Soon after the second Mrs. de Winter comes to Manderley, she stumbles across the morning room/office of the first Mrs. de Winter. In the spinet desk she finds beautiful stationary, books, calling cards, and menus—all of the accoutrements of the lady of a great house—emblazoned with the dashing “R” that alludes to the first Mrs. de Winter’s moniker. As much as anything else in the great house, Rebecca’s office was intensely personal. It suggested her interests, it conveyed her personality, it revealed her responsibilities. Her nameless successor is overwhelmed by the room because she is so nervous in her new situation as the lady of the house (and all of the secrets that the oh-so-loving Max is consumed by) that the responsibilities are quite beyond her. (The oh-so-charming Mrs. Danvers doesn’t do much for her confidence, either.)
And what, you ask, does a short meditation upon the function of the desk in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca have to do with the price of eggs in China? Well, I’ll tell you.
I’m starting grad school in a few weeks. (I know, you hadn’t realized.) And while I did plenty of work for my undergrad, most of it was in my comfy armchair with an end table next to me, holding the books and notecards and the pencil that I’d invariably misplace halfway through the process.
So, given that it’s grad school (grad school!) I’m stepping it up a notch. Though I’m quite sure the armchair will still get ample use.
And so, I bought a desk yesterday. It is currently sitting in the corner of my living room, larger than any other piece of furniture (well, the love seat is a close second) and is a rather horrid combination of mint green and stencil-love. But it’s sturdy, it has more character than an Ikea piece and I’m already thinking of it as the place where I’ll do all my best thinking. So now I just have to make the area a little more cohesive.
(The right is my before picture–you can see it needs some work! and my bulletin board, seen below, is the color scheme that I’m working with.)
Here are some of my design goals: a.) I want this area to store everything (pens, highlighters, index cards, paperclips, sticky notes); b.) it needs to be easily be tidied up for “non-working-time”; c.) it must be functional (no lifting three trays to find the index cards); d.) it has to be cute (but of course!); and e.) it has to somehow blend into the rest of the room. Or at least not dominate.
And so, as I do whenever faced with these tough style choices, I went to Pinterest. Here are some of the images that are currently on my inspiration board:
I think the first item on the agenda is a coat of paint—both for the room and the desk. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Updated to add: check out what I actually ended up with here.