Monday, February 20, 2012

My French Writing Desk

Years ago, I rescued this couch off the street. It was torn up and nasty, with an ugly Chinese-inspired fabric and godawful Asian-style fretwork between klunky legs. I had it torn down to the frame, reupholstered, and rebuilt with more graceful legs. After it was finished, it graced a sunny alcove in our master bedroom:

But when the Lovely Daughters #1 and #2 moved into the Funny Looking House, they took the couch with them. (They needed it more than we did.) To fill the hole left, I decided I'd love a writing desk. In the ample light filtering in through the alcove's Palladian window, I imagined myself composing an old-fashioned letter or gazing out the window at the waving wall of green ivy beyond.

Yeah, my windows look just like these in a scene from the 1940 movie, "Rebecca." Juuuust like this:

Here's the first Mrs. deWinter's writing desk. Moire-silk matching address books, menu book, and diary. Oooooh!:

 (Have you seen this movie? It's a terrific, spell-binding story! Rent it, please.)

But I digress.

As I was mulling over the idea of a Rebecca-deWinter-style writing desk, this article caught my eye. I tore it out and carried it around in my purse for a while (thus the dog-eared appearance):

Five great desks: Perfect! I especially love the color of this one, from Cost Plus:

But at $200 it's a little pricey for being so very plain. And really, it's just the color that I love.

Then I saw this display through a shop window:

A darling, curvy desk and chair, and a vintage telephone and typewriter. Adorable!

It looks like the desk of a French woman writer. There are a few gorgeous books about women and the Louvre and dogs, a beautiful leather tote, a cup of tea, and even a fuzzy critter sitting on the chair!:

I love everything about this inventive display. I love how it seems to conjure up a certain woman, living in a certain city. But the desk is beyond what I'm willing to pay.

So I kept the French writing desk idea in my head as I poked through some catalogs. I love this twisty-legged beauty from a major interior decorating firm. But it's $1,599 before tax and shipping!:

Umm, no, thank you. So I hit the local charity shops, my go-to place for finding style on a shoestring. Then one day, I saw this desk and blurted out loud, "There's my desk!" It was far less than the $200 Cost Plus desk and had a lot more of the French feel to it:

It has three functioning drawers to hide lots of mess, a generous tabletop, and pretty brass drawer pulls:

And it has all the curvy lines of the white desk in the shop window:

It needs a coat of paint. I haven't decided what yet--glossy white? Chalky French blue? I'm still debating.

But I'm thinking, I can re-create that French writing desk display in the shop window. I already have the books of French museums. I own a vintage typewriter:

And re-creating the cup of tea and fuzzy critter in this house? Pshhht: Piece of cake! Also, I found this adorable map of Paris (actually a sheet of gift-wrap paper) for $5 at a local, French-flavored coffee house/gift shop. I am thinking of applying it, decoupage-style, on the desktop:

Cute, huh? And from the same shop, I nabbed this appealing version of the Eiffel Tower. (I've been wanting an Eiffel Tower sculpture since Lovely Daughter #2 and I spent one glorious week in Paris back in 2007):

Now all that's left is painting the desk. Oh, and the chair, you may ask?

I found it for free on the street.


  1. Oh, you are one creative lady! Can't wait to see the final results. xoxo

  2. Adorable!!! you might enjoy checking out this website
    They are doing some really cool paints and wax finishes that would fit in well with your French inspired thoughts! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  3. Y'know, I just learned about Annie Sloan paints and waxes by reading another blogger's work last week. I am definitely going to search out her (its?) products.

  4. It's amazing to have your creativity! The first one is expressing your ideas very well and you have done a great job with the above sofa and color is so gorgeous. I would love to present the same above one to my daughter who recently got married and it'd be great looking with her existing white furniture which I already presented her. Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing this.

    1. I love, love, love white-painted furniture and accessories. This summer, I plan to gather up a lot of roadside castoffs (picture frames, gallery shelves, etc.) and paint them all glossy white, to give to my Lovely Daughter #1 for her house. Great minds think alike, Kai?

      Thanks again for your nice comments.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...