Vintage Industrial Dumpster Desk

It’s been a while since I have shared a good Dumpster Dive Makeover, and I am over do.  So much, that I thought you needed to see me as well 😉

It’s themed furniture day!  Each month I team up with a group of DIY Blogger friends and we share our interpretation of the month’s themed furniture makeover.  This month it was Vintage Industrial.

Let’s start with just the vintage.  As in, found in a dumpster, and where I found it?  Let’s just say the previous owner was definitely Vintage, as in past tense (most likely).  Hey, it was going to a land fill! 

I decided this desk needed a balanced feminine/masculine feel.  Kind of like Vintage Industrial.  Old, sometimes slightly feminine, balanced with a utalitarian steel, dark iron, masculine feel.

I mixed up some of my favorite CeCe Caldwell’s paints.  Let’s call it California Grey Sky.  We don’t get many of those, but when we do, they are gorgeous.  To make this Grey, you will need (this is approximate) 5 parts Vintage White, 4 parts Pittsburg Grey: 3 parts Tahoe Taupe.  Stir very thoroughly to fully mix the colors.  

For the drawers, I went with straight up CeCe Caldwell’s Vintage White.  I spray painted the hardware flat black.

The front of the desk needed some oomph.  I started with a stripes idea, but I am the world’s laziest painter, and straight lines would top out my patience.  I hit the easy button and used a stencil instead.  I painted the panels Vintage White first, then went over with my CeCe mixed grey. I painted the stencils and the top in CeCe Vermont Slate.  

I did two coats of the Vermont Slate on the top, then sanded with a piece of 320 grit.  I love the finish I came up with.  Definitely not looking like anything from a dumpster now!  I “painted” on one coat of CeCe Caldwell’s  all natural Stain + Finish in Walnut Grove.  Have you tried these stains?  They are ALL NATURAL, no smell.  NO SMELL.  I almost all but gave up staining anything because stain products are so toxic.  Want to see more of how the stain looks on Dumpster piece?  Check out my Mid Century Modern Buffet Makeover. 

Back to Vintage Industrial.  Here is the top with the CeCe Stain.  I sealed the entire piece with CeCe Caldwell’s Endurance.  Want to know more about this hard wearing, easy to apply clear coat?  Check out my video, and check out my stairs!  

This desk is heading to my warehouse soon.  A did finish THIS DESK originally for my office up front, but a girl can never be satisfied when there is so much free furniture to go around.  Vintage Industrial Dumpster Desk is going in.

DID YOU KNOW? My business partner Kim and I are Distributors for CeCe Caldwell’s 100% Natural Chalk + Clay Based paints for California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Interested in learning how to become a retailer?  Send me a message!  If you own your store, or rent a space where you sell painted furniture,  I would love to chat with you about my favorite paint.


For more Vintage Industrial fabulous furniture makeovers, be sure to check out my friend’s projects!



  1. Linda Gomes

    Beautiful desk transformation! I’m looking forward to attending some classes in the fall.

  2. Patty Soriano

    Hey! There you are! I’ve missed ya!
    The desk looks great…. I don’t expect anything less from you though. Hope to see more soon. I love seeing your posts about dumpster finds. More, please.

    • GTC

      Thanks so much Patty. Been super busy with the new business, but trying to get some paint days in too! Hope all is well in Texas 🙂

      • Patty Soriano

        Karen, it’s hotter than “H”, “E,” “double toothpicks” !!!
        I knew it was the new business keeping you busy…. like hubby says, busier than a one-armed paper-hanger. 🙂 You GO, Girl !!

  3. Julie Scornaienchi

    Karen – I love how your desk turned out. I have lots of CeCe Caldwell paints and was wondering if you have a book of paint recipes….this grey is amazing!

  4. Audra @ Renewed Projects

    Welcome back! I enjoy your posts, both dumpster dives and transformations. Who needs a magic wand when you have a paint brush, right? How fun that you get to work for the paint company you love so much. They are lucky to have your expertise in the quality of their product. 🙂

    • GTC

      Thank you so much Audra! I am slow on the replies, but catching up!

  5. Kirby Carespodi

    I love the walnut stain! This type of desk always sells really well for me.

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