The perfect white desk

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One day, while I was straining to reach the blind adjuster and open my bedroom window, I came to the realization that the current desk in my bedroom simply had to go! I was panting and had almost knocked over one of my lamps for the umpteenth time. My desk is a hand-me-down from a former roommate who was getting rid of her drafting table after finishing the interior design program at the state university.  Completely draped in a dark purple diamond-patterned sheet, none of the frame is exposed, and I have never really used it as a drafting table or as a desk, as I had originally intended to do. When I work, I usually end up using my dining room table, because I have much better lighting and plenty of room to spread out. My desk serves mainly as a bedside table/vanity with two pretty lamps, a tabletop swivel mirror, flowers, and a vintage-style bronze alarm clock sitting atop it. And almost breaking one of my beloved lamps yet again was starting to feel pretty old.

So, I began my quest for the perfect desk.  The tabletop swivel mirror inspired me to go for something modern and glamorous, for a beautiful bedroom vanity.  I knew something white would stand out well against the dark gray, purple and chocolate color palette of my bedroom.  Always a fan of white lacquer, I was hoping to find something with the look of it, with some silver metal hardware.  I remembered seeing some beautiful versions in my decorating magazines, which I knew were very expensive.  I fully expected to experience sticker shock in my search for the perfect piece.

But hunting for bargains is thrilling, so I jumped online to start my search. Just as I was anticipating, the first piece I fell in love with was well over my budget.  A beautiful piece designed by Jonathan Adler, the Channing desk from allmodern.com features a beautiful white lacquer tabletop with shiny Lucite knobs and polished nickel x-frame legs.  I could just see a movie star sitting at this desk, but at $1750, it was definitely out of my league.  There was no way I was plunking down more than my monthly rent for this piece of furniture.  So I kept looking.  Maybe allmodern.com had a less expensive option that I would like.

Gorgeous white desk, but the price?  A bit steep.

Gorgeous white desk, but the price? A bit steep. $1750 at www.allmodern.com

The second gorgeous modern desk I found on www.allmodern.com was less expensive, but still rather on the high end.  Boxier in design (no x-legs) the white lacquer desk features sleek brushed steel legs and a nice long tabletop. But again, at $1299 the BDI USA Cascadia 2 Drawer Reversible Computer Desk didn’t come down enough in price for my budget.

The super high-end.  Beautiful design. (Source: allmodern.com)

Very high-end. Beautiful design, but at $1299, too costly.
(Source: allmodern.com)

Luckily, just after this, I happened upon a wonderfully priced option at budget-friendly IKEA. The MICKE desk, unbelievably costing just $69.  No brushed steel or lacquer here, and if budget was my only consideration, I might have stopped here.  But, although the low price was attractive, I felt somewhat doubtful of the quality.  The legs on the right looked a little thin and a bit unstable, and I knew this desk was just melamine covered particleboard.

A real bargain at just $69.  Quality so-so. (Source: IKEA.com)

I knew of one option that could work, although it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind – the iconic Parsons Desk ($349) offered by West Elm.  Sleek, modern, and understated, I’d seen it used many, many times before.  It fits in with just about any décor because of its simplicity. Most would say, this is it!  And stop looking.  But I kind of felt a little let down by the lack of extra “style”  in this piece.  It is a wonderful use-anywhere desk/table.  But nothing about it really stood out and wowed me.  There had to be something better out there.

The very clean Parsons Desk from West Elm(Source: pinterest.com)

The very clean Parsons Desk from West Elm.  A good option at $349. (Source: pinterest.com)

And finally, as often happens, serendipitously, I hit decorating gold!  The perfect piece! While taking a look at my local Craigslist for something entirely different (a rowing exercise machine), I happened upon a link to then-unknown-to-me www.furnitureontherun.com. The name intrigued me.  It conjured up cartoonish images of furniture growing legs and running away. (I have a very active imagination.) I’m sure the creators meant to convey that their site or their store is so speedy that you can complete your purchase quickly.  But no matter!  The name did its job and got me to the site!  And the heavens opened and light shone down.  There it was.  Item #800912 simply identified as Contemporary White Desk.  Combining the elements I loved most from the two high-end pieces that I loved at allmodern.com, the white desk features a smooth white surface, lovely metal drawer pulls and a new feature, which I love, a slanting shelf underneath for holding books! I couldn’t believe it.  And at $239, it wouldn’t break the bank!  Now, in perfect white desk bliss, I’m waiting to bring this one home for keeps.

Gorgeous, functional, and just right. (Source: furnitureontherun.com)

Gorgeous, functional, and just right at $239.
(Source: furnitureontherun.com)

10 Things About Me

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Welcome to TheFurnitureScout!

