I remember aged members of my family living in skinny little apartments in subdivided triple-decker buildings in what is now the great eastern rust belt.
They still lived there even though their children and grand children and all the other teeming relations had made the jump to the suburbs or better apartments.
Floor space was a valuable commodity so that even hallways and the short passage to the back door (between the pantry and bedroom wall) were turned into dual purpose spaces. The hard part was finding furniture that would fit without unduly blocking movement*.
Generally this lead to an interesting collection of shelves and tables knocked together out of found boards; sometimes hung off the wall with hinges and lightweight chains so that they could be stowed away when not in use.
This kind of desk would have been a welcome addition as it doesn’t take much floor space but it is a nice piece.
It measures 36 inches wide, 45 inches tall but only 21 inches deep. There are carved pen holder grooves and envelope or stationary holders. With the decline of the written letter it’d even be a good workstation for a tablet or laptop.
*My mother lived in a triple-decker in the early 1940′s. The guy who lived overhead would come home drunk late at night and slowly careen up the stairs. He’d then promptly crash into the furniture in the back hall. Even now she still can’t stand the song You Are My Sunshine (released in 1939, covered by Bing Crosby in 1941) as he would “sing” it during the drawn out process (ending in the inevitable furniture cacophony).