Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The sweetest little bureau - I finally found the perfect piece!

I had been looking for the perfect piece of furniture for our entry foyer for nearly a year - but due to size restrictions I hadn't been able to find anything to fit that met the criteria - until I discovered this sweet little writing bureau!

Sometimes the planets align and you find the perfect piece.




When you come through the front door into our entry foyer, there is a wall at one side that is about 60cm or 2 foot wide that could accommodate a small piece of furniture.

But there were three very restrictive issues with the space all up, and the width wasn't one of them.

1. The maximum depth for something to go here was a mere 30cm or about 12 inches, even a little smaller would be optimal! It's the depth in the space that is the most restrictive, as anything too deep there will cause issues when coming through the door with an armful of shopping bags for example.

2. I know many of you are thinking, then why not just put some coat hooks there? No can do, the wall is where the pocket sliding door returns, so it can't have anything requiring strong screw attachment to the wall there, and coat hooks with heavy coats hanging on them need a firm attachment.

3. There is a light switch on the exterior facing wall in the corner that can't be covered up, nothing higher than 106cm or about 42 inches would work.

So my space had a height and depth restriction along with the width not being overly generous, and with the need for a free standing piece due to the pocket door being the icing on the decorating dilemma cake!

Whatever went there also needed to be something that had drawers or a cupboard to hold small items like a spare umbrella, sunglasses and hats etc, this was my husbands requirement just to make things more fun! Hubby really loves furniture with storage - it's his thing!

So trolling through the local for sale adverts on Facebook marketplace as I often do, I saw this vintage writing bureau for sale.

It didn't jump out at me and say 'entry foyer piece' at first glance, the picture of it didn't give any scale, so I thought it was larger than it actually was. It wasn't until I read the dimensions in the listing details that the light bulb in my mind lit up - could this little bureau be the perfect size for that entry way space?

Collage of seller's advert images

Of course it was gorgeous! Just look at those cute drawer pulls and door lock, the worn edges (no distressing needed when you buy vintage), then inside the desk the pigeon holes that once held the users bits and bobs, and even the odd water ring inside the cupboard from years of practical use. It was not a high end piece in it's day but rather a simple piece for a woman or child most likely, maybe even a home made piece made from whatever was available - which is something for me that adds a layer of depth and character.

Not to mention the little slide out supports for the desk when it's in the open position - who doesn't love things that slide out when needed and just hide away when not, and leaving just those sweet little knobs showing and adding that additional decorative touch.




I was falling in vintage love with this piece more as every second passed that I looked at the seller's photos. A writing desk though in the entry way? Why not? It's just a different sort of cupboard really, but had the added advantage I realised of being able to become a wider piece - more like a side table whenever I needed - all I had to do was pull out the desk supports and drop down the desk. This piece was getting more perfect by the minute.




It ticked off at first glance all the requirements for width, height, depth, free standing and another (expandable) storage opportunity.

But, having been caught out before on sellers not providing correct measurements I didn't get too excited as surely this cute little bureau was more than the stated size of 28cm in depth? Maybe that measurement was the top part that was the shallowest bit?

So I messaged the seller and asked to confirm the size - he came back with exact measurements and specified the absolute maximum depth was only 29cm or just under a foot at the widest point at the base, meaning the main body of the desk was even shallower, so wouldn't look too heavy in the space. Plus the maximum height was 111cm at the very top backboard, meaning the main top of the desk ended up at the exact maximum dimensions allowed of only 106cm - you have to be kidding me!? Surely this was a sign the vintage obsessed furniture gods wanted me to have this, and who was I to disappoint them?

So then of course I started to get concerned, since I couldn't get there to collect it in a hurry that the seller may not hold it for me as he lived about 1.5 hours north of me. But the seller was a lovely elderly gentleman called John ( sort of a thin Santa type ), who was actually delivering another item to someone further south than me, so for a small additional cost he was able to deliver the bureau to me the following week - if I could wait that long? Could I wait? Asking me that he didn't know I'd only been waiting for months to find this perfectly sized piece, so a week was a blink of an eye in my search timeline. Yes, I could wait! Or maybe it was a test, and he was one of the aforementioned furniture gods in disguise making sure I really deserved to own this little gem? Either way - wait I would, however long it took to get this little bureau!

It's not often a seller can or will deliver a purchase, especially furniture, so this was a win win for me, delivery saving me a 3 hour round trip plus I get what appeared on paper, (or should that be on screen) what was no doubt the perfect piece for my entry way.

Not having seen it in real life though I hoped I had made the right decision and when it was unloaded from John's trailer I knew I was truly in love with this sweet little bureau. It was the perfect size! (phew).

I could also easily lift this piece myself, so I moved it into the barn and gave it a good look over.

It had the remains of an old clay wasps nest in the cupboard door lock, but that was easily removed with a small screw driver used as a tool to break it up and then it just went to dust and fell out. There were no keys with the piece, but I had several vintage keys about and one of them fitted the cupboard door lock so that problem was solved.

I could also see one side of the bureau was darker than the other which I think may have been caused by possibly being near a fire for years. So I decided to give it a light sanding and the darker side wood surface came away easily and was very black and sooty. It now better matched the rest of the bureau and with a light coat of Miss Mustard Seed's Hemp Oil it was ready to take it's place in the entry foyer.

Despite most of the furniture in the house being either white or lighter wood tones, I didn't want to have a light piece of furniture in the entry as we have a dark cherry wood grandfather clock there that I wanted to match in depth, and the deep rich colour of this little bureau did just that.


So here it is in place, I still need to hang the picture up above it, but for now it's looking fine and I love it's perfect dimensions, it's cute features and it's oh so sweet vintage charm.


Do you think this piece is the perfect fit for my space? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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