A website devoted to finding affordable versions of high-end furniture designs, so you can create the look you love on a budget.  TheFurnitureScout is managed by me, Vivian Oh, a California girl with an addiction to all things domestic – from cooking and cleaning, to decorating the home.  The best way to learn about me and who I am is with this handy dandy list of 10 things about me!

1. I own a collection of decorating magazines dating back to 1995.

My favorite year and magazine?  House Beautiful in 1999. I have some great issues of Domino, too (sniff, now gone, boo-hoo!) but House Beautiful was definitely beautiful in 1999.

The absolutely wonderful House Beautiful!

The absolutely wonderful House Beautiful!

2. An interesting piece of furniture in the set design of a movie can so distract me that I lose my place in the plot.

The Star Wars fans glared at me when I whispered loudly to my sister that I knew where look-alike bar stools could be found on the ship in Episode I.  I really do not see that anyone missed much of that movie by my observation.

Look-alike barstools which can be found at allmodern.com!

Look-alike barstools which can be found at www.allmodern.com!

3. Browsing the selection at Cost Plus World Market is so enjoyable for me, that I once forgot that I only had an hour for my lunch break and went back to work hungry and lunch-less, having spent the whole hour looking at furniture.

(Currently on my wish list from World Market: The Peacock Quincy Chair.)

Responsible for me losing my lunch. (I mean, not getting my lunch.)

Responsible for me losing my lunch.
(I mean, me not getting my lunch.)

When shall I buy you?  Soon, Quincy! Soon. (Source: WorldMarket.com)

When shall I buy you? Soon, Quincy! Soon. (Source: www.WorldMarket.com)

4. Drawing pen sketches of chairs is a hobby of mine.

About a fourth of the sketches in my sketchbook are of furniture.  (The rest are portraits.) The furniture pieces that I sketch aren’t usually pieces that I want to own, but pieces that have an interesting shape, which I sketch out in blue ballpoint pen. (The pen can’t be inky, and I don’t enjoy it as much in pencil for some reason.)

My sketches of a Saarinen Tulip Chair and Eames Molded Plywood Chair

My sketches of a Saarinen Tulip Chair and Eames Molded Plywood Chair

5. I secretly wish that I had taken the advice of the Dean of Interior Design in college and switched my major to Interior Design.

There were two interior design students in particular that I would come across in the dining hall during lunch, and I would drool over their assignments and beg to help. I also had a roommate who majored in Interior Design and boy did I love helping with those projects too!

6. If I was given $10,000 to spend on one piece of furniture to keep for the rest of my life I would buy a Hästens bed.

As a clinomaniac* (there’s a term for it!) who spends much more than 1/3 of her life in bed, reading, sleeping, napping, or looking at Pinterest and Instagram on her phone, I would more than make the purchase worthwhile. (If you are a real clinomaniac, I apologize for joking about this.  I couldn’t resist.  It certainly makes for a good excuse to stay in bed.  “I’m sorry, but I’m a clinomanic. I can’t help it.”)

With construction like this no wonder it's so expensive!

With construction like this no wonder it’s so expensive!

7. My favorite design book is the The Decoration of Houses.

The Alexandra Stoddard one, not the Edith Wharton version (Edith’s book The House of Mirth is wonderful, I just haven’t read her version of The Decoration of Houses.  I have a feeling it might be dated, anyhow.) But back to the subject, every time I read Alexandra’s enthusiastic joyful writing style, I feel inspired to bring the design ideas swirling around in my head into being.  The inspiration can simply carry me away, which is how I ended up in a cloud of dust nearly fainting away one hot July (with no air conditioning) sanding down the plaster on my walls so I could try a paint effect in my bedroom.

A wonderful, inspiring book. (Source: GoodReads)

A wonderful, inspiring book. (Source: GoodReads)

8. I’m a huge fan of HGTV.

When I had AT&T U-Verse, I was addicted to watching Property Brothers, Secrets of a Stylist and The High Low Project.  Sabrina Soto is my hero!

Sabrina Soto of The High Low Project (Source: HGTV.com)
Sabrina Soto of the always fascinating show The High Low Project
(Source: HGTV.com)

9. One store that has long been on my wish list to visit is H.D. Buttercup.

There is something about their name and their advertising that is irresistible to me.  I love that they are located in the old Helms Bakery building. It adds character.

Ahh!  This wonderful store is waiting for me!

Ahh! This wonderful store is waiting for me!

10. My favorite interior designer is Stephen Schubel.

His rooms just look so comfortable, and effortless!  Of course I love a ton of designers, but he definitely tops my list.

A lovely cottage nook for reading by Stephen Shubel. (Source: desiretoinspire.net)

A lovely cottage nook for reading by Stephen Shubel. (Source: desiretoinspire.net)

*I kid you not. Clinomania is an overwhelming and irresistible desire to stay in bed, for days on end, particularly when it is raining or snowing. It comes from Greek and means an obsession with sleeping.