Abused Chatauqua Desk to Useful Bookshelf

By Gelynda in Carthage, NC.

Recently I came across a piece that was calling my name. I've seen it sitting in the same shop for a couple of years and always passed it by, never giving it a second thought.  Well I decided to save this broken down lady. Once she had been a premium item for the Larkin Soap Company. I would date her to around 1908 and believe me she was really showing her age plus she had suffered a lot of neglect and destruction.  Back in the day the Larkin Soap Company gave certificates to individuals that sold their soap. They put out a catalog and you could redeem your certificates for furniture and other house ware items. 

My little lady was a Chautauqua desk and could be purchased for 10 certificates. There was no way she would ever be a desk again because all her innards were missing. She was only a shell with a tarnished mirror and two bric a brac shelves. 

Anyway, I added bead board to the back, shelves and trim and painted her with Patina Green paint by General Finishes. I then stained the shelving with Java Gel Stain and Minwax polyurethane. I finished her off with Flat out Flat Topcoat. 

I'm very happy with the way the new bookshelf turned out. I love pieces with a story and this piece definitely has a story. 

Products Used

  • GF Patina Green Milk Paint
  • GF Java Gel Stain
  • Minwax polyurethane
  • GF Flat Out Flat Topcoat

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