Beach Cottage Old Desk Table & Family Room Workspace

Tue 16th, Mar, 2010

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G’day blogging buddies.  Thanks for all the questions, interesting theme is the 350, errrm I’ll be talking about that tomorrow (I’m thinking you may be thinking my butt is a lot better than it truly is here Down Under, ahem).

As I said yesterday we have had a move around and a furniture de-clutter…pre-empting my Beach Cottage Sale of the Century (which is coming soon) where I will be selling off some of the pieces that are making it hard for my kiddos to move around in this tiny old place.


So I decided this weekend to lose a few things down to the garage, First thing to go was the modern table in the breakfast room, another move towards less modern more old, being replaced with the old blue table and now working for its keep as a breakfast room ‘island’ and I am lurvin’ it.  Next was the pie safe, not working in the Sitting Room, so now sadly relegated to downstairs and eagerly awaiting a new cottage to go live in.

And after that I moved a new old table/desk in for the Family Room, to start a new life as the Beach Cottage homework table.  Ask me why both of my big kids have desks in their bedrooms and I will tell you I just don’t know.  Neither of them use them.  Ever.

Miss Beach Cottage is usually found sprawled over the Dining Room table and Mr Teenage BC is usually scrunched up and hunched over the Family Room computer (which, may I just interject, and Mr BC hope you are reading this, is about to be replaced by a WHITE MAC).  With his very long arms and legs that reach my neck I think now, I decided it unfair to any longer let him cramp up on a vintage chair tucked under a tiny but lovely old desk.

So it was time for the old sewing table/desk that I had zapped with a coat of Beach White to move on and in it’s place a slightly bigger table was needed.  One that would comfortably fit the paraphernalia of these studious young things.


I came across this table recently whilst out on a treasure hunting jaunt and thought it might be just what I was after, I wanted something with square lines, plain, simple, to sit with the leather…and if I could possibly wangle it, a hint of school desk in the background.

You want school desk, I’ll give you school desk said the Treasure Hunting Godmother and I happened upon this table…


…not in the best of shapes and truly seeking a new home and a freshen up with a tad of DIY (go see Kimba for more) and all things white.  Someone had already tried to re-invent it, but made a true hash up of it, I am no professional, but, how you can paint something in a white that says ‘dirty white’ instead of clean, simple pure and fresh is quite beyond me.

But looking past the dodgy paint job, I liked the slightly industrial air of this one…the metal brackets on show on the legs, screws and nails randomly placed, hinting of a past life, working for a living.  And you already know I just love that.

On further inspection, once getting it home and cleaning up I realised that the top was actually in pretty poor condition and was coming loose on one corner…it seems though that there were layers to this top (you can see what I mean on the side profile pics) and so I kind of peeled this top layer off…this is the only before shot I took (yep you would think I would have thought of that being the owner of a makevoer blog)…this was after the mammoth sanding and cleaning and about to start to on the legs


…underneath was a layer of thin wood, which it seemed had been painted but was a bit worse for wear but I liked the crackling and the bubbling and it seemed such a shame to paint over this, we all know it’s only time, not money that gives true crackles and splits.


But it was fairly dirty and I wondered then whether it was actually suitable for my precious born lovelies.  The way I work though doesn’t bear much time for wondering and on the spur of the moment t thought I would just attack it with the sandpaper and see how it looked…

so I sanded heavily to get rid of the yuck (I am recommending this for the arms) for a very distressed, rustic feel…


Every time I pick up a paintbrush or see a piece of furniture I am mysteriously drawn to those underneath colour layer effects.  I have been musing this for a while and wanted to try it with a sorta sea-green, but I wanted it to be very muted, just a kinda faded hint popping through…this doesn’t really show in the photos but actually is quite effective in reality…not as you walk past, more as you get up close there is a nice muted mossy sea green floating around…


Let’s not muck around here, this is nothing more than a found thrifted table, it is hardly a furniture feature mooching up there in the heady heights of the design world, but for me, those kiddos and this tatty old cottage it’s hitting the mark for now.

