What is a barrel desk?
a barrel desk has a tambour that is solid, not like a rolltop desk that has a tambour made of slats. the typical barrel desk will have several little cubby holes like a rolltop desk would have.
there are some that are quite small and then others are rather large and have a lot of room in them.
mine has a writing area that actually slides forward and provides significantly more work area than a rolltop desk.