Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Delicious modern desks

We all work from home in some way or another. It may be that we work mostly from home, or maybe just when needed. Our work space should feel good, and why not be stylish as well. I know I feel better when I sit at my mid-century Danish desk than if I just picked something up from IKEA.

Also, our 'office' may be part of another room so our desk should fit in with the overall decor of the living room, library, or maybe bedroom.

In our New York apartment we squeezed an Edwardian desk (left) into our not very large den.

Homes and Gardens, UK

If you are setting up your work area as part of another room, a great desk will be a much more important design element. This sleek and simple desk fits nicely in to this classic living room (above).

Elle Decor - Designer: Steven Gambrel

This office nook by designer Steven Gambrel combines a contemporary wood and brass campaign style desk with terrific modern art on the walls. It's just missing the laptop that usually sits on my desk. 

You can always find a wide range of desks at auction from antique/traditional to modern. I focused on 20th century this time and found some wonderful statement pieces.

I love the sleek lines of this desk attributed to Maison Jansen, second half of the 20th Century. It's made of chrome and lacquer and is 59.5" wide. It has an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000. This would be a great desk in an office on it's own, or in a combination room. It will look even better when it has a wonderful lamp and a few objects on it, and, of course, your laptop.

I think Asian furniture fits with any decorating period or style. This early 20th Century Chinese rosewood desk sold at a New Orleans Auction last month for $1,599. This has simple lines with just enough detailing to make it really interesting. 

Wright Modern in Chicago has an Important Design auction scheduled for December 14th. This Don Shoemaker style desk (1965) is a fantastic combination of woods making a wonderful graphic statement (see comments below on this). This is Lot 277 and has an auction estimate of $5,000 - $7,000. This would stand out in any room and make you feel good when you sit down to work!

The Wright auction also includes this absolutely special Josef Hoffman desk (1906). This is lacquered beechwood with brass fittings, model 500/6. It has an auction estimate that probably limits this to collectors or those with money to spare, but it is beautiful to look at! This is Lot 116 and has an estimate of $10,000 - $15,000.

The Bonhams sale in New York later this month includes this small French Art Deco desk made of a macassar mahogany. The stripes in the wood make it that much more interesting, and it's 43" width would fit in a smaller area. This is Lot 4224 and has an auction estimate of $1,200 - $1,800. 

There are so many options for great desks, and since many of us spend a lot of time sitting at one, why not make a decorative statement out of it. Feel stylish while you work!


  1. With reference to the Don Shoemaker desk that you wrote about, please be aware that this desk is a fake produced in 2009. I already wrote a post about this forgery in my blog, see: "Most underwhelming attribution to Don S. Shoemaker - Part 2". This desk was offered for ca. $ 3,500 USd in EBAY Mexico.

  2. Thank you for your information. I hope you have let Wright auctions know this. They are a reputable auction house and will not want to knowingly offer a fake.

  3. I did inform Mr. Richard Wright and Emilie Sims contacted me. The only thing she wanted to do was to change the description to "After Don Shoemaker, ca. 1990" desk. I told her that the honorable thing to do was to describe the lot as "made in Mexico, designer unknown, 2009", apparently she is a close friend to Reform Gallery and her loyalty to them goes first than to the possible bidders and to Mr. Wright.

  4. I checked the Wright auction results and it looks like this lot was withdrawn. I guess they had second thoughts.


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