about that desk

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yes, it’s really wonderful! it sat in my parents attic all my life, sort of igored and abused. after my father died, and my mom was moving, she asked me if i wanted it. then she told me my great (or great-great) uncle had made it by hand and willed it to MY dad when he died. well, of course then i scooped it up, despite its sorry shape. it has pieces missing and the finish was darkened to the point where you couldn’t see the wood. plus, my brothers had used it to paint models for years and years—a disaster!

i can’t WAIT to show it to my mom now! i just need for david to finish the top half so as to really stun her with it. once we got a closer look, we realized that it is made out of a wide variety of woods (apparently my great uncle was a woodworker by trade—it looks like he used some much-loved leftovers in it, the way a quilter might do with a variety of precious fabrics).

and we decided on a rubbed wax finish—we’ve used it elsewhere in the house, such as the dyn-o-mite ceiling in our office (i get to look at this every day as much as i want!)

did i mention that david is a house artist? he is.
we worked on the design of this together, but he masterminded the planning and installation.
it is made completely out of 1/4-inch birch-face plywood, attached at three varying heights, and is finished with three different shades of wax. the cool lighting is a grouping of home depot’s cheapest fixtures, but they are nice, heavy glass.

we also used the wax finsh on some furniture he made for the TV room (i giggle every time i think about us having an actual “TV room”, especially when i remember living in a 500-sq-ft commercial space that doubled as my working studio—the bathroom was the hallway to the front door; the “bedroom” was a loft bed). this room adjoins our bedroom and it’s where we go to relax late at night; we are extreme night owls, we never get up there til at least midnight, but we do use it all the time.

anyway, it’s one of the few rooms in the house that is done, so it’s a sort of haven to us.
(for anyone who is new here, we are involved in the never-ending renovation of an 90-year-old dump money pit home).
david made this incredible bank of cabinets for the room, to give us some much-needed storage space (since our bedroom has 5 doors, a window and a fireplace, there is little room for even a bed, much less dressers).

sorry about the weirdly grainy photo—it’s nighttime here. these wrap around two walls of the room and store a LOT of stuff. he also transformed these thrift-store chairs from awful to awesome

i picked these up for about $25 and they were covered with a sticky, dirty finish. some upholstery shampoo, a light sanding, and some wax made them glow.

and soon, that thin, nasty, scratchy rug we have in the room will be history. while i was at rhinebeck, i had a talk with donna foley of Four Directions Weaving. i had seen her rugs before, woven with Lincoln long locks, and loved them. and now we have ordered one—i am SO excited. i got a sample in the mail from her yesterday of the fleece she has chosen, based on my description of the room

there will be a lot more of the dark brown in the finished rug—isn’t it rich? and trust me, it’s soft as well. those colors are gonna look great with the wood and the fabric in the drapes, which we found in a vintage fabric shop in philly a couple of years back

it’s hand silk-screened and it’s gorgeous. we took all they had, and though i would have like to make one more panel for those windows, we are thrilled with what we got (oh yeah, i sew too, but these days, only for the house . . .).

and, in case you were wondering, there is a little kitting. i finally settled in to making some much-needed clogs for myself.

i’m going to make a couple of pairs actually, in case one felts funny (hey, it happens . . .), and also becasue i wear them almost exclusively in winter. i’m knitting with some chunky weight wool that i bought from the zeilinger’s booth at wooster. sometimes this yarn felts great, and sometimes not—we’ll see. why i choose this project to live on the edge is beyond me . .

13 thoughts on “about that desk

  1. Boy, that David! What a catch! He has got some talent! that ceiling is truly incredible, as are the cabinets. And I’m so exicted to see the rug you’re having woven.

  2. What a beautiful home you and David are creating. It seems to personify your relationship. I love the natural wood tones.

    Regarding the clogs, good luck! I received some lovely variegated yarn over the holidays that I was thinking to use for some slippers, but I wanted to use a different color for soles and bumpers and I’m too chicken to do it because I read what happened to the Yarn Harlot when she did that. At least you’re using two yarns from the same source.

  3. My gram had a big old secretary like that in her house – painted salmon pink. She finally had my uncle drag it into his truck and they took it town to be cleaned up, thinking it’d be heavy oak. Turned out to be mahagony with lovely inlays across the top and the edges of the drawers. It’s still a massive piece, but MUCH better looking now. That one of yours is a keeper too, sounds like!

  4. I love the desk. Glad you didn’t paint it. My husband builds furniture as a hobby and I love seeing the woods liked bird’s eye maple and zebra. As a Christmas present I am getting some hardwood swifts hand made from BlusterBay Woodworks. You are a knitting machine! I am tucking in for the next snow storm, with Casino on my needles.

  5. I am glad that you decided not to paint the desk, I am always saddened when I see a beautiful old piece that has been painted, the wood will be beautiful waxed and then it will showcase the construction of the piece and not cover it up like some piece of furniture that was purchased (insert name here). The ceiling is gorgeous…

  6. That desk is amazing. I’m so impressed with David’s work. You’re right, he is the house artist, no designer or decorator title. It’s truly art. I love visiting your site, I always come away so inspired.

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