weekend!


    • irisabbey
      February 6, 2015 at 12:51 am (7 years ago)

      Hello, Poppy — You are the first to comment on this piece. Personally, I love her but it’s so good to hear from others. Thank you for your comment — it’s quite poetic in your words and imagery. Have a super weekend.

  2. Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse
    February 6, 2015 at 9:03 am (7 years ago)

    It obviously was a lot of work, but it was really worth it! She looks amazing, so chic and elegant.

  3. d
    February 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm (7 years ago)

    Your little desk turned out lovely. Diamonds can certainly be a bear to get right. Looks like David did an awesome job. Thank you for sharing it at What We Accomplished Wednesdays, and welcome to the party. Have a great week!
    Blessings, Deborah

    • irisabbey
      February 6, 2015 at 6:12 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks, Deborah, I appreciate your kind words. David did a fantastic job with the diamonds.

  4. holly
    February 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm (7 years ago)

    I love your desk. Do you have any history on your desk? I have one very similar that I obtained about 6 months ago. Mine was missing something on the top now I see with your desk what it was. Do you have a drawer underneath? Mine has a drawere. Thank you.

  5. Creative Khadija
    February 8, 2015 at 8:19 am (7 years ago)

    Wao, This is too pretty and see how wonderfully its done after some effort. I really like the color. I wish I had a craft table like this.. too perfect! Thanks for sharing with us 🙂
    Also Thanks for stopping by my blog So I found your blog really interesting! following you now 🙂 Happy blogging !

  6. Amy | Canary Street Crafts
    February 9, 2015 at 12:40 am (7 years ago)

    This is stunning! I love the gold feet, and the diamonds were worth the trouble! It’s really beautiful.

    • irisabbey
      February 9, 2015 at 3:10 am (7 years ago)

      I’m laughing because my husband finished up the diamonds and I’m not sure he’d agree “the diamonds were worth the trouble.” He said, “Diamonds are not a boy’s best friend.” But thank you so much for your kind words.


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