Before & After, House / Sewing Studio, Thrifting, Upcycling, Trash Picking

Check Her Out: My Long-Awaited Secretary!

Are you wondering about the “sexy secretary” that I’ve been talking about on Twitter? Gotcha.

Sorry to disappoint, but when I said “sexy secretary” I wasn’t talking about Christina Hendricks’ character in Mad Men.  I was talking about this gal right here:

mid-century modern walnut secretary desk

Isn’t she pretty?   She sure is a great change from the white Ikea desk I had before:

Maybe you remember the secretary and her companion, the little green chair, from this mood board that I created way back when, this past winter?

Mid Century Modern with Erin McMorris Fabric

Well, I finally picked her up at my favorite furniture store, Just L (in Littleton, NH) this past June when I went up to help Melissa move.  Yep, the awesome owner of the store had been holding it (and the green Thonet chair) for me ever since I spied it on their Facebook page last fall.   But that’s a topic for another post.

Finding this secretary was fate, I tell you.  Do you see how closely it’s wedged into the space between my window and the corner wall?  It fits with literally NO room to spare.

See?  A custom-built cabinet wouldn’t have a tighter fit.

Anyway, boy was I thrilled to finally bring this baby home and put her to work in my office.   She offered up some much-needed storage, holding my office supplies in one drawer, my electronics jumble in another, and my rarely-used binders and books in the topmost (and hardest to access) drawer.

Up top, the storage situation keeps going.  I love how secretaries always have great cubbies to stash things in – in this case I was able to create file storage in one, hold books and binders in another, journals in a tiny one, and photos on the top shelf.

See how my computer is pulled out from the shelves in the photo below? That’s just to show you the extra cubbies.  The plan was to cut those bottom cubbies out, so that the computer could fit back in the compartment, but for now I decided to just place it in front of them instead.   I can’t bring myself to alter the shelves.

But if I want to close the secretary, I can simply remove my computer ( love my Mac, everything is contained in the monitor) and close the front like so:

I was especially thrilled by her sleek, modern lines – I’ve seen plenty of secretaries, but they’re all so old-fashioned and fussy, with tons of curves and embellishments and brass pulls.  But not this one.  She needs a name.

Small-Space Decorating Tip

Secretaries are one of the best pieces of furniture you can invest in if you live in a small place.  (Or heck, even a not-so-small place, like my rancher.)  Seriously, they rock – they offer tons of storage, a good writing (or typing) surface, couple with the ability to be closed up to hide the mess when guests are around.

For example, say you need your guest room to do double-duty as your office.  If you have a secretary, which only takes up a small portion (2-3 feet) of the wall space, then you can plop your laptop in there, decoratively store your books, files, etc, in all the cubbies, and call it a day.  Then, when your guests come to stay, you fold the desk surface shut, and offer your guests use of at least one of the drawers below.

And speaking of small spaces, I promise I’ll have the rest of Melissa’s studio apartment “after” tour next week.  I just didn’t have the time I wanted to devote to writing the posts this week.  My shop has been busy – which is awesome – and hopefully I’ll have some new items to show off in a week or two!

Have an awesome weekend!

PS:  You can find links to all the steps of the room’s makeover if you visit the house tour here, then scroll down to the section on the studio/office.


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  • Reply Jennifer McCormick at 11:36 pm

    She is beautiful! So much more storage … and the ability to hide it all! 

  • Reply Honeywerehomeblog at 3:44 am

    Nice! And I love the organized drawers!!

  • Reply Lisa C at 5:55 am

    I love it Jane! I think I need something like that to store all my scrapbooking stuff. I love being able to close it and hide the chaos!

  • Reply Tracie at 11:30 am

    oh she’s beautiful!  i agree.. had to have been fate to fit so perfectly in that space!!  happy for you.. it looks amazing!

  • Reply Robin at 12:41 pm

    This desk is so cute Jane! I love furniture where you can hide electronics like computers and tvs. Old-fashioned desks are the best for secret cubby-hole spaces, I agree. I hope your new work space proves inspiring! 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous at 5:17 pm

    Jane, I am so jealous!  I love her!  My office is in desperate need of a makeover.  I will keep the idea of a secretary in mind when I get around to changing things up.  

  • Reply Kelly at 3:48 pm

    Yay for storage + stacks of little journals tucked away someplace handy.  🙂  It is amazing what a few extra drawers can do to transform a space.  Hope you get lots of inspired work done there.

  • Reply Jenn @ Peas and Crayons at 3:55 pm

    The storage is worth its weight in gold =) or wood even <3

    hooray for you shop's success!!!!

  • Reply Leigh at 5:01 pm

    wow.  What great storage.  Nice find.  Will you paint it or leave it as is?

  • Reply Ashley @ at 6:34 pm

    LOVE it!  So organized and nice!

  • Reply Anonymous at 7:13 pm

    So much fantastic storage.  You always impress me with your skills.  Love the new desk space, so much function!! 🙂


  • Reply Paleverett at 2:21 pm

    N I C E    Great item

  • Reply Meredith at 7:22 pm

    You have opened my eyes to a totally new storage option for my tiny guest/craft room!  I love the modern lines of this secretary and she fits perfectly in your space!  What a unique piece – I’ll have to keep my eyes open for one around here. 🙂
    By the way, that floral Erin McMorris fabric you have on your corkboard?  I used the same material for curtains and a pillow in our previous guest room here:

    I just changed the color scheme in there:
    and am thinking of selling the floral curtains if you’re interested!

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comment on our mid-mod Craigslist chair.  Glad I found you!
    Meredith @ Welcome to Heardmont

  • Reply Kate at 5:39 pm

    I love it!!

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