{ Of course, teenagers, especially boy ones, love little pink flowers in white cups…even more they love cottage blogs on the screen, layering of frames and starfish *wink…but one thing’s for sure, with a price tag like this one there sure is no harm in teenage clumsy table bashing. }

..which of course is the whole point of this lovely journey I find myself on…

and in fact…adds to the character I do believe.


I hope you enjoyed your visit to my de-cluttered old place today????

…well let me know cos commenton here & you get a chance to win the 



See you ’round beach chicks, xx


p.s. magazine is Real Living


sofa cushions : Rough Linen   sofa : Freedom    starfish frame : Gail McCormack

candle  cup/vase : IKEA   curtains : IKEA    oars : garage sale    lamp : Target


Laurie Gale Designs

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96 Responses to “Beach Cottage Old Desk Table & Family Room Workspace”

  1. flick says:

    The room looks great, I think that sweet table fits in perfectly! I always love hearing about other peoples thrift finds, I’m always going on about mine, and most of my mates have no idea what I’m going on about…
    Love it, and good luck with your sale… I will be their in spirit, I promise!

  2. anne-marie says:

    Love the new desk – in a manic moving craze last summer i let my favourite old girl go to the sally ann, a move I regret every day… old tables have such soul..

  3. Rachel says:

    Totally loving the table…and I DO mean love, love, love!!! I actually wish it were mine…as well as everything else in your cottage. :) I really do wish that I was there to stop by for your sale. :)


  4. Brigid says:

    Love the desk-it has that patina thing that is so compatible with teenagers in residence! You are going to love your Mac-we had years of PC poltergiests and finally converted-no regrets:-)

  5. prior says:

    very lovely table and cottage. I love red, but every time I see the whites I want to start painting! Lezlee

  6. Janna says:

    Adorable Table! Your family is very lucky :)

  7. Anita says:

    Love the worn out ole top on the desk. And the pink flowers! I have one of those gangly long limbed teenage boys at my house too :) I feed him in hopes that he will fill out but he just keeps getting taller.

  8. Kerri says:

    The more old, worn and loved the better Sarah. Yep, I too have one of those teenage boys who wonders ‘how you can think a house looks beautiful..it’s just a house’. No idea how he can belong to me with that kind of crazy talk!!!
    Kerri x

  9. Tricia Rose says:

    I am beginning to realise it isn’t as simple as you make it look, Sarah! It is an endearing honest table that will repay the love. Can you glue and clamp that corner? Hate the kid to get splinters!

    Power to the Mac – has the Dell issue been resolved then? Did you take your sander to them?

  10. Kerry says:

    Ah a bit of white mac love to go with the whole beach white vibe…fabulous! Loved you guys in this month’s Real Living too BTW. Although I think your blog photos are heaps better!!

  11. I love small square desks. It’s perfect for that little space. As usual. :)

  12. DeAna says:

    I think you are right on with old, sturdy, sanded down, or painted heavily furniture for kiddos. For sure. I think you’re on to something. *wink*

  13. gabrielle says:

    Love your style and what a great table with it’s patina, you scored. sign me up

  14. cheryl says:

    you always make everything look so good!
    my kids always did their schoolwork in the dining room until about year 11.. i think they get lonely in their own room. x

  15. The perfect place for a white Mac!! yeah baby!! :)

  16. cherrie says:

    This exactly the sort of worn out table I am always hoping to find. Doesn’t matter if there is no more room in my house. I just want one.

  17. Tiff says:

    It’s amazing how an old, worn & dirty table can become so perfect! Love it.
    Also, you’ll love using a Mac – only way to go : )

  18. Alex Hughes says:

    Have I seen you mention twice now that the pie safe needs a new home??????? Am very interested if you are wanting to off load. Please email me if you consider selling it as I am only an hour or so away from you and would love it if it fits in the budget.

