On our anniversary weekend last year (yes, I’ve been meaning to show you this for a while now), the Lt suggested I come with him as he shopped for my gift, as he was planning on visiting our local antiques mall to find me a card catalog.
(Not a traditional 2nd anniversary gift, true, but he knows me well. I go crazy over card catalogs and, really, anything old and with lots of little drawers or compartments.)
Naturally, I was touched by the sentiment and excited about the idea, but I warned him that it was not going to be so easy: I’d had my eye open in all my second-hand shopping for months and months, and found nothing. You can’t go out one day and buy a vintage card catalog just like that, I explained.
Well, we made that one stop, and wouldn’t you know it — there it was! Solid wood, reasonably priced, and just as delightfully card catalog-y as you could hope for.
(Note to self: bring husband thrifting more often.)
We already had our hearts set on it when we realized that it wasn’t one unit, but rather three independent sets of three drawers each, stacked on top of each other. So we’d have to do something to make it into a functional piece of furniture. After a few months of brainstorming, during which we considered everything from cabinet to coffee table (really, pretty much any piece of furniture made out of a card catalog would be awesome), we decided to go with a desk/work table.
My clever and handy husband figured out how to do it: he built a base out of oak planks (it had to be strong enough to avoid bowing in the middle — these things are solid wood and extremely heavy!), stained it to match the drawers, and mounted them to it using screws.
For legs we used trestles we found at IKEA (I just checked, and it looks like they’re no longer available, otherwise I’d link to them), which I think work really well with the vintage card catalog.
(He did it all in a minimally invasive way, because the drawers are beautifully crafted. He wanted to preserve them intact as much as possible and to be able to take it all apart without any damage if at some point down the road we changed our minds or if we didn’t have room for a very large and incredibly heavy desk.)
|You can tell this was taken as soon as I set up my machine. My workspace is never this empty.|
Didn’t he do a great job? I was so impressed with how he made it look like all one piece of furniture, instead of three sets of drawers on a brand new base.
I also love how it looks with my chair, which I bought at a yard sale in my neighborhood. It is also vintage, heavy, and awesome.
|I did make cute little labels for the brass slots, but Pippo pulled them all out. I might try again.|
Slowly but surely since he made the desk and set it up late last fall, I’ve been taking over this room, which we hadn’t quite figured out how best to use before this.
I do have supplies in most of the drawers, but they need to be organized better. I cut drinking straws to slide into the slots of this one and hold my thread. Not a permanent solution, but it works for now!
I stretched a wire across the wall above my desk, and have been using it to display little cards and things that I find pretty and inspiring. If I run out of room, I can just add another wire!
That paint color chart was in Habou’s studio when I visited her once, and I loved the colors. I asked if I could have it when she was done with it, and being the sweet and generous grandmother that she is, she made herself a new one and gave it to me!
My fabric stash lives on this shelf in the corner. After running up and down the stairs for a while to press seams, I had the brilliant idea of tucking my ironing board in between the shelf and the wall. (I don’t think it’s too obvious there, but there is a closet nearby I could move it to if you think I should.)
The rest of my crafting supplies are mostly contained on this bookshelf, where I stash my random bits and pieces of paper, fabric, and half-finished projects into baskets. These are the ones I already had; I could stand to add a few more. (This is consistently the least presentable corner of the room.)
I am deeply grateful to baskets for allowing me to maintain an air of respectability. This workspace is in the room that the front door opens into, so I do try my best to leave it Reasonably Clean, even when I’m in the middle of a project. I don’t know that I always succeed.
I love my new desk! I think it’s beautiful: just looking at it makes me want to make things. Plus, it feels so luxurious to have a big table to spread out on.
I’ve been doing so much more crafting and creating since we set it up — It’s amazing how much easier it is when you have a dedicated space to do it, your supplies at the ready, and pretty things around you.
Most of it happens while Pippo is sleeping, but often he’ll color or play in the room while I finish something up. Lately he’s enjoyed pulling over this chair to “help me sew,” which mostly means pressing the reverse stitch button at random moments. It keeps me on my toes.
So, am I the only one who finds card catalogs irresistible? It’s funny, because in over a year of visiting thrift and antique stores since my husband found ours, I haven’t come across a single other one.