Friday, March 21, 2014

Something old, something new

I adore handmade things, old things, things with a story and another life that they lived before me. My house is full of objects purchased at auctions, estate sales, antique shows and handed down through the generations. I love pieces, whether it is art on the wall or furniture, where you can see the hand of the person who made it. I believe in investing in goods things once that are well made and will last.

So when I was making over my new studio, I came upon a photo of the perfect work desk. Better yet, it was in an antique store just a few miles from my house. I loved it because it was a good height for standing and working; it had great surface area for packing up orders as well as spreading out a project; and the storage was perfect: lots of drawers for all my junk and a wide open area for the unruly shipping boxes for which I am always trying to find a home. This is what the piece looks like:

I was so excited that I grabbed a tape measurer and jumped in my car to go see it that day, pretty sure that I was going to buy it and trying to anticipate how much they were asking for it and how much I can haggle with them for the best price. When I got to the store, I couldn’t find it anywhere. When I inquired about it, they said it had sold. I left crestfallen, certain I had missed out on the only piece that would work for me. A week later, when he realized I had talked about the piece every single day, my better half suggested we ask a neighbor to build something like it for us. He is a very skilled cabinet maker and made all of our kitchen cabinets for us years ago, and had just finished working with us on a bathroom remodel. I really wanted something with history and wear but I reluctantly took some measurements and made some sketches. Long story short, here is the piece:

Turns out it is much better than the original piece I wanted to buy! It was MUCH cheaper, plus I was able to give the exact dimensions for my space AND I added in a file drawer with a lock for all my business paperwork. But my favorite part are the drawer handles. I had purchased these vintage faucets handles to use as towel hooks during our bathroom remodel but decided to use something else instead. I was so tickled when they fit just perfectly on this piece instead. I was surprised at how much easier everything is because of this simple work space and the organization it has allowed me. At the end of this process, I realized how satisfying it is to work with an artisan, to ask for exactly what you want, and to get something that is unique and your vision, and does not have the mark-up of a huge corporation with an overseas bank account. I hope my customers feel much the same when they work with me and I create them handmade paper for their lives and events. What a lovely thing handmade is!

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