    And LURVE the pink gerbra by the way!

  19. Amy says:

    Nice work (yet again!), I think thie piece works really well in the space you have chosen. Enjoy!

  20. Morning T says:

    Your table vignette and photos are breathtaking Sarah!!

  21. Vanessa says:

    Hi Sarah! I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who has a working space in the living room. This really comforting. Hope you’re having a great day! xo Vanessa

  22. fairmaiden says:

    Lovin it Sarah…pink flowers and all! I too wish I could go to your sale…it is sure to be a good one. Be careful not to part with anything you may want again ten years down the road. Once while moving across country I hastily got rid of a very precious old metal typewriter table that had been my Grandma’s. I could kick myself about it. I had painted it peach and used it in my art studio. I am so sad I don’t have it anymore.

  23. Carla says:

    Love it Sarah!!!

    By the way I was just casually flicking through my new magazine and there you were!!!!

    Funnily enough it was the old seachest I recognised first, then the coffee table, and then the white cane chair and all the while thinking “Hey these guys have copied this look from beach cottage!” Then I realized it was YOU!

    It may have taken a while for me to twig, but nothing gets past me!!! ;o)

    Congrats looks great,

    carla xx

  24. Love that table! It really works in that spot and I am sure it will encourage ‘working’ from the teenager too.

  25. Kirsten says:

    Just picked up this months copy of Real Living mag. Great feature on a certain Ms Sarah and her beach cottage. Loved it, and love the desk.

  26. You write such fantastic blogs about everything – very interesting and entertaining! But what I want to know is, where did you get the oars that are featured on the wall of one of your photos? I want to get an old one to scrub up and get my daughter -who’s a great painter to decorate so I can hang it on the wall of our beach house? P.S am with you on kids not using their desks – the kitchen island is where it ALL happens!

  27. Tina says:

    Gorgeous table Sarah, it turned out beautifully!! I can’t wait to go and slip the Real Living in with the groceries tomorrow (shhh … our secret;P!). Congratulations on being featured my dear, that is so exciting for you and so well deserved!! Wishing you a lovely week ~ Tina xx

  28. Frau Mayer says:

    Too hot to be true. Didn’t notice any green in the photos, though. Am I stupid? Sarah, your kiddos are probably the happiest in the entire Australia!

  29. Alison Gibbs says:

    Loving the paint job on your table.
    Plenty of space for a lanky teenage Mr BC.

  30. Julienne says:

    Damn!!!! Now I have to go and buy another magazine. Our first monthly ‘house full of furniture’ has about three table not unlike that…perhaps I will have to go and have another look before I sell them!!! As I said Damn!!!!!!!

  31. Erika says:

    Great desk and the pink flowers…mmm :o) Everything looks very pretty Sarah!
    I only wish we had garage sales and flea markets over here in Romania too. I have to bribe old ladies to give me their furniture =)) Long way to go.
    Happy white blogging at your wonderful work-desk

  32. mccarthysdesigns says:

    The desk looks great as do your photos and styling. I heard that you were featured in Real Living so I bought one so I could have a sticky. You look great as does your house. Congratulations! xx

  33. joanne says:

    Hi Sarah,I just love that table.i just bought an old table at my local st vinnies.They had half price on their furniture so I got a great deal.Can’t wait to paint it.Joanne

  34. Janice says:

    Love the new desk! Your sail pillows look great too. I might have missed this but where are they from?

  35. Janice says:

    Oops never mind I see they are from Rough Linen. So pretty!

  36. Ginger says:

    Love it. Perfect place for a teenage homework station. Mine just hover around the kitchen table. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m going to have to do some paring down too, if we are to stay living in the house!

  37. Suzann says:

    LOVE the new desk and decluttering is always freeing in a way, isn’t it.?
    You will love your new white mac. : )

  38. Michelle says:

    looks fab! did i miss the post about the blue table which has replaced the modern? Do you have pics? xx

  39. alikaye01 says:

    I really need to get your vision…I am not quite at the stage where I can see really ugly things and see their potential…oh well I am trying…will get there eventually I hope!!!

