After having it for more than a month, I can confidently report that I am thrilled with the purchase. The decision to go with the St. James desk over another desk (and I looked at many, including antique desks and makeshift desks, including a kitchen table turned desk) was a difficult one. It was tough because for the first time ever, I opted to go with a desk that would not butt up to the wall; instead, I would use it as a freestanding desk facing into my office.
Yes, I could have placed the St. James against a wall, but if I did, I'd lose the incredible detailed carving that is on the backside of the desk.
Loving all things vintage, the back of this desk reminded me of a counter in an old-time general store. As a result, when you come into the office, my desk doesn't actually look like a desk immediately. It looks like a repurposed retail counter turned project table.
In fact, the back of the desk, in my opinion, is more lovely than the so-called front where the drawers are accessed, and that is very beautiful. It would be a shame to hide the back against a wall. However, I see some challenges with having a free standing desk, such as how to plug in a lamp, computer, etc. because it doesn't have a cord management system but I'm willing to tackle them because the design of this desk is exquisite. Plus, I'm using this desk for as a craft table and it won't house my computer, so aside from the lamp issue, I don't have to worry about a lot of electrical cords.
The drawers are very roomy, so I have plenty of space. The center drawer is not deep, but is wide. The drawers do not include any dividers, so I used my own. I could fit three Bisley(R) 24-Compartment Deep Drawer black inserts that I had purchased from the Container Store years ago in the top drawer with a little room left over on the side for some small items.
My only complaint about the top drawer is this: It has a false keyhole with an actual key. Because the keyhole is not real, the key doesn't fit snugly into the opening and tends to fall out with the slightest movement. As a result, I keep the loose key in the top center drawer for safekeeping. Fortunately, you can still easily open the drawer without it.
The two top side drawers have working keys. I leave those in the keyholes and use to to open the drawers. They are the same depth as the center drawer and offer plenty of storage space, so I can easily fit another Bisley storage insert inside with space to spare.
Likewise, the center side drawer is a nice size and it, like the three top drawers, glides out easily.
The same cannot be said for the deep bottom drawers. These can be used to hold files and the hardware for hanging files is provided. I chose to use these drawers for larger items instead, and in my case, I easily stored a sewing box in the bottom drawers and still had plenty of room leftover. That said, my sewing box is pretty lightweight compared to how much a drawer packed with hanging files would weigh and even so, pulling out the drawer is a real job. Sometimes I have to use two hands to pull it out. It does not glide very easily, which is my only real disappointment with the desk's function.
Restoration Hardware recently changed their delivery company, according to my salesperson, and I was among the first to receive the new service. It is touted as being "white glove" service and I was skeptical because I've had problems with delivery companies before. The company being used now is Unlimited Furniture Delivery and I am happy to report that they were top-notch. The desk came wrapped in furniture quality and shrink-wrapped. The two delivery men were polite and professional. Both used booties to cover their feet and carefully moved and unwrapped the desk. They removed all the waste paper and installed felt pads on the feet of the desk. Within an hour of delivery, Restoration Hardware followed up to see if I was satisfied with the delivery and furniture and inquired if there was anything else they could do. I was blown away because as I'm sure you are aware, customer service isn't exactly what it used to be.
I'm totally happy with this purchase.
In fact, I was so happy it prompted me to make another, a hutch. More on that to come in an upcoming story.
What is your experience with Restoration Hardware? Do you prefer wall desks or freestanding desks?