Monday, 23 April 2012

'New' vintage bureau

Went to Old Mill Antiques in Failsworth last weekend, and managed to pick this up. Watching my friend haggle with the man and then getting it home in a little hatchback isn’t something I’ll forget in a hurry! It’s an old bureau or writing desk made from errrr maybe oak? Loose grained and varnished mid-chestnutty colour, so no idea to be honest. My dad always says to look for the dovetail joints which mean quality, and well, it doesn’t have any, and the back is chipboard, but all that just went out the window because I proper fell in love with it. No idea what era it is – the warm tone and glass in the front makes me think 70s, but there’s a little badge on the back that says “Odhams SOLID London” in a sort of 50s font. Who knows!

As I’ve found many times with vintage furniture, unfortunately the key to the top section has long disappeared. But you can sort of prise it open if you get your fingernails in the side, and reveal all the little hidey holes; even though the drawers were clearly added at a later date and have a weird burnt look to them, I still think it’s sort of magical. Will soon be stocking this up with a range of pens and papers and pizza menus and elastic bands just like the one my parents had.

It’s not amazing quality, it’s a bit mismatched and broken, and it hasn’t got a clear ‘look’ that puts it firmly in a decade or style. But for £35 I think it’s perfect, and you can't deny, it's certainly SOLID.


  1. Looks a great find- def. looks 50s to me ;-)

    Hope you have many productive hours together.

    Chrissy from Manchester: a photo a day at Mancunian Wave

  2. Hi Handy

    I have a desk which is similar to this on the outside but has a different configuration of compartments in the upper part. My parents gave it to me to have in my room in the late 60s (I was about 10 y.o. then). I think it's likely they had had it since setting up house together in the late 50s, or possibly from their separate homes before that time. I always think of it having been my father's and it is one of my most treasured possessions. Originally it was stained dark brown, but when I sanded the top layer off and it's now a very similar colour to yours. Happy to send you photos if you want (but it's not obvious to me how to do this).

    I came across the picture when looking for information on a trolley of similar vintage, which I'm trying to do a similar restoration on. Thanks very much for posting it, looking at your desk and thinking about mine has been a happy moment of my day.

  3. I have the same piece of furniture, the drawers are original!