  40. Kelly says:

    I’m so jealous of all the white. I wish I had the guts to do that…perhaps when I come back as a “neat freak” in my next life! I just don’t think I could pull it off…especially with my pup!

  41. Kimberly Knoess says:

    The table looks like it was built for the space beside your sofa! Still laughing about your teenage boy loving the pretty pink flower in the white cup…

  42. Lori says:

    The new desk is just right, and that blue-grey frame looks incredible over it! I’d love to do homework there…

  43. The desk looks great – I love it!

  44. Kare says:

    Looks fabulous….just love it!!

  45. That turned out great! And I’m glad to see that we are not the only ones with oars attached to their walls! LOL! We have a hand carved oar that we found on the beach and it now is proudly displayed over our front door.


  46. Amy Jean says:

    I actually started following your blog because I loved the crisp and clean look of everything. It has always been my dream to own a log cabin in the woods or a seaside cottage where the sunlight fills the house and there are wood floors and the nice morning chill. Thanks for sharing!

  47. Alicia says:

    aaah yes ye olde 1940/50′s Aussie kitchen table sans lino top. Funnily enough I am typing on top of one now but mine still has the lino and metal edging. Love the old patina of your desk without though, I’m sure you lanky teenager is loving it ;0)

  48. Anita says:

    I tried to find you on the RealLiving web site but no luck. Are you in the April edition? I doubt we get it here in the states :(

  49. Kathleen H in Indiana says:

    Fantastic job on the old desk, love it. Also Sarah you are going to be amazed with your MAC….you will never go back I promise.

  50. I love it. I have a similar one we made into a small kitchen island.

    Also, I absolutely love your blog and your style. I have your blog listed in my blogroll and everytime I see there is an update, I can’t wait to click on it and see what you’re sharing. It’s beautiful.

  51. donna says:

    Love your new table! You’re gonna love your new Mac! I’m typing on one right now and love it! I’ve never been a name snob before but this is just awesome. So easy to use too. Anyway back to the table… she looks like she’s been there forever, fits perfectly. I also love each and every crack! The flowers are so beautiful, gerbers are one of my favs……..I’m going to look right now for the mag but I don’t think it;s the same here is it? <3

  52. Heather says:

    adore the table. it has such character and the pink flowers are a lovely touch.

  53. Alisa says:

    Yes, I did enjoy my visit today!
    The table sounds perfect for teenage usage. That’s something I always have to consider around here with two teenage boys and my Farmboy… the number of nerf gun bullets that go flying around this house is insane.

  54. connie says:

    Very nice…I’m sure all the things you have to part with will find a lovely home.

    I have a few things myself that need a coat of fresh white paint… your blog is an inspiration!

  55. Vicki K. says:

    You prove again your adventuresome spirit and fearlessness in seizing a piece and doing whatever it takes to coax the charming beachy-ness to reveal itself!

  56. Becca says:

    what a beautiful workspace! great work. i love that you keep the computer in the family room so the wee ones can’t seclude themselves.

  57. I love this. And I love the idea of not being coped up in another room when I would need to work. I really need to do something like this because even though we have an office, it’s not fun being in there (at the back of the house). :)

  58. pam robinson says:

    you and i are soooo much alike… no matter how dirty… i always try to save these gems… xo

  59. sue in mexico mo says:

    I love to declutter! Makes me happy! Is the new Mac to replace Dell?

  60. Li (Creamy White) says:

    So Cute Sarah!!! I’m starting a reno in my kitchen next week in a very tight budget and You inspired me for my own table here! Love it!!!!
    Have a good one! :-) Li

  61. Ryan says:

    Love the table…but I also LOVE the little chair. A match made in heaven.

  62. Nicole says:

    I think it’s great! And it totally has a school desk feel!

