Hide-Away Furniture

Two years ago this month, I posted a blog about transforming furniture; pieces that open and expand to become more functional and look way more ominous. This table, while not a true transformer, fits more into the Hide-away furniture category.

As I walked through a local antique mall – generally that means junk shop, but there are occasional nuggets to be discovered – I ran across a chunky table. Yes, there are hinges at the middle of its top. That was an indication that there was more, so I decided to investigate. (Surely, if one were trying to pass this off as only a table a better way to hinge the top could be found.)

When I flipped up the top, I discovered the deep well allowed for small storage areas, an equally small drawer and a slide-out writing surface. I especially liked the apron filler that folded flat to the underside of the top. Clever, indeed.

Here’s the killer. This table/desk was made from mahogany. The surface was extremely dry, and there was little differences in coloration due to oxidation. Plus, I didn’t notice much wear. Was it a fake, or was it real?

If I hadn’t been a furniture maker, it may have come home with me for a whopping total of $250.

The area below the faux apron was also a drawer.

— Glen D. Huey


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6 thoughts on “Hide-Away Furniture

  1. Great article Glen.
    A pretty cool piece too.

    Eric Rusch

  2. So, being a woodworker, do you choose to make one of these, and hinge it in the middle of the top? Will you redesign it to double-hinge it on the underside of the top? Or will you just make a removable top?

    Your comment about it being extremely dry–does this mean it was stored somewhere and badly needs a finish?

    1. Mike,

      If I truly wanted one of these desk – I do think the design is clever – I would, of course, build it. But at $250, I would need to think on it a while. The middle hinge is a dead give away. My first thought, without delving too far into it, would be a card table hinge. Your idea of a removable top has merit. The only problem I see is that a removable top could get lost somewhere along the way. And extremely dry translates into not enough finish, either through neglect or from not sufficiently coated at the outset.

      1. Before we moved, I used to frequent a consignment shop and spent time talking with the shop owners. I saw some pretty nice pieces that had been poorly stored; sometimes they appeared to have inadequate or damaged finish, or sometimes structural issues.

  3. I have that desk, with the addition of side drawers and an inkwell, also in mahogany. Also, also, mine uses barrel hinges for the top. So, I guess, I have a similar mahogany desk. 🙂

    I love it.

    There are two dates on the back, 1923, and 1926. It may not be quite an antique, but it is old and I use it nearly every day with a laptop.

    1. Mr Stahl,

      If it is not to much of a inconvenience could post some photos of yours.

      thanks Ralph McCoy

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