Double Parlor Home Library The Victorian House

Madame Secretary

Secretary Desk | Making it Lovely

I mentioned a couple of months ago that I wanted to add a secretary desk to the library because the room needed a piece with height and a desk would be a useful addition. I chose this 19th Century French Iron Secretary. The rooms of our Victorian are all fairly open to one another, so I’ve been keeping that in mind as I decorate each space. The black iron secretary plays nicely off of the black walls in the back parlor and I like its mix of masculine details and feminine curves.

Black Wall, Black Secretary Desk |Making it Lovely

Incoming mail is always one of our biggest sources of clutter, and the secretary is the perfect solution to the problem! In the old house, mail and other paperwork would end up all over the dining room table, and here it usually piled up on the entryway sideboard. I would sort through it, recycling what I could, but the rest stayed put. Magazines and catalogs mixed with bills, invitations, and other correspondence. The kids’ schoolwork was getting mixed up in it too, but now everything has a place within the shelving of the secretary and it can be kept neatly organized behind closed doors.

Inside the Secretary Desk | Making it Lovely

We have four antique Thonet chairs in the house, passed down to us from Brandon’s mom. Two are in the entryway, one is in the bathroom on the main floor (holding a stack of towels), and the last is here at the desk. I hung a 50¢ tassel on the key in the door, but I wish I had brought one of the beautiful ones I’d seen in Morocco home as a souvenir. I’m kicking myself for passing on them!

Secretary Desk | Making it Lovely

I love the secretary though. I wanted it specifically for that spot in the library, but I can see it working in several spots in our house if I ever want to rearrange things a bit. It’s always good to have options, right?

Secretary Desk | Making it Lovely

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  • Ariana
    December 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    This is a wonderful piece! I like that you chose a secretary without a roll top so you can still use it as a desk all the time.

    • Making it Lovely
      December 4, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Having the desk portion accessible at all times is nice, yes.

  • Jane
    December 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Geez that is gorgeous. I am terrible at organizing my own personal spaces. How do you break down things like the inside of this secretary? I know you have an office so this piece may be more for show! But do you have any rules for organizing things like cabinets and drawers? Am I an idiot ;)? At 37 should I already know how to do this? Uh oh…I feel a panic attack coming on ;)!

    • Making it Lovely
      December 4, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Nothing revolutionary here! There are three shelves, and I have things divided up as follows (in boxes, or stacked):
      • bills to pay and things to act on
      • paperwork to save/file
      • kids’ schoolwork
      • magazines and catalogs
      • cards, letters, photos, etc.
      • invitations and events get clipped to the door

      • Jane
        December 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm

        Perfection! Thanks for the insight ;)!!

  • Katie @ Red House West
    December 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    It’s the perfect choice! I’ve never seen a piece of furniture like this made from iron–does it weigh a gazillion pounds?

    • Making it Lovely
      December 4, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      It does, ha! It was delivered in two pieces and then bolted back together.

  • Danielle
    December 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    What a cool piece! It looks great in that space!

  • LG
    December 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Love it! I’ve been thinking of getting something similar for our living room, I’ve been battling mountains of incoming mail for far too long!

  • Alison
    December 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I love it! And you really had me fooled… I was thinking your link would take me to the latest and greatest vintage/antique shopping site, only to find RH! I was just in one of their outlet stores a few weeks ago, they have such a neat range of stuff.

    • Making it Lovely
      December 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      This is the first furniture purchase from Restoration Hardware for us, and it’s really nice!

  • cvjn
    December 3, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I spy the Stella Atelier vases from West Elm. I have one so far, but want all of them! I have loved her work for so long, but it has always been pricey and hard to come by. The blue vases look great with your dark walls.

    • Making it Lovely
      December 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks! I picked up the two vases, but I love them all. It’s fantastic when artists team up for these collaborations and put their pieces within reach.

  • chris
    December 3, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    That is gorgeous. Way out of my budget, but wow! I love it paired with the Thonet chair. I have been looking for some on CL for ages, but no luck finding any in good shape.

    • Making it Lovely
      December 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Ours are a little rickety, truth be told. They’re pretty, but not the most sturdy when they’ve been around for a while.

  • Karen @ year of serendipity
    December 4, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I don’t think you could have found a more perfect piece for that spot! I’m really loving watching you put your spin on the victorian. So often, people adapt their style to match the house and it just ends up looking expected or dated. Mixing styles successfully as you’re doing always puts a smile on my face :)

  • Kayla AKA Kilo Bravo
    December 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Love this piece. When you mentioned you wanted a secretary, I assumed you would go vintage – but this piece really works well in the space. We’ve been buying loads of furniture to fill up our new home and I keep feeling guilty that I’m not going the vintage route for various reasons, but sometimes you just find what you like in the big box stores! Love the Thonet chair there too.

    • Making it Lovely
      December 4, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      I had been watching Craigslist but not finding what I wanted, and I’m not really heading out to a lot of flea markets and antique shops right now with the new baby here. When I came across the RH secretary, it was kind of love at first sight!

  • Jessica
    December 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Agreeing with the other commenters, it looks PERFECT! That piece wouldn’t fit into my house at all, yet I’m insanely jealous and feel like I need to find my own sexy secretary!

  • Catherine
    December 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    This is really lovely and what a great way to use it for your family’s organization. My grandparents had a secretary and I can still remember the wonderful smell when they let me open it to take a peek inside. My mom has it now, but she has promised to give it to me one day. It is so full of memories for me, and maybe your children will come to feel the same about yours.

  • emily
    December 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    love this piece…looks like an heirloom, and i think it’s going to wear like a workhorse…who knew a piece of furniture made of iron could be so dainty and detailed. lovely.

  • Lisa
    December 8, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Wow, it really is iron! Now THAT is cool.

  • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
    December 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Wow. Absolutely gorgeous Nicole. Just perfection with rose photo, chair and lovely combo with floors. Months (summer) ago I saw something very similar (probably not iron though) painted all rasberry! It was possibly in a house photo shoot. Re tassels …. really gorgeous colors. They look full and much more attractive than usual. Ha! Years ago I purchased several pretty silk tassies ….. 1 in watermelon, the other is pale green. They come in handy for instant color pops! Love seeing all your newest designs, etc.

  • Happy Holidays | Making it Lovely
    December 22, 2014 at 4:42 pm

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