  63. annie says:

    The homework/computer table looks great.
    I’ve raised a few teens myself and know what bashing is all about—and sofa support breaking as well…
    Nearly all the furnishings in our home have no pedigree and I like it that way—no wiling over dents, dings, and leaky radiators!!

  64. megs says:

    This post has inspired me to do some Spring cleaning. We finally had our first balmy day, so I opened up all the windows. I can’t wait for my internship to end so I can have time to work on projects like yours. :)

  65. Karen Flanagan says:

    I thinks it looks great. I love the warm wood showing through. Usually you see that on edges, but it looks great in the middle of the table- provides a nice soft contrast. I am checking to see if I can get Real Living here in the States. Good Luck with your sale!


  66. Grace says:

    I love that new desk. Very lovely!


  67. Pearl Maple says:

    Character is what it is all about isnt it? Moss green is looking pretty cute and beachy from here and do like that frame within a frame idea on the wall.

  68. Susan says:

    Is it my turn to win something??? Okay, if you make me, I will take your new desk off your hands for you!!!! Tons of hugs….Susan

  69. Lark says:

    You’ll love the mac. Wish I was getting one!!!

  70. Jenstc2003 says:

    The new table is GORGEOUS, no matter that the gentleman may not like the pink flowers! I’d LOVE to find one similar to it on one of my occasional thrift store haunting sprees. You’re bound to get a lot of use out of it!

  71. Mandy says:

    Congrats Sarah, such a beautiful transformation, you really are an inspiration. Love it.

  72. Sally says:

    I love the computer desk….as a matter of fact I HEART it too!!! :) I’m sitting here looking at my computer space, thinking, how yucky!! I’m going to have to do something sweet friend! You can bet I’ll be talking sweetly to my DH, telling him I want my computer space to look just like this picture!!! Of course I will be referring to yours!! Do you think I should warn him ahead of time??? NOPE!!! I’ll just catch him off guard!!
    Thanks for the great pictures.


  73. Rosemary Keenan says:

    You have done it again Sarah, you always pull if off. Desk is so cute and I want a White Mac!

    Caught you in Real Living, go girl. I buy this mag and Country Style.

    Have your ears been burning, I have been talking about you a lot lately, and your wonderful blog.

  74. Laura says:

    Love, love, love everything. Just my kinda style.
    I was flicking through magazines yesterday, and instanly thought “Hey! I know that place”. Of course it was yours! Love your house and your style. My decorating to a ‘t’….almost, but mine has a touch more pink. Just can’t seem to leave the pink.

  75. Shilo says:

    Lovely, lovely space!

  76. Denise says:

    I enjoyed reading about your paring down of things in the BC. I certainly need to do the same here, and keep only what truly works. Oh, how I wish you weren’t a world away. I’d love to have that old pie safe!

    The table looks great beneath your new frame within a frame starfish creation. :)

  77. Diana L says:

    Discovering beachy blogs today. What a find! Thank you for the inspiration. Note to self…check back often. Thank you for the wonderful blog. I could get lost here for hours.

    Keep your toes in the sand!

  78. Hi Sarah,
    I’m not surprised that your table/desk looks so good! You are the miracle worker with that paint. I just have one question. Do you really sand the furniture in the house? That is daring!!!
    Please count me in for the giveaway. I’d love to win something one more time in my life. (The last time was in third grade for my catchy slogan: Children and Fire don’t Match: get it?!!)
    Take it easy Sarah!
    Heidi – Heart and Home

  79. Melinda says:

    The table is lovely and the wood peeking through is perfect. This kind of furniture is just right for a busy household that includes children and doesn’t mind a bit if they “love” on it a bit! Once again, great job. (PS: The flowers are SO sweet!)

  80. Shelley says:

    You have inspired me Sarah! I have an old, flaky, white wooden table outside that I have been thinking of repurposing and bringing inside for some time now. I think my new (old) shabby desk is about to take shape!

