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Oak and Leather Study: Photo Diary

9th April 2012

Towards the end of last year, I completed an Oak Study which was a real triumph. At that time I wasn’t writing a blog but, since I am now, I thought I’d add some photos about how it was made.

The client’s existing study consisted of a small desk and chair, with a little shelf space and and a reading seat in the corner. A large door opened inwards and took up any remaining floor space. The brief was to provide the maximum amount of space and storage in the confines of the 4.5 m.sq room . By overlapping each function into the next, wrapping the design right into the corners and installing a sliding door we managed to do a whole lot more. The desk area was doubled, the storage space was tripled, and the free floor area was increased. We also incorporated a very cool seat which was upholstered in poppy-red leather. The photo diary below details how the design was put together…

The client was keen to maximise space, desk area and storage in their study, but there was some careful space planning required to optimise the small amount of space available.

The seat was mocked-up from ply and cushions and then measurements were taken and applied to the seat design. Reports from the client suggest we did a god job, as he says it’s perfect for when he wants to read or make notes.

The seat is robustly constructed, however much of this structure is hidden behind panelling. There are two postbox shaped cubbies under the seat specially incorporated for the clients briefcase and laptop bag

There is a nook under the desk which is for a laptop to be slide into and out of the way. Little features like this make the space a much more user-friendly place to work.

The timber for the drawers had beautiful grain markings like tiger stripes. A small amount of this is visible in the picture above.

For more beautiful medullary rays, check out this font cover I made earlier in the year…

The timber of the seat folds into the desk to maximise space. There’s a nice detail where the desk timber is shaped into the apron which then folds into the seat.

The handmade dovetailed drawers were lined with felt to match the leather of the upholstery

The drawers were dovetailed and fitted by hand. The drawer fronts were constructed from a single length of beautifully figured oak, which was cut into 4 drawer fronts, with each attached in order, so the grain flowed through from one to the next.

About seven coats of oil are needed to get a really good finish on the desk top. Here it is in the workshop just before installation.

replacing the hinged door with a sliding one was a major mechanism for increasing space in the room. The door was constructed with three frosted glazing panels to allow light into the hallway, but maintain privacy in the new study.

If you’d like to see how these types of doors go together, check out my blog post on wedged mortise and tenon joints…

Box shelves were specified because they allow for smaller items to be stored in the compartments with larger items and books stored on top. A ‘Flemish bond’ style patturn was incorporated in the box shelf dividers to add interest.

Here’s the seat fully assembled pre-oiling. The backrest is laid horizontally next to it. The grooves in the timber are to accept the brackets which hold the leather upholstery in place.

Here’s a picture of the finished study. Poppy red leather was selcted for the upholstery and it looks geat next to the rich oranges of the oak….

…and this is the other side of the room, showing the box shelves. A big thank you to Mike and Gill for being fantastic clients, and for decorating the study so beautifully with these things.



If you would like to see more info about the fitted furniture designed and handmade by HM HandMade, check out the website here:




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