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Handmade Home / Office Furniture: Hugh’s Photo Diary

13th May 2012

bespoke handmade oak home office study furniture

Last weeks photo diary was about ‘The Bug’ living room furniture. In the background of one of the photos was another project I completed for the same clients. The two projects form a bit of a pair and have some matching details, like the painted cabinet interiors. This project, however, is a bit more utilitarian in it’s design. Although form follows function to a large extent, there are still a few nice HM details in there. Here’s the photo diary:

Bespoke oak fitted handmade home office

The design maximized desk space and storage, and picked up a couple of nice features from the room including the sloping glass ceiling which is mirrored in the stepped upper cabinets.


I started by making all the panels. The desk top is constructed from 30mm solid oak, so it’s pretty heavy. It’s made from five boards edge-glued together, and so the joints remain strong and stable I cut in dowels every 300mm. During the glue-up, the clamp position is alternated between top and bottom. This is because the clamps exert more pressure on the bar side of the panel than the open side. By alternating the clamping side, it stops the panel from drying with a curvature across it’s width.

Bespoke handmade solid oak study home office

The first job was to make the panels by joining the oak boards edge-on-edge. There are never enough clamps.


After the joints between the boards of the desk top were planed and sanded smooth, I cut the cable holes and the nook for where the printer was to sit. The circles are cut with a router and template; the three sides of the printer nook were also routered, with longer pieces of timber used as a straight edge. All the edges were rounded which not only made them more tactile, but also stopped any cables posted through from scuffing.


Solid hardwood oak fitted handmade home office study


The stepped upper cabinet’s were quite a challenge to join and glue because there were so many bits which needed to be kept square. A lot of the components also had to be clamped in order to ensure a tight joint, so I split the assembly into three sections. The photo below is of the final glue-up stage where everything comes together.


Stepped cabinets handmade from solid oak for home office study

The stepped cabinets which form the upper storage in the home office create extra space because things can be stored inside and above each cabinet.


The full-height storage shelves on the left side of the design were calibrated to accept lever arch files. Because these shelves protruded a little into the space where people would be walking, I cut a 100mm radius onto each board. It’s a nice feature in the project because it’s one of the only curved motifs in amongst a lot of straight lines.


handmade oak shelves for bespoke hardwood home office study

The left-hand shelves are calibrated for lever-arch files. The lowest shelf in the photo extends under the desk and created some issues during installation. However, it was important in the design to emphasis the way the timber wraps around the three walls of the space.


The toy cabinet was one of the hardest parts to detail. It was placed at floor height and the cabinet fronts needed to be able to open independently so the children could have access without help. However this meant the flip-up top, which is also a seat, needed to be supported without resting on the cabinet doors below. There’s quite a lot of structure under what looks like a simple hinged panel.


Bespoke fitted oak home office furniture incorporating toy storage

As the clients have young children, they were keen to incorporate some toy storage in the design. We fitted in a big cabinet under the seat which the kids can reach and open themselves.


As with ‘The Bug’ Living room furniture I talked about last week, the cabinet interiors were spray painted. It gives a lovely finish when you can see the grain of the timber through the solid colour. Unlike ‘The Bug’, the coloured sections is more visible in this project. It forms an exposed band around the upper cabinets and contrasts really nicely with the oiled oak.


Spray painted handmade oak cabinets for bespoke home office handmade study

The inside of the stepped cabinets were painted duck-egg blue. I sprayed about five thin coats. It’s much better to do lots of thin coats rather than fewer thick ones, as it avoids drips and imperfections in the paintwork.


Bespoke hardwood home office study with toy cabinet

The blue insides of the cabinets contrast nicely with the oiled oak. I used masking tape to ensure a sharp edge between colour and wood.


And here’s the finished project. There are lots more photos on the HM HandMade website. To check out the project page, click here…


bespoke handmade oak home office study furniture

The finished home office. Thank you to Kris and Lori for commissioning the project, and being perfect clients.




If you would like to see more of the handmade furniture and bespoke interiors designed and made by Hugh Miller, check out the HM HandMade website here…




Handmade Study; Bespoke Home Office; Handmade Oak Office Furniture; Handmade Oak Desk and Shelves; Bespoke Fitted Hardwood Study; Handmade bespoke hardwood study.