  81. It never ceases to amaze me how in a matter of seconds …… welllll so it seems to us bloggers that you can whip up a piece of white furniture in no time at all and looking pretty amazing at that!!! just what is down in that mystery garage i wonder and what treasures are awaiting that magic touch!!! we shall wait and see…….

  82. Lisa says:

    I actually don’t have an Anthropologie close to where I live, but I’d love to see the spread you were featured in Real Living.

  83. I do love your make-overs, they make me want to get my paintbrush out!

  84. robyn says:

    THAT table is FABULOUS! It’s just perfect they way you’ve done it! Parring down is hard….I don’t envy you although it does show you the things you are truly in love with! ;-)

  85. Hi – My first visit, very nice & interesting too! I like your little pink flowers in the white cups. Are they Gerbers?

  86. Cindy says:

    That’s a very, very lovely nook you’ve got there! I’ve been looking for a simular idea for my computer…and, as allways, you’ve come up with the best ever idea!!…. Now, where did I leave that small table…;)

  87. sandy praske says:

    Finding your cottage was, for me, a dream come true. I’ve always wanted a little place by the sea – and now I can go there with just a mouse click! Thanks for the inspiration and for the wonderful ideas, Sarah!

  88. Janet says:

    Lovely to see you in print – not from one of your beach babes – instead from one of your homecountry oldies. I have taken up my brush this week albeit only to the cupboard under the stairs. Your makeover ideas are catching.

  89. Kathy says:

    I adore that table! Gotta’ find me one!

  90. Melissa says:

    Does commenting everyday help-I am so wanting to read that magazine, and of course, who doesn’t love the A?

  91. I love old tables and love it even more when they get to keep their character…beautiful!!

  92. The Moerks says:

    Very nice Sarah. You have done it again. I am so glad you have a new computer coming. I cant look at Dell ads anymore without thinking “Dell from Hell”

  93. Michele says:

    I love the desk — I wish I had the guts to pull out some sandpaper and take it to the antique vanity table that I use as my computer desk. It’s not a quality piece — I bought it from a barn sale, and it’s got various colors of model paint on the top and water dammage rings on the legs — but I love it. I’m afraid there’s not enough veneer on it to sand without destroying the surface altogether.

  94. Sarah, I love the hint of sea green and everything else you did with your table. thank you once again for an ispiring blog.

  95. lilwhitelife says:

    I love the homework desk Sara. Especially because you repurposed an old previously loved peice and who cares about the ” heady heights of the design world “? What matters is that it you like it. Apparently all us other beachy style lovers do too. I like its straight

    and simple lines too. I don’t even look at new and perfect stuff. We built our own house a couple of years ago (that I wanted to look old) and love of my life being a carpenter wanted to add all the blingy arches and curlycue finishing touches but I insisted on simple

    clean lines and I dont regret it at all. He even admitted the other day that I made good choices . He did get his way tho in the living room and made a tray ceiling (everyone LOVES it and I have to act like like I do too) when I wanted old beat up recycled wood

    tongue and groove planks. I tell very few people what I really wanted cuz most people just don’t get it and I really am grateful to have a new home so don’t want to complain. I think he can see now after seeing the path I’ve taken decroating it (which is a work in progress ) that it woulda looked great.

  96. Lexie says:

    Sarah I am so inspiried by your talents. You inspired me to start a major redecorating in my own beach cottage. I found a nautical inspired blue and white striped couch on amazing discount and paired it with my coastal oil paintings of lighthouses on each side with a 1930′s antique marble top end table as the coffee table. . It adds such a lovely coastal look to my own beach cottage. Now I am inspiried to look for a similar table as yours for my desktop computer. Time for the flea markets. Thanks for another great idea. G’Day! You cheered me so much as my Mum just died and my Brother is dying of cancer. I needed a project to bring me back to reality. I just feel that redecorating with inspiration from your site has given me a wonderful happy new outlook on life. Thank you.