Apr 102015

I recently spruced up a rustic “stand up” or “standing desk”. 

The update was pretty basic and I am now wondering:

“Should I have been a bit bolder?”


I love it but did I play it all too safe?

Rustic Stand-up Desk

I scored this fabulously unique desk on MaxSold, an online auction here in Toronto.  I realized when I went to pick it up, the ad had not included the dimensions because it is BIG and TALL.  It is 47″ wide, 30″ high at the front, 35′ high at the back and 26″ deep

It was also hunter green, with black accents and a maple leaf decal on the front.  The flip top had a leather insert in great condition but a little dull. 

I apologize for the quality of the before pictures, they were from the original posting.


A very unique design but needing some TLC.  Got to love the maple leaf!

The first thing I did was apply some MMS Hemp Oil to the leather top to soften it and bring out a deeper more uniform black.

I sanded the unpainted wood and applied a darker stain.  After prepping the painted areas by cleaning and lightly sanding, I basically painted it with a few coats of a soft black: SW ?????, Pro Enamel in Satin.

I love how it turned out!  I went with a basic black to match the black leather insert.  I considered distressing it but it was basically “distressed” when I got it.  I guess I really wanted to return it to its former glory!


Essentially a “spruced up” version of its former self


With the lid open, you can see how rustic it is with a planked bottom inside the cubby.
I painted over the green side walls with red and added the same colour to the sides of the drawers.         

Question:  What was the purpose of this desk?

If any of you are familiar with stlye of desk, I would love to hear from you!  I did a bit of research and it could have been used by a teacher or a clergyman.  Now, I see it being used in someone’s foyer or in a restaurant at the hostess desk!

Question:  What wood is the top made out of?

I think the top is a type of pine but I am not sure.  What I did notice is the number of rings around the knots which makes me believe the top was made from very mature wood.

Question:  Was I too timid with this re-furbish?

Ah, there are so many options when it comes to up-cycling furniture.  Should I have found some funky new insert for the top instead of leather?  Should the paint be chippy or distressed in one of those “stylish” new colours? 

I don’t know but sometimes, I think unique pieces should perhaps have another few years of their original glory.



Hunter Green and the Maple Leaf just had to go!



Simple restoration: was it enough?


BTW: the desk is for sale if you live in the Toronto area! 

Contact me if you are interested.  Price $200

I am very much looking forward
to your comments and input.


Do you think it is “Nicer Than New”
or should I have been bolder?




  37 Responses to “Rustic “Standing Desk” gets Spruced Up”

  1. I think your instincts were perfect — this is what was needed to bring life back into this piece. hope it finds the perfect home. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this piece of antiquity.

  2. This is so beautiful! – I just love it! I’m visiting from Two Uses Tuesday blog hop.
    PS – I also wanted to invite you to hop on board the Great Blog Train (blog hop)(today is the last day to link up) – we are traveling to British Columbia CANADA: http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/2015/04/the-great-blog-train-28-giveaway.html

  3. The desk looks great… and I wouldn’t want it bolder… I love the colors you used. 🙂

  4. Looks really nice 🙂 Love what you did with it.

  5. Joan, I love this! Sometimes less really is more! I love that you didn’t distress it.
    Thank you so much for sharing at Something to Talk About!
    Pinning 🙂

    • Thanks Karen. I suppose it would look okay with a bit of distressing but I like the clean look. I hope you drop by again soon.

  6. I love what you did with it! Classy and sophisticated was totally the way to go with this piece – classic never goes out of style!

    • Thanks for dropping by and commenting Erica. I like the way it looks too. The black ties in with the black leather top. Have a great week!

  7. This looks so neat!

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

  8. This is one old desk, if only it could talk and tell its story. Dont know the wood, and I shared on Pinterest today!!
    Im sure you will sell quickly!!

  9. Hi Joan! I think this makeover is just perfect! It really pays homage to the history of this piece. I’ve never seen one quite like it 🙂 I’ve chosen your post as one of the features at this week’s Shabbilicious Friday link party! Hope to see you there this week!

    Stacy @ Anastasia Vintage (a fellow Canadian!)

    • Hi Stacy! I love your phrase “…pays homage…” I think that was what I was trying to achieve! I am also thrilled to have it featured at Shabbilious Friday! I will be dropping by for sure!

  10. I think the desk turned out great! I love that it would fit well in any house. Thanks for sharing at Idea Box! 🙂

    • Hi Danielle. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. I actually cannot see the desk any other colour!

  11. […] piece she created – you will swoon!       Joan at Nicer than New gave this vintage standing desk a classic makeover to restore its former glory. It’s just lovely in its simplicity, and quite […]

  12. […] at Nicer than New gave this vintage standing desk a classic makeover to restore its former glory. It’s just lovely in its simplicity, and quite […]

  13. Joan, I love the after! It is a unique desk and you did a wonderful job!!!! It’s beautiful!!

  14. […] should really drop by Nicer than New and check out how this beautiful “Standing Desk” got all spruced up…what a […]

  15. You did a BEAUTIFUL job! Your choices of color are spot on! I wouldn’t change a thing. Could you tell me more about using Hemp Oil? Thank you!

    • I was fortunate to be invited to a Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint workshop last fall at the Toronto Home Show. I was invited by Jennilyn who is president of the company that produces MMSMP here in Toronto. At the workshop we were also introduced to Hemp Oil. It is all natural. It can be ingested so it is great on cutting boards. It can also be used to as a non-toxic alternative to many petro-chemical products to preserve leather. I had some so I used it and it worked fabulously.

      Thanks Tess for stopping by to comment and inquire. Please follow me on a platform of your choice. I would love to hear from you again!

  16. I’m a sucker for desks, and this one turned out so lovely!

  17. I love the color you decided on, it makes it a beautiful, classy piece that can go with anything. Thanks for sharing over at Motivational Monday. I hope you’ll join us again this week 🙂

    • Hi Melanie! Thanks for the compliment on my standing desk and I did drop by the party to share a tutorial on sewing custom shaped cushions. Have a super week.

  18. What a gorgeous piece! If only I lived closer, I’d snatch it up right away.

    • Thanks for the compliment Jennifer! I wish you could snatch it up too! I hope someone will soon. Have a super week.

  19. […] Coastal – Don’t Be Green With Envy Over This Green Dresser Nicer Than New – Rustic Standing Desk Chasing Quaintness – For Love of Crate Chateau Chic – Vintage White Cupboard For […]

  20. […] Nicer Than New – Rustic Standing Desk […]

  21. Nice job, Joan! This combination of grey or black with original wood showing in places always attracts my attention (saw it featured on Karen’s blog). I think you’re right on original purpose and no, I don’t think you needed to do anything more – it’s quite handsome.
    Rita C at Panoply

    • HI Rita! Nice of you to drop by and comment. I think it is a really unique piece. It is rather large so I hope someone will purchase it soon! Have a great week!

  22. Featuring this at tonight’s Trash 2 Treasure Party. Love it! 🙂

    • Just dropped by your party and thanks so much for featuring my desk! I love your blog and the Trash to Treasure concept!

  23. I think you did a terrific job. Don’t doubt your instincts because they seem to be right on the money. I saw your link at That DIY Party.

  24. Congratulations! Your gorgeous desk is featured at Oh My Heartsie Girl Wordless Wednesday this week! Enjoy the rest of your week! xo Christine

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