Surfing Cowboys: Where I Found My Awesome New-Old Desk

— by Caroline on Crack

Seems like I’ve been on the hunt FOR-EVER for a desk on which to compose my provocative, intelligent, world-changing prose, OK, on which to blog about stuff I drank. I’ve scoured the ads on Craigslist, perused new furniture stores and thrift shops and even considered, albeit briefly, IKEA. But I could never seem to find anything that suited me.

All I knew is that I wanted it to be a midcentury-style wood desk on the smallish side but with not too many drawers (cuz I’d just end up stuffing those with soon-to-be-forgotten paperwork) and it had to be brown wood, not black, blonde or white. It’s a whole feng shui thing with me. Such a desk probably would have been a cinch to find if I didn’t have a very limited budget. At first I was unrealistically looking at the $100-$200 price range but that only got me desks without personality or really ratty ones.

But one day when I actually Googled “midcentury wood desk,” one showed up locally at the Surfing Cowboys furniture store on Abbot Kinney in Venice, and it was so purty! Only problem is that it’s $450. But then when I how long I’ve been looking for a desk and that another midcentury desk that I had fallen in love with had a $2,600 price tag, I reasoned that this would be a great birthday present to myself as well as an investment in my writing/blogging career.

The Surfing Cowboys, a vintage furniture store dedicated to relaxed, beachy Californian living, has been in business for about 11 years now and is run by Wayne and Donna Gunther, both former commercial fashion photographers. They have soo many cute things in their store, from Eames furniture to rare surfer memorabilia. Of course not everything in the store fits my budget but again, I was looking at this desk as an investment.

And what’s great about this place is that you don’t get a snobby vibe or a high-pressured sales pitch. When I had walked in the store, passed by a lounging German Shepherd and inquired about the desk, Wayne was so helpful, even pulling the desk out from the nook which was formerly a bathroom in this photography studio-turned-furniture store so that I could see how it was on leveled ground. He even fetched a chair for me so I could get a feel for what it was like to sit at the desk.

Of course at this point, I was sold. “I’ll take it!” I said. “But first tell me the story behind this desk. I like stories.” “Well, we picked it up in San Francisco and it’s from the 1960s,” Wayne offered. That was good enough for me. Later my bf said that I should have tried bargaining with them since the desk had been on sale for awhile but I’m not the bargaining type. Plus it’s a store; do people bargain in stores?

In any case, even though Wayne and Donna give off that laidback surfer vibe, they are pretty diligent about updating their store’s inventory on their Web site (although my desk is still on there) as well as maintain a blog and a Twitter account!

BTW, if you aren’t in the market for any vintage furniture, surfer tees or old surfboards, the store is still a fun place to peruse on your leisurely Sunday stroll to that Black Cat Espresso at Intelligentsia Venice. According to the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, Winter/Spring 2009 issue, it was listed as a can’t-miss stop on the Venice walking tour.

Surfing Cowboys
1624 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, California 90291 (map)
(310) 450-4891