On the interwebs I found this unattributed photo shot in a secondhand store. It's an unusual piece of furniture for sure: A freestanding Mission-style coatrack with two drawers for storage and an umbrella corral.

I've never seen a piece that incorporated all of these elements. Whether you think it's ugly or not is subjective, so I wanted to comment on it from a utility point of view and why I'd guess it's not a commercially successful design.

It's hard to tell in the photo, above, but if you look at the images I tracked down below you can see there are hooks on two opposing sides. There do not appear to be hooks on the side opposite the drawer faces. So this could be left away from a wall, in the manner of a coat tree, or against a wall, with the drawer faces parallel to the wall. It would not be space-efficient in a corner.

I like the flat top as a temporary surface. I could see coming in from outside with a package, throwing the package up there while I took my coat off and hung it, then grabbing the package to bring it into the house for processing. And I think that because the top is both high and not particularly wide, the precariousness of leaving things up there would prevent it from becoming cluttered. Maybe that's just me.

The drawers seem useful for stuff you only occasionally need when leaving the house, like sunglasses or a flashlight. In fact I have a list of these "sometimes" objects that I strategically leave near the door: Hand sanitizer and an AUX-IN cable for when I'm renting a ZipCar; a tape measure, notepad and pen if I'm going to buy raw materials; a carrying strap if I'm picking up a large package at the post office. I'd wedge all of this stuff in there.

I can't tell what the bottom of the umbrella corral is made out of, but while it doesn't look like wood, it appears to be a solid surface. That'd be the dealbreaker for me as I don't want water gathering near oak. I'd want something porous so that it would drain right through to an unseen little tray underneath that I could easily slide out to dump.

I did some digging and found the piece is distributed by Wayborn Furniture & Accessories, a self-described "leading importer and wholesaler of home furniture" whose "products are manufactured and imported from China's renowned factories" and are "exquisitely made." Here's the catalog shot confirming it's the same piece:

Retailers selling this exact piece include Walmart, K-Mart and Amazon. And it doesn't appear to be actual oak: Descriptions range from "durable wood" to "Birchwood." It retails from $199 to $383 and no one actually has any in stock.

I suspect that's not because it sells like hotcakes, but that there just isn't much of a market for it. It's not family-sized, and I can't think of many bachelor- or bachelorette-pads, or young childless couples' homes, that are decorated Mission-style.

In any case, that's my two cents spread over eight paragraphs. What do you think of this piece? And what do you think about taking an established style and using it to create new, hybrid pieces of furniture?

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