The Etsy Blog

One Desk, Three Styles With Kelly + Olive handmade and vintage goods

GC_olive_Icon.jpg Lauren Paradise and Courtney Davis started their decorating careers at age 14, when they painted a perfectly lovely bathroom an ungodly shade of orange. They then proceeded to get degrees in theatre, but design and creativity was never far away. As they skipped from apartment to apartment as actors in the Windy City, they developed not only their collective color sense, but noses for bargains and an obsession with crafting and decorating blogs. Working together came naturally, and soon kelly + olive was born. Lauren and Courtney reside in Chicago, designing and redesigning for customers around the world.

The ubiquitous Parsons desk. You can’t argue with the fact that it’s a great piece. It’s small enough to fit in a studio apartment, but classy enough to hold its own in an antique laden mansion. The problem is, everyone has one. We have one (ours is yellow), your mom has one, and so does pretty much everyone who ever read Domino magazine. So while we love Ms. Parsons, without the proper styling, she can be — well, a bit of a bore.

Not to worry. Today we’re outlining three ways to customize your Parsons desk to look like no other. We’re showcasing her sexy form and fierce function in a myriad of ways. In short, we are styling the heck out of her, thereby counteracting her mass-produced-ness with some handmade and vintage bling.


Episode 1: Modern Farmhouse Desk

Picture this: a cozy desk in the corner of a kitchen, where a sleepy food blogger clicks away at her morning post, the soft sounds of her chickens still clucking drowsily in the backyard.

Her desk is clean, simple. Just a laptop and a beloved vase, a lamp for early hours like these, and her trusty pens and recipe cards — because sometimes she’s old school like that.


She loops her apron over her head, pads across the soft felt rug to check on her flock. A new print reminds her of today’s experiment: bacon jam.

Episode 2: Retro Feminine Entryway

This girl’s got swagger. She’s a CPA by day, but tonight she sang smoky jazz standards at an open mic. She trips lightly through her front door (she’s had a sloe gin fizz or two this evening) and flops down on a powder blue knockout of a chair to pry her feet out of her heels.

The phone rings (yes, she’s the only one of her friends who still has a landline). She lets it, drops her earrings in a bowl and turns out the light. After all, she’s got work in the morning.

Episode 3: Bohemian Chic Vanity

When she moved into this studio after college, she didn’t know what to do with the desk. It floated from wall to wall for a while (a short while; there weren’t that many walls) and finally found its home between her bedside and the front door. It became part desk, part vanity, topped with her mirror and paired with a lovely chair where she could perch and primp.

It is also an altar for her tiny treasures: folk art that reminds her of the year she spent abroad, teacups (perfect for holding jewelry and spare change), and vintage perfume bottles carefully re-filled with Chanel no. 5. A classic is always a classic.

Three ladies, three Parsons desks, and three styles that are worlds apart. Frankly, dears, we could have done five more! So don’t feel bad if every piece of furniture in your home isn’t a storied family heirloom from some exotic locale, or one of a kind. You can give it a story. It’s all about the context.

For more information about kelly + olive and our unique styling services, check us out at

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