Monday, April 12, 2010

My Craigslist Buy

Two weeks ago I purchased this craigslist find - advertised as a Georgian mahagony fold-down- top desk from the early 1800's. Two of the three ivory key hole inserts are still in place and the secret drawer hidden underneath the bottom of the center section is a big hit w/my kids. It has a little ivory drawer pull on it. The hardware is brass but it appears to have replaced the original oval shaped hardware.
It wasn't a giveaway but at $350 I'm really happy with it. It's 46" wide and it has found a home in the family room centered between two french doors on other side. I'm changing that room completely and have moved furniture all around so right now there are only 2 pieces in there that were there last year (black bar cabinet and my $5 glass coffee table). Once work dies down and I have a bit more free time I'll post pictures of my redecorated dining room/library and my family room in progress.
For a bit of eye candy, here's a secretary desk from the home of Rosa Bernal, image from Nuevo Estilo here. Hope you had a great weekend. Michele

24 comments:

The Zhush said...

Congrats on your lovely purchase! Can't wait to see your room's reveal!

pve design said...

Do those little rectangular drawers either side of the middle door open, that is where I used to hide things in the one in my Mom's home? I love the lines, I bet you will clean it up nicely and give it a good home.
Show us when you are ready! Love the lines.
pve

A Perfect Gray said...

get out! I had no idea you could find such things on Craigslist. that is an excellent buy....

1 Funky Woman said...

$350.00 sounds like a good price to me, what an amazing piece!

Red Door Home said...

Very pretty and a great buy too!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Beautiful score!!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Gorgeous desk. I love it. Can't wait to see the room. Hugs, Marty

Michelle said...

Score!! That last shot is lovely inspiration :) Last year I bought two dr chairs for 5 dollars each!! I love a deal...

Helena - A Diary of Lovely said...

I bet it looks amazing in its new home

Pigtown-Design said...

Good on ya! That's a great buy.

for the love of a house said...

Now that is called a STEAL!!!
Congrats on your new purchase!

joan

alaine@éclectique said...

I have a desk very similar, passed down through the family and we believe was made about 1760. It had about 250 yrs of 'patina' when we took possession. I scrubbed it and applied an antique paste. You got a bargain there.

We were told there is a secret compartment but haven't been able to find one. We had a friend, a master craftsman, make some new ivory knobs that were missing on some of the little drawers - he used the handles of old knives and made a perfect match.

Ours still has the original round knobs on the large drawers. It travelled to Australia from England twice - went back with a family member and returned with another!

I call it an 'Escritoire' after I found the following, with a picture, in Country Style magazine:-

"The many and various words that describe the glamorous members of the desk family are an obvious clue to their origins. Escritoire, bureau, bureau plat, secretaire and bonheur du jour - yes, the first furniture to be purpose-made for writing derived mainly from 16th century French styles. The Italians also had some influence and, indeed, the word 'desk' probably comes from desco or table. There are subtle differences between the terms used to describe writing furniture. 'Escritoire' usually refers to a small, portable writing desk - a neat arrangement of drawers and pigeonholes, enclosed by a lid which folds down to double as a writing surface. However, some early bureaux are also known as escritoires."

I use mine every day.

My Notting Hill said...

THanks for all the comments everyone and the encouragement about the price I paid.

Alaine - That is so interesting. Our secret compartment is found by opening the middle door and lifting up a false floor that is in the bottom. After you lift up the false bottom (which takes up half the area) you reach back towards the opening and there is a little drawer that can be pulled out. If the seller had not told me how to find it I don't think I ever would have discovered it.


I found a name on the drawer - it appears to have been in an antique store owned by T E Hockenhull in Buxton England, I'm guessing sometime in the 1970's. Love the idea of using an ivory handle to have a replacement made for the missing ivory in the one key hole.

Homer's Odd Isn't He. said...

I think you made a great buy! Homer's score without seeing it in person is....."9".

SuSu said...

Incredible deal!

I don't think that those batwing brasses are original, either. A piece in this style would probably have Hepplewhite-style brass pulls - the oval shape. It really would be worth switching the brasses out. But just clean it with some Murphy's Oil Soap for now - don't do too much to it or you will lose the patina - which is what you bought!! Again, just a fabulous buy - I would guess it would be at least $4,000-5,000 at retail!

alaine@éclectique said...

SuSu's 'on the money' there; that's what they're worth! I didn't go overboard with the cleaning; just used a very tepid water and meth combination (not too much meth) with a rag. Left it for a couple of days and then applied organ oil (www.organoil.com.au). It came up beautiful but still had all the old knocks and ink stains.

I'll post about it soon and link your post. Cheers.

My Notting Hill said...

SuSu - yes, you can see where the oval shaped brassware once was. I like that style better so I will keep my eye out for replacement pieces.

I will definitely go very gently w/the cleaning.

Kwana said...

It's lovely. I great buy.

Debra Phillips said...

score is right! gorgeous michelle. as i am reading am thinking to myself "i wonder how much she paid?".....amazing!
i would use 'stones' that is what is used for britain's national collections, all natural :-)

can't wait to see how you decorate around your treasure
xo
debra

Reynolds Still said...

What a handsome piece of furniture. Looking forward to your future post using it in your room renovation. I always love a piece of furniture with a "secret". Thanks for sharing MNH!

Best regards,
Reynolds

Lila said...

So cool! I love a good find! that's beautiful and looks pretty dang good for how old it's supposed to be!
Lila Ferraro
Queen Bedroom Sets

holly.craig@comcast.net said...

Beautiful. i love the little "cubbies" for envelopes...feels so propper and organized.

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