My New, Mid-Century Desk: Mainline by Hooker

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Who ever thought it would be so difficult to find a used desk? There was no shortage of options on Craigslist, but most of them were made of either made cheap particleboard, hideously ugly, overpriced, or some combination of the three. I found two for great prices, but they were sold before I could get to them. So when I happened upon this beauty just minutes after it was posted, I didn’t hesitate to contact the seller.

mymainlinedesk

My new desk is from Hooker’s Mainline collection. I haven’t been able to find any information about this particular desk, but I’ve found photos of other Mainline desks that are much more ornate (see photos below). Apparently, they were made in the 50s and 60s. I bought it from a nice older man whose mother-in-law had passed away. He said she’d had the desk for as long as he could remember, and it is in great condition. The desks below are selling for as much as $895. I paid $100 for mine. Clearly mine is a lot cleaner and simpler than these, but now I have an idea of its value.

othermainlinedesks

So that brings me to my quandary. I initially wanted a used desk so I could paint it white and have the talented Kristen of kfd designs paint an awesome pattern on the surface. The desk even came with a piece of glass to protect the desktop (though I forgot to put it on before I took the photos), so her work would be perfectly preserved. But now, I am afraid to “ruin” the desk by painting it. The finish is admittedly not my favorite, as I prefer darker wood tones, but if I sand and stain or paint it, I can’t really go backward.

refinishing-after-dresser-2

I initially wanted to paint the entire desk white, but now I’m considering a less traditional finish, similar to what Sherry and John over at Young House Love did to their mid-century dresser-turned-changing table, shown above. I’m considering staining it darker and painting the top and drawer fronts white. What do you think? Should I leave it as is or take a risk to make it more in line with the rest of the decor in my work space?

Want to see what I did with the desk? Click here to see the results of my makeover!

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7 comments… add one

  • Lynn July 6, 2010, 4:38 pm

    Did you get this to use it or sell it? My opinion for what it is worth is do whatever will make you happy you bought it. Personally, I’d absolutely have to stain/paint it because otherwise it would be like living with a museum piece. For me, the value is in what I love, not what someone says it’s worth. But if you disagree, you could try it in the room for a bit. Maybe it will grow on you. Or make it a fabric cover. I once did that. Covered the top with a flat piece, then made a skirt. With the glass over the top, it works fine. Have fun!

    • jennae July 6, 2010, 4:43 pm

      Lynn, I can always count on you to provide such great perspective :) I would like to buy furniture to refinish and sell, but this piece is one I want to use for myself. I love the mid-century lines of it, but the finish just doesn’t work for me. I’ll be sure to reveal the “after” once I decide, but I think I know what I’m going to do (or not do…you’ll just have to wait and see :) )

  • Lynn July 6, 2010, 4:59 pm

    Can’t wait to see it Jennae. Hard to wait :)

    One other thought I forgot to mention. Do you ever virtually “play” with furniture? I take a photo, then put the piece into Photoshop Elements and color it, draw on it etc. It’s a nice way to see almost exactly what I’m going to get before I do the deed!

    • jennae July 6, 2010, 5:05 pm

      Oh, all the time! Photoshop is my best friend when I’m trying to picture a room or a piece of furniture — which is how I initially came up with the idea for Green Rooms in a Box :)

  • JenO July 8, 2010, 12:04 pm

    I agree, you bought it to use it. If you are really worried about losing the money as the ‘value’ of it, then resell it NOW for more, and use that to buy something else. If that’s too much work, obviously it has more value as your desk right now, so make it something you love! You could compromise with a thin sheet of wood painted white set on top I suppose, but it’s more fun to just go for it!

  • Sheena July 9, 2010, 2:46 am

    How about getting your friend to paint the design on contact paper and slip it under the glass? Do something similar for the drawers and replace the knobs. If you decide to sell in the future, you\’ll just have to peel the paper off.

  • John October 28, 2013, 7:00 am

    I WAS FORTUNATE TO FIND THE PICTURED DESK (2ND ONE POSTED) AT A FLEA MARKET YESTERDAY FOR 50.00! PRISTINE CONDITION!

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