When looking at a dining table from a big box store, it can be hard to imagine that the piece of furniture was once a majestic tree. Stripped of its bark and shaped into homogeneous, geometric forms, the wood loses much of its character and natural beauty. Two tables can be virtually indistinguishable from each other, reflecting the assembly-line process that creates uniform furniture lacking individuality.
Many homeowners and interior designers are rejecting big box furniture in favor of pieces that reflect not only the unique personality and tastes of the homeowner but also the unique history of the tree that the furniture is crafted from. As a result, live edge designs have become an increasingly popular option for dining room tables.
What Does Live Edge Mean?
In an article explaining the trend towards live edge furniture, HGTV defined ‘live edge’ for readers, writing, “Essentially, the term refers to lumber that has been cut into slabs of the desired thickness, but instead of next cutting away any knots or flaws to create symmetrical boards with smooth, square edges, those natural elements are left intact and only the bark itself is removed.”
While mass-produced furniture hides or removes perceived imperfections in the wood, live edge tables embrace the raw, gnarled appearance of a mature tree. Standard lumber is sanded to create straight sides, but live edge wood retains the real and rugged edge that grew naturally. The owner of a live edge table can easily imagine the shape of the original tree.
No two live edge tables are alike, even if they are made from the same tree. As artisans slice through a tree, each layer is different, offering its own peculiarities that create a special piece.
When homeowners choose a live edge table, they can clearly see and appreciate the elegance of the original wood. The knots, burrs, and grain of the tree are preserved, lending each live edge table its own character and story.
Who Popularized Live Edge Table Designs?
Live edge furniture was popularized in the mid-1940s by George Nakashima, a Japanese-American woodworker and architect. A leading furniture designer of the 20th century, Nakashima crafted organic designs that reflected his love of nature. He allowed the tree to shape his vision, and he welcomed the irregular features of the wood, purposefully choosing timber with visible knots and burrs. Nakashima’s emphasis on the natural, coupled with his vision for simplicity and his masterful handiwork, cemented live edge designs as highly desirable pieces of furniture.
The Black Walnut Live Edge Table from Duvall & Co.
While many of the table designs from Duvall & Co. feature sophisticated lines and curves, the black walnut live edge table is all about showcasing the pure beauty of the wood. The free-spirited, flowing motion of the live edge design is complemented by the rich elegance of the black walnut wood, a highly sought-after hardwood species. Swirling patterns created by knots in the wood add visual interest to the piece.
David Duvall, Duvall & Co. CEO, says of the design and build studio’s live edge line, “Our live edge tables are simply stunning. They are truly works of art that add a wow factor with their unique characteristics and ability to work in most design aesthetics.”
Like all of the tables from Duvall & Co., the underside of the table is painted bright red, a design feature that has become the studio’s trademark. Customers are invited to come to the studio and put their handprints on the underside of the table, adding yet another unique quality to an already one-of-a-kind piece.
Live edge tables harmonize with a wide variety of styles, from contemporary and modernist to traditional and rustic. The natural flavor of a live edge design can unify the aesthetic of a mountain cabin or create a contrast with formal seating in an upscale urban apartment. Whether the customer is an individual with interior design sensibilities or a family looking for an attractive and sturdy heirloom piece, a custom live edge table is a beautiful addition to any home.
For more information about custom tables in Wake Forest, NC, visit the Duvall & Co. website at duvallco.com. The Design Studio can be reached by phone at (919) 925-4499 or by email at [email protected]