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Create a Rugged, Masculine Desk Space

Get the Look: A Rugged, Refined Desk

While flipping through prop and set designer Pamela Duncan Silver's portfolio, I paused when I came across this desk photo. Silver's talent for her craft came across in my reaction to the shot: she'd created a tableau that conjured up a perfect man — something akin to the Old Spice man or a more modern take on an Ernest Hemingway hero. This fictional man is brainy, which you can tell given his cellular structure poster and stack of books; refined (you can tell from his orchid and Eames chair); and rugged, too, judging by his DIY-esque sawhorse-legged table, sheepskin, and antler ornamentation. Basically, he's the ideal man.

Just as you can't call Isaiah Mustafa your boyfriend (though your guy can smell like him, which is some consolation), you can't ring up the fictional owner of this masculine desk for a last-minute Friday night date. However, you can conjure his spirit by re-creating this desk area. Find out how when you


Start by spraypainting this Sawhorse Desk Table ($200) black. Or, if you prefer a more rugged look to your fictional man's desk area, buy a pair of black steel sawhorses ($20 each), find a salvaged black door, and call it a day.

For similarly scientific art, try this vintage biology poster ($215) from Etsy, or search on eBay for "vintage science poster." Flea markets and antique stores are also reliable sources for this type of poster. You can also find reproductions on

For a comfy seating area for your hardworking hero, start with an Eames plastic molded armchair ($250), and to keep his back warm and cozy, drape a
sheepskin over the back.

You also don't want to forget the important details: a well-worn croquet ball, antlers (perhaps from a long wilderness hike you two shared in the mountains), and a suggestive, sensual live orchid. Now you just need to find the man that fits the desk!

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