When I was 16, I finished school after my exams and almost immediately started working in a local estate agents as a typist. I bought a whole new wardrobe to make sure that I looked the part and spent my days typing property particulars and my evenings hanging out with friends and enjoying new found freedom late into the night. We thought we owned the world which was a feeling significantly enhanced by the receipt of a generous pay packet at the end of each month.
It was a glorious summer but September came and I had to return to school. Somehow, I hadn’t spent all the money that I earned and wanted to remember that year forever. So I went to Austin & Son’s (formerly the largest antiques dealer in Europe) in Peckham, South London and bought myself a fantastic mahogany ladies writing desk. Writing desks were the interior furniture item du jour and I felt I had picked a good one. I brought it back to my top floor bedroom and returned to school.
That desk has been everywhere with me ever since. It’s moved house fifteen times from the town to the country, to Spain and back and most recently from the UK to Ireland. I had it restored in the early 2000s after a particularly difficult move and brought it with me when I married. As the years have gone by, its usefulness has declined. Once perfect for writing university essays, the age of the laptop has rendered it obsolete. I now use it as a table for art books and the drawers are very useful for my children’s crayons.
Over the years, my love of mid-century has taken over as my favourite aesthetic and the desk is a lone ranger amongst the teak. And for me that’s proof that buying a good piece of furniture in your life will withstand changes in taste, fortune and circumstances. A good piece of furniture will hold special memories and provide roots when your life can seem anchorless. Caring for it is an early introduction to the responsibilities of having children or a pet but rest assured that wherever that special piece is, that’s your home.