My secretary, Eliza Doolittle

Now that we’ve signed for a lease on a brand new flat, my little hoarder mind has gone straight to thinking about furniture. I’ve been collecting furniture since before I left home (I got an antique bed for my 18th birthday) and whilst living in a single bedroom in a shared house. But now we’re moving into an unfurnished place? Hello! I’m trying to be sensible in my choices though and to buy pieces that will be perfect for our flat and have lasting value, rather than just buying things I like.

This last weekend we went to a branch of Emmaus (a charitable second hand furniture place) and I fell in love, hard, with this secretary desk.


We’d gone there looking for a glass fronted cabinet for some of my knick-knacks, and found this, which basically combines a glass fronted cabinet (with adjustable shelves), a desk (with little cubbies and drawers inside that you can’t see) and some office storage. All in one compact little package with cute legs. Hooray!

But let’s be honest. My secretary ain’t so hot right now. I’m going to need do a lot of sanding and painting before this Eliza Doolittle blossoms into My Fair Lady.

It’ll take a while before it even starts, as this lady is currently tucked up in Mr V’s parents’ garage, and even when we get her here she’s going to need to wait till it warms up before I can get sanding outside. Until then, you can keep up with my inspiration on this Pinterest board.

And here are some of my more certain ideas.

I either want to paint it white like this:





Or a very pale grey:



I will definitely be getting new knobs, lining the drawers, and maybe painting the sides if it wouldn’t make the drawers stick:



My nooks and drawers aren’t quite as fancy as these, but I think I’ll be doing this sort of thing with colour (painting the inside of the cabinet and the inside of the desk the same bright colour), I’m thinking jade-ish:



And finally, this is bigger and more modern, but this is sort of how I imagine using it, a nice organised desk and a cabinet full of pretties:




Oh, and just for any other geeks like me, here’s a bit more information about secretary desks from that old faithful Wikipedia: “To those not used to it, the secretary desk looks like a mutant made up of a mix between a commode-dresser, a slant top desk and a book case…. The correct or the most common correct term for the secretary desk described here, is the secretary and bookcase. Unfortunately there is no unanimity on this term, even among specialists. In Europe the same piece of furniture has been called bureau and bookcase and then desk and bookcase. Also, the general public usually calls this kind of desk a secretary, or secretaire. In a taxonomic sense one could sometimes say that all desks which have the capacity to close off the working surface are secretaries, while all others are simply desks, but such a division would be too broad to be useful.”

What’s your latest furniture find? Favourite dresser makeover online? Where’s your desk?

Psst… to see the nook where this will end up, go here.


  • Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    February 9, 2012 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I am in love with this secretary desk! It’s beautiful! It’s so hard finding pieces like this by me so I’m pretty jealous. I love the idea of painting the inside a fun color and keeping the outside a neutral.

  • Ainhoa
    February 9, 2012 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I love secretary desks! I think yours will look wonderful painted white or light gray but with a pop of color inside.The desk we have used to be my desk at my parents’ house – I just painted it white. I’ve been thinking about distressing it a bit to show of the beautiful detailing in the legs, though.

  • Brandi @ His Shabby Her Chic
    February 9, 2012 - 6:51 pm | Permalink

    It’s beautiful! My Aunt has one in her house and I love it. Great pick up and I can’t wait to see what you do to it!

  • Christine @ Casa-de-Christine
    February 9, 2012 - 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Love this find!! I think it will look fantastic once you get a coat of paint on there. Love the pop of colour idea.I love antique markets and thrift stores- so many great finds! I’d love to open a shop that is just rehabbed furniture. Oh to dream…

  • Clair
    February 10, 2012 - 12:33 am | Permalink

    Oh my goodness, how WILL you find the time?! I’m sure it will turn out beautiful though.I’m living vicariously through you. We could use some new (old) and quality furniture around here. Have fun decorating your new place!

  • Ashley@Attempts At Domestication
    February 10, 2012 - 8:43 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful piece of furniture! I think it would look great painted white.Thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

  • aurea @ pricewise events
    February 11, 2012 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I love how you will color the cabinet in pale gray and paint it inside with surprisingly bright and colorful designs. :)

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