Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | February 20, 2014

The Story of my Secretary Desk

When I was a new bride of twenty-one, in my first home, then a 75-year-old Cape Cod home, I longed for way to make my home feel collected and pretty on a very tight budget. I loved vintage furniture and unfortunately, my husband did not. He just didn’t want the pieces of an unknown person in our home.


My restored mahagony secretary sits against a small wall between our two bedrooms. Through the door to the right is our master bedroom.

But I adored vintage furniture, was pretty stubborn and mostly figured out a way around his decrees.

Medium open shelves like

Safe keeping for my collection of Phoenix Bird China, porcelain kitchen canisters, vases and books.

A friend was getting rid of a Chippendale secretary desk she hated and after I complimented her on its beauty she offered to sell it to me for just $35.00. I snapped it up. After all this did not come under the category of “unknown persons.”

Secretary medium w open shleves

The glass doors are open here to share what’s inside.

I spent a few hundred dollars getting it restored and refinished but when I compared it to the cost of $2,000 new, it was a real bargain.  I happily put this piece in my formal living room and enjoyed it for much of the twenty-four years I lived there.

rased sugar bowl vignette nice

Now in another home (and another husband too by the way) this classic piece remains one of my favorite. Through the years I’ve gotten better at staging and display and recently reworked my collections into this vignette.

It now sits in a small nook in-between our guest room and our master bedroom. It can be enjoyed from the living and dining room. In spite of the current trend to painting furniture and the fact that I have the skills and the paint to do it myself, I have resisted. I kind of like it in its beautiful dark mahagony wood.

Blue& white chine in secretary BST

Holding treasures and memories of my life, this cabinet holds deep emotional value for me.

Old blue and white china, glass vases, blue and white kitchen storage containers along with a mix of vintage books, this piece offers both high impact and a way to display and share a personal collection. Placing a trio of candle and a vintage tray in layers on the top makes use of additional display space.

The pink and burgundy silk flowers were my bouquet from our 1996 wedding to my current husband Gene. He loves old stuff and came to our marriage with some vintage pieces of his own. What a keeper!

Small House / Big Sky Donna

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