Thinking Upright: Era of the Standing Desk

Stand more, Sit less. Stand Up Desks have been a hot topic in recent lifestyle, health and home design media, playing off medical studies that favor the obvious ‘standing more, sitting less’ workplace model. They say it’s not just better for you, it’s profoundly better. Billed as good for the heart and good for the head and not an entirely new practice, famous thinkers from Da Vinci to Winston Churchill have worked at stand up desks and tables for hundreds of years.

Stand Up Desk Jefferson at MonticelloLiterary greats like Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe wrote volumes atop their standing desks. American renaissance man Thomas Jefferson had a six-legged desk (shown above) in his library at Monticello where he penned a vast correspondence, drew up blueprints and crafted his intricate garden plans. This week’s post collects stand-up desks designed by some of Vermont’s most talented craftsmen and members of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers. Each design is available now and can be customized to specific client preferences.

Like a Furniture Piece. Guild Member Jim Becker was commissioned by his client Mr. Paine to build a standing desk inspired by a photograph of an Eero Saarinen dining sidetable. Made with solid cherry, the desk is handsome enough to stand freely in the open landscape of any study or den. A ½ round of BirdsEye Maple forms a lip on the tilting top to keep pens and pencils from rolling and the interior holds the mechanism and a good bit of storage. It can include a drawer. 

Jas. Becker Stand Up Desk for Mr. Paine

Workmanship and Details. Bob Gasperetti’s desk (shown below) has so many finely made features that it calls for daily use. Shown in curly cherry with a curly sugar maple drawer front, the desk is light and strong, easy to re-position and settle. You can chase the morning sun through your office. Pencil and supply tray in the dovetailed, solid-bottomed drawer and a removable drink leveler; pegged mortise and tenon and lap dovetail construction. Not hard to imagine beginning every workday here.

Gasperetti Fine Furniture Stand Up Desk

Shaker Sustainable. Richard Bissell builds Shaker-inspired furniture from responsibly harvested hardwoods in his solar-powered Putney workshop. Shaker design philosophy values the natural ornamentation of the wood as the driving aesthetic of a piece, with clean lines and graceful proportions. “I’ve always like the look of stand up desks with sloping tops but when it comes down to utility I think there’s nothing better than a flat surface,” says the craftsman. “The legs have a beaded corner detail and the two dovetailed drawers are 6″ deep.” Constructed of sapwood and heartwood Cherry and finished with a linseed oil/polyurethane treatment and hand-rubbed wax, the desk is available now.

Richard Bissell Fine Woodworking Standing Desk

Craftsmanship in the Kingdom. Guild member Paul Donio contributes an immediately available walnut stand-up desk for office, library or other at-home workspace. A student of Boston’s North Bennet Street School, Paul opened Hawk Ridge Furniture in St. Johnsbury in 1989 and has been

Hawk Ridge Furniture Walnut Desk

making fine furniture there since. Check out the functionality and clean aesthetic of his solid cherry PC desk, below. With a slightly tilted top for ease of use with laptop, notebook or other digital device, it’s also equipped with a 20” dovetailed drawer to hold old school writing supplies. Paul explains that the richness of wood provides a “warmer, calmer workplace that can enhance productivity.” Over time, the desk’s patina will soften and deepen while the hand-rubbed oil finish helps to preserve the wood.

Hawk Ridge Handcrafted Cherry PC Desk

Here’s to a healthier heart, a happier lower back and the creative process. If you’re inspired to join the stand-up revolution, or wish to inquire about another piece, visit the member profiles page of our website and find the makers listed individually there. Thanks for supporting our tradition of Vermont-made custom furniture.