Could a CSD desk form the heart of your studio?
In my search for a new studio desk last year, I stumbled upon the website of a company called Custom Studio Desks, based in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, UK. They offer four desk styles, and after some deliberation, I decided the CSD202 would suit my needs. It’s a wide desk with raised left and right sections for monitors and two sloped gaps that can take 5U of rack equipment each. The centre bar at the rear can be raised to about three inches or set flat, depending on your requirements for computer monitors.
There was a problem, however. The website offers an optional extra keyboard shelf, which I was keen to have for my Kurzweil PC3 master controller. However, the default shelf width was too small. So I gave them a call...
I spoke to Lee, the master carpenter behind the desks who designs and makes each one. True to his company name, he told me he could customise the width of the desk and the keyboard shelf at no extra charge. Because he makes each desk to order, he said he could easily cut the middle section to a different length.
As we spoke, I was browsing his Instagram feed and noticed a desk with some rather elegant faux‑leather wrist rests. I enquired about those, and we agreed on a price and added them to the order.
All that was left was to choose a colour. I liked the standard black/grey combo. A stylish gloss white is also available, although it costs extra. And with that, the deal was done. A small deposit secured things, and Lee estimated a build time of around two weeks.
Almost daily, Lee updated me with pictures of the desk in progress: panel cutting, spray painting, leather trimming and, finally, packaging. This kind of attention to customer service is rare these days, and I was genuinely excited about delivery day.
After two weeks, a meticulously packaged palette arrived on my doorstep... well, the front lawn. Each element was wrapped in heavy cardboard and kept rigidly in place with clever use of wood offcuts and gaffer tape. There wasn’t a single mark or scratch where there shouldn’t be.
Assembly took around an hour. It would have been quicker with some help, but I managed it solo. Printed instructions are included, with all the correct screws and tools. The build is more straightforward than an average, medium‑sized Ikea cabinet, and the results are far more impressive.
The wood is a premium MDF at a thickness of around 1.5 inches, resulting in a heavy, stable desk. I mean it: there is no wobble in this desk at all. The various sections slot together perfectly. The paint finish is exceptionally smooth and hard‑wearing, with a slight metallic ‘sparkle’, giving it a classy look. And although it wasn’t cheap, the faux‑leather wrist rest was worth every penny for that high‑end studio feel.
The CSD202 (and I don’t doubt the rest of the range) is a premium desk made by a master carpenter. Best of all, Lee’s prices are very reasonable. With the modifications, optional keyboard tray, and wrist rest, mine totalled £1185 including VAT. You’ll see similar desks at two or three times that price at the major online music retailers. Perhaps the only thing missing is some clever cable management system. I’m sure that if Lee put his mind to it, he could add that to future designs, but it’s nothing that some hooks and Velcro ties can’t solve.
Everyone who comes into the studio comments on it.
Dealing with Lee at Custom Studio Desks has been a rare experience — a delight from start to finish. The final result is a desk built to my specifications that will last decades, and everyone who comes into the studio comments on it. If you’re in the UK or mainland Europe, I can highly recommend a Custom Studio Desk.
A beautiful handmade desk at the price of a flat‑pack, mass‑manufactured equivalent? Custom Studio Desks might just do it.