Secretary Desk with New Library Drawer Pulls

I inherited a secretary desk from my grandma when my family moved her into a nursing home.  My mom remembers it being in her house when they were growing up.  So obviously I remembered it being in grandma’s house when I used to visit.  I feel incredibly lucky to have it in my house now since it is a piece of my family’s history. You might have noticed it in my post last week for Kirkland’s in the corner there.

gray-yellow-aqua family room


Of course I have thought 100 times about painting it.  But, I think for now, I am going to leave it as is.  It is in pretty good condition for being about 60 years old.  Everything opens and closes well.  The only problem is it was missing some of the drawer pulls on the inside.  I don’t think the tiny pulls really belonged on this piece and was dying to put library pulls on it since I got it over a year ago.



When Destiny painted her coral dresser and used some brass catalog drawer pulls I was in love.  So I jumped at the chance to snag some from D. Lawless Hardware as a thank you gift.  If you remember our huge giveaway in October D. Lawless Hardware was one of the sponsors who gave away $450 dollars in hardware.  I had never heard of them before that, but since then, I have gone there many times checking out their prices on hardware and such and they are soooooo reasonable.  Waaaay cheaper than the big box store for sure.

I think I am going to get all of my hardware from there for my studio project (A.K.A. My Biggest DIY ever).  Anywho enough of the commercial…

In order to put my new library pulls on I cut a piece of 1/4” luan board the same width as my drawer front and then created a jig so I could get the holes in the same spot every time.


I slid a drill bit through the middle hole and dilled the other two tiny holes for the new library pulls.


Then I screwed the library pulls in place with a screwdriver.  Doesn’t it look so much better than with the tiny little pulls?


I decided to not patch the center hole from the previous knob since the label would be covering it.  I then just cut out some labels with my Silhouette Cameo and popped them in place.  I think the library catalog pulls go with the vintage vibe of this secretary.




Disclaimer: D. Lawless Hardware sent me these pulls as a thank you for the giveaway we did back in October with no intention of me posting about it.  However, I love a good deal and just couldn’t resist telling you about this resource.

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  1. I think it looks amazing – I adore the library pulls. I can see why you hesitate to paint it, it’s perfect as it is!

    • Oh thanks for saying that. I keep second guessing my choice to not paint it. I know it would look great painted but I also like to have wood and painted pieces together. We will see. I am sure she won’t make it through her whole life without a coat one day 😉

  2. It looks great, Becky! I love the look of old library drawers and you’ve managed to get that look with these pulls. Love the labels, too.

  3. love library pulls! they look awesome on your secretary! perfect choice!

  4. That makes a dramatic difference! LOVE IT!

  5. Wow, what a difference! I love those library pulls. The secretary looks awesome.

    • Thank you Jeanie it was just the change I need to make it new to me again. Plus it helps to know where stuff is since there are soooo many dang drawers.

  6. Swooning too! It’s pretty close to a paint makeover on the swoon level. I too would be itching to paint it, maybe someday!

  7. Oh man, those pulls make all the difference! GOOD CHOICE! This is definitely an organizer’s paradise!

    Do all those black cubbies come out? I think it would be awesome if you pulled them out and painted the ‘back board’ something bright and unexpected (yellow maybe?) and then put all the cubbies back in. It would make it feel custom, yet still keep the integrity of it being an heirloom. Just a thought!

    I did something similar with my secretary desk, only using orange!

  8. Pat Francoforte says:


  9. I love the secretary! I also have one from my mother. Not sure how old it is, but it was old back in the ’50s. Mine has 3 shelves inside instead of the cubbies. thinking……
    Also, my husband’s hobby is woodworking. He makes small tables, shelves, etc. and we used to go to large craft shows with them. He used D.Lawless for his drawer knobs! Great value!

  10. I absolutely adore these! I have been wanting a card catalog piece but these just might do the trick to satisfy me until then!. Thanks, Beckie!

  11. what a difference! Looks great and so much more functional with the labels too.

  12. It looks absolutely amazing! It looks like the way it should’ve always look! Just gorgeous!

  13. What a huge difference those drawer pulls make! They are gorgeous! Thanks for introducing me to D Lawless Hardware!

  14. Brenda Melahn says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful … perfect!

  15. Great source. I’ve used them for many projects and love their customer service. Thanks for sharing. Many will benefit from this.

  16. I love the new drawer pulls- they really look like they belong. I was one of the lucky recipients of the giveaway, and I agree that D Lawless Hardware has great prices and lots of pretty drawer pulls. Their wood appliques are a great way to update a piece as well.

  17. Kimberly Bruhn says:

    Thank you, thank you! I have some drawers in our kitchen without pulls and I needed this…it’s been about 6 months. They are giant drawers and need big pulls (10-12 inches wide) and that puts them in a new category (appliance pulls) so they go from $10 bucks or so to $60 and up…ridiculous for an inch bigger, in my opinion. Those library pulls look fabulous on your drawers….what a great accent!

  18. They look fabulous! And definitely better than the little pulls before.
    Debbie 🙂

  19. I think you did a fantastic job. They look like they were intended to be there the whole time!!!
    Love it!

  20. Lucrecia Gray says:

    These made such a great change! Much more authentic feel!

    I will be inheriting a very similar piece in a few months. My mom and I actually spent several weeks stripping the paint a few (ok 15) years ago. I briefly thought of painting it when I get it, but then realized I cherish the memories of the project together too much!

  21. i wend on d. lawless’s website and couldn’t find those pulls. they are exactly what i have been looking for and i’m having a hard time finding them anywhere. do possibly have any info on the pulls so i can try to find them? thanks for your time.

  22. Christina says:

    Love the pulls and your secretary! I have the same secretary and was amazed to find yours as I thought mine was a ‘one-off’ and that someone made the top to fit the bottom. Imagine my surprise when I saw yours! I purchased mine painted (it’s a celadon color), it has the little knobs that yours had but I’m considering switching to the pulls. So cool! Thanks for the great post and inspiration! Christina

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