The “Secretary”. A “desk” or “hutch” that provides a stylish and decorative appeal while offering display opportunities and concealed storage. Beauty and function. Structure and form paired with stowing capability, indeed.
The “Secretary” is described as “a base of wide drawers topped by a desk with a hinged desktop surface, which is in turn topped by a bookcase usually closed with a pair of doors, often made with a pair of doors, often made of glass”. This single, tall and heavy piece of furniture certainly serves double-duty in terms of function. Hidden storage paired with classic and timeless interior style. The term “Secretary” refers to a “Secretaire a abattant” and “Secretaire” with similarities to a “Fall Front Desk” (the slant top with a hinged desktop). The typical main work surface of the “secretary” is the “Hinged piece of wood which lifts up to a vertical position and is tilted to an angle of about 45 degrees or so towards the bulk of the desk in order to enclose secondary work surfaces (such as small shelves, small drawers and nooks) stacked in front of the user”. There is also the form of a “Secretary” that is referred to as “Escritoire” (bookcase sections covered with glazed panels instead of wooden doors). Who knew that these are also referred to as a “portable writing slope”? Interesting. Alas, the varieties!! To add to that, there are also those forms of secretary desk that are referred to as “Side By Side Secretary” (one side is the desk and the other half holds a glass door cabinet. Again, varieties. Options and possibilities within these timeless pieces that can adorn our interiors with purpose. Purpose and function.
Perhaps it can be said, in a broad way, that all desks which have the capacity to close off the working surface are “Secretaries”. Either way, no matter the variety, these objects of distinction endure to provide function and form. And of the repurposing of these vintage objects layered with history? Although the purpose and function and contents may change and evolve, the fact remains that these towering and decorative, stylish “Secretaries” will continue to endure within interior design. Evolve? Yes. Endure? Yes. Timeless representations of the past repurposed to new futures. Whether timeworn or layered with a coat of paint, the beauty of function and form endures to appeal…
Consider with appreciation the benefits and dual purpose of the versatile and functional “Secretary”. Whether you are simply choosing the form and decorative appeal of the “Hutch” or selecting it for dual purposes, whether you choose to fill the cabinets and shelves with treasures on display or an organized and stored grouping of contained possessions in drawers, the benefits are many. Whether traditional or modified versions, the stowing capability and functional edge of these large objects of decoration provide a multitude of possibilities within our interiors. Towering & timeless form of decorative stye, indeed…
“When it comes to furniture, secretaries are a New Yorker’s dream. There’s plenty of storage space, plus a work surface that folds down for all those overdue thank you notes. Modern versions abound, but I prefer one with a bit more history to it” – Eddie Ross, Lifestyle Expert
Eddie, I couldn’t agree with you more! The history behind an object brings forth even more appeal!