Layers of Color: Ce Ce Caldwell Georgia Clay Desk

Thursday, May 16, 2013 -

Remember that fabulous aunt I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? The one that gave me a few pieces of solid wood furniture? I have her to thank for this fantastic piece as well!

Here's how it started out. Cool roll-top, but very un-cool 80's oak. This thing was is great shape! It just needed a make-over.

I started by removing all the old hardware. Next, I began to remove the roll-top portion. I originally wanted to keep the roll-top in tact and paint it to match, in case whoever bought it would like to keep it, but as I started to remove it, I realized that I couldn't remove it and keep it intact. Some roll-tops are made to be removable- this one was NOT!

As I was pulling everything apart, I found some old papers and coupons. A couple made me laugh. Check out the expiration date on this coupon! (7/2/89)

After I pulled the roll-top off, this is what I had left.

I've been dying to try Ce Ce Caldwell chalk and clay paint for a long time now. I prefer the color pallete to ASCP, the stockist is closer to my house, its cheaper than ASCP and I have to be honest, it's not so trendy and over-done. While in the store trying to decide what color to buy, I saw a sample piece with several layers of colors, one, which happened to be Georgia Clay. I fell in love! I liked that it was a unique color (especially for me) and I started getting ideas on how to layer it.

I then removed the wood top, and painted the whole body and drawer faces with 2 coats Georgia Clay.

How does it compare to ASCP? Well, it doesn't seem to cover quite as well, but still better than latex. I prefer the texture when dry; not quite as sandpaper-like as Annie Sloan and it seems quite a bit more durable before being sealed. I can't stand the smell though! Smells just like Playdough (probably the clay in it), but not a headache causing smell. All in all, in my limited experience, I prefer Ce Ce Caldwell to Annie Sloan.

As the second coat of Georgia Clay was drying, I used a rag to distress the edges and handles.  I love the way this paint distressed! Very natural looking.

The next step I did something a little different. I went ahead and sealed everything with one coat PolyAcrylic in satin. Why? Well, I knew I wanted to layer color and if I had applied wax, only chalk paint could have been applied over it. Also, I knew I was going to use dark wax, and I knew I needed to seal the paint so it wouldn't absorb too much dark wax and look muddy.

Next, I lightly dry brushed 2 shades of latex paint ("oops paint" testers) and 1 shade of acrylic.

Then, I applied 1 coat of Ce Ce Caldwell dark wax all over. One little sample pot was more than enough to cover the entire piece and it was SUPER easy to apply; just rub it in well with a rag, wait 15-20 mins and buff it off with a dry cloth. I then sealed everything with a coat of SC Johnson wax in natural.

After dark wax on the left, before on the right.
For the top, I busted out the belt sander. If you don't have one yet, go get one. It's life changing, especially if you need to strip paint and stain. I made-do with a little finish sander for years. The first time I used my belt sander, I shouted " Where have you been all my life?!" They aren't much more than a finish sander, and well worth the investment.

This is what the wood looked like stripped clean.

I then applied 1 coat of wood conditioner, let it sit 15-20 mins, and lightly sanded with 220 grit to bring down the raised grain. Next, I applied 1 coat of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut. After that was dry, I applied 1 coat of English Chestnut to warm things up.

I dropped the can of stain and take a look at how beautiful it made my feet look!

The next morning, I mixed up some custom glaze, like you can read about in this tutorial. I mixed in some raw umber and a good deal of black paint. I wanted to deepen the color of the wood, and I wanted to minimize a bit of the oak grain. I brushed on 1 coat and let dry several hours. I then sealed the top with 3 coats PAS.

I l-o-v-e this satin color. So rich. Just the perfect mix of warm and cool. My new favorite.

I attached the top to the body, added some new hardware I found 50% off at Hobby Lobby, and here's the finished look.

I love it! I've read advice from experts like Miss Mustard seen who say "Do what you love, not what you think will sell". This is definitely the case with this one. I realize this color isn't for everyone (my husband hates it. Says it looks "pink"). The color kinda changes depending on the light from salmon, to coral, to terracotta. 

Check out the awesome hardware! The glass knobs look authentically old, and they were only $1.50!

I think it would look awesome paired with turquoise in either a beach-themed or southwest style room. 

I love all the texture and layers of color! The dark wax brought out awesome, rust colored details. 

What do you think? She'll be listed under my shop tab.

(This post was not sponsored by any companies. Just my own opinions)

Linking at:



Furniture Feature FridaysThe Shabby NestPhotobucketAll Things with PurposeSomewhat Simple

Liz Marie Blog

Fidlin' Fridays Link Party

DIY blog Classy Clutter
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Home Stories A2Z


  1. LOVE THIS!!! Your desk turned out SO beautiful ~ love it!!

  2. Wow what a gorgeous color. You did the desk proud. I will have to see if I can find some of that paint where I live.

  3. Gorgeous! I haven't tried Georgia Clay yet and now I really want to!

  4. Oh my word! This is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your process...I love it!

  5. This is such a great re-do! Thanks for sharing it on our linking party!

  6. I like this Georgia Clay far better than the Georgia clay I plant in all the time. It is a lovely piece.

  7. I love the Georgia Clay. Your desk is beautiful!

  8. This is gorgeous!
    Thanks for sharing is idea.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

    Greetings from Singapore...

  9. Love the color, such a great redo. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  10. love it! i would love to feature it, if that would be ok with
    you please let me know,

  11. Your desk turned out wonderful! I will pass by roll top desks as I don't care for the look, but seeing how you removed the top has given me a new inspiration. The color is lovely as is the distressing.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Pieced Pastimes

  12. If you try another color of CeCe paint, it will smell completely different. They each have very unique scents, but none of them give me headaches (which I get with ASCP).

    You do beautiful work.

  13. This looks ahmazing!!!! I cannot believe that was a roll top desk. I always pass those by, but no more!! Wow, the Georgia Clay has never looks so gorgeous. What a great blog you have, definitely sticking around to see what else you have up your sleeve. Thank you so much for linking up at Redoux Interiors. You should definitely share any CeCe Projects at the CeCe Caldwell Fan Page too on FB. A really great way to get more traffic to your blog, and I know CeCe would LOVE to see this!

  14. Gorgeous redesign. Love the color. I have this same desk, gave it a redo, but left the top since I needed the cubbies. It is great to see how it would look with the top off.
    Stopping by from WWAW link party.
    Have a great holiday weekend, Celestina Marie Design

  15. Where did you get those knobs? Such a great project!

  16. Where did you get the knobs for this project? Gorgeous!

  17. Beautiful feet, stained or not!

  18. I have read your post. I am a regular reader of your post.I appreciate with you.
    Thanks for sharing the blog and always keep it. Quite often people can make errors while working with the belt sanders. This is because with this product one can easily lose control of or remove too much of the material.


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