Spinet desk in flow blue milk paint
I’ve got a thing for Spinet Desks. I think they’re fascinating pieces. They’re a true example of form, function and believe it or not, recycling! Work has finished on my latest Spinet Desk, and it’s looking absolutely incredible.
what is a spinet desk?
Let’s start with the basics. A spinet is a type of small piano (40 inches tall or less) similar to a harpsichord. In the late 1800’s, this type of musical instrument was no longer used or desired, so the musical components were gutted and re-outfitted to serve as writing desks.
In the 1920’s through the 1940’s, lots of Spinet Desks were made in Michigan, usually out of mahogany, walnut or maple.
My Spinet Desk is mahogany and was made by the Wilhelm Furniture Company in Sturgis, Michigan. The original label has been damaged, but you can still make out a good portion of the words.
flow blue layered over artissimo milk paint
When it came time to paint this piece, I replicated a look that I’ve come to love – Flow Blue layered over Artissimo Milk Paint by Miss Mustard Seed. If you’ve been reading my blog for a little bit, you’ll recognize this combination on pieces like my empire dresser.
If you’d like to read about how to achieve this look exactly, you can read my blog post series here.
I only painted the outside of my desk.
Layering a darker blue under a more vibrant one creates depth and movement in the finish.
And in true Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint fashion, it distressed beautifully and in an authentically aged manner.
The inside of my Spinet Desk got a healthy sanding to remove the tired and worn finish. I simply hydrated it with Hemp Oil, allowing the natural color and luster of the wood to shine through.
There’s actually a decent amount of storage in this little space. Between the cubbies, the sweet little drawer and a super slender drawer underneath, Spinet Desks provide a functional place to work on a laptop, pay bills, or do Bible study in the morning.
There’s plenty of room to snug a chair under the desk and sit comfortably.
And the main writing surface pulls forward, giving you more space if needed.
So what do you think? Can you picture yourself happily seated here with a nearby window open and the birds chirping outside?
refinished legs with gel stain and arm-r-seal
The slender legs on this piece needed to stand out. They were too pretty to cover with paint. To refinish them, I turned to General Finishes Gel Stain in the color Antique Walnut.
To begin, I cleaned the legs with a 50/50 mix of Denatured Alcohol and water, and gently sanded them with 400 grit sandpaper. Then, I applied the Antique Walnut Gel Stain with a Jen Poly Brush, wiping away the excess with a lint-free cloth.
To seal the legs, I used a product that I haven’t tried before – oil based Arm-R-Seal.
Arm-R-Seal is made with the highest-quality urethane resin, making it extremely durable and long-lasting. It’s ideal to use on high traffic pieces like kitchen table tops and desk tops. The oil-based finish is formulated to be wiped on with a cloth or applied with a foam brush. It penetrates deeply into the wood, providing deep-down protection for a lovely natural look.
I’ve been intimidated to try it because you have to stir it constantly and not use too much friction when you wipe away the excess. I made sure to read all of the instructions both on the physical can and on General Finishes product page. And then, I just went for it! Turns out, it’s not as bad as I thought.
a multifunctional piece
This Spinet Desk serves multiple functions. You can store it open with the back plate up for displaying your favorite items.
Or, if you’d rather keep everything put away, the top folds down completely, giving you a flat surface.
However you wish to use them, Spinet Desks are super cool. They are the result of recycling an otherwise obsolete piece of furniture. They’re multi-functional. They are expandable. They pack a punch in a small modest footprint.
Behold, the mighty Spinet Desk!