Saturday, 2 February 2013

Where is the Best Place for a Desk?

Fitting Furniture in Small Spaces

In a room of own's own, of course. But what if there is no such extra room in the house? 

First let me say how grateful I am to have such a beautiful antique desk with a fold up top, which had once belonged to one of my husband's ancestors, to hide my creative mess.  I am indebted to my parents-in-law for letting me have it, and shipping it across the country to me.  In our old house I used a beat up old Ikea table covered in a ripped table cloth as a desk, but it did not survive the move.

My desk.
Also I should say that this is my poetry writing desk. I do my school work at the kitchen table.  I would not dream of bringing marking into my bedroom. Also, we have a litte built in desk area for the computer in the kitchen where I am sitting right now. Most poems eventually make it to second or third draft stage on the computer, but they like a private little place to be born. Lacking a spare bedroom in the house, however, the bedroom is the first place I moved the desk. 

Desk with rejected chair.
 We tucked it beside the window looking out on the rose garden, which was distracting, but lovely. It was easy to make metaphor involving birds and rose branches. You can also see in this picture the old paint colour, tea light, which felt too cold, especially in winter or in the morning.  The first chair I bought was too white and didn't suit the desk. In the picture below, you can see the unpainted dresser with what looks like lots of room behind the chair.



But when the top opens, resting on the slightly opened drawers beneath, the chair must move back to make room for knees, and the dresser suddenly became too close. Another problem was that the heating vent was below the desk in the corner, and the desk blocked heat circulation, not helping with the room feeling cold.

I decided that since one of the kids had grown up and moved away and the other two were teenagers, and the family room was now more of a music studio, with no toys, I would try my desk here, right beside the fire place, as seen in the blog about the ottoman.

Desk in "family room" with new chair and old ottoman.
Of course, it turned out to be louder here than expected, out in the open-concept area,  and I was writing on my bed on my lap more often than not. Furthermore, we had moved the chairs, which I am not going to show because I don't like them - more on that later - away from the window. They were now facing the fireplace and blocking the whole traffic circulation of the house.  Back to the bedroom by the window it went, with the same problems as before.

In a small-ish house with small-ish rooms, it seems there is a pre-ordained way the furniture must fit. Throw everything off by bringing in a piano or a desk and ask for trouble. We kept trying though, and put the desk by the door. Here there is no heating vent to block and no distracting views except on the walls.

Perhaps you can see the dresser on the left now. With the dresser painted, it doesn't feel like a wall of brown furniture. The duct tape is to prevent us from turning on the broken chandelier, which is now being fixed. I am thinking of recovering the seats with a pink paisley which matches the pink birds. 
Kravat from the echodesign book.  Yes, expensive, but it is just a little chair seat.

Or this colour, which matches the tail of the aqua budgie and the main paint colour of the house, in case the desk goes out again.

I am also thinking about painting the wood of the chair, which is browner than the wood of the desk.


The lamp is a wedding present from Saltspring Island. The china egg and piglet are from my childhood. It may be good feng shui to have this little pig on my desk, which reminds me of Wilbur, who said Charlotte was a good writer and a good friend and how rare it is to be both and gives me something to try for.

What great poems will be written in this corner by the door? How many exact coordinates are there in a house where the muses will align? Or is it just quiet and discipline, as well as warmth, that are required?

If you have a desk, where did you put it? If it isn't in the right spot yet, keep trying to find that spot.  Then tune in and wait for the words to come.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love that pink fabric!

Anonymous said...

I love that pink fabric!

Susan Telfer said...

I love it too, and the aqua one I just added. If the aqua one doesn't go on the chair, it will go elsewhere!