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What is a Partners Desk?

Mahogany Georgian Partners Desk with Filing Drawers and wine read leather top

All furniture has a history, even if it’s not something many of us think about every day. One piece of furniture that has a particularly interesting origin is the partners desk, with one particular model being the most famous piece of furniture in the world.

Here we will be talking about what a partners desk is, its rich and interesting history, and why it is still a popular piece for the home office today.

What is a partners desk?

A partners desk is a style of large antique desk. Imagine two pedestal desks joined back-to-back, with drawers and cupboards on both sides to create a large working area. This means two people can work opposite each other at the same desk.

This type of desk originated in the UK during the Georgian period to allow banking partners to sit and work closely with each other while still enjoying the prestigious status of a pedestal desk. Partners desks were also adopted by law offices where they were used by solicitor partners or by solicitors and their clients.

Traditionally, partners desks are made from a high-quality hardwood such as mahogany, with brass fittings and a leather insert worksurface. Modern partners desks today tend to be a little slimmer but are still plenty spacious with ample storage.

The famous partners desk

Despite the desk’s original purpose to seat two people, arguably the most famous example of a partners desk seats just one very important person.

The Resolute Desk is the elaborately carved desk in the Oval Office that the President of the United States sits at. This desk was originally gifted to the 19th President of the United States, Rutherford B Hayes, in 1880 by Queen Victoria.

The wood that makes up the Resolute Desk comes from the oak timbers of the HMS Resolute, a British Arctic exploration ship that became trapped in ice and was abandoned in a Canadian Arctic waterway during its search for Sir John Franklin’s missing expedition.

The abandoned ship was found by an American whaling ship, taken back to America, and repaired before being returned to Queen Victoria as a gesture of goodwill during a turbulent time of US-UK relations.

As a token of gratitude, once the HMS Resolute was decommissioned over 20 years later, its timbers were used by skilled joiner William Evenden to create the Resolute Desk. This was then gifted to then-President Rutherford B Hayes and marked a significant step forward in the partnership between the two countries that we now have.

What are the different styles of partners desks?

Partners desks come with a few different options when it comes to shape, wood type and style, but we prefer the authentic Georgian styling of a traditional mahogany partners desk. The pedestals can contain either traditional drawers, filing drawers or cupboards on both sides.

Our mahogany partners desks here at AKD also come in a range of different finishes and with coloured leather insert choices, meaning the perfect combination can be created to suit the décor of any home office. While brass handles are traditional, partners desks are also available with rounded wood handles instead.

Should you get a partners desk for your home office?

A partners desk is a great addition to any home office that can accommodate it. They are striking pieces of furniture that exemplify quality and status. Partners desks look great from all angles and are also designed to be positioned away from the walls, which provides you with more options when it comes to placement and storage.

From a practicality standpoint, partners desks also allow you to share the desk with someone else which, despite the size of the unit, can save you space. Partners desks also come with more built-in storage than other types of desks, which means you won’t need as many additional storage units.

 

Do you think a partners desk could be the right fit for your home office? If so, you can take a look at our exceptional handmade partners desks here

 

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How to Style Dark Wood Furniture

dark wood chest of drawers

Dark wood furniture is rich, striking and full of character and is sure to enhance any interior design aesthetic when used with careful consideration. It’s important to make sure it lives up to its full potential when placed in your home so, in this blog, we will be going through some tips on how to style dark wood furniture.

Set dark furniture against a clean backdrop

The reason people can be cautious when styling dark wood furniture is that it has such an eye-catching and distinctive appearance that can dominate a room in some situations, especially if there are too many other elements vying for attention.

To avoid clashing, we recommend setting dark furniture against a clean backdrop such as white walls and a lighter floor. You can use colour too, just try not to make the backdrop for the furniture too busy as it will diminish its effect.

Combine the dark furniture with pops of colour

Colour is not the enemy of dark wood furniture. It can actually prevent dark rooms from looking too moody, it just needs to be used thoughtfully. Depending on how dark your furniture is, you may consider a semi-monochromatic look, playing the dark wood against lighter neutral tones which then gives you plenty of freedom to add an accent of any colour you want through furnishings, artwork, ornaments or even a painted statement wall.

Mahogany furniture, for example, has quite a few different colours it can pair well with. Cool blues contrast very nicely, while warmer tones like orange and red complement the hints of flame in the wood. Mid greens and grey greens can also work very well.

Take advantage of alcoves, corners, and nooks

If you’re struggling to find a clean, open space to place your dark wood furniture, then consider going in the opposite direction. If you can make use of an alcove or corner, then you don’t need to worry so much about blending the piece in or creating a ‘blank canvas’ to set it against. Alcoves and angular settings will naturally frame the furniture without it looking incongruous or too dominating.

