Monday, June 9, 2014

Restored Antique Spinet Desk

 Morning friends!
I'm so super excited to share with you all the latest addition to our home.  For months and months, I had been looking for a spinet desk to use as my little office.

I'm always scouring flea markets/antique stores/craigslist, etc. anyway, and have never, ever seen a desk in this style to purchase.
Guess where I ended up finding it...the thrift store! It was all closed up and stuffed underneath a shelf, but I recognized it immediately. And I may or may not have squealed with delight. OK. I did, in fact, squeal and then proceed to drag it out into the aisle. All the while some other patron looked at me like I was crazy. (Which by the way I could care less about since I have spent my fair share of time in thrift stores and I have seen some crazy/questionable/shocking things). So a little excitement over a desk is nothing in the grand scheme of thrift store behavior.
Anyway, so I have my desk, which by my behavior is obviously a good thing, but it was too heavy to lug up to the front of the store, so I had to find a furniture employee to bring it around back for me. So I'm dragging it and flagging down the employee all at the same time. Totally couldn't leave it there unattended though, KWIM? Sigh.
The good news was that other than a couple of screws to reattach the hinges it was structurally perfect. (BTW--when I was replacing the screws the holes were too big. I good tip to correct this is to stuff the hole with broken toothpicks and then screw the hardware in. Works every time!)  Anyway, the bad news was that the finish was seriously worn and scratched. Since I knew I didn't want to paint it (I like a mix of painted and stained furniture in our home and I didn't want to detract from the overall value of the piece) I knew that restoration was the way to go.

My method definitely isn't going to lead to a perfect finish, but it will dramatically change the look of an antique with very little money and effort. First, I started by washing the desk with a damp cloth (definitely a necessary step since it was filthy). Once it is perfectly clean, I dried it off. Then, I lightly sanded a couple of spots. There were a few areas where the stain was flaking off and a few spots where the legs had gotten banged up by bumping into something white. (I carefully used a sanding sponge and did not overdo it.) Once any necessary spots were sanded, I gave the desk another good cleaning. Finally, using another clean and lint free cloth, I wiped the entire piece down with Restor-A-Finish and then rubbed the excess off. If you haven't used this stuff before, I urge you to. It is amazing what it can go to an old piece of furniture. One note of stinks, so you might want to use it outside!


Don't you think the finish look so significantly better now? Like I said, restoring the piece this way will not lead to perfection, but it will remove years and years of wear and abuse.

Plus, I don't think a pristine finish would suit this desk anyway, I love that it is completely cleaned up, but still retains its history and character.



  1. gorgeous! great find and you did a beautiful job with it!

  2. The finish is gorgeous. Beautiful job!

  3. Are you kidding me right now!?!? What a find!!!! I love that you didn't paint it. You already know how I react to thrift store finds. Good thing Anderson wasn't with you. He would have told you to calm down. ;)

  4. Beautiful! Great find, and such a perfect little work space :)

  5. I love your restoration of this petite and pretty desk. Doesn't matter where things of beauty come from or where in this case it wound up ... You lovingly restored it to be once again adored.

  6. Beautiful! The finish is perfect.


  7. WOW this is absolutely wonderful. I LOVE that finish. Such a beautiful piece. You really made it shine!!

  8. Great save...looks amazing! I have one of these and have used it as a night stand for years. I have lately been thinking of cutting the legs down and using it as a coffee table. I know...I would ruin it but I don't have a large enough home to use it anywhere else. I love the Restore a Finish too...that and Watkins. I will not use varnish or poly on an old piece. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This looks beautiful! So funny...I have one of these desks as well. It needs refinishing and I love what you did with yours. Could you please tell me what color Restore a Finish you used?

  10. Love your desk makeover. I had one almost exactly like that about a year ago...I wish I had it back.


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