Painted Secretary Desk & Accent Wall {Sarah M. Dorsey Designs}

Design + Build

Crafty Projects

Business + Life


The Weekender Series

As Seen on TV

Room Makeovers

All DIY Projects


blog Categories

hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

If you missed all the amazing projects in the first three weeks of CWTS, be sure to check them out below!
Sarah really outdid herself this week with her amazing painted secretary desk and accent wall. She’s consistently delivered high quality, beautiful projects in the contest! We are in love with her sense of style and the way she mixes patterns! 

When I first heard that they theme for week three was paint, I instantly knew that I wanted to transform this bookcase! It had great lines and details, and with the help of a little paint and power tools, it’s issues could easily be turned around!
We started with a bookcase from Goodwill. They were remodeling the back end of the building so we got it for 50% off, which ended up at $30. I’m thinking the drop panel was originally intended to be a dry bar, Goodwill even had it staged with an ice bucket and martini glasses!
Turning it into a secretary was the perfect solution since it would fix the choppy layout and add more functionality! We also added little feet to help it look not as bottom heavy and swapped the hardware for something smaller.
Thanks for the help Home Depot!
We designed the stencils in the computer and cut them out on the silhouette. The big one is 9 – 12×12 sheets that were taped together! See those little lines? They were necessary to hold the stencil together, so I went back and filled them in with a little paint afterwards.
And a few pics of our process. We adjusted the layout so that it doors were together (on the bottom) and the shelves were together (at the top). I now love how the fold down door doesn’t break up the shelving, and now acts as a desk!
To paint, I followed the same principles I always do: sand, fill in holes/dents with wood filler, sand again, wipe down with a microfiber cloth, prime, lightly sand with a fine sandpaper, wipe with a microfiber cloth, and then apply the top coat (3 coats)!
and a few behind the scenes shots …
This stencil was pretty exhausting since it was so big, I had to hold down the stencil as I went since it didn’t want to stay flat on the wall. We did photograph it in the garage, but there is concrete there! I picked up some cheap (about $1 a ft) laminate from Home Depot.  Finally, when styling, I’m  big on placing it and stepping back to see what it looks like, David was nice enough to move things around for me 🙂
I found these brass pieces at a local antique store, only a few dollars each!
Vase and pencil holder are votive containers from Target.
I was so excited to see ranunculus, my second favorite flower (favorite = peonies)
 See how thick that door is!? The doors alone were super heavy!
I really love how a little paint can completely refresh a piece! Goodbye worn bookcase, hello new secretary desk!


Oh my word, not only does Sarah have amazing vision, she’s a pro at making her vision come to life! We can’t get enough of the way those stencils complement each other and the way she staged the shelves. Isn’t it crazy that Sarah did this in her garage too? Lucky garages this week, for sure! 🙂 We can’t wait to see what she’s going to come up with this week!  I just spent way too much time drooling over Sarah’s house. Make sure you take a look at her home tour– it’s fab!
We’ll probably be double-posting tomorrow (you know, we’re crazy like that) so be sure to check to see which linked up project this week is our favorite!
We hope you have a wonderful Easter. This holiday means so much to us and we’re grateful for what God has done for us today and every day!

The comments +

  1. jasi says:

    my father had that piece. it was one of a set of bookcases. the drop door is not a desk but a bar. too high for children and perfect for mixing cocktails. nicely refinished though.

  2. Jenny Lynn says:

    The wall really is wonderful. The bookcase fits perfect all made-over and sitting pretty in front of the wall.

  3. i Love the color combo in this room… Would you mind sharing what material you used to to make the stencil. TIA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Make a Kid's Mud Kitchen and Produce Stand


Work From Home Corner Office Makeover


Yard Game Ideas ASO Live! with Kelly + Ryan


Today Show Nursery Makeover


Outdoor Living Space Makeover : Home Becomes


Must Reads

Get updated on what we're working on

Follow along!