Match the furniture with other dark tones

Another tip for styling dark wood furniture is to match it with other dark tones throughout the room to create a theme. This doesn’t mean filling the room with other large furniture pieces; just creating an accent with smaller units such as shelves, ornaments and picture frames will provide a sense of cohesion.

These other dark tones don’t need to match exactly if you are playing them against lighter colours in the room. Mahogany furniture, for example, will match well with a range of black and brown furnishings, as well as other dark woods.

Or go eclectic

If these design tips don’t sound like your style, then why not throw the rules out the window and go for a full-blown eclectic aesthetic? After all, the most important element in home design is your own personal taste and preferences. 

Deliberately eclectic styles allow you to work with plenty of colour, but you also have room for some unity. You could consider having all your furniture made from natural materials, for example, or tie the room together with some matching rugs or throws.

 

That concludes our guide on how to style dark wood furniture but, as mentioned earlier, your personal taste is the most important factor when decorating your home, so go with what feels right for you. The wonderful character of mahogany furniture and other dark woods means you should be able to find a place for it anywhere with a little creativity.

If you’re looking for some dark wood furniture to enhance your home, you can start by browsing our range of mahogany furniture.

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What Is the Strongest Type of Wood?

Solid mahogany handcrafted hall table. with 3 drawers and carved colonial columns.

Wood is one of the most popular materials for building furniture with and for good reason. The strength, durability, beautiful aesthetic and relative availability has ensured its continuing use around the world. In this blog, we will be looking at one attribute in particular and asking, ‘what is the strongest type of wood?’

How do you determine wood strength?

While most natural woods can be classed as strong compared to plastic or synthetic wood alternatives, hardwoods are where you will find the strongest types of wood due to their denser grain and complex structure.

Wood strength is measured by a few different factors: density, compressive strength, bending strength and hardness. Depending on the application, some of these attributes may be more important than others. For example, scratch-resistance may be more desirable than the ability to bear heavy loads for some pieces, however density is always a good indicator of a wood’s overall strength.

What are some of the strongest types of wood?

1. Mahogany

Mahogany has one of the most distinctive appearances of any wood with its rich, red-brown tones and hints of flame, and it is also one of the strongest types of wood used in furniture construction.

Mahogany has a dense grain, a good structure and is exceptionally durable, making it a great choice for furniture around the home.

Mahogany does not shrink and warp as easily as other woods and is also resistant to rot and mould. Unlike many other hardwoods, mahogany is easier to work with, and can be easily carved by craftsmen.

2. Mango wood

Mango wood is perhaps not as well-known as the other woods on this list, but it is a strong wood with a handsome aesthetic. It is younger than some other popular hardwoods because mango trees grow quickly and naturally stop producing fruit at a certain age.

Mango wood is another hardwood but doesn’t have as dense a grain as some others, meaning it can be cut and shaped into some attractive designs without the use of special tools. Mango wood is dense, durable and hard-wearing, with a beautiful natural golden-brown hue that gets darker with age.

3. Oak

Oak is one of the most commonly used hardwoods in furniture as all oak species are strong, hard and heavy, with a close grain. Oak also requires very little maintenance and is resistant to many fungal infections that could compromise its strength.

Oak can be used for furniture, flooring and joinery and, while it may not have as distinctive an aesthetic as mahogany, this neutrality means it will rarely look out of place in any home design.

4. Walnut

Walnut is another strong, durable and long-lasting wood that makes a great choice of material for furniture. Walnut resists warping and shrinkage, and has a typically straight grain that makes it an easier wood to work with when making furniture. Walnut wood comes in a range of rich browns and is resistant to general wear and tear.

 

A wood’s strength can be measured by a number of different attributes, such as its density or hardness, but all of the above woods are great choices for furniture that will stand the test of time while still looking fantastic.

You can browse our range of solid wood furniture to get started.

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What Is Needed for A Home Office?

Twin pedestal desk, reclaimed wood and grey metal legs. File drawer on left, cupboard on right & central flap down keyboard drawer.

Whilst we should see some restrictions being lifted in the near future and more people returning to work, it doesn’t mean that all of us will be going back to the office. 

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have learned that workers don’t need to be in the office full time and will continue to encourage their employees to work from home where possible. Continue reading What Is Needed for A Home Office?

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Mahogany vs Walnut: Which Should You Choose?

Rectangular Mayan Walnut Open Coffee Table with magazine shelf

Solid wood is a great choice for furniture and decor – it is strong, durable, and has a timeless look that can suit almost any aesthetic. However, not all woods are equal when it comes to choosing your furniture. In this blog, we will be looking at two popular hardwoods you may be considering – here’s what you need to know about the mahogany vs walnut debate. Continue reading Mahogany vs Walnut: Which